Carl Benjamin Boyer

Carl Benjamin Boyer
Born (1906-11-03)November 3, 1906
Hellertown, Pennsylvania, U.S.[1]
Died April 26, 1976(1976-04-26) (aged 69)
New York, New York, U.S.
Nationality United States
Occupation Historian of mathematics

Carl Benjamin Boyer (November 3, 1906 – April 26, 1976) was an American historian of sciences, and especially mathematics. David Foster Wallace called him the "Gibbon of math history".[2] He wrote the books The History of the Calculus and Its Conceptual Development (1959),[3] originally published as The Concepts of the Calculus (1939),[4] History of Analytic Geometry (1956),[5] and The Rainbow: From Myth to Mathematics (1959),[6] A History of Mathematics (1968).[7] He served as book-review editor of Scripta Mathematica.[8]

Boyer was valedictorian of his high school class. He received an A.B. from Columbia College in 1928 and an M.A. in 1929. He received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from Columbia University in 1939.[1]

He was a full professor of Mathematics at Brooklyn College from 1952 until his death, although he had begun tutoring and teaching at Brooklyn College in 1928.[1]

Boyer was instrumental as an inspiration to the founding of The Metropolitan New York Section of the History of Science Society.[9]

He was a 1954 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow in History of Science & Technology.[10]

He died of a heart attack in New York City in 1976.

In 1978, Boyer's widow, the former Marjorie Duncan Nice, a professor of history,[11] established the Carl B. Boyer Memorial Prize, to be awarded annually to a Columbia University undergraduate for the best essay on a scientific or mathematical topic.[12]


  1. 1 2 3 Dauben, Joseph Warren; Scriba, Christoph J. Writing the history of mathematics: its historical development, Birkhäuser, 2002. Cf. pp.380-381 for the biography of Boyer.
  2. David Foster Wallace. "An excerpt from Everything and More". Retrieved 2007-08-28.
  3. OCLC=916224186
  4. Library of Congress Online Catalog, BIBLD=8312338
  5. Library of Congress Online Catalog, BIBLD=7462342
  6. Library of Congress Online Catalog, BIBLD=3111320
  7. Library of Congress Online Catalog, BIBLD=3121041
  8. Scripta Mathematica. Retrieved 2007-10-21.
  9. Gleason, Mary Louise, "The Metropolitan New York Section of the History of Science Society", Isis, Vol. 90, Supplement, Catching up with the Vision: Essays on the Occasion of the 75th Anniversary of the Founding of the History of Science Society (1999), pp. S200-S218. Published by The University of Chicago Press on behalf of The History of Science Society
  10. "John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation 1954 Fellows". Archived from the original on 2011-06-03. Retrieved 2009-02-20.
  11. Obituary: Marjorie Boyer", The New York Times, March 21, 2010
  12. "Columbia College Bulletin:Prizes and Fellowships". Retrieved 2009-02-20.

External links

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