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History Department at Lehman College

Faculty: Joseph W. Dauben



Joseph W. Dauben Research Interests

History of Science, History of Mathematics; the Scientific Revolution; Sociology of Science; Intellectual History, 17-18th Centuries; History of Chinese Science

Awards and fellowships

  • Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton (1977-1978), a Herpdotus Fellowship for a study of "Recent Philosophies of Science and their Relevance for Five Critical Episodes in the History of Mathematics."
  • Guggenheim Fellowship (1980-1981), for a study “Mathematics and Philosophy of Charles S. Peirce.”
  • Excellence in Teaching Award, Lehman College, 1986
  • National Academy of Sciences Visiting Scholar Exchange Program with the People's Republic of China (March-June 1988) (in conjunction with the Academia Sinica, Beijing.) Host institutions: Institute for History of Science and Technology, Beijing, and Qinghua University, Beijing
  • National Endowment for the Humanities, 3-year Fellowship (1990-1992), for a Critical Edition of the “Ten Classics of Ancient Chinese Mathematics.”
  • American Council of Learned Societies, Senior Fellowship, 1998-1999, for a study “Marx, Mao and Mathematics. Nonstandard Analysis and the Cultural Revolution.”
  • Lehman College Foundation Award for Outstanding Research, 1998-2000
  • Clare Hall, Cambridge University, Visiting Fellow, Fall Term 1999
  • Clare Hall, Life Member, elected by the Board of Governors, January 2000
  • Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina (Halle/Saale), elected a foreign member, 2001. The Leopoldina is the oldest Scientific Academy in Europe, founded in 1652, and celebrating its 350th anniversary in 2002.
  • Honorary Professor, elected by the Institute for History of Natural Science of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China (November, 2002)
  • Zhu Kezhun Lecture, Institute for History of Natural Science of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China (Spring, 2005)
  • Albert Leon Whiteman Memorial Prize for History of Mathematics, awarded by the American Mathematical Society (January, 2012)
  • The Joseph H. Hazen Lecture, jointly sponsored by the History of Science Society and the New York Academy of Science (April, 2016)


  • Fuzzy Logic and Mathematics: A Historical Perspective, with George J. Klir and Radim Bĕlohlávek (Oxford University Press, 2017)
  • 九章筭術 Nine Chapters on the Art of Mathematics. A Critical Edition and English Translation based upon a New Collation of the Ancient Text and Modern Chinese Translation (with GUO Shuchun and XU Yibao). Library of Chinese Classics (Shenyang: Liaoning Education Press, 2013), 3 volumes
  • Abraham Robinson: The Creation of Non-Standard Analysis, A Personal and Mathematical Odyssey. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995; Chinese translation by Wang Qian, Beijing: Science Press, 2005
  • George Cantor: His Mathematics and Philosophy of the Infinite. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1979; rep. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1989; Chinese translation by Zheng Yu-xin Nanjing; Nanjing University Press, 2008)

Selected Articles/Reviews/Essays

  • “Measuring Distances, Irrational Numbers, and Infinitesimals—the Dangers and Anachronisms of Misrepresenting texts from Ancient China to the works of Leibniz, Newton, Cantor, Euler, Cauchy, and Robinson,” in Anachronism(s) in the history of mathematics. Proceedings of the 2018 Bacon Conference, Caltech, Niccolò Guicciardini, ed. (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2021), 307–357.
  • “Math at the Met” (with Marjorie Senechal), The Mathematical Intelligencer 37 (3) (September 2015): 41–54. Selected by Princeton University Press for its anthology: The Best Writing on Mathematics 2016, Mircea Pitici, ed. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2017): 155–186.
  • “Uncertainty and Inexactness in Set Theory: Georg Cantor’s Discovery of the Paradoxes of Transfinite Numbers,” in (Un)certainty and (In)exactness: Proceedings of the 1st CLE Colloquium for Philosophy and History of Formal Sciences (CLE4Science), Fábio Bertato, ed. (Campinas, Brazil: Coleção CLE, 2016): 1‒33.
  • “Chinese Mathematics,” in The Mathematics of Egypt, Mesopotamia, China, India, and Islam. A Sourcebook, Victor Katz, ed. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007: 187–384. Chinese translation: 东方数学选粹:埃及、美索不达米亚、中国、印度与伊斯兰, Ji Zhigang et al., trans. Shanghai: Shanghai Jiaotong daxue chubanche, 2016): 123−321.
  • “The Evolution of Mathematics in Ancient China: From the Newly Discovered Shu and Suan shu shu Bamboo Texts to the Nine Chapters on the Art of Mathematics,” Notices of the International Congress of Chinese Mathematicians 2 (2) (December, 2014): 24–51.
  • “Matematica ed ideologia: la politica degli infinitesimali,” Davide Spagnoli, trans. Dianoia. Rivista di filosofia del Dipartimento di Filosofia e Comunicazione dell’Università di Bologna 19 (2014): 229–278.
  • Dauben, Joseph W. “De Minimis Risk: A Proposal for a New Category of Research Risk,” The American Journal of Bioethics 11(11)(2011): 1-7. (With Rosamond Rhodes, et al.)
  • Essay Review of Jean-Claude Martzloff: Le calendrier chinois: structure et calculs (104 av. J.-C.-1644). Indétermination céleste et réforme permanente. La construction chinoise officielle du temps quotidien discret à partir d’un temps mathématique caché, linéaire et continu.  In EASTM (East Asian Science, Technology, and medicine), 33 (2011): 90-114.
  • Essay Review of Loren Graham and Jean-Michel Kantor: Naming Infinity. A True Story of Religious Mysticism and Mathematical Creativity. In Historia Mathematica, reviewed for Historia Mathematica, published on-line November 21, 2011.
  • Dauben, J.W. & Parikh, R. (2010). Beginnings of modern mathematics in India. Current Science (Indian Academy of Sciences), 99:3, 300-302.
  • Dauben, J. W. (2008). Georg Cantor. In T. Gowers (Ed.), The Princeton Companion to Mathematics (pp. 778-780). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • Dauben, J. W. (2008). Abraham Robinson. In T. Gowers (Ed.), The Princeton Companion to Mathematics (pp. 822-823). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • Zhu Shijie’s Siyuan yujian (Jade Mirror of the Four Unknowns): Solutions of Simultaneous Equations in as many as Four Unknowns in Yuan Dynasty China. In H. Hecht, R. Mikosch, I. Schwarz, & H. Siebert (Eds.), Kosmos und Zahl (pp. 319-330). Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag.
  • Suan shu shu (A Book on Numbers and Computations).English Translation with Commentary,” Archive for History of Exact Sciences, 62 (2) (Heidelberg: Springer Verlag, 2008), pp. 91-178.
  • “Chinese Mathematics,” in The Mathematics of Egypt, Mesopotamia, China, India, and Islam. A Sourcebook, Victor Katz, ed. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007), pp. 187-384.
  • “Mathematics and Ideology: The Politics of Infinitesimals. In Memory of Mariano Hormigón,” Llull. Revista de la Sociedad Española de Historia de las Ciencias y de las Técnicas, 27 (2004), pp. 291-355.
  • “Mathematics, Ideology, and the Politics of Infinitesimals: Mathematical Logic and Nonstandard Analysis in Modern China,” Festschrift in Honor of Ivor Grattan-Guinness, John Dawson, ed. History and Philosophy of Logic, 24 (2003), pp. 327-363.
  • “Charles S. Peirce, Evolutionary Pragmatism and the History of Science,” Centaurus. International Magazine of the History of Mathematics, Science and Technology (Denmark), 38 (1996), pp. 22-82.
  • “Mathematics: An Historian's Perspective,” Philosophy and the History of Science, 2 (1993), pp. 1-21.
  • "La Matematica," in W. Shea ed., Storia delle Scienze. LeScienze Fisiche e Astronomiche (Milano: Banca Populare di Milan, 1991, and Einaudi, 1992) pp. 258-280.
  • "Are There Revolutions in Mathematics?" in The Space of Mathematics (eds. J. Echieverria, A. Ibarra and T. Mormann)(Berlin: De Gruyter, 1992), pp. 203-226.

Series Editor/Editorial Boards

  • Osiris (History of Science Society, USA;  Revista di Storia della Scienza (Italy); Philosophy and the History of Science (Taiwan); Mathesis (Mexico); Ganita Bharati (Bulletin of the Indian Society for History of Mathematics); Lull. Revista de la Sociedad Española de Historia de las Ciencias y de las Técnicas (Spain); Theoría. Revista de Theoría, Historia y Fundamenos de la Ciencia (Spain); 自然科學史研究 Ziran kexueshi yanjiu (Studies in the History of Natural Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing); Chinese Annals of History of Science and Technology (Beijing).
  • Historia Mathematica (series editor, Academic Press, USA) for ten years.
  • A Cultural History of Mathematics (General Editor with David R. Rowe; Editor of Volume 2, A Cultural History of Medieval Mathemaics, with Clemency Montel; London; Bloomsbury, to appear in 2023).

Other Activities

Fellowship/ Awards Selection Committees: National Science Foundation, Guggenheim Foundation (History of Science)

Chairman emeritus of the International Commission on History of Mathematics

AAAS Section L, History of Science Society Representative, elected to a 3-year term, 1986-1989; elected Chairman for a one-year term 1987-1988

History of Science Society representative to the National Research Council of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, appointed to serve two terms to the U.S. National Committee, 1996-2002

American Mathematical Society, appointed to a three-year term on the Committee for History of Mathematics, 2001-2004

Mathemarical Association of America, appointed to a three-year term on the Committee for History of Mathematics, 2002-2005; reappointed for another three-year term 2005-2007

History of Science Society, elected to the HSS Council for a three-year term 2005-2007

History of Science Society, appointed to a five-year term as a member of the Committee on Publications (2009-2014); Chairman of the Committee 2013-2014

History of Science Society, appointed to the Strategic Planning Committee, Executive Committee(2013-2014)