République des Savoirs

Laboratoire transdisciplinaire du CNRS, ENS et du Collège de France

Helbert Eduardo Velilla-Jiménez

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Helbert E. Velilla-Jiménez, a doctoral candidate from the ENS-PSL & USAL, under the direction of Sophie Roux and David Jiménez, will defend his thesis on July 5, 2024. Helbert is also a research fellow at the Linda Hall Library, USA, and previously he was a DAAD fellow at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany.

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Titre de thèse : « The Mathematization of Cosmography in the Spanish Empire (1494-1598) »
Directeurs de thèse : Sophie Roux (ENS) et David Jiménez (USAL)
Cotutelle : Université de Salamanque
Année académique d’inscription : 2021-2022

Résumé : Helbert’s thesis explores the mathematization of Spanish practical cosmography, focusing on how both cosmographers and pilots approached accuracy and utility in crafting nautical charts for maritime Atlantic navigation. While pilots and cosmographers valued utility and accuracy, their interpretations differed. Pilots preferred charts that facilitated navigation from point A to point B, while cosmographers focused on presenting latitudes coherently. This type of mathematization emphasized tools like diagrams, volvelles, and nautical charts over theoretical proofs or quantitative models.
His thesis analyzes primary sources such as maps, nautical charts, and navigation manuals disseminated within institutions like the Casa de la Contratación de Sevilla and the Academia Real Mathematica. These sources shed light on the importance of mathematical accuracy and utility in chart production and address technical challenges like latitude, longitude, and magnetic variation.
This research improves our understanding of how Spanish cosmography embraced mathematization driven by practical concerns, particularly within the context of the colonization and conquest of the New World.

Mots-clés : Astronomical navigation, cosmography, nautical charts, accuracy, mathematization, colonial science.
Site web : https://helbertvelilla.weebly.com/