Workshop @ the University of Middlesex

London 12th September 2023 10am-4pm

The Burroughs, London NW4 4BT

Come and join us for the discussion-based workshop at Middlesex University on 12th September. Participation free, but registration obligatory – please email me for further details, s.lawrence at

Mathematics, Computer Science, and Data Science: profession, art, and the ways of building a new discipline – lessons from history

In his Preface to the first edition of the Elements of Euclid published in English language, John Dee (1527-1608) enumerated a very long list of Mathematical Sciences, trying to extend the pantheon of those accepted by his time as ‘legitimate’ and also identifying topics that would or could, be raised to a status of ‘independent arts’. These didn’t ever in fact become ‘independent arts’ but in the 20th century, what started as a part of Mathematical Sciences, grew into a new field of Computer Science. In the 21st century, we are looking at the Data Science, which seems to have two roots – one firmly growing ever deeper into Mathematics, and one happily situated in Computer Science departments. What will this new, Data Science, become? Will it be an independent new science, independent of its parents eventually and in which way can we foresee this? What are the issues for students and scholars in Data Science, but also in Computer and Mathematical Sciences? And what professional and other identities would become recognised in the workplace? These and other issues we propose to discuss, as well as explore in order to see what can be learnt from the history of mathematics and computing of the 20th century in order to better articulate our visions for the future.

Our programme includes short introductions to main themes by speakers – but our intention is to explore these themes in discussions rather than have a series of talks. So, you can look forward to a 

Programme (of currently confirmed speakers)

10 am opening

Snezana Lawrence Middlesex University London: Diagrams of mathematical sciences – open the meeting with a question on what a mathematician/data scientist should be doing? Consequently, who gets to be called mathematician?

10:15 am

Danny J. Beckers Free University Amsterdam: Teaching history of science to various audiences, focusing on mathematics, computer science, and AI students

11:00 break


Petra Buskova Masaryk University Brno: (provisional title) Assumptions about teaching mathematics

Elisabetta Mori Archives of IT UK, A Diverse Landscape of Professional Expertise: Building and Programming Mainframe Computers in the 1950s

13:00 lunch


Helena Durnova Masaryk University Brno: Sofsem vs. MFCS in the 1970s Poland and Czechoslovakia as a contribution to building a community

15:30 discussion over coffee

16:00 end

We’d love to see you! Don’t forget, you need to email to register, but the attendance is free