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PhD Thesis in History of Science - Joaquim Berenguer Clarià

La recepció del càlcul diferencial a l'Espanya del segle XVIII. Tomàs Cerdà: introductor de la teoria de fluxions
cehic 14/01/2016

Tratado de fluxiones (1757-1759)
Tratado de fluxiones (1757-1759)

20 de gener de 2016, 10h30

Seminari del CEHIC, Mòdul de Recerca C, 3a planta

Autor: Joaquim Berenguer Clarià

Directora: Maria Rosa Massa

Tribunal: Eberhard Knobloch (TU Berlin), Xavier Roqué (UAB), Antoni Roca-Rosell (UPC)

Our research concerns eighteenth century Spain and is focused on the development and diffusion of Differential and Integral Calculus or Calculus of Fluxions, as it was known in Great Britain. The analysis of Differential Calculus, as a new field of mathematics in eighteenth century Europe is not a new topic, but it has often been used to approach this topic from the “centre” and via the well-known scientists Isaac Newton or Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. Our thesis focus on the reception of this new calculus into Spain, through Tomàs Cerdà (1715-1791).

Cerdà was a Catalan Jesuit devoted to the teaching of mathematics in Barcelona and Madrid, in the mid-eighteenth century, and who published several mathematicals texts and prepared many others for future publication. One of these manuscripts is a treatise on Differential Calculus, the Tratado de Fluxiones, which is a translation and an adaptation of another book, The Doctrine and Application of Fluxions (1750) by an English mathematician, Thomas Simpson (1710-1761). Thus, the main aim of our thesis centers on the analysis of the role of Cerdà in the introduction of Differential and Integral Calculus in eighteenth Century Spain, by means his Tratado de Fluxiones.

Cerdà appropriated Simpson’s fluxional calculus and managed it into a new shape, basically by thinking of his pupils. The main topics of our thesis are how and why Cerdà decided who would be his guide for the introduction of Differential and Integral Calculus and what his own contributions were to this work. To that end, our research is aimed at a better understanding of the process of popularisation of scientific knowledge, in such a way that it becomes an active part of the building process of this knowledge.