Jackie Stedall

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Jackie Stedall
Jackie Stedall.png
Born Jacqueline Anne Stedall
(1950-08-04)4 August 1950
Romford, Essex
Died 27 September 2014(2014-09-27) (aged 64)
Nationality British
Occupation Mathematics historian
Notable work The History of Mathematics: A Very Short Introduction (2012)

Jacqueline Anne "Jackie" Stedall (4 August 1950 – 27 September 2014)[1] was a British mathematics historian. She wrote nine books,[1] and appeared on radio on BBC Radio 4's In Our Time programme.

Early life[edit]

Stedall was born in Romford, Essex, and attended Queen Mary's High School in Walsall.[1] Her academic achievements included a BA in mathematics from Girton College, Cambridge, an MSc in statistics from the University of Kent, a PGCE from Bristol Polytechnic (now the University of the West of England), and a PhD in the history of mathematics from the Open University.[1][2] Her PhD focused upon John Wallis' 1685 work Treatise of Algebra.[3]

Career[edit]

After her MSc degree, Stedall worked for three years as a statistician at the University of Bristol, and four years as an administrator for War on Want. Subsequently, she worked as a teacher for eight years.[2] Stedall's academic career began in 2000, when she became a Clifford Norton student at The Queen's College, Oxford, studying the history of science.[1][2] She later became a fellow of the college, and created a third-year module on the history of mathematics at the University of Oxford, and wrote a 2008 book Mathematics Emerging which was used as the primary textbook for the course.[1][2] In 2002, Stedall became the managing editor of the British Society for the History of Mathematics's newsletter, which later became the BSHM Bulletin journal. She worked alongside fellow mathematical historian Eleanor Robson.[3] Stedall also co-edited and published the Oxford Handbook of the History of Mathematics.[4]

In 2012, Stedall wrote the book The History of Mathematics: A Very Short Introduction, part of the Oxford University Press' Very Short Introduction series of books. The book focused on "what mathematical historians do and how they do it". It won the 2013 Neumann Prize for the best English-language book on the history of mathematics.[5][6] Stedall appeared multiple times on the BBC Radio 4 programme In Our Time. Topics that she discussed on the programme included Archimedes, whether Isaac Newton or Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz were the founder of calculus, the Fibonacci sequence, prime numbers in finance, and Renaissance era mathematics.[7][8]

Personal life[edit]

Stedall was married and had two children.[4]

Whilst suffering from cancer, Stedall joined the Painswick Friends' meeting house, which "helped her find peace with her illness".[1][4] In March 2014, she was robbed by a Romanian fraud gang, who stole her bank card.[4]

Stedall died of cancer on 27 September 2014.[1][2] In her will, she donated money to Queen's College Library for the preservation of mathematical history books.[9] In 2015, the Canadian Society for History and Philosophy of Mathematics held a special session to remember Stedall, and in 2016, the British Society for the History of Mathematics held a two-day meeting at Queen's College on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century algebra, which they dedicated to Stedall.[10][11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Neumann, Peter (24 October 2014). "Jacqueline Stedall obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 October 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Jacqueline Anne Stedall (4 August 1950 – 27 September 2014)". University of Oxford. 1 October 2014. Retrieved 23 October 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Robson, Eleanor (27 October 2015). "Subverting expectations: memories of editing with Jackie". British Society for the History of Mathematics (pdf). 30 (3): 178–182. doi:10.1080/17498430.2015.1055902. Retrieved 2 November 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Terminally ill Oxford research fellow targeted by Romanian fraudster". The Telegraph. 19 June 2015. Retrieved 23 October 2016. 
  5. ^ Gouvêa, Fernando Q. (21 December 2012). "The History of Mathematics: A Very Short Introduction". Mathematical Association of America. Retrieved 23 October 2016. 
  6. ^ "Neumann Prize". British Society for the History of Mathematics. Retrieved 2 November 2016. 
  7. ^ Collins, Julia; Docherty, Pamela. "Mathematical ideas that shaped the world". maths.ed.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 21 July 2015. Retrieved 23 October 2016. 
  8. ^ Bragg, Melvyn (December 2011). In Our Time: A companion to the Radio 4 series. Hachette UK. ISBN 978-1-4447-4285-5. Retrieved 23 October 2016. 
  9. ^ "Insight" (PDF). Queen's College Oxford Library (pdf) (5): 1,2,6. 2015. Retrieved 2 November 2016. 
  10. ^ "Call for Papers" (PDF). Canadian Society for History and Philosophy of Mathematics (pdf). 2015. Retrieved 2 November 2016. 
  11. ^ "Mathematics emerging: A tribute to Jackie Stedall and her influence on the history of mathematics". British Society for the History of Mathematics. Retrieved 23 October 2016.