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A Mathematical Chronology
Main Index Chronology index Biographies index About 30000BC Palaeolithic peoples in central Europe and France record numbers on bones. About 25000BC Early geometric designs used. About 5000BC A decimal number system is in use in Egypt. About 4000BC Babylonian and Egyptian calendars in use. About 3400BC The first symbols for numbers, simple straight lines, are used in Egypt. About 3000BC The abacus is developed in the Middle East and in areas around the Mediterranean. A somewhat different type of abacus is used in China. About 3000BC Hieroglyphic numerals in use in Egypt. (See this History Topic.) About 3000BC Babylonians begin to use a sexagesimal number system for recording financial transactions. It is a place-value system without a zero place value. (See this History Topic.) About 2770BC Egyptian calendar used. About 2000BC Harappans adopt a uniform decimal system of weights and measures. About 1950BC Babylonians solve quadratic equations. About 1900BC The Moscow papyrus (also called the Golenishev papyrus) is written. It gives details of Egyptian geometry. (See this History Topic.) About 1850BC Babylonians know Pythagoras's Theorem. (See this History Topic.) About 1800BC Babylonians use multiplication tables. About 1750BC The Babylonians solve linear and quadratic algebraic equations, compile tables of square and cube roots. They use Pythagoras's theorem and use mathematics to extend knowledge of astronomy. (See this History Topic.) About 1700BC The Rhind papyrus (sometimes called the Ahmes papyrus) is written. It shows that Egyptian mathematics has developed many techniques to solve problems. Multiplication is based on repeated doubling, and division uses successive halving. (See this History Topic.) About 1360BC A decimal number system with no zero starts to be used in China. About 1000BC Chinese use counting boards for calculation. About 800BC Baudhayana is the author of one of the earliest of the Indian Sulbasutras. (See this History Topic.) About 750BC Manava writes a Sulbasutra. (See this History Topic.)
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About 600BC Apastamba writes the most interesting Indian Sulbasutra from a mathematical point of view. (See this History Topic.) 575BC Thales brings Babylonian mathematical knowledge to Greece. He uses geometry to solve problems such as calculating the height of pyramids and the distance of ships from the shore. About 540BC Counting rods used in China. 530BC Pythagoras of Samos moves to Croton in Italy and teaches mathematics, geometry, music, and reincarnation. About 500BC The Babylonian sexagesimal number system is used to record and predict the positions of the Sun, Moon and planets. (See this History Topic.) About 500BC Panini's work on Sanskrit grammar is the forerunner of the modern formal language theory. About 465BC Hippasus writes of a "sphere of 12 pentagons", which must refer to a dodecahedron. About 450BC Greeks begin to use written numerals. (See this History Topic.) About 450BC Zeno of Elea presents his paradoxes. About 440BC Hippocrates of Chios writes the Elements which is the first compilation of the elements of geometry. About 430BC Hippias of Elis invents the quadratrix which may have been used by him for trisecting an angle and squaring the circle. About 425BC Theodorus of Cyrene shows that certain square roots are irrational. This had been shown earlier but it is not known by whom. About 400BC Babylonians use a symbol to indicate an empty place in their numbers recorded in cuneiform writing. There is no indication that this was in any way thought of as a number. (See this History Topic.) 387BC Plato founds his Academy in Athens About 375BC Archytas of Tarentum develops mechanics. He studies the "classical problem" of doubling the cube and applies mathematical theory to music. He also constructs the first automaton. About 360BC Eudoxus of Cnidus develops the theory of proportion, and the method of exhaustion. About 340BC Aristaeus writes Five Books concerning Conic Sections. About 330BC Autolycus of Pitane writes On the Moving Sphere which studies the geometry of the sphere. It is written as an astronomy text. About 320BC Eudemus of Rhodes writes the History of Geometry. About 300BC Euclid gives a systematic development of geometry in his Stoicheion (The Elements). He also gives the laws of reflection in Catoptrics.

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About 290BC Aristarchus of Samos uses a geometric method to calculate the distance of the Sun and the Moon from Earth. He also proposes that the Earth orbits the Sun. About 290BC The Chinese classic Chou pei suan ching is written. About 250BC In On the Sphere and the Cylinder, Archimedes gives the formulae for calculating the volume of a sphere and a cylinder. In Measurement of the Circle he gives an approximation of the value of with a method which will allow improved approximations. In Floating Bodies he presents what is now called "Archimedes' principle" and begins the study of hydrostatics. He writes works on two- and threedimensional geometry, studying circles, spheres and spirals. His ideas are far ahead of his contemporaries and include applications of an early form of integration. About 235BC Eratosthenes of Cyrene estimates the Earth's circumference with remarkable accuracy finding a value which is about 15% too big. About 230BC Nicomedes writes his treatise On conchoid lines which contain his discovery of the curve known as the "Conchoid of Nicomedes". About 225BC Apollonius of Perga writes Conics in which he introduces the terms "parabola", "ellipse" and "hyperbola". About 230BC Eratosthenes of Cyrene develops his sieve method for finding all prime numbers. (See this History Topic.) About 200BC Diocles writes On burning mirrors, a collection of sixteen propositions in geometry mostly proving results on conics. About 190BC Chinese mathematicians use powers of 10 to express magnitudes. 127BC Hipparchus discovers the precession of the equinoxes and calculates the length of the year to within 6.5 minutes of the correct value. His astronomical work uses an early form of trigonometry. About 150BC Hypsicles writes On the Ascension of Stars. In this work he is the first to divide the Zodiac into 360 degrees. About 100BC Chinese mathematicians are the first to introduce negative numbers. About 1AD Chinese mathematician Liu Hsin uses decimal fractions. About 20 Geminus writes a number of astronomy texts and The Theory of Mathematics. He tries to prove the parallel postulate. (See this History Topic.) About 50 Chinese mathematician Sun-tzi presents the first known example of an indeterminate equation. About 60 Heron of Alexandria writes Metrica (Measurements). It contains formulas for calculating areas and volumes. About 90 The Chinese invent magic squares. About 90 Nicomachus of Gerasa writes Arithmetike eisagoge (Introduction to Arithmetic) which is the first work to treat arithmetic as a separate topic from geometry.
