Person: Aaboe, Asger Hartvig
Asger Aaboe was a Danish mathematician who is known for his contributions to the history of ancient Babylonian astronomy.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Aaboe graduated in 1940 and entered the University of Copenhagen.
- However Aaboe was able to study mathematics, astronomy, physics, and chemistry at the University, being particularly influenced by his mathematics lecturer Harald Bohr.
- Later in 1948 Aaboe returned to Denmark to take up a position at Birkerod Statsskole where he was appointed Adjunkt in Mathematics.
- When Aaboe was appointed the institution was known as Tufts College, changing its name to Tufts University in 1954.
- Aaboe continued with his interest in the history of mathematics and published the paper Al-Kashi's iteration method for the determination of sin 1° in 1954.
- There was good reason for Aaboe to register for a Ph.D. at Brown University for although he became the only graduate student in the History of Mathematics Department, he became a student of the eminent historian of mathematics Otto Neugebauer who had been Professor of the History of Mathematics at Brown University since 1947.
- When Aaboe first came to Brown, Neugebauer was in the final stages of preparing his groundbreaking study of Babylonian mathematical astronomy, Astronomical Cuneiform Texts (1955).
- It was natural, therefore, that Aaboe would work on Babylonian astronomy for his PhD.
- Given Neugebauer's interests it will not be a surprise to learn that the title of Aaboe's doctoral thesis, submitted in 1957, was On BabyIonian Planetary Theories.
- Now Neugebauer was not the only influence of Aaboe from his time at Brown University.
- This list of tablets would provide the stimulus for much of Aaboe's research for the rest of his career.
- Aaboe was promoted to Associate Professor at Tufts in 1959, then two years later accepted an invitation to join the newly created Department of the History of Science and Medicine at Yale.
- Let us now look at some of Aaboe's publications.
- In carrying off this challenge Aaboe displayed his gift for explaining complicated matters in clear, charming, and witty prose.
- In Some Seleucid mathematical tables (Extended reciprocals and squares of regular numbers) (1965) Aaboe looks at eight mathematical cuneiform tablets, three of which had not previously been published.
- In 2001 Aaboe published Episodes from the early history of astronomy, a companion volume to his 1964 Episodes from the early history of mathematics.
Born 26 April 1922, Copenhagen, Denmark. Died 19 January 2007, North Haven, Connecticut, USA.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Astronomy, Origin Denmark
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive