Carlos Vasco

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The main interests of Carlos Eduardo Vasco are abstract algebra, logic and categories theory; the relationships between culture, language, logic and math, and the study of history and philosophy of math and its implications in math education.

He was born October 12th, 1937 in Medellin, Colombia.  He graduate “summa cum laude” with a degree in philosophy at  the Pontifical University Javeriana of Bogota; and later received a Masters of Science in physics theory, and in 1968  a Ph.D. in math at the University of Saint Louis, Missouri, U.S.A., with a thesis on abstract algebra.

After 25 years of university teaching in the Department of Mathematics at the National University of Colombia in Bogota, he retired as professor emeritus. Currently, he works part time at the Pontifical University Javeriana of Bogota where he is a professor of abstract algebra and professor in the area of   Natural Sciences and Mathematics; at the University of Valle in Cali. He also coordinates a four Universities joint program on the didactic of math at the University of Manizales and the International Center for Human Development CINDE.

During 1985-1986, Harvard University named him “Distinguished Schumann Fellow and Lecturer in Education”, and directed two seminars about philosophy and math teaching in the Graduate School of Education at that Institution. In 1989 he was awarded “John Simon Guggenheim Fellow”, and spent a semester in the “Project Zero” at the same Grad School. He has also been a visiting scholar in Harvard in the years 1996 to 1997 and 1999 to 2001, collaborating in several projects with Dr. David N. Perkins. He has spent many summers as a visiting researcher in the Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) of Princeton, New Jersey, and in the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques (IHES) in Bures-sur-Yvette, close to Paris.

Dr. Vasco was an advisor for the Ministry of Education of Colombia from 1978 to 1993, time during which he was in charge of the elaboration of the math programs of the curricular renovation from first to ninth grade. His main contribution was the development of a general theoretical framework for the curriculum for school mathematics, based on his own version of general theory and the advances of cognitive science. The main document  was issued by the Ministry of Education in 1984, and the in English as a chapter in the book The Cultural Transition, edited by Merry White and Susan Pollak (Boston: Routledge y Kegan Paul, 1985); this chapter was translated into Spanish and published in Spain by the journal Communication, Language and Education (1990); a new version of the document was published by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Colombia in 1991. That Ministry has published two volumes of his articles about math education, and a third volume is being prepared.

During 1993 and 1994, he was commissioned to  coordinate  the  Commission for Standards  for  Science  Education and Development, a group of ten people call upon by the  President of Colombia, Cesar Gaviria Trujillo, for the elaboration of the national policies related to these topics, and was the editor of seven volumes of  the documents stating  the Mission. In the second volume of this series, he contributed with a study on General Theory of Processes and Systems.

Dr. Vasco is a member of the Colombian Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences, and for the Colombian Society of Mathematics, and is co-editor of the journal for  Educational Studies of Mathematics (Dordrecht, Kluwer). He was a member of the Executive Committee of the International Commission for Math Instruction (imci) from 1994 to 1998, and is now president of the International Committee of Math Education (CIAEM) for the period 1999-2003.