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About 100 The classical Chinese mathematics text Jiuzhang Suanshu (Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art) begins to be assembled. About 110 Menelaus of Alexandria writes Sphaerica which deals with spherical triangles and their application to astronomy. About 150 Ptolemy produces many important geometrical results with applications in astronomy. His version of astronomy will be the accepted one for well over one thousand years. About 250 The Maya civilization of Central America uses an almost place-value number system to base 20. (See this History Topic.) 250 Diophantus of Alexandria writes Arithmetica, a study of number theory problems in which only rational numbers are allowed as solutions. 263 By using a regular polygon with 192 sides Liu Hui calculates the value of as 3.14159 which is correct to five decimal places. (See this History Topic.) 301 Iamblichus writes on astrology and mysticism. His Life of Pythagoras is a fascinating account. 340 Pappus of Alexandria writes Synagoge (Collections) which is a guide to Greek geometry. 390 Theon of Alexandria produces a version of Euclid's Elements (with textual changes and some additions) on which almost all subsequent editions are based. About 400 Hypatia writes commentaries on Diophantus and Apollonius. She is the first recorded female mathematician and she distinguishes herself with remarkable scholarship. She becomes head of the Neo-Platonist school at Alexandria. 450 Proclus, a mathematician and Neo-Platonist, is one of the last philosophers at Plato's Academy at Athens. About 460 Tsu Ch'ung Chi gives the approximation 355/113 to which is correct to 6 decimal places. (See this History Topic.) 499 Aryabhata I calculates to be 3.1416. He produces his Aryabhatiya, a treatise on quadratic equations, the value of , and other scientific problems. About 500 Metrodorus assembles the Greek Anthology consisting of 46 mathematical problems. 510 Eutocius of Ascalon writes commentaries on Archimedes' work. 510 Boethius writes geometry and arithmetic texts which are widely used for a long time. About 530 Eutocius writes commentaries on the works of Archimedes and Apollonius. 532 Anthemius of Tralles, a mathematician of note, is the architect for the Hagia Sophia at Constantinople. (See this History Topic.) 534 Chinese mathematics is introduced into Japan.

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575 Varahamihira produces Pancasiddhantika (The Five Astronomical Canons). He makes important contributions to trigonometry. 594 Decimal notation is used for numbers in India. This is the system on which our current notation is based. (See this History Topic.) 628 Brahmagupta writes Brahmasphutasiddanta (The Opening of the Universe), a work on astronomy; on mathematics. He uses zero and negative numbers, gives methods to solve quadratic equations, sum series, and compute square roots. About 700 Mathematicians in the Mayan civilization introduce a symbol for zero into their number system. (See this History Topic.) 729 Hsing introduces a new calendar into China, correcting many errors in earlier calendars. 732 Qutan Zhuan accuses Hsing of copying an Indian calendar in producing his own. However Hsing's Chinese calendar is far more accurate than the Indian one. About 775 Alcuin of York writes elementary texts on arithmetic, geometry and astronomy. About 790 Chinese begin to use finite difference methods. About 810 House of Wisdom set up in Baghdad. There Greek and Indian mathematical and astronomy works are translated into Arabic. About 810 Al-Khwarizmi writes important works on arithmetic, algebra, geography, and astronomy. In particular Hisab al-jabr w'al-muqabala (Calculation by Completion and Balancing), gives us the word "algebra", from "al-jabr". From al-Khwarizmi's name, as a consequence of his arithmetic book, comes the word "algorithm". About 850 Thabit ibn Qurra makes important mathematical discoveries such as the extension of the concept of number to (positive) real numbers, integral calculus, theorems in spherical trigonometry, analytic geometry, and non-euclidean geometry. About 850 Thabit ibn Qurra writes Book on the determination of amicable numbers which contains general methods to construct amicable numbers. He knows the pair of amicable numbers 17296, 18416. 850 Mahavira writes Ganita Sara Samgraha. It consists of nine chapters and includes all mathematical knowledge of mid-ninth century India. 900 Sridhara writes the Trisatika (sometimes called the Patiganitasara) and the Patiganita. In these he solves quadratic equations, sums series, studies combinations, and gives methods of finding the areas of polygons. About 900 Abu Kamil writes Book on algebra which studies applications of algebra to geometrical problems. It will be the book on which Fibonacci will base his works. 920 Al-Battani writes Kitab al-Zij a major work on astronomy in 57 chapters. It contains advances in trigonometry. 950 Gerbert of Aurillac (later Pope Sylvester II) reintroduces the abacus into Europe. He uses Indian/Arabic numerals without having a zero.
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About 960 Al-Uqlidisi writes Kitab al-fusul fi al-hisab al-Hindi which is the earliest surviving book that presents the Hindu system. About 970 Abu'l-Wafa invents the wall quadrant for the accurate measurement of the declination of stars in the sky. He writes important books on arithmetic and geometric constructions. He introduces the tangent function and produces improved methods of calculating trigonometric tables. 976 Codex Vigilanus copied in Spain. Contains the first evidence of decimal numbers in Europe. About 990 Al-Karaji writes Al-Fakhri in Baghdad which develops algebra. He gives Pascal's triangle. About 1000 Ibn al-Haytham (often called Alhazen) writes works on optics, including a theory of light and a theory of vision, astronomy, and mathematics, including geometry and number theory. He gives Alhazen's problem: Given a light source and a spherical mirror, find the point on the mirror were the light will be reflected to the eye of an observer. About 1010 Al-Biruni writes on many scientific topics. His work on mathematics covers arithmetic, summation of series, combinatorial analysis, the rule of three, irrational numbers, ratio theory, algebraic definitions, method of solving algebraic equations, geometry, Archimedes' theorems, trisection of the angle and other problems which cannot be solved with ruler and compass alone, conic sections, stereometry, stereographic projection, trigonometry, the sine theorem in the plane, and solving spherical triangles. About 1020 Ibn Sina (usually called Avicenna) writes on philosophy, medicine, psychology, geology, mathematics, astronomy, and logic. His important mathematical work Kitab al-Shifa' (The Book of Healing) divides mathematics into four major topics, geometry, astronomy, arithmetic, and music. 1040 Ahmad al-Nasawi writes al-Muqni'fi al-Hisab al-Hindi which studies four different number systems. He explains the operations of arithmetic, particularly taking square and cube roots in each system. About 1050 Hermann of Reichenau (sometimes called Hermann the Lame or Hermann Contractus) writes treatises on the abacus and the astrolabe. He introduces into Europe the astrolabe, a portable sundial and a quadrant with a cursor. 1072 Al-Khayyami (usually known as Omar Khayyam) writes Treatise on Demonstration of Problems of Algebra which contains a complete classification of cubic equations with geometric solutions found by means of intersecting conic sections. He measures the length of the year to be 365.24219858156 days, a remarkably accurate result. 1093 Shen Kua writes Meng ch'i pi t'an (Dream Pool Essays), which is a work on mathematics, astronomy, cartography, optics and medicine. It contains the earliest mention of a magnetic compass. 1130 Jabir ibn Aflah writes works on mathematics which, although not as good as many other Arabic works, are important since they will be translated into Latin and become available to European mathematicians. About 1140 Bhaskara II (sometimes known as Bhaskaracharya) writes Lilavati (The Beautiful) on arithmetic and geometry, and Bijaganita (Seed Arithmetic), on algebra. 1142 Adelard of Bath produces two or three translations of Euclid's Elements from Arabic. 1144 Gherard of Cremona begins translating Arabic works (and Arabic translations of Greek works) into Latin.
