Dec 7 – 9, 2022
Institut Henri Poincaré
Europe/Paris timezone

Hermite and the Emergence of Analysis as a Discipline

Dec 9, 2022, 10:00 AM
Amphithéâtre Hermite (Institut Henri Poincaré)

Amphithéâtre Hermite

Institut Henri Poincaré

11 rue Pierre et Marie Curie 75005 Paris 5ème arrondissement


Thomas Archibald (Simon Fraser University)


After more than two decades of practising various forms of what was termed mathematical analysis, Hermite became Professeur d'analyse at the Faculté des sciences in 1869, a position which he held until 1897. Over the course of his lifetime, both analysis and algebra developed from loose descriptors to a set of canonical approaches that verged on disciplinarity. Hermite's position with respect to these alterations reflected his values, and he was influential in propagating aspects of his tastes and preferences via his lectures and his supervisions, as well as through his research.

In this paper, we discuss Hermite's participation and influence in this set of changes in the practice of analysis. This takes us from his work of the 1840s and 1850s, influenced by Jacobi and Cauchy, to the post-1870 work in which he accommodated the viewpoints of Weierstrass and others. His work shows a strong continuity with older studies, often termed "algebraic analysis", with an emphasis on concrete manipulations and particular representations of functions. Gradually, in both research and teaching, this was augmented by a recognition of the value of results possessing broad generality, though the importance of what he termed "observation" of particular cases retained its importance both in his teaching and in his mathematical practice.

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