As with preceding conferences held at the Athens campus of Ohio University, the one held in March 2005 offered a forum for algebraists
to share their research.
In his Geometrie (1637) Descartes, although objecting to the "barbarous" notation of Arabic algebraists
, followed Viete (who, surprisingly, is omitted from this History's biobibliographical index) and extended his analytic programme, drawing on Apollonius's Conics, as did Pierre de Fermat in his roughly contemporary work on plane and solid loci (726-30).
Algebraists and social scientists, rather than seeing the passage analogically as an illustration of entsagen or self-renunciation, could easily appropriate it in their attempts to quantify happiness and pleasure.
Carlyle could, of course, simply criticize algebraists and their narrow vision directly, but his desire to be seen as one who can treat all of Victorian culture simultaneously requires that he not simply attack from the outside of this new and important group of mathematicians.
For al-Tusi's move to work, however, the rules of combination of the algebraists
had to be interpreted in a combinatorial manner.