Professor of the History of the Exact Sciences in Antiquity
Acting Director, Spring 2013
Alexander Jones studied Classics at the University of British Columbia and the history of the ancient mathematical sciences in the Department of the History of Mathematics at Brown University. Before coming to NYU, he was for sixteen years on the faculty of the Department of Classics and the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology at the University of Toronto. His work centers on the history and transmission of the mathematical sciences, especially astronomy.
He is the author of several editions of Greek scientific texts, among them Pappus of Alexandria's commentary on the corpus of Hellenistic geometrical treatises known as the "Treasury of Analysis"; an anonymous Byzantine astronomical handbook based on Islamic sources; and a collection of about two hundred fragmentary astronomical texts, tables, and horoscopes from the papyri excavated a century ago by Grenfell and Hunt at Oxyrhynchus. His current research interests include the contacts between Babylonian and Greco-Roman astronomy and astrology, the Antikythera Mechanism and other artifacts of Hellenistic astronomy, and the scientific work of Claudius Ptolemy. He is a member of the American Philosophical Society, a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a full member of the Académie Internationale d'Histoire des Sciences, and recipient of several awards and honors including a Guggenheim fellowship and the Francis Bacon Award in the History of Science.