Kieval Lecture

Join us for the 79th Kieval Lecture

The 79th Kieval Lecture will take place on the evening of Thursday, April 20, 2023 at 7:00 PM in SCI B 135. The speaker is Dr. Glen Van Brummelen, Dean of the Faculty of Natural and Applied Sciences and Professor of Mathematical Sciences at Trinity Western University in Langley, BC, Canada. The title of the lecture is "Revolutions in the Heavens and the Earth: The Story of Trigonometry".

Dr. Van Brummelen received his Ph.D. from Simon Fraser University in 1993. His expertise is in ancient and medieval mathematics and astronomy. He is especially interested in trigonometric methods in ancient Greek, medieval Islamic, and medieval European astronomy. Recently he has been working as a member of the European Research Council-funded team ALFA (Alfonsine Astronomy), exploring the development of spherical astronomy in medieval and early Renaissance Europe and its links to Greek and Islamic predecessors. His research has recently uncovered the beginning of the modern tangent and arc sine functions, and he is currently exploring the origin of our modern decimal positional numeration in the astronomical tables of the 15th century.

Among his publications, he is the author of several books, “The Mathematics of the Heavens and the Earth: The Early History of Trigonometry” (Princeton, 2009), “Heavenly Mathematics: The Forgotten Art of Spherical Trigonometry” (Princeton, 2013) which was shortlisted for the Neumann Prize and chosen as Outstanding Title of 2013 by Choice Magazine, and “Trigonometry: A Very Short Introduction” (Oxford, 2020).

He has twice served as president of the Canadian Society for History and Philosophy of Mathematics. Prior to joining the faculty at Trinity Western University, he was a founding faculty member and mathematics division coordinator of Quest University Canada. He won the Mathematical Association of America’s Haimo Award for Distinguished Teaching in 2016, and the 3M National Teaching Fellowship in 2017. He was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ from 2019 to 2020 and has received several fellowships including Senior Fellowship at the Dibner Institute for History of Science and Technology at MIT, 2005-2006.

See for further details about Dr. Van Brummelen's work.


The Harry S. Kieval Lecture Series is presented by the Cal Poly Humboldt Department of Mathematics and named for Humboldt Mathematics Professor Emeritus Dr. Harry S. Kieval. Dr. Kieval taught at Humboldt from 1966 to 1979; the series includes topics on popular and/or broad aspects of mathematics attractive to undergraduates and the public.


Previous lecturers in this series

  • Pamela E. Harris (details) Fall 2022 (University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee)
  • Jesus De Loera (video) Spring 2022 (UC Davis)
  • Stephen Trettel (video) Fall 2021 (Stanford University)
  • Richard Schwartz (details) Spring 2020 (Brown University)
  • Zvezdelina Stankova (details) Fall 2019 (UC Berkeley)
  • Frank Farris (details) Spring 2019 (Santa Clara University)
  • Alon Amit (details) Fall 2018 (Origami Logic)
  • Gigliola Staffilani (details) Spring 2018 (MIT)
  • Ken Ono (details) Fall 2017 (Emory University)
  • Francis Su (details) Spring 2017 (Harvey Mudd College)
  • Erica Flapan (details) Fall 2016 (Pomona College)
  • Bernd  Sturmfels (details) Spring 2016 (University of California at Berkeley)
  • Federico Ardila (details) Fall 2015 (San Francisco State University)
  • Margot Gerritsen (details) Spring 2015 (Stanford University)
  • Benson Farb (details) Fall 2014 (University of Chicago)
  • Tim Chartier (details) Spring 2014 (Davidson College North Carolina)
  • Alan Schoenfeld (details) Fall 2013 (University of California at Berkeley)
  • Abigail Thompson (details) Spring 2013 (University of California at Davis)
  • Robert Bryant (details) Fall 2012 (Mathematical Sciences Research Institute)
  • William G. McCallum (details) Spring 2012 (University of Arizona)
  • Kenneth Ribet (details) Fall 2011 (University of California at Berkeley)
  • David Pengelley (details) Spring 2011 (New Mexico State University)
  • Alice Silverberg (details) Fall 2010 (University of California at Irvine)
  • Robert J. Lang (details) Spring 2010 
  • Kenneth Golden (details) Fall 2009 (University of Utah)
  • Tony DeRose (details) Spring 2009 (Pixar Studios)
  • Underwood Dudley (details) Fall 2008 (DePauw University)
  • Donald Albers (details) Spring 2008 (Mathematical Assoc of America Books)
  • C. Edward Sandifer (details) Fall 2007 (Western Connecticut State University)
  • Melanie Wood (details) Spring 2007 (Princeton University)
  • Jerald Marsden (details) Fall 2006 (California Institute of Technology)
  • Deborah Ball (details) Spring 2006 (University of Michigan)
  • Majorie Senechal (details) Fall 2005 (Smith College)
  • Joe Gallian (details) Spring 2005 (University of Minnesota Duluth)
  • Jennifer Quinn (details) Fall 2004 (Occidental College)
  • John Conway (details) Spring 2004 (Princeton University)
  • Persi Diaconis (details) Fall 2003, (Stanford University)
  • Hyman Bass (details) Spring 2003 (U. of Michigan)
  • Ann E.Watkins (details) Fall, 2002 (CSU Northridge)
  • Ed Burger (details) Spring, 2002 (Williams  College)
  • Michael E. Moody (details) Fall, 2001 (Harvey Mudd College)
  • Richard Tapia (details) Spring, 2001 (Rice University)
  • Noam D. Elkies (details) Fall, 2000 (Harvard University)
  • Victor Katz (details) Spring, 2000 (University of the District of Columbia)
  • Arthur Benjamin (details) Fall, 1999 (Harvey Mudd College)
  • Thomas Banchoff (details) Spring, 1999 (Brown University)
  • Frank Giordano (details) Fall, 1998 (COMAP)
  • Robert L. Devaney (details) Spring, 1998 (Boston University)
  • Sherman Stein (details) Fall, 1997 (UC Davis)
  • Ron Graham (details) Spring, 1997
  • David Hoffman (details) Fall, 1996 (MSRI, Berkeley)
  • Doris Schattschneider (details) Spring, 1996 (Moravian College)
  • Herbert Keller (details) Fall, 1995 (Cal. Inst. of Technology)
  • Keith J. Devlin Spring, 1995 (Saint Mary's College)
  • Deb Hughes Hallett (Harvard) and Jerry Uhl  (U of Ill.) Fall, 1994
  • Gil Strang Spring, 1994(MIT)
  • Carlos Castillo-Chavez Fall, 1993 (Cornell)
  • Judith Grabiner (details) Spring, 1993 (Pitzer College).
  • Judith Tanur (details) Fall, 1992 (SUNY, Stony Brook)
  • Margaret Cozzins Spring, 1992 (Northeastern U.)
  • Saunders MacLane Fall, 1991 (Univ. of Chicago)
  • Branko Grunbaum Spring, 1991 (Univ. of Washington)
  • Robert Moses Fall, 1990
  • George Dantzig Spring, 1990 (Stanford Univ.) 
  • Reuben Hersh Fall, 1989 (Univ. of NM)
  • Ralph Boas Spring, 1989 (Northwestern Univ.)
  • Leon Henkin Fall, 1988 (U.C., Berk.)
  • Mary Ellen Rudin Spring, 1988(Univ. of Wisconsin)
  • Constance Reid Fall, 1987
  • Kenneth Arrow Spring, 1987 (Stanford Univ.)
  • Peter Hilton Fall, 1986 (SUNY, Binghamton)
  • Gerard Debreu Spring, 1986 (U.C.,Berk.)
  • Raymond Smullyan Fall, 1985 (Ind. U.)
  • Paul Halmos Spring, 1985 (Univ.of Santa Clara)
  • Richard Hamming Winter, 1985 (Naval Postgrad.)
  • Victor Klee Spring, 1984 (Univ. of Washington)
  • Ivan Niven Fall, 1983 (Univ. of Oregon)
  • Ronald Graham Spring, 1983 (Bell Labs)