Public Lecture on Tunstall

Public Lecture on Tunstall

Friday 9 September 2022 - 19.45
Durham University and Online

Public Lecture: Travis Williams (Rhode Island), Tunstall’s Eloquent Arithmetic: Renaissance Mathematics as Pleasure Reading

All are welcome to this lecture, which forms part of the two-day meeting, Reappraising the Art of Counting.

The lecture will run in hybrid mode, and you may attend online or in person even if you are not coming to the rest of the meeting.

However, registration is essential.


This lecture will place Tunstall’s book in a contemporary cultural frame, with special attention to the era’s delight in variety and multiplicity. Tunstall famously prized eloquence as a goal for his treatise, but this put his work in tension with emergent drives to institute generality as an essential quality of mathematics. As we try to understand this tension and its evolution through the next century of European mathematics, we will find that mathematics was something slightly different for the sixteenth century than it is for us, and relearn important lessons about reading old books with modern eyes.