Article ID: CBB459341226

Polemics in Public: Poncelet, Gergonne, Plücker, and the Duality Controversy (2015)


A plagiarism charge in 1827 sparked a public controversy centered between Jean-Victor Poncelet (1788–1867) and Joseph-Diez Gergonne (1771–1859) over the origin and applications of the principle of duality in geometry. Over the next three years and through the pages of various journals, monographs, letters, reviews, reports, and footnotes, vitriol between the antagonists increased as their potential publicity grew. While the historical literature offers valuable resources toward understanding the development, content, and applications of geometric duality, the hostile nature of the exchange seems to have deterred an in-depth textual study of the explicitly polemical writings. We argue that the necessary collective endeavor of beginning and ending this controversy constitutes a case study in the circulation of geometry. In particular, we consider how the duality controversy functioned as a medium of communicating new fundamental principles to a wider audience of practitioners.

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Authors & Contributors
Lorenat, Jemma
Del Centina, Andrea
Cook, Guy
Robbins, Peter T.
Pieri, Elisa
Kunkel, Paul
Public Understanding of Science
British Society for the History of Mathematics Bulletin
Archive for History of Exact Sciences
Science as Culture
Revue d'Histoire des Mathématiques
História, Ciências, Saúde---Manguinhos
University of Arizona
University of Pittsburgh Press
Communication of scientific ideas
Public understanding of science
Controversies and disputes
Climate change
Poncelet, Jean Victor
Gergonne, Joseph Diaz
Newton, Isaac
Chasles, Michel
Apollonius, of Perga
Viète, Francois
Time Periods
19th century
21st century
20th century, late
18th century
20th century, early
20th century
Great Britain
São Paulo (Brazil)
Genetics Society of America

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