Karen Parshall

Karen H Parshall

Unit: College of Arts and Sciences
Department: Department of Mathematics
Office location and address
226 Kerchof Hall
141 Cabell Dr
Charlottesville, Virginia 22904

I am somewhat of a rarity on the faculty at the University of Virginia–a native Virginian. I did my undergraduate studies in French and mathematics as well as my M. S. in mathematics here at the University before pursuing my graduate work at the University of Chicago. I earned my Ph.D. in history from Chicago, where I was privileged to work under the supervision of I. N. Herstein in mathematics and Allen G. Debus in the history of science. My doctoral work explored the history of the theory of algebras and especially the role played by Joseph H. M. Wedderburn in that development.

Since 1988, I have been on the faculty at UVa where I have a joint appointment in the Departments of History and Mathematics, teaching the history of science in the History Department and mathematics and the history of mathematics in the Mathematics Department. I have been involved with Historia Mathematica, the international journal for the history of mathematics, first as Book Review Editor (1990–1994), then as Managing Editor (1994–1996), then as Editor (1996–1999), and now as a member of the editorial board (2000–present). I served as a member of the Council of the American Mathematical Society (1998–2001) and as a member of the Council of the History of Science Society (2001–2004). In 2002, I was elected the Chair of the International Commission for History of Mathematics (ICHM) for a term for the four calendar years from 2002 through 2005 and reelected for another four-year term from 2006 through 2009. I am particularly honored that my research was supported in 1996–1997 by both the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the National Science Foundation's Program for Visiting Professorships for Women and that it has been recognized by my election (in 2002) as a Corresponding Member of the Académie internationale d'histoire des sciences, (in 2012) as an Inaugural Fellow of the American Mathematical Society, and (in 2016) as Commonwealth Professor of History and Mathematics here at the University of Virginia.

HIEU 3321: The Scientific Revolution, 1450-1700
Credits: 3
Studies the history of modern science in its formative period against the backdrop of classical Greek science and in the context of evolving scientific institutions and changing views of religion, politics, magic, alchemy, and ancient authorities.
MATH 5010: The History of the Calculus
Credits: 3
Studies the evolution of the various mathematical ideas leading up to the development of calculus in the 17th century, and how those ideas were perfected and extended by succeeding generations of mathematicians. Emphasizes primary source materials. Prerequisite: MATH 2310 and 3351, or instructor permission.
MATH 5030: The History of Mathematics
Credits: 3
Studies the development of mathematics from classical antiquity to the end of the 19th century, focusing on critical periods in the evolution of geometry, number theory, algebra, probability, and set theory. Emphasizes primary source materials. Prerequisite: MATH 2310 and 3351, or instructor permission.
HIST 9960: Readings in History
Credits: 3
This course is a graduate-level adaptation of an undergraduate course in history. The graduate-level adaption requires additional research, readings, or other academic work established by the instructor beyond the undergraduate syllabus.