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1149 Al-Samawal writes al-Bahir fi'l-jabr (The brilliant in algebra). He develops algebra with polynomials using negative powers and zero. He solves quadratic equations, sums the squares of the first n natural numbers, and looks at combinatorial problems. 1150 Arabic numerals are introduced into Europe with Gherard of Cremona's translation of Ptolemy's Almagest. The name of the "sine" function comes from this translation. About 1200 Chinese start to use a symbol for zero. (See this History Topic.) 1202 Fibonacci writes Liber abaci (The Book of the Abacus), which sets out the arithmetic and algebra he had learnt in Arab countries. It also introduces the famous sequence of numbers now called the "Fibonacci sequence". 1225 Fibonacci writes Liber quadratorum (The Book of the Square), his most impressive work. It is the first major European advance in number theory since the work of Diophantus a thousand years earlier. About 1225 Jordanus Nemorarius writes on astronomy. In mathematics he uses letters in an early form of algebraic notation. About 1230 John of Holywood (sometimes called Johannes de Sacrobosco) writes on arithmetic, astronomy and calendar reform. 1247 Ch'in Chiu-Shao writes Mathematical Treatise in Nine Sections. It contains simultaneous integer congruences and the Chinese Remainder Theorem. It considers indeterminate equations, Horner's method, areas of geometrical figures and linear simultaneous equations. 1248 Li Yeh writes a book which contains negative numbers, denoted by putting a diagonal stroke through the last digit. About 1260 Campanus of Novara, chaplain to Pope Urban IV, writes on astronomy and publishes a Latin edition of Euclid's Elements which became the standard Euclid for the next 200 years. 1275 Yang Hui writes Cheng Chu Tong Bian Ben Mo (Alpha and omega of variations on multiplication and division). It uses decimal fractions (in the modern form) and gives the first account of Pascal's triangle. 1303 Chu Shih-Chieh writes Szu-yuen Yu-chien (The Precious Mirror of the Four Elements), which contains a number of methods for solving equations up to degree 14. He also defines what is now called Pascal's triangle and shows how to sum certain sequences. 1321 Levi ben Gerson (sometimes known as Gersonides) writes Book of Numbers dealing with arithmetical operations, permutations and combinations. 1328 Bradwardine writes De proportionibus velocitatum in motibus which is an early work on kinematics using algebra. 1335 Richard of Wallingford writes Quadripartitum de sinibus demonstratis, the first original Latin treatise on trigonometry. 1336 Mathematics becomes a compulsory subject for a degree at the University of Paris. 1342 Levi ben Gerson (Gersonides) writes De sinibus, chordis et arcubus (Concerning Sines, Chords and
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Arcs), a treatise on trigonometry which gives a proof of the sine theorem for plane triangles and gives five figure sine tables. 1343 Jean de Meurs writes Quadripartitum numerorum (Four-fold Division of Numbers), a treatise on mathematics, mechanics, and music. 1343 Levi ben Gerson (Gersonides) writes De harmonicis numeris (Concerning the Harmony of Numbers), which is a commentary on the first five books of Euclid. 1364 Nicole d'Oresme writes Latitudes of Forms, an early work on coordinate systems which may have influence Descartes. Another work by Oresme contains the first use of a fractional exponent. 1382 Nicole d'Oresme publishes Le Livre du ciel et du monde (The Book of Heaven and Earth). It is a compilation of treatises on mathematics, mechanics, and related areas. Oresme opposed the theory of a stationary Earth. 1400 Madhava of Sangamagramma proves a number of results about infinite sums giving Taylor expansions of trigonometric functions. He uses these to find an approximation for correct to 11 decimal places. 1411 Al-Kashi writes Compendium of the Science of Astronomy. 1424 Al-Kashi writes Treatise on the Circumference giving a remarkably good approximation to in both sexagesimal and decimal forms. 1427 Al-Kashi completes The Key to Arithmetic containing work of great depth on decimal fractions. It applies arithmetical and algebraic methods to the solution of various problems, including several geometric ones and is one of the best textbooks in the whole of medieval literature. 1434 Alberti studies the representation of 3-dimensional objects and writes the first general treatise Della Pictura on the laws of perspective. 1437 Ulugh Beg publishes his star catalogue Zij-i Sultani. It contains trigonometric tables correct to eight decimal places based on Ulugh Beg's calculation of the sine of one degree which he calculated correctly to 16 decimal places. 1450 Nicholas of Cusa studies geometry and logic. He contributes to the study of infinity, studying the infinitely large and the infinitely small. He looks at the circle as the limit of regular polygons. About 1470 Chuquet writes Triparty en la science des nombres, the earliest French algebra book. 1472 Peurbach publishes Theoricae Novae Planetarum (New Theory of the Planets). He uses Ptolemy's epicycle theory of the planets but believes they are controlled by the sun. 1474 Regiomontanus publishes his Ephemerides, astronomical tables for the years 1475 to 1506 AD, and proposes a method for calculating longitude by using the moon. 1475 Regiomontanus publishes De triangulis planis et sphaericis (Concerning Plane and Spherical Triangles), which studies spherical trigonometry to apply it to astronomy. 1482 Campanus of Novara's edition of Euclid's Elements becomes the first mathematics book to be printed. 1489 Widman writes an arithmetic book in German which contains the first appearance of + and - signs.
