Current Institutional Affiliation
Managing Director of Strategic Research, Education Advisory Board

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 1998
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
History, Princeton University
The Ascendancy of Mathematics: Mathematics, Politics, and Eduaction at Trinity College, Dublin

Although it formed almost no part of the curriculum before the1790s, mathematics dominated Trinity College Dublin throughout the nineteenth century. While this flurry of mathematical activity paralleled changes at other European universities, particularly Cambridge, a detailed understanding of the motivations and impact of the changes at Trinity can only be obtained through a study of the role of mathematics within the curriculum as well as the role of Trinity in Irish life. As one of the pillars of the Protestant Ascendancy, Trinity occupied a highly politicized position, and as the centerpiece of its education mathematics itself became politicized. I hope to explore this process through the study of the development of mathematical teaching and research at Trinity as well as of the broader educational and political debates into which Trinity was drawn. In so doing I hope to show the way in which mathematics, far from being disengaged from reality, was in fact a powerful tool in the shaping of both the ideology and the reality of the Protestant Ascendancy from the late eighteenth century through the early twentieth century.