Kirsti Andersen

Last updated
Kirsti Andersen and Henk Bos in 2005. Kirsti Andersen Henk Bos.jpg
Kirsti Andersen and Henk Bos in 2005.

Kirsti Andersen (born December 9, 1941, Copenhagen), published under the name Kirsti Pedersen, is a Danish historian of mathematics. She is an Associate Professor of the History of Science at Aarhus University, where she had her Candidate examination in 1967.



Andersen has written on the early history of mathematical analysis (for example, Cavalieri and Roberval).

She has also written extensively on the history of graphical perspective. In a 1985 article [1] she related the science of perspective as described by Simon Stevin, Frans van Schooten, Willem 's Gravesande, Brook Taylor, and Johann Heinrich Lambert. In a 1987 article [2] she examined the ancient roots of linear perspective as found in Euclid's Optics and Ptolemy (Geography and Planisphaerium). In 1991 she recalled Desargues’ method of perspective. [3] In 1992 her book [4] on Brook Taylor appeared, and she wrote on the alternative "plan and elevation technique". [5] In 2007 her The Geometry of an Art provided a comprehensive study. According to the publisher’s summary, the book is a "case study of the difficulties in bridging the gap between those with mathematical knowledge and the mathematically untrained practitioners who wish to use this knowledge." [6] The book covers Leon Battista Alberti, Piero della Francesca, Albrecht Dürer, Leonardo da Vinci, Guidobaldo del Monte, and Gaspard Monge as well as the previously mentioned authors.

Andersen has also written about Danish history of mathematics, and has championed the use of mathematics in high school history classes.

In 2005 she was awarded a doctorate in Aarhus. She is married to Henk Bos.

Selected publications


  1. 1985: "Some observations concerning mathematicians' treatment of perspective constructions in the 17th and 18th centuries", Mathematica 409425, Boethius Texte Abh. Gesch. Exakt Wissensch. XII, Steiner, Weisbaden, MR 0799760
  2. 1987: "Ancient roots of linear perspective, from ancient omens to statistical mechanics", Acta. Hist. Sci. ANat. Med. Edidit. Bibl. Univ. Haun. 39:7589 MR 961873
  3. 1991: "Desargues method of perspective: its mathematical content, its connection to other perspective methods and its relation to Desargues ideas on projective geometry", Centaurus 34(1):4491 MR 1144397
  4. 1992: Brook Taylor's Work on Linear Perspective: A study of Taylor's role in the history of perspective geometry. Including facsimiles of Taylor's two books on perspective, Springer-Verlag ISBN   0-387-97486-5 MR 1152797
  5. 1992: "Perspective and the plan and elevation technique, in particular in the work by Piero della Francesca", Amphora 123, Birkhäuser MR 1192315
  6. 2007: The Geometry of an Art. The history of the mathematical theory of perspective from Alberti to Monge, Springer ISBN   978-0-387-25961-1 MR 2269816

Related Research Articles

Calculus, originally called infinitesimal calculus or "the calculus of infinitesimals", is the mathematical study of continuous change, in the same way that geometry is the study of shape and algebra is the study of generalizations of arithmetic operations.

History of geometry Historical development of geometry

Geometry arose as the field of knowledge dealing with spatial relationships. Geometry was one of the two fields of pre-modern mathematics, the other being the study of numbers (arithmetic).

Jørgen Mohr was a Danish mathematician, known for being the first to prove the Mohr–Mascheroni theorem, which states that any geometric construction which can be done with compass and straightedge can also be done with compasses alone.

Brook Taylor English mathematician

Brook Taylor was an English mathematician best known for creating Taylor's theorem and the Taylor series, which are important for their use in mathematical analysis.

Synthetic geometry

Synthetic geometry is the study of geometry without the use of coordinates or formulae. It relies on the axiomatic method and the tools directly related to them, that is, compass and straightedge, to draw conclusions and solve problems.

Desarguess theorem Two triangles are in perspective axially if and only if they are in perspective centrally

In projective geometry, Desargues's theorem, named after Girard Desargues, states:

Perspective (graphical) Form of graphical projection where the projection lines converge to one or more points

Linear or point-projection perspective is one of two types of graphical projection perspective in the graphic arts; the other is parallel projection. Linear perspective is an approximate representation, generally on a flat surface, of an image as it is seen by the eye. The most characteristic features of linear perspective are that objects appear smaller as their distance from the observer increases, and that they are subject to foreshortening, meaning that an object's dimensions along the line of sight appear shorter than its dimensions across the line of sight. All objects will recede to points in the distance, usually along the horizon line, but also above and below the horizon line depending on the view used.

Bonaventura Cavalieri

Bonaventura Francesco Cavalieri was an Italian mathematician and a Jesuate. He is known for his work on the problems of optics and motion, work on indivisibles, the precursors of infinitesimal calculus, and the introduction of logarithms to Italy. Cavalieri's principle in geometry partially anticipated integral calculus.

In mathematics education, precalculus or college algebra is a course, or a set of courses, that includes algebra and trigonometry at a level which is designed to prepare students for the study of calculus. Schools often distinguish between algebra and trigonometry as two separate parts of the coursework.

Ivor Grattan-Guinness

Ivor Owen Grattan-Guinness was a historian of mathematics and logic.

Mario Bettinus Italian mathematician, astronomer and philosopher.

Mario Bettinus was an Italian Jesuit philosopher, mathematician and astronomer. The lunar crater Bettinus was named after him by Giovanni Riccioli in 1651. His Apiaria Universae Philosophiae Mathematicae is an encyclopedic collection of mathematical curiosities. This work had been reviewed by Christoph Grienberger. Bettini was one of the fiercest Jesuit critics of Cavalieri's method of Indivisibles.

<i>Introductio in analysin infinitorum</i>

Introductio in analysin infinitorum is a two-volume work by Leonhard Euler which lays the foundations of mathematical analysis. Written in Latin and published in 1748, the Introductio contains 18 chapters in the first part and 22 chapters in the second. It has Eneström numbers E101 and E102.

Mathematics and art Relationship between mathematics and art

Mathematics and art are related in a variety of ways. Mathematics has itself been described as an art motivated by beauty. Mathematics can be discerned in arts such as music, dance, painting, architecture, sculpture, and textiles. This article focuses, however, on mathematics in the visual arts.

In geometry and in its applications to drawing, a perspectivity is the formation of an image in a picture plane of a scene viewed from a fixed point.

Henk J. M. Bos Dutch historian of mathematics

Hendrik Jan Maarten "Henk" Bos is a Dutch historian of mathematics.

Karin Anna Reich is a German historian of mathematics.

A mathematical exercise is a routine application of algebra or other mathematics to a stated challenge. Mathematics teachers assign mathematical exercises to develop the skills of their students. Early exercises deal with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of integers. Extensive courses of exercises in school extend such arithmetic to rational numbers. Various approaches to geometry have based exercises on relations of angles, segments, and triangles. The topic of trigonometry gains many of its exercises from the trigonometric identities. In college mathematics exercises often depend on functions of a real variable or application of theorems. The standard exercises of calculus involve finding derivatives and integrals of specified functions.

Jesper Lützen is a Danish historian of mathematics and the physical sciences.

The Geometry of an Art: The History of the Mathematical Theory of Perspective from Alberti to Monge is a book in the history of mathematics, on the mathematics of graphical perspective. It was written by Kirsti Andersen, and published in 2007 by Springer-Verlag in their book series Sources and Studies in the History of Mathematics and Physical Sciences.