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1494 Pacioli publishes Summa de arithmetica, geometria, proportioni et proportionalita which is a review of the whole of mathematics covering arithmetic, trigonometry, algebra, tables of moneys, weights and measures, games of chance, double-entry book-keeping and a summary of Euclid's geometry. 1514 Vander Hoecke uses the + and - signs. 1515 Del Ferro discovers a formula to solve cubic equations. (See this History Topic.) 1522 Tunstall publishes De arte supputandi libri quattuor (On the Art of Computation), an arithmetic book based on Pacioli's Summa. 1525 Rudolff introduces a symbol resembling for square roots in his Die Coss the first German algebra book. He understands that x0 = 1. 1525 Drer publishes Unterweisung der Messung mit dem Zirkel und Richtscheit, the first mathematics book published in German. It is a work on geometric constructions. 1533 Frisius publishes a method for accurate surveying using trigonometry. He is the first to propose the triangulation method. 1535 Tartaglia solves the cubic equation independently of del Ferro. (See this History Topic.) 1536 Hudalrichus Regius finds the fifth perfect number. The number 212(213 - 1) = 33550336 is the first perfect number to be discovered since ancient times. (See this History Topic.) 1540 Ferrari discovers a formula to solve quartic equations. (See this History Topic.) 1541 Rheticus publishes his trigonometric tables and the trigonometrical parts of Copernicus's work. 1543 Copernicus publishes De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the revolutions of the heavenly spheres). It gives a full account of the Copernican theory, namely that the Sun (not the Earth) is at rest in the centre of the Universe. 1544 Stifel publishes Arithmetica integra which contains binomial coefficients and the notation +, -, . 1545 Cardan publishes Ars Magna giving the formula that will solve any cubic equation based on Tartaglia's work and the formula for quartics discovered by Ferrari. (See this History Topic.) 1550 Ries publishes his famous arithmetic book Rechenung nach der lenge, auff den Linihen vnd Feder. It taught arithmetic both by the old abacus method and the new Indian method. 1551 Recorde translates and abridges the ancient Greek mathematician Euclid's Elements as The Pathewaie to Knowledge. 1555 J Scheybl gives the sixth perfect number 216(217 - 1) = 8589869056 but his work remains unknown until 1977. (See this History Topic.) 1557 Recorde publishes The Whetstone of Witte which introduces = (the equals sign) into mathematics. He uses the symbol "bicause noe 2 thynges can be moare equalle". 1563
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Cardan writes his book Liber de Ludo Aleae on games of chance but it would not be published until 1663. 1571 Vite begins publishing the Canon Mathematicus which he intends as a mathematical introduction to his astronomy treatise. It covers trigonometry, containing trigonometric tables and the theory behind their construction. 1572 Bombelli publishes the first three parts of his Algebra. He is the first to gives the rules for calculating with complex numbers. 1575 Maurolico publishes Arithmeticorum libri duo which contains examples of inductive proofs. 1585 Stevin publishes De Thiende in which he presents an elementary and thorough account of decimal fractions. 1586 Stevin publishes De Beghinselen der Weeghconst containing the theorem of the triangle of forces. 1590 Cataldi uses continued fractions in finding square roots. 1591 Vite writes In artem analyticam isagoge (Introduction to the analytical art), using letters as symbols for quantities, both known and unknown. He uses vowels for the unknowns and consonants for known quantities. Descartes, later, introduces the use of letters x, y ... at the end of the alphabet for unknowns. 1593 Van Roomen calculates to 16 decimal places. (See this History Topic.) 1595 Pitiscus becomes the first to employ the term trigonometry in a printed publication. 1595 Clavius writes Novi calendarii romani apologia justifying calendar reforms. 1603 Cataldi finds the sixth and seventh perfect numbers, 216(217 - 1) =8589869056 and 218(219 - 1) = 137438691328. 1603 Accademia dei Lincei founded in Rome. 1606 Snell makes the first attempt to measure a degree of the meridian arc on the Earth's surface, and so determine the size of the Earth. He publishes Hypomnemata mathematica (Mathematical Memoranda) which is a Latin translation of Stevin's work on mechanics. 1609 Kepler publishes Astronomia nova (New Astronomy). The work contains Kepler's first and second law on elliptical orbits, but only verified for the planet Mars. 1610 Galileo publishes Sidereus Nuncius (Message from the stars) which describes the astronomical discoveries he has made with his telescopes. Harriot also observes the moons of Jupiter but does not publish his work. 1612 Bachet publishes a work on mathematical puzzles and tricks which will form the basis for almost all later books on mathematical recreations. He devises a method of constructing magic squares. 1613 Cataldi publishes Trattato del modo brevissimo di trovar la radice quadra delli numeri in which he finds square roots using continued fractions. 1614 Napier publishes his work on logarithms in Mirifici logarithmorum canonis descriptio (Description of the Marvellous Rule of Logarithms).
