During my time in the Department of Mathematics at Illinois State University (2005–2017) I have taken the opportunity to investigate the history of mathematics at all levels, but especially the history of school mathematics. My wife, Nerida Ellerton, and I have spent much time locating and analysing original documents in many excellent archives in the USA and England including those at Harvard University, Cambridge University, the British Library and the Library of Congress. Among others, we have been privileged to ”meet” Abraham Lincoln, Isaac Newton, and Nathaniel Bowditch. In this talk I will tell brief stories about our encounters with Abraham, Isaac and Nathaniel, and will draw some implications for mathematics education, especially in relation to school mathematics.
Ken Clements is a graduate of the University of Melbourne. He is an honorary life member of both the Mathematical Association of Victoria and the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (MERGA). Some forty years ago he played a key role in the formation of MERGA. He is currently professor in the Department of Mathematics at Illinois State University. Ken taught at a number of Victorian schools and has served as a consultant and as a researcher in Australia and in many other nations. His extensive work as author and publisher is recognised internationally. Many Australians are grateful for his help and advice at various stages of their careers in mathematics education. His passion for mathematics education is only matched by his love of the Western Bulldogs.