Tom  Archibald

I am a Professor in the Dept. of Mathematics at Simon Fraser University, where I was Chair from 2005-2010. I enjoy working here a lot; it is a great department. The picture above is getting old, but I don't really have a better one.

Current Teaching

In the past few years I have been doing undergraduate teaching in introductory real analysis, vector calculus, and history of mathematics. I just taught senior undergrad/grad courses in Complex Analysis and Topology. In the Fall of 2017 I will teach Math 152, the second half of intro calculus, and in the spring I'll do Math 380, a history of mathematics course.

Current Research Interests

In recent years, my research has concentrated on the French mathematical community of the period from 1870 to the First World War. Besides this, I have gotten sidetracked in various ways: I'm in the CIRMATH group on the history of mathematics journals and circulation of knowledge.  I have developed an interest in 20th-century measure theory and its immediate mathematical neighbours. I am also interested in the history of differential and integral equations, especially PDEs, and especially their applications. I also work sporadically on the history of mathematics in Canada. I am very grateful to SSHRC for support for many projects over the years.

A CV is here.



I have been very lucky in graduate students. 

Mu Ruiping of Northwest University, Xi'an, China worked under my cosupervision, completing her PhD at that institution in 2019. She is now a postdoc at the same place, working with Qu Anjing.

I was on the committee of Gabriel Larivière's M. A. thesis in Philosophy, which was supervised by Nic Filion of that department. Gabriel did a very interesting study of aspects of Cauchy's work in complex analysis.

My recent PhD student Jemma Lorenat finished in April 2015 and now is a tenure-track Assistant Professor at Pitzer College, Claremont, California. Lorenat's work concerns the debates concerning analysis and synthesis in early nineteenth-century geometry in France and Germany. She was in a cotutelle arrangement between SFU and the Universités Sorbonne - Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris 6, where she was supervised by Catherine Goldstein. The thesis is here.  Jemma won the Montucla Prize of the International Commission for the History of Mathematics for the best article over a four-year period by a junior scholar to appear in Historia Mathematica. At present she is also an editor of the history pages in the Mathematical Intelligencer.

I have one Ph. D. student, Brenda Davison. Davison is just getting started;  her MSc work concerned the early career of G. H. Hardy.

I am proud to have been involved (Nils Bruin and Michael Monagan were the senior supervisors) in a master's thesis by Steven Kieffer on the history of computational algebraic number theory from Hensel to Zassenhaus. You can see this here.

Four students have completed MSc theses:

Laura E. Turner, M. Sc. August 2007 on G. Mittag-Leffler. (Available here.)  Turner obtained a PhD. at Aarhus University in Denmark and has just received a position as an Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Mathematics at Monmouth University in New Jersey.

Marcus E. Barnes, M. Sc. Nov. 2007 on John Charles Fields. Available here. Marcus works in information technology at U. of T.

Menolly Lysne, M. Sc. June 2010 on P. S. de Laplace's relations with D'Alembert and Lagrange, and his early work in celestial mechanics and DEs.  Menolly is currently teaching at the secondary level in the Lower Mainland.   Get the thesis here.

Brenda Davison, M. Sc. July 2010 on G. H. Hardy's early work, available here. Brenda is currently a Lecturer in our Department.

Prospective Students

I welcome inquiries from students who would like to pursue graduate study in the history of mathematics in the context of a Department of Mathematics. At the MSc level this entails a significant number of graduate courses in mathematics as well as its history, and a thesis. At the doctoral level in addition to the thesis and some coursework the student must complete the Comprehensive Examination of the department for the PhD. There is financial support, and admission is competitive.  There is some possibility for qualified students to be co-supervised in philosophy or in education, but in any case you should have around half your undergraduate degree in mathematics.


I can be emailed at tarchi(at)

Misc. for Ruiping