Proposal: History of Science And Mathematics

What would be on topic at this site that is not on topic at History Stack Exchange?

  • 7
    The group of experts involved is largely different. Mar 2, 2014 at 2:09
  • I am trying to think of a way to craft a post pointing out that none of the reference requests would fly on history.SE. They are forbidden expressly, but scans of old primary texts are the lifeblood of math history research and would naturally be welcome here. Many of the sample questions are reference requests. Even math.SE accepts well posed reference requests. While much history occurred on a battlefield (as an example), math history is oftentimes purely extant on paper, and original images of that old paper (papyrus, clay tablet, ...) is everything to the research. Mar 2, 2014 at 2:13
  • As a more verbose follow up to @BrianRushton 's concise comment: This site is for "mathematicians, scientists, and students of any relevant disciplines." When a mathematician or scientist asks a question of history, they will want a high level mathematical or scientific answer from another peer in the hard sciences. Historians who are not versed in the hard sciences would not likely enjoy these types of answers, nor would they be prepared to deliver the level of content demanded by a scientist or mathematician. The content you will see here might not always sit well with general history fans. Mar 2, 2014 at 3:14

2 Answers 2


JW Perry's comment under the question is exactly how I justified this proposal when I originally posted it on math.SE and physics.SE. I don't visit history.SE, but I doubt there's much you could ask here that would be strictly off-topic at history.SE. But if I want details on Cardano's method of solving cubic equations, I wouldn't expect the people at history.SE to be able to give me a satisfactory answer. For one thing, they don't have LaTeX, so even if they did have the knowledge, they'd be hard pressed to type it up.

  • I am glad to see you drop the word LaTeX. It crossed my mind to make sure we had it from the start. Not having the feature for this sort of community would be on par with trying to type without fingers. Mar 2, 2014 at 9:55
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    Note, however, that the lack of LaTeX support on the History is rather a technical detail, which could theoretically be fixed. On the other hand this technical detail nicely illustrates how some of our example questions will be received on History.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Mar 2, 2014 at 10:13
  • Persuasive answer; answer accepted. Mar 2, 2014 at 11:40

This is a kind of question which is very common on area51.SE and I think the answer is always the same : if site2.SE is a subdomain of site1.SE, then everything on topic on site2 is on topic on site1 too. Anyway, the question is : is it useful/interesting to have a more specific site focusing on the History of Science which is a subdomain of History ? I think the answer is yes (one of the reason being that a lot of scientific historical questions require scientific specific knowledge).

  • According to the FAQ "Site X should be subsumed by site Y if: Almost all X questions are on-topic for site Y" Mar 1, 2014 at 10:27
  • Well, so a lot of existing or proposed sites on SE should be subsumed by su.SE or Stackoverflow. Others too for other fields...
    – User51
    Mar 1, 2014 at 10:32
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    @JamesJenkins your quote seems incomplete; there are four points in a list, only one of which you quote, and they are meant as "and" not "or." There will be problems with 3rd and 4th point when merging this into "history", IMO.
    – quid
    Mar 1, 2014 at 17:41

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