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1615 Kepler publishes Nova stereometria doliorum vinarorum (Solid Geometry of a Wine Barrel), an investigation of the capacity of casks, surface areas, and conic sections. He first had the idea at his marriage celebrations in 1613. His methods are early uses of the calculus. 1615 Mersenne encourages mathematicians to study the cycloid. (See this Famous curve.) 1617 Snell publishes his technique of trigonometrical triangulation which improves the accuracy of cartographic measurements. 1617 Briggs publishes Logarithmorum chilias prima (Logarithms of Numbers from 1 to 1,000) which introduces logarithms to the base 10. 1617 Napier invents Napier's bones, consisting of numbered sticks, as a mechanical calculator. He explains their function in Rabdologiae (Study of Divining Rods) published in the year of his death. 1620 Brgi publishes Arithmetische und geometrische progress-tabulen which contains his version of logarithms discovered independently of Napier. 1620 Gunter makes a mechanical device, Gunter's scale, to multiply numbers based on logarithms using a single scale and a pair of dividers. 1620 Guldin gives Guldin's Centroid Theorem which was already known to Pappus. 1621 Bachet publishes his Latin translation of Diophantus's Greek text Arithmetica. 1623 Schickard makes a "mechanical clock", a wooden calculating machine that add and subtract and aid with multiplication and division. He writes to Kepler suggesting using mechanical means to calculate ephemeredes. 1624 Briggs publishes Arithmetica logarithmica (The Arithmetic of Logarithms) which introduces the terms "mantissa" and "characteristic". It gives the logarithms of the natural numbers from 1 to 20,000 and 90,000 to 100,000 computed to 14 decimal places as well as tables of the sine function to 15 decimal places, and the tangent and secant functions to 10 decimal places. 1626 Albert Girard publishes a treatise on trigonometry containing the first use of the abbreviations sin, cos, tan. He also gives formulas for the area of a spherical triangle. 1629 Fermat works on maxima and minima. This work is an early contribution to the differential calculus. 1630 Oughtred invents an early form of circular slide rule. It uses two Gunter rulers. 1630 Mydorge works on optics and geometry. He gives an extremely accurate measurement of the latitude of Paris. 1631 Harriot's contributions are published ten years after his death in Artis analyticae praxis (Practice of the Analytic Art). The book introduces the symbols > and < for "greater than" and "less than" but these symbols are due to the editors of the work and not Harriot himself. His work on algebra is very impressive but the editors of the book do not present it well. 1631 Oughtred publishes Clavis Mathematicae which includes a description of Hindu-Arabic notation and decimal fractions. It has a considerable section on algebra.
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1634 Roberval finds the area under the cycloid curve. (See this Famous curve.) 1635 Descartes discovers Euler's theorem for polyhedra, V - E + F = 2. 1635 Cavalieri presents his development of Archimedes' method of exhaustion in his Geometria indivisibilis continuorum nova. The method incorporates Kepler's theory of infinitesimally small geometric quantities. 1636 Fermat discovers the pair of amicable numbers 17296, 18416 which were known to Thabit ibn Qurra 800 years earlier. 1637 Descartes publishes La Gomtrie which describes his application of algebra to geometry. 1639 Desargues begins the study of projective geometry, which considers what happens to shapes when they are projected on to a non-parallel plane. He describes his ideas in Brouillon project d'une atteinte aux evenemens des rencontres du Cone avec un Plan (Rough draft for an essay on the results of taking plane sections of a cone). 1640 Pascal publishes Essay pour les coniques (Essay on Conic Sections). 1641 Wilkins publishes on codes and ciphers. 1642 Pascal builds a calculating machine to help his father with tax calculations. It performs only additions. 1644 Torricelli publishes Opera geometrica which contains his results on projectiles. He investigates the point which minimises the sum of its distances from the vertices of a triangle. 1647 Fermat claims to have proved a theorem, but leaves no details of his proof since the margin in which he writes it is too small. Later known as Fermat's last theorem, it states that the equation xn + yn = zn has no non-zero solutions for x, y and z when n > 2. This theorem is finally proved to be true by Wiles in 1994. (See this History Topic.) 1647 Cavalieri publishes Exercitationes geometricae sex (Six Geometrical Exercises) which contains in print for the first time the integral from 0 to a of xn. 1648 Wilkins publishes Mathematical Magic giving an account of mechanical devices. 1648 Abraham Bosse publishes a work containing Desargues' famous "perspective theorem" - that when two triangles are in perspective the meets of corresponding sides are collinear. 1649 Van Schooten publishes the first Latin version of Descartes' La gomtrie. 1649 De Beaune writes Notes brives which contains the many results on "Cartesian geometry", in particular giving the now familiar equations for hyperbolas, parabolas and ellipses. 1650 De Witt completes writing Elementa curvarum linearum. It is the first systematic development of the analytic geometry of the straight line and conic. It is not published, however, until 1661 when it appears as an appendix to van Schooten's major work. 1651 Nicolaus Mercator publishes three works on trigonometry and astronomy, Trigonometria sphaericorum logarithmica, Cosmographia and Astronomica sphaerica. He gives the well known series expansion of log(1 + x).
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1653 Pascal publishes Treatise on the Arithmetical Triangle on "Pascal's triangle". It had been studied by many earlier mathematicians. 1654 Fermat and Pascal begin to work out the laws that govern chance and probability in five letters which they exchange during the summer. 1654 Pascal publishes his Treatise on the Equilibrium of Liquids on hydrostatics. He recognizes that force is transmitted equally in all directions through a fluid, and gives Pascal's law of pressure. 1655 Brouncker gives a continued fraction expansion of 4/ . He also computes the quadrature of the hyperbola, a result he will publish three years later. 1656 Wallis publishes Arithmetica infinitorum which uses interpolation methods to evaluate integrals. 1656 Huygens patents the first pendulum clock. 1657 Huygens publishes De ratiociniis in ludi aleae (On Reasoning in Games of Chance). It is the first published work on probability theory, outlining for the first time the concept called mathematical expectation based on the ideas in the letters of Fermat and Pascal from 1654. 1657 Neile becomes the first to find the arc length of an algebraic curve when he rectified the cubical parabola. (See this Famous curve.) 1657 Frenicle de Bessy publishes Solutio duorm problematum ... which gives solutions to some of Fermat's number theory challenges. 1658 Wren finds the length of an arc of the cycloid. (See this Famous curve.) 1659 Rahn publishes Teutsche algebra which contains (the division sign) probably invented by Pell. 1660 De Sluze discusses spirals, points of inflection and the finding of geometric means in his works. He studies curves which Pascal names the "pearls of Sluze". (See this Famous curve.) 1660 Hooke discovers Hooke's law of elasticity. 1660 Viviani measures the velocity of sound. He determines the tangent to a cycloid. (See this Famous curve.) 1661 Van Schooten publishes the second and final volume of Geometria a Renato Des Cartes. This work establishes analytic geometry as a major mathematical topic. The book also contains appendices by three of his disciples, de Witt, Hudde, and Heuraet. 1662 The Royal Society of London is founded. Brouncker becomes its first President. (See this Article.) 1662 Graunt and Petty publish Natural and Political Observations made upon the Bills of Mortality. It is one of the first statistics books. 1663 Barrow becomes the first Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge in England. (See this Article.) 1665 Newton discovers the binomial theorem and begins work on the differential calculus.
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1666 The Acadmie des Sciences in Paris is founded. 1667 James Gregory publishes Vera circuli et hyperbolae quadratura which lays down exact foundations for the infinitesimal geometry. 1668 James Gregory publishes Geometriae pars universalis which is the first attempt to write a calculus textbook. 1668 Pell gives a table of factors of all integers up to 100000. 1669 Wren publishes his result that a hyperboloid of revolution is a ruled surface. 1669 Barrow resigns the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics at Cambridge University to allow his pupil Newton to be appointed. 1669 Wallis publishes his Mechanica (Mechanics) which is a detailed mathematical study of mechanics. 1670 Barrow publishes Lectiones Geometricae which contains his important work on tangents which forms the starting point of Newton's work on the calculus. 1671 De Witt publishes A Treatise on Life Annuities. It contains the idea of mathematical expectation. 1671 James Gregory discovers Taylor's Theorem and writes to Collins telling him of his discovery. His series expansion for arctan(x) gives a series for /4. 1672 Mengoli publishes The Problem of Squaring the Circle which studies infinite series and gives an infinite product expansion for /2. 1672 Mohr publishes Euclides danicus in which he shows that all Euclidean constructions can be carried out with compasses alone. 1673 Leibniz demonstrates his incomplete calculating machine to the Royal Society. It can multiply, divide and extract roots. 1673 Huygens publishes Horologium Oscillatorium sive de motu pendulorum. As well as work on the pendulum he investigates evolutes and involutes of curves and finds the evolutes of the cycloid and of the parabola. 1675 La Hire publishes Sectiones conicae which is a major work on conic sections. 1675 Leibniz uses the modern notation for an integral for the first time. 1676 Leibniz discovers the differentials of basic functions independently of Newton. 1677 Leibniz discovers the rules for differentiating products, quotients, and the function of a function. 1678 Giovanni Ceva publishes De lineis rectis containing "Ceva's theorem". 1678 Cocker's Arithmetic is published two years after Cocker's death. It would run to more than 100 editions over a period of about 100 years. 1679 Leibniz introduces binary arithmetic. It was not published until 1701.
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1680 Cassini studies the "Cassinian curve" which is the locus of a point the product of whose distances from two fixed foci is constant. (See this Famous curve.) 1682 Tschirnhaus studies catacaustic curves, being the envelope of light rays emitted from a point source after reflection from a given curve. 1683 Seki Kowa publishes a treatise that first introduces determinants. He considers integer solutions of ax by = 1 where a, b are integers. 1684 Leibniz publishes details of his differential calculus in Nova Methodus pro Maximis et Minimis, itemque Tangentibus. In contains the familiar d notation, and the rules for computing the derivatives of powers, products and quotients. 1685 Wallis publishes De Algebra Tractatus (Treatise of Algebra) which contains the first published account of Newton's binomial theorem. It made Harriot's remarkable contributions known. 1685 Kochanski gives an approximate method to find the length of the circumference of a circle. 1687 Newton publishes The Principia or Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica (The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy). In this work, recognised as the greatest scientific book ever written, Newton presents his theories of motion, gravity, and mechanics. His theories explain the eccentric orbits of comets, the tides and their variations, the precession of the Earth's axis, and motion of the Moon. 1690 Jacob Bernoulli uses the word "integral" for the first time to refer to the area under a curve. 1690 Rolle publishes Trait d'algbre on the theory of equations. 1691 Jacob Bernoulli invents polar coordinates, a method of describing the location of points in space using angles and distances. 1691 Rolle publishes Mthods pour rsoudre les galits which contains Rolle's theorem. His proof uses a method due to Hudde. 1692 Leibniz introduces the term "coordinate". 1693 Halley publishes his mortality tables for the city of Breslau (now Wroclaw) in Poland. His attempts to relate mortality and age in a population and proves highly influential in the future production of actuarial tables in life insurance. 1694 Johann Bernoulli discovers "L'Hpital's rule". 1696 Johann Bernoulli poses the problem of the brachristochrone and challenges others to solve it. Johann Bernoulli, Jacob Bernoulli and Leibniz all solve it. 1702 David Gregory publishes Astronomiae physicae et geometricae elementa which is a popular account of Newton's theories. 1706 Jones introduces the Greek letter to represent the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter in his Synopsis palmariorum matheseos (A New Introduction to Mathematics).

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1707 Newton publishes Arithmetica universalis (General Arithmetic) which contains a collection of his results in algebra. 1707 De Moivre uses trigonometric functions to represent complex numbers in the form r(cos z + i sin x). 1708 La Hire calculates the length of the cardioid. (See this Famous curve.) 1710 Arbuthnot publishes an important statistics paper in the Royal Society which discusses the slight excess of male births over female births. This paper is the first application of probability to social statistics. 1711 Giovanni Ceva publishes De Re Nummeraria (Concerning Money Matters) which is one of the first works in mathematical economics. 1713 Jacob Bernoulli's book Ars conjectandi (The Art of Conjecture) is an important work on probability. It contains the Bernoulli numbers which appear in a discussion of the exponential series. 1715 Brook Taylor publishes Methodus incrementorum directa et inversa (Direct and Indirect Methods of Incrementation), an important contribution to the calculus. The book discusses singular solutions to differential equations, a change of variables formula, and a way of relating the derivative of a function to the derivative of the inverse function. There is also a discussion on vibrating strings. 1717 Johann Bernoulli declares that the principle of virtual displacement is applicable to all cases of equilibrium. 1718 Jacob Bernoulli's work on the calculus of variations is published after his death. 1718 De Moivre publishes The Doctrine of Chances. The definition of statistical independence appears in this book together with many problems with dice and other games. He also investigated mortality statistics and the foundation of the theory of annuities. 1719 Brook Taylor publishes New principles of linear perspective. The first edition appeared four years earlier under the title Linear perspective. The work gives the first general treatment of vanishing points. 1722 The work unfinished by Cotes on his death is published as Harmonia mensurarum. It deals with integration of rational functions. It contains a thorough treatment of the calculus applied to logarithmic and circular functions. 1724 Jacapo Riccati studies the Riccati differential equation in a paper. He gives solutions for certain special cases to the equation which was first studied by Jacob Bernoulli. 1724 Academy of Sciences is founded in St Petersburg. 1727 Euler is appointed to St Petersburg. He introduces the symbol e for the base of natural logarithms in a manuscript entitled Meditation upon Experiments made recently on firing of Cannon. The manuscript was not published until 1862. 1728 Grandi publishes Flora geometrica (Geometrical Flowers). He gives a geometrical definition of curves which resemble petals and leaves of flowers. For example the rhodonea curves are so called since they look like roses while the clelie curve is named after the Countess Clelia Borromeo to whom he dedicated his book.
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1730 De Moivre gives further theorems concerning his trigonometric representation of complex numbers. He gives Stirling's formula. 1731 Clairaut publishes Recherches sur les courbes double coubure on skew curves. 1733 De Moivre first describes the normal distribution curve, or law of errors, in Approximatio ad summam terminorum binomii (a+b)n in seriem expansi. Gauss, in 1820, also investigated the normal distribution. 1733 In Euclides ab Omni Naevo Vindicatus Saccheri does important early work on non-euclidean geometry, although he considers it an attempt to prove the parallel postulate of Euclid. 1734 Berkeley publishes The analyst: or a discourse addressed to an infidel mathematician. He argues that although the calculus led to true results its foundations were no more secure than those of religion. 1735 Euler introduces the notation f(x). 1736 Euler solves the topographical problem known as the "Knigsberg bridges problem". He proves mathematically that it is impossible to design a walk which crosses each of the seven bridges exactly once. 1736 Euler publishes Mechanica which is the first mechanics textbook which is based on differential equations. 1737 Simpson publishes his Treatise on Fluxions written as a textbook for his private students. In the book he uses infinite series to find the definite integrals of functions. 1738 Daniel Bernoulli publishes Hydrodynamica (Hydrodynamics). It gives for the first time the correct analysis of water flowing from a hole in a container and discusses pumps and other machines to raise water. He also gives, in Chapter 10, the basis of the kinetic theory of gases. 1739 D'Alembert publishes Mmoire sur le calcul intgral (Memoir on Integral Calculus). 1740 Simpson publishes Treatise on the Nature and Laws of Chance. Much of this probability treatise is based on the work of de Moivre. 1740 Maclaurin is awarded the Grand Prix of the Acadmie des Sciences for his work on gravitational theory to explain the tides. 1742 Maclaurin publishes Treatise on Fluxions which aims to provide a rigorous foundation for the calculus by appealing to the methods of Greek geometry. It is the first systematic exposition of Newton's methods written in reply to Berkeley's attack on the calculus for its lack of rigorous foundations. 1742 Goldbach conjectures, in a letter to Euler, that every even number 4 can be written as the sum of two primes. It is not yet known whether Goldbach's conjecture is true. 1743 D'Alembert publishes Trait de dynamique (Treatise on Dynamics). In this celebrated work he states his principle that the internal actions and reactions of a system of rigid bodies in motion are in equilibrium. 1744 D'Alembert publishes Traite de l'equilibre et du mouvement des fluides (Treatise on Equilibrium and on Movement of Fluids). He applies his principle to the equilibrium and motion of fluids.
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1746 D'Alembert further develops the theory of complex numbers in making the first serious attempt to prove the fundamental theorem of algebra. (See this History Topic.) 1747 D'Alembert uses partial differential equations to study the winds in Rflexion sur la cause gnrale des vents (Reflection on the General Cause of Winds) which receives the prize of the Prussian Academy. 1748 Agnesi writes Instituzioni analitiche ad uso della giovent italiana which is an Italian teaching text on the differential calculus. The book contains many examples which were carefully selected to illustrate the ideas. There is an investigation of a curve that becomes known as "the witch of Agnesi". (See this Famous curve.) 1748 Euler publishes Analysis Infinitorum (Analysis of the Infinite) which is an introduction to mathematical analysis. He defines a function and says that mathematical analysis is the study of functions. This work bases the calculus on the theory of elementary functions rather than on geometric curves, as had been done previously. The famous formula e i = -1 appears for the first time in this text. About 1750 D'Alembert studies the "three-body problem" and applies calculus to celestial mechanics. Euler, Lagrange and Laplace also work on the three-body problem. 1750 Cramer publishes Introduction l'analyse des lignes courbes algbraique. The work investigates curves. The third chapter looks at a classification of curves and it is in this chapter that the now famous "Cramer's rule" is given. 1750 Giulio Fagnano publishes much of his previous work in Produzioni matematiche. It contains remarkable properties of the lemniscate and the duplication formula for integrals. This latter result led Euler to prove the addition formula for elliptic integrals. 1751 Euler publishes his theory of logarithms of complex numbers. 1752 D'Alembert discovers the Cauchy-Riemann equations while investigating hydrodynamics. 1752 Euler states his theorem V - E + F = 2 for polyhedra. 1753 Simson notes that in the Fibonacci sequence the ratio between adjacent numbers approaches the golden ratio. 1754 Lagrange makes important discoveries on the tautochrone which would contribute substantially to the new subject of the calculus of variations. 1755 Euler publishes Institutiones calculi differentialis which begins with a study of the calculus of finite differences. 1757 Lagrange is a founding member of a mathematical society in Italy that will eventually become the Turin Academy of Sciences. 1758 The appearance of "Halley's comet" on 25 December confirms Halley's predictions 15 years after his death. 1759 Aepinus publishes Tentamen theoriae electriciatis et magnetismi (An Attempt at a Theory of Electricity and Magnetism). It is the first work to develop a mathematical theory of electricity and magnetism.
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1761 Lambert proves that is irrational. He publishes a more general result in 1768. 1763 Monge begins the study of descriptive geometry. 1764 Bayes publishes An Essay Towards Solving a Problem in the Doctrine of Chances which gives Bayes theory of probability. The work contains the important "Bayes' theorem". 1765 Euler publishes Theory of the Motions of Rigid Bodies which lays the foundation of analytical mechanics. 1766 Lambert writes Theorie der Parallellinien which is a study of the parallel postulate. By assuming that the parallel postulate is false, he manages to deduce a large number of results about non-euclidean geometry. 1767 D'Alembert calls the problems to elementary geometry caused by failure to prove the parallel postulate "the scandal of elementary geometry". 1768 Lambert publishes his result that is irrational. 1769 Euler publishes the first volume of his three volume work Dioptics. 1769 Euler makes Euler's Conjecture, namely that it is impossible to exhibit three fourth powers whose sum is a fourth power, four fifth powers whose sum is a fifth power, and similarly for higher powers. 1770 Lagrange proves that any integer can be written as the sum of four squares. 1770 Lagrange publishes Rflexions sur la rsolution algbrique des quations which makes a fundamental investigation of why equations of degrees up to four can be solved by radicals. The paper is the first to consider the roots of a equation as abstract quantities rather than numbers. He studies permutations of the roots and this work leads to group theory. 1770 Euler publishes his textbook Algebra. 1771 Lagrange proves Wilson's theorem (first stated without proof by Waring) that n is prime if and only if (n - 1)! + 1 is divisible by n. 1774 Buffon uses a mathematical and scientific approach to calculate that the age of the Earth is about 75000 years. 1777 Euler introduces the symbol i to represent the square root of -1 in a manuscript which will not appear in print until 1794. 1777 Buffon carries out his probability experiment calculating by throwing sticks over his shoulder onto a tiled floor and counting the number of times the sticks fell across the lines between the tiles. 1779 Bzout publishes Thorie gnrale des quation algbraiques on the theory of equations. The work includes a result now known as a result known as "Bzout's theorem". 1780 Lagrange wins the Grand Prix of the Acadmie des Sciences in Paris for his work on perturbations of the orbits of comets by the planets.

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1781 Coulomb's major work on friction Thorie des machines simples wins him the Grand Prix from the Acadmie des Sciences. 1781 William Herschel discovers the planet Uranus. 1783 Royal Society of Edinburgh is founded. (See this Article.) 1784 Legendre introduces his "Legendre polynomials" in his work Recherches sur la figure des plantes on celestial mechanics. 1785 Condorcet publishes Essai sur l'application de l'analyse la probabilit des dcisions rendues la pluralit des voix (Essay on the Application of the Analysis to the Probability of Majority Decisions). It is a major advance in the study of probability in the social sciences. 1785 Lagrange states the law of quadratic reciprocity but his proof is incorrect. 1785 Condorcet publishes Essay on the Application of Analysis to the Probability of Majority Decisions which is an extremely important work in the development of the theory of probability. 1785 Lagrange begins work on elliptic functions and elliptic integrals. 1788 Lagrange publishes Mcanique analytique (Analytical Mechanics). It summarises all the work done in the field of mechanics since the time of Newton and is notable for its use of the theory of differential equations. With this work Lagrange transforms mechanics into a branch of mathematical analysis. 1792 De Prony begins a major task of producing the Cadastre. This consisted of logarithmic and trigonometric tables given to between 14 and 29 decimal places. 1794 Legendre publishes Elments de gomtrie, an account of geometry which would be a leading text for 100 years. It will replace Euclid's Elements as a textbook in most of Europe and, in succeeding translations, in the United States. It becomes the prototype of later geometry texts. 1796 Laplace presents his famous nebular hypothesis in Exposition du systeme du monde which views the solar system as originating from the contracting and cooling of a large, flattened, and slowly rotating cloud of incandescent gas. 1796 Gauss gives the first correct proof of the law of quadratic reciprocity. 1797 Lagrange publishes Thorie des fonctions analytiques (Theory of Analytical Functions). It is the first treatise on the theory of functions of a real variable. It uses modern notation like dy/dx for derivatives. 1797 Wessel presents a paper on the vector representation of complex numbers which is published in Danish in 1799. The idea first appears in a report he wrote in 1787. 1797 Mascheroni proves in Geometria del compasso that all Euclidean constructions can be made with compasses alone and so a ruler in not required. 1797 Lazare Carnot publishes Rflexions sur la mtaphysique du calcul infinitsimal in which he treats zero and infinity as limits. He also considers that infinitely small quantities are real objects, being representable as differences between limits.

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1799 Gauss proves the fundamental theorem of algebra and notes that earlier proofs, such as by d'Alembert in 1746, could easily be corrected. (See this History Topic.) 1799 Laplace publishes the first volume of five-volume Trait de mcanique cleste (Celestial Mechanics). It applies calculus to study the orbits of celestial bodies and examines the stability of the Solar System. 1799 Monge publishes Gomtrie descriptive which describes orthographic projection, the graphical method used in modern mechanical drawing. 1799 Ruffini publishes the first proof that algebraic equations of degree greater than four cannot be solved by radicals. It was largely ignored as were the further proofs he would publish in 1803, 1808 and 1813. 1800 Lacroix completes publication of his three volume textbook Trait de Calcul differntiel et intgral. 1801 Gauss publishes Disquisitiones Arithmeticae (Discourses on Arithmetic). It contains seven sections, the first six of which are devoted to number theory and the last to the construction of a regular 17-gon by ruler and compasses. 1801 The minor planet Ceres is discovered but then lost. Gauss computes its orbit from the few observations that had been made leading to Ceres being rediscovered in almost exactly the position predicted by Gauss. 1801 Gauss proves Fermat's conjecture that every number can be written as the sum of three triangular numbers. 1803 Lazare Carnot publishes Gomtrie de position in which sensed magnitudes are first used systematically in geometry. 1804 Bessel publishes a paper on the orbit of Halley's comet using data from Harriot's observations 200 years earlier. 1806 Argand introduces the Argand diagram as a way of representing a complex number geometrically in the plane. 1806 Legendre develops the method of least squares to find best approximations to a set of observed data. 1807 Fourier discovers his method of representing continuous functions by the sum of a series of trigonometric functions and uses the method in his paper On the Propagation of Heat in Solid Bodies which he submits to the Paris Academy. 1808 Germain makes an important contribution to Fermat's last theorem. This is named "Germain's theorem" by Legendre. 1809 Poinsot discovers two new regular polyhedra. 1809 Gauss describes the least-squares method which he uses to find orbits of celestial bodies in Theoria motus corporum coelestium in sectionibus conicis Solem ambientium (Theory of the Movement of Heavenly Bodies). 1810 Gergonne publishes the first volume of his new mathematics journal Annales de mathmatique pures et appliques which became known as Annales de Gergonne.
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1811 Poisson publishes Trait de mcanique (Treatise on Mechanics). It includes Poisson's work on the applications of mathematics to topics such as electricity, magnetism and mechanics. 1812 Laplace publishes the two volumes of Thorie Analytique des probabