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Electronic ISBN:  9781614445265 
Product Code:  SPEC/85.E 
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Book DetailsSpectrumVolume: 85; 2017; 230 pp
At the turn of the twentieth century, mathematical scholarship in the United States underwent a stunning transformation. In 1890, no American professor was producing mathematical research worthy of international attention. Graduate students were then advised to pursue their studies abroad. By the start of World War I, the standing of American mathematics had radically changed. George David Birkhoff, Leonard Dickson, and others were turning out cutting edge investigations that attracted notice in the intellectual centers of Europe. Harvard, Chicago, and Princeton maintained graduate programs comparable to those overseas. This book explores the people, timing, and factors behind this rapid advance.
Through the midnineteenth century, most American colleges followed a classical curriculum that, in mathematics, rarely reached beyond calculus. With no doctoral programs of any sort in the United States until 1860, mathematical scholarship lagged far behind that in Europe. After the Civil War, visionary presidents at Harvard and Johns Hopkins broadened and deepened the opportunities for study. The breakthrough for mathematics began in 1890 with the hiring, in consecutive years, of William F. Osgood and Maxime Bôcher at Harvard and E. H. Moore at Chicago. Each of these young men had studied in Germany where they acquired vital mathematical knowledge and taste. Over the next few years, Osgood, Bôcher, and Moore established their own research programs and introduced new graduate courses. Working with other likeminded individuals through the nascent American Mathematical Society, the infrastructure of meetings and journals were created. In the early twentieth century, Princeton dramatically upgraded its faculty to give the United States the stability of a third mathematics center. The publication by Birkhoff, in 1913, of the solution to a famous conjecture served notice that American mathematics had earned consideration with the European powers of Germany, France, Italy, England, and Russia. 
Table of Contents

Chapters

1. An American colony in Göttingen

2. 19th century American notions of scholarship

3. Presidents Eliot and Gilman

4. Harvard and Chicago Hire Osgood, Bôcher, and Moore

5. The American Mathematical Society and the Transactions

6. The Princeton preceptors

7. The verge of parity with European nations

Sources and Acknowledgements

A. Curriculum for 1849–1850 from the Yale College catalog 1849–1850

B. Graduate mathematics courses for 1905–1906 from the Harvard President’s Report for 1905–06

C. Graduate mathematics courses for 1905–906 from the University of Chicago Annual Register of 1904–1905


Additional Material

Reviews

Batterson's book is smoothly written and well researched, drawing from over a dozen archival collections at almost a dozen different institutions. Included are appendices that show the 1849–50 Yale course catalogue as well as the 1905–06 list of graduate mathematics courses at Harvard and Chicago. Along with a handful of expository descriptions of important mathematical results, readers will find a wellcrafted account of departments, careers, training and administration during a crucial period in American mathematics.
Ellen Abrams, BSHM Bulletin


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At the turn of the twentieth century, mathematical scholarship in the United States underwent a stunning transformation. In 1890, no American professor was producing mathematical research worthy of international attention. Graduate students were then advised to pursue their studies abroad. By the start of World War I, the standing of American mathematics had radically changed. George David Birkhoff, Leonard Dickson, and others were turning out cutting edge investigations that attracted notice in the intellectual centers of Europe. Harvard, Chicago, and Princeton maintained graduate programs comparable to those overseas. This book explores the people, timing, and factors behind this rapid advance.
Through the midnineteenth century, most American colleges followed a classical curriculum that, in mathematics, rarely reached beyond calculus. With no doctoral programs of any sort in the United States until 1860, mathematical scholarship lagged far behind that in Europe. After the Civil War, visionary presidents at Harvard and Johns Hopkins broadened and deepened the opportunities for study. The breakthrough for mathematics began in 1890 with the hiring, in consecutive years, of William F. Osgood and Maxime Bôcher at Harvard and E. H. Moore at Chicago. Each of these young men had studied in Germany where they acquired vital mathematical knowledge and taste. Over the next few years, Osgood, Bôcher, and Moore established their own research programs and introduced new graduate courses. Working with other likeminded individuals through the nascent American Mathematical Society, the infrastructure of meetings and journals were created. In the early twentieth century, Princeton dramatically upgraded its faculty to give the United States the stability of a third mathematics center. The publication by Birkhoff, in 1913, of the solution to a famous conjecture served notice that American mathematics had earned consideration with the European powers of Germany, France, Italy, England, and Russia.

Chapters

1. An American colony in Göttingen

2. 19th century American notions of scholarship

3. Presidents Eliot and Gilman

4. Harvard and Chicago Hire Osgood, Bôcher, and Moore

5. The American Mathematical Society and the Transactions

6. The Princeton preceptors

7. The verge of parity with European nations

Sources and Acknowledgements

A. Curriculum for 1849–1850 from the Yale College catalog 1849–1850

B. Graduate mathematics courses for 1905–1906 from the Harvard President’s Report for 1905–06

C. Graduate mathematics courses for 1905–906 from the University of Chicago Annual Register of 1904–1905

Batterson's book is smoothly written and well researched, drawing from over a dozen archival collections at almost a dozen different institutions. Included are appendices that show the 1849–50 Yale course catalogue as well as the 1905–06 list of graduate mathematics courses at Harvard and Chicago. Along with a handful of expository descriptions of important mathematical results, readers will find a wellcrafted account of departments, careers, training and administration during a crucial period in American mathematics.
Ellen Abrams, BSHM Bulletin