UR Launches First Website Dedicated to American Mathematics

AmericanMathematics.org Is a Multimedia Project Combining History, Math, and Maps
February 12, 2019

The University of Richmond has launched AmericanMathematics.org, the first website dedicated to American mathematics.

The creation of the first of its kind website was led by Della Dumbaugh, a professor and mathematician who specializes in the history of mathematics. Dumbaugh, along with students enrolled in her “Exploring American Mathematics” class, completed the research to populate the site.

“There is no other website dedicated to American mathematics,” said Dumbaugh. “This novel initiative shows that mathematics is not just about solving equations. The history of mathematics explores the people who create, institutions that support, and cultures that influence mathematics. This important area of research offers a much broader view of the discipline.”

The new website explores a variety of topics, including women in mathematics, funding for mathematics, and international alliances in the discipline. Specific projects focus on everything from biographies of prominent figures to the migration of German mathematics to the role of communities in advancing mathematics.

“Showcasing this wide range of topics together allows us to highlight a number of important trends,” noted Basel Arafat, a junior University of Richmond student who worked with Dumbaugh to see the project to completion. “Collectively, this work shows that even the title of our project — American mathematics — represents a bit of a misnomer since research shows that foreign scholars from around the world contributed to American mathematics in various ways.”

Dumbaugh, who is in her 25th year at the University of Richmond, says this project is eye-opening because of the way it pairs mathematics, history, and media. She says that being able to have the text, images, and maps all together in one place makes the information accessible to a wide audience.

“This website will be useful for anyone interested in studying mathematics or the history of mathematics. We view it as an especially valuable tool for teachers at many different levels,” said Dumbaugh. “Although created at Richmond, the website platform creates a helpful resource for students and scholars at institutions across the globe.”

Dumbaugh plans to work with current and future students to continue updating the website with important moments and people related to the history of mathematics.