Department of History

Joan L Richards

Professor Emerita of History


Joan Richards earned a PhD in the History of Science from Harvard in 1981. Her first book, Mathematical Visions: Non-Euclidean Geometry in Victorian England, focused on the reception of a geometrical theory in the wider culture of nineteenth century England. Her second book, Angles of Reflection, was at once a memoir and an exploration of the logical work and family life of Augustus De Morgan. She is currently writing a two-generational family history focusing on changing views of rationality in the Frend/De Morgan family. All of these projects, as well as her many mathematical historical articles, are linked by an abiding interest in the ways that mathematics has served as a model of thinking that has developed in interaction with other approaches to the human mind, be they psychological, spiritual, physical, or even phrenological.