John Wallis (1616-1703). Mathematics, Music Theory, and Cryptography in 17th Century Oxford.

John Wallis (1616-1703). Mathematics, Music Theory, and Cryptography in 17th Century Oxford.

Thursday 9 June 2016 - 11.00
Room L2 of the Andrew Wiles Building, Woodstock Road, Oxford.

In celebration of the quatercentenary of the birth of the Savilian professor of geometry and founder member of the Royal Society John Wallis, the British Society for the History of Mathematics and the Mathematical Institute of the University of Oxford are holding a one-day conference on Thursday, 9 June 2016 

Conference booking is available now via Eventbrite.

10.30-11.00 Registration, Coffee  

11.00 Welcome    

11.05 Raymond Flood (Kellogg): John Wallis: An Introduction  

11.50 Benjamin Wardhaugh (All Souls): ‘My present unpolisht thoughts’: John Wallis and the Theory of Music

12.35 Philip Beeley (Linacre): 'That Incomparable Master of Desciphering'. John Wallis as cryptographer.   The Savilian professor of geometry John Wallis was the foremost cryptographer of his day. Moreover there is little doubt that it was his skill in the secret art which paved the way for his academic career. While he consistently and understandably refused to reveal any details of his methods, Wallis was nonetheless keen that his achievements as a cryptographer be recognized and to this end deposited three collections of deciphered letters in the Bodleian Library. But did his methods therefore die with him – as already some of his contemporaries feared they would? By taking some clues from remarks made by him in his correspondence, the talk will attempt to elucidate some of the procedures he might have employed.  

13.15 Lunch  

14.00 Siegmund Probst (Leibniz-Archiv, Hanover): The relation between Leibniz and Wallis – an overview from new sources and studies

14.45 Vincenzo de Risi (Max Planck Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin): Wallis on the Foundations of Geometry and the Parallel Postulate

15.45 Tea and biscuits  

16.00 Jesper Lutzen (University of Copenhagen): Wallis and Gregory on the Impossibility of the Analytic Quadrature of the Circle

17.00 Close  

Conference fee (including tea, coffee, and refreshments) is £12 for BSHM members and members of staff, and £20 for non-members. Undergraduate and graduate students will be admitted free of charge. 

*Please note: Due to difficulties in finding a suitable date in our timetable, we have decided to combine the originally planned international Wallis meeting in 2017 with this on 9 June 2016.