Job Title
Associate Professor of Mathematics
Kim Plofker Head Shot
Office Location
Bailey Hall
Ph.D., Brown University
B.A., Haverford College
Special Interests
I study the historical development of math, astronomy and related subjects, mostly in Sanskrit, Arabic and Latin texts from before the twentieth century. Research travel takes me most often to India, where there are tens of thousands of manuscripts of little-known early scientific works that I use in piecing together this history. Topics I’ve published on include the early history of numerical approximation methods in Sanskrit texts, different approaches to spherical trigonometry in Islamic and Indian astronomy, and Euler’s study of Indian calendar computations. These days I’m collaborating with a colleague in New Zealand on a study of algorithms in Indian astronomical tables; we’re hoping to break out some of the work into undergraduate research projects (no Sanskrit knowledge required!).