Benjamin Franklin's Numbers: An Unsung Mathematical Odyssey

Paul Pasles, Villanova University

Friends of the Library of the American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia Area Center for History of Science

Friday, October 17, 2008 - 4:45pm

American Philosophical Society, Benjamin Franklin Hall, 427 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia

Lecture, reception, and booksigning Times: Reception: 5:30 p.m., Program: 6:00 p.m. Place: American Philsophical Society, Benjamin Franklin Hall, 427 Chestnut Street In Benjamin Franklin's Numbers, Paul Pasles gives us the first mathematical biography of Franklin, drawing upon previously unknown sources to illustrate Franklin's genius for numbers. He reveals a side of the iconic statesman, scientist, and writer that few Americans know--his mathematical side. In fact, Franklin indulged in many areas of mathematics, including number theory, geometry, statistics, and economics. Franklin's hugely popular Poor Richard's Almanac featured such things as population estimates and a host of mathematical digressions. Pasles explains the mathematics behind the magic squares and circles that were a lifelong fascination of Franklin's. If you think you already know Benjamin Franklin's story, Pasles's entertaining and richly detailed study will make you think again. Paul C. Pasles is associate professor of mathematical sciences at Villanova University.