Public Lectures

An overview and revisiting on mathematics and civilization from Pythagoras to Newton


This lecture series will feature eminent local mathematicians or mathematics educators to share with the public some of their interests and ideas.


Wu-Yi Hsiang, UC Berkeley and HKUST

Prof Wu-Yi Hsiang was born in China, studied in Taiwan and received his Ph.D from Princeton University. He first moved to the University of Chicago, before becoming a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He is now Professor Emeritus at both UC Berkeley and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Professor Hsiang’s research interests include differential geometry, transformation groups, classical geometry and celestial mechanics.


A brief survey of the history of sciences, from Pythagoras to Newton, will show that the major developments are mainly in Geometry, Astronomy and Physics, and the following triple are their respective great achievements and outstanding monuments, namely

  1. The foundation of quantitative geometry (Hippasus, Eudoxus)
  2. The new astronomy (Copernicus, Tycho, Kepler)
  3. Mathematical principle of natural philosophy (Newton)

In this talk, we shall provide an overview on the historical background that led to the above monumental successes and we shall also revisit some of the above great break troughs with new insights and simpler ways of achieving those discoveries.

View poster here.



October 7 (Thursday) 2010 / 4-5pm



Registration Fee