Scroll to Section:

A student of mathematics at university is likely to encounter very similar material in the early years whether they enroll in Berlin, Beijing or Boston. In this video, MATTEO VALLERIANI asks how this homogenization of scientific knowledge occurs. Looking at various aspects of mathematical study at universities between the 12th and 17th centuries, Valleriani’s work combines history, philosophy and computer science in the frame of an emerging discipline known as computational history. Among his most interesting findings is the fact that the 16th century Reformation lead to a significant homogenization of scientific knowledge. Classically associated with fragmentation in various spheres (most obviously, the church), imitation of the innovative thought coming out of Wittenberg is shown to represent a key step in the homogenization of European scientific knowledge.


Matteo Valleriani is Research Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. He is also Honorary Professor of the History of Science at Technische Universität Berlin and Professor for Special Appointments in the Humanities at Tel Aviv University. His main research foci are on the emergence and the homogenization of scientific knowledge and current research projects include work on Leonardo da Vinci, Agora Infrastructure and BIFLOD-BZML (which is grounded in developing fields of machine learning and artificial intelligence). The organizer of several noted exhibitions and a frequent expert contributor to TV and radio discussions, Valleriani was awarded the Paul Bunge Prize (Hans Jenemann Stiftung. Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker) in 2011 and the Marc-Auguste Pictet Prize (Société de Physique et d'Histoire Naturelle of Geneva) in 2010.


Max Planck Institute for the History of Science

Founded in 1994, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG) in Berlin is one of more than 80 research institutes administered by the Max Planck Society. The Institute is dedicated to the study of the history of science, aiming to understand scientific thinking and practice as historical phenomena from a variety of methodological and interdisciplinary perspectives. Our research draws on the reflective potential of the history of science to address current challenges in scientific scholarship, exploring the changing meaning of fundamental scientific concepts as well as how cultural developments shape scientific practices. The Institute’s projects span all eras of human history and a multitude of cultures globally, ranging from the origins of continuity systems in Mesopotamia to present-day science in China, Renaissance natural history, and the past of quantum mechanics. The Institute also draws on the reflective potential of the history of science to address current challenges in scientific scholarship.

Show more

Original publication

An Ever-Expanding Humanities Knowledge Graph: The Sphaera Corpus at the Intersection of Humanities, Data Management, and Machine Learning

El-Hajj Hassan, Zamani Maryam, Büttner Jochen, Martinetz Julius, Eberle Oliver, Shlomi Noga, Siebold Anna, Montavon Grégoire, Müller Klaus-Robert, Kantz Holger, Matteo Valleriani and others
Published in 2022

The hidden praeceptor: how Georg Rheticus taught geocentric cosmology to Europe

Valleriani Matteo, Federau Beate and Nicolaeva Olya
Published in 2022

De sphaera of Johannes de Sacrobosco in the early modern period: The authors of the commentaries

Valleriani Matteo
Published in 2020

Evolution and transformation of early modern cosmological knowledge: A network study

Zamani Maryam, Tejedor Alejandro, Vogl Malte, Kräutli Florian, Valleriani Matteo and Kantz Holger
Published in 2020

The emergence of epistemic communities in the ‘Sphaera’corpus: mechanisms of knowledge evolution

Valleriani Matteo, Kräutli Florian, Zamani Maryam, Tejedor Alejandro, Sander Christoph, Vogl Malte, Bertram Sabine, Funke Gesa and Kantz Holger
Published in 2019