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Profile profile for kidwellp

Peggy A. Kidwell


Ph.D. (1979), Yale University M. Phil. (1974), Yale University B.A. (1971), Grinnell College

Research Specialties: 
  • History of mathematics
  • History of computing
  • Women in science
  • History of astrophysics

Current projects:

  • A history of mathematical recreations in the United States

Past projects:

  • A book on the material culture of American mathematics teaching
  • Small exhibitions on such topics as the metric system in the United States, mathematical instruments of Spain and Spanish America, the history of the term "computer bug," and mathematics teaching apparatus.
  • Collecting mathematical instruments, software, and teaching devices.
Professional Affiliations: 
  • History of Science Society
  • American Physical Society
  • Mathematical Association of America
  • IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, Editorial Board
  • Historical Astronomy Division, American Astronomical Society


Tools of American Mathematics Teaching, 1800-2000 with Amy Ackerberg-Hastings and David Lindsay Roberts, Baltimore:  The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008.

Surveys changes in the material culture of American mathematics teaching.  Tells stories about objects from the blackboard and the textbook to the protractor and the slide rule to the graphing calculator and computer software.

“The Material Culture of Scientific and Technical Information Systems in the United States—Patent Models to Computers,” Proceedings of the 2002 Conference on the History and Heritage of Scientific and Technical Information Systems, eds. Mary Ellen Bowden and W. Boyd Rayward, Chemical Heritage Foundation, 2004.
“'Yours for Improvement'—The Adding Machines of Chicago, 1884–1930,” Annals of the History of Computing, 2001, 23: 3–21.
“Stalking the Elusive Computer Bug,” Annals of the History of Computing, 1998. 20: 5–9.