Michael Sean Mahoney


Michael Sean Mahoney (June 30, 1939 – July 23, 2008) was a historian of science and technology.

Mahoney was born in New York City, and did his undergraduate studies at Harvard University, graduating in 1960. He earned a Ph.D. in history and history of science from Princeton University in 1967, and immediately took a position as an assistant professor there. He remained at Princeton for over 40 years, until his death in 2008.[1][2][3]

A conference on the history of science and technology was held in his honor at Princeton in May 2009.[4]

Fermat biography


Mahoney's biography of Pierre de Fermat received much critical attention[5][6][7] including a scathing review by André Weil in 1973.[8][9][10] A second edition of Mahoney's book came out in 1994.

Selected publications

  • Mahoney, Michael Sean, The mathematical career of Pierre de Fermat. Princeton University Press, Princeton, N.J., 1973. 2nd edition, 1994, ISBN 0-691-03666-7
  • Mahoney, Michael S., Barrow's mathematics: between ancients and moderns. Before Newton, 179–249, Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, 1990.
  • Mahoney, Michael, S. and Thomas Haigh (editor). Histories of Computing. Harvard Univ. Press. 2011. Completed posthumously.


  1. ^ Stevens, Ruth (July 25, 2008), "Michael S. Mahoney, historian of science and devoted faculty member, dies", News at Princeton, Princeton University.
  2. ^ Buchwald, Jed Z.; Burnett, D. Graham (2009), "Michael S. Mahoney, 1939–2008" (PDF), Isis, 100 (3): 623–626, doi:10.1086/649137.
  3. ^ William Aspray, "Michael Sean Mahoney (1939-2008)", IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol.36, no. 3, pp. 70-79, July-Sept. 2014, doi:10.1109/MAHC.2014.41
  4. ^ Gordin, Michael D.; Byrne, James (2009), The Historical Career of Michael Sean Mahoney (PDF), Princeton Program in History of Science.
  5. ^ Gabbey, Alan (1975), "The Mathematical Career of Pierre de Fermat (1601-1665) by Michael Sean Mahoney", The British Journal for the History of Science, 8 (1): 81–84, doi:10.1017/s0007087400013819, JSTOR 4025827.
  6. ^ Gridgeman, N. T. (1976), "The Mathematical Praeface to the Elements of Geometrie of Euclid to Megara (1570) by John Dee; The Mathematical Career of Pierre de Fermat (1601-1665) by Michael Sean Mahoney", The American Historical Review, 81 (4): 840–841, doi:10.2307/1864830, JSTOR 1864830.
  7. ^ Ouwendijk, George (1997), "The Mathematical Career of Pierre de Fermat, 1601-1665. by Michael Sean Mahoney", Renaissance Quarterly, 50 (1): 334–335, doi:10.2307/3039384, JSTOR 3039384.
  8. ^ Koblitz, Neal (2008), Random Curves: Journeys of a Mathematician, Springer, p. 92, ISBN 9783540740773.
  9. ^ Landsburg, Steven E., Andre Weil, retrieved 2013-02-20.
  10. ^ Weil, A. (1973), "Review: M. S. Mahoney, The mathematical career of Pierre de Fermat", Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society, 79 (6): 1138–1149, doi:10.1090/s0002-9904-1973-13354-3, MR 1566693.
  • Michael S. Mahoney papers. Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota. 38 boxes of Mahoney's books and serials related to the history of computing, mathematics, and related fields; and 17 boxes of Mahoney's archival materials, including course work, subject files, and publication drafts.