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**On the history of the Association, 1862–1869.
(Z historie jednoty, 1862–1869.)**
*(Czech.
English summary)*
Zbl 1076.01035

Dějiny Matematiky / History of Mathematics 13. Prague: Prometheus (ISBN 80-7196-141-8). xvii, 138 p., open access (1999).

The monograph describes the history of the Association for Free Lectures in Mathematics and Physics, the predecessor of today Association of Czech Mathematicians and Physicists, together with the lives and work of its four founders.

The book begins with the depiction of the origin and development of the Association for Free Lectures in Mathematics and Physics that was founded in 1861, from 1862 it was under the direct patronage of the Faculty of Arts of Charles University in Prague and in 1869 it was transformed into the Association of Czech Mathematicians and Physicists. The aims of the original Association, whose members could be only full-time students of mathematics and physics, were to practise lecturing and scientific disputation. This chapter is based on a detailed study of the proceedings of the meetings of the Association, of Houdek’s History of Association of Czech Mathematicians and of a number of newspaper reports.

The second part of the book, based on archival research and the study of newspaper and magazine reports, contains the description of the lives and professional activities of the four founders of the Association: Gabriel Blažek (1842–1910), later professor of mathematics at Prague Polytechnic and a member of the Imperial Council and Provincial Parliament of the Czech Kingdom, Josef Finger (1840–1925), professor of mechanics and graphical statics at Vienna Polytechnic, Josef Rudolf Vaňaus (1839–1910), professor of mathematics and physics at the higher grammar school in Jičín, and Josef Laun (1837–1915), professor at the grammar school in Rijeka and Zagreb, later student of the law in Prague and finally farmer in Kněževes.

From the point of view of mathematics and physics, the most important of all the founders was Josef Finger who wrote 30 scientific and didactical works, mainly of physics (25 publications, including an extensive textbook published in Vienna and consisting of 792 pages [Elemente der reinen Mechanik als Vorstudium für die analytische und angewandte Mechanik und für die Mathematische Physik an Universitäten und Technischen Hochschulen (A.Hölder, Wien) (1886; JFM 16.0743.01)], to a lesser extent on mathematics and history. Finger’s physical works are discussed in a separate section written by Ivan Štoll who also gives their evaluation: although Finger did not reach his own scientific discoveries, he displayed a great diligence and erudition, earned extended knowledge and was keeping up with the times, came with interesting ideas and probably inspired other scientists.

The monograph is provided with an extensive factographic supplement which contains Statuten des Vereines für freie Vortraege aus der Mathematik und Physik, the first and the last proceedings of the meetings of the Association, the resolution concerning the question: “Why are the mathematics and physics not popular among the majority of grammar school students and how it could be remedied”, the statistical surveys of numbers of meetings, lectures, members, incomes and expenses, the survey of dignitaries, the lists of all members and lectures, the lists of publications of Blažek, Finger, Vaňaus and Laun together with the references to the referential journals of that time, and the survey of pedagogical activities of Blažek and Finger.

For those who do not read Czech, an English summary is added which contains the most important information contained in the monograph. The book ends with a picture appendix where photographs and interesting documents are reproduced.

The book begins with the depiction of the origin and development of the Association for Free Lectures in Mathematics and Physics that was founded in 1861, from 1862 it was under the direct patronage of the Faculty of Arts of Charles University in Prague and in 1869 it was transformed into the Association of Czech Mathematicians and Physicists. The aims of the original Association, whose members could be only full-time students of mathematics and physics, were to practise lecturing and scientific disputation. This chapter is based on a detailed study of the proceedings of the meetings of the Association, of Houdek’s History of Association of Czech Mathematicians and of a number of newspaper reports.

The second part of the book, based on archival research and the study of newspaper and magazine reports, contains the description of the lives and professional activities of the four founders of the Association: Gabriel Blažek (1842–1910), later professor of mathematics at Prague Polytechnic and a member of the Imperial Council and Provincial Parliament of the Czech Kingdom, Josef Finger (1840–1925), professor of mechanics and graphical statics at Vienna Polytechnic, Josef Rudolf Vaňaus (1839–1910), professor of mathematics and physics at the higher grammar school in Jičín, and Josef Laun (1837–1915), professor at the grammar school in Rijeka and Zagreb, later student of the law in Prague and finally farmer in Kněževes.

From the point of view of mathematics and physics, the most important of all the founders was Josef Finger who wrote 30 scientific and didactical works, mainly of physics (25 publications, including an extensive textbook published in Vienna and consisting of 792 pages [Elemente der reinen Mechanik als Vorstudium für die analytische und angewandte Mechanik und für die Mathematische Physik an Universitäten und Technischen Hochschulen (A.Hölder, Wien) (1886; JFM 16.0743.01)], to a lesser extent on mathematics and history. Finger’s physical works are discussed in a separate section written by Ivan Štoll who also gives their evaluation: although Finger did not reach his own scientific discoveries, he displayed a great diligence and erudition, earned extended knowledge and was keeping up with the times, came with interesting ideas and probably inspired other scientists.

The monograph is provided with an extensive factographic supplement which contains Statuten des Vereines für freie Vortraege aus der Mathematik und Physik, the first and the last proceedings of the meetings of the Association, the resolution concerning the question: “Why are the mathematics and physics not popular among the majority of grammar school students and how it could be remedied”, the statistical surveys of numbers of meetings, lectures, members, incomes and expenses, the survey of dignitaries, the lists of all members and lectures, the lists of publications of Blažek, Finger, Vaňaus and Laun together with the references to the referential journals of that time, and the survey of pedagogical activities of Blažek and Finger.

For those who do not read Czech, an English summary is added which contains the most important information contained in the monograph. The book ends with a picture appendix where photographs and interesting documents are reproduced.

Reviewer: Magdalena Hykšova (Praha)

### MSC:

01A74 | History of mathematics at institutions and academies (non-university) |

01A55 | History of mathematics in the 19th century |

01-02 | Research exposition (monographs, survey articles) pertaining to history and biography |

01A90 | Bibliographic studies |