Angela Axworthy

Visiting Scholar (Jan 2017-Dec 2019)


Angela Axworthy was awarded a PhD in philosophy in 2011 (C.E.S.R., Tours, France) with a dissertation on the epistemology of mathematics in the thought of the sixteenth-century French mathematician Oronce Fine, for which she received in 2012 the doctoral dissertation prize of the French Society of History of Sciences and Techniques (S.F.H.S.T.). She was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (2012–2016) and, in the framework of the Berlin Center for the History of Knowledge, at the Technische Universität Berlin (2017–2018). Her research focuses on Renaissance epistemology of mathematics in its diverse aspects, among them medieval and Renaissance geocentric cosmology, sixteenth-century practical geometry, and the early modern Euclidean tradition. Her project at the MPIWG, within Department I, consists in the edition and analysis of the commentaries on Sacrobosco’s Tractatus de sphaera by Prosdocimo de’ Beldomandi and Bartolomeo Vespucci printed conjointly in 1531 in Venice within the compendium of astronomical treatises edited by Luca Gaurico, to be published by Edition Open Access (within the Edition Open Sources book series). She is the author of Le Mathématicien renaissant et son savoir. Le statut des mathématiques selon Oronce Fine, Paris, Classique Garnier, 2016.


The Status of Practical Geometry and Its Relations to Theoretical and Applied Geometrical Knowledge in Sixteenth-century Treatises of Practical Geometry


The Transmission of Cosmological Conceptions in the Paduan Sacrobosco Tradition from the Fifteenth to the Sixteenth Century


The Commentaries on Sacrobosco’s Sphaera by Prosdocimo de’ Beldomandi and Bartolomeo Vespucci (1531)


Selected Publications

Axworthy, A. (2016). Le mathématicien renaissant et son savoir: le statut des mathématiques selon Oronce Fine. Paris: Classiques Garnier.

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Axworthy, A. (2018). The debate between Peletier and Clavius on superposition. Historia Mathematica, 45(1), 1-38. doi:10.1016/

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Axworthy, A. (2017). La notion géométrique de flux du point à la Renaissance et dans le commentaire des Éléments de Jacques Peletier du Mans. In C. Grellard (Ed.), Miroir de l'amitié: mélanges offerts à Joël Biard à l'occasion de ses 65 ans (pp. 453-464). Paris: Vrin.

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Axworthy, A. (2017). Early modern cosmological debates. Review of: Granada, Miguel Á., Patrick J. Boner and Dario Tessicini (Eds.) Unifying heaven and earth: essays in the history of early modern cosmology. Barcelona: Edicions de la Universitat de Barcelona 2016. Journal for the History of Astronomy, 48(4), 489-491. doi:10.1177/0021828617724895.

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Axworthy, A. (2013). The ontological status of geometrical objects in the commentary on the Elements of Euclid of Jacques Peletier du Mans (1517-1582). FMSH-WP, 41, 1-19. Retrieved from

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Axworthy, A. (2009). The epistemological foundations of the propaedeutic status of mathematics according to the epistolary and prefatory writings of Oronce Fine. In The worlds of Oronce Fine: mathematics, instruments, and print in Renaissance France (pp. 31-51). Donington: Shaun Tyas.

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Land Ahoy!


Presentations, Talks, & Teaching Activities

The transformation of Euclid’s Elements in sixteenth-century treatises of practical geometry

Workshop: Euclid on the Road. Cross-cultural transmission, translation and transformationof the Elements, SPHere (CNRS), MPIWG, Berlin

Paper instruments as tools of unification in early modern practical mathematics

European Society for the History of Science Biennial Conference 2018, in conjunction with the British Society for the History of Science

Practical geometry in sixteenth-century France

Oberseminar in history of mathematics, University of Wuppertal

Practical mathematics in early modern Europe

Hauptseminar in History of Science Department, Technische Universität, Berlin

Oronce Fine: from the edition of Sacrobosco’s Sphaera (1516) to the Cosmographia, sive sphaera mundi (1532)

Workshop: The Authors of the Early Modern Commentaries on De sphaera, MPIWG, Berlin

Jacques Peletier du Mans (1517-1582) and Christoph Clavius (1538-1612) on the superposition of geometrical figures : a sixteenth-century debate on the ontological and epistemological status of geometrical objects and procedures

HU, Berlin

The Euclidean Definition of the Sphere in the Middle Ages and in the Renaissance: from the commentaries on Sacrobosco’s Sphere to the commentaries on Euclid’s Elements

MPIWG, Berlin

La forme des traités de mathématiques pratiques d’Oronce Fine

Université Bordeaux-Montaigne
The epistemological and ontological background of the debate on superposition between Jacques Peletier du Mans (1517-1582) and Christophorus Clavius (1538-1612)

Ghent, Belgium
“Sixteenth-century Interpretations of the Nature and Use of Motion in Geometry”, The Mechanization of Geometry. From Antiquity to the Modern Age

MPIWG, Berlin

The notion of flow of the point as a principle of generation of the line in the Renaissance Euclidean tradition

HEST, Limoges

Renaissance interpretations of the geometrical notion of rhusis

MPIWG, Berlin

The Purpose, Modalities and Limits of the Admission of Movement in the Definition and Study of Geometrical Objects in the Sixteenth-century Euclidean Tradition: Oronce Fine (1494-1555), Jacques Peletier du Mans (1517-1582) and Christoph Clavius (1538-1611)

MPIWG, Berlin

Le statut des objets géométriques dans le commentaire des Éléments d’Euclide de Jacques Peletier du Mans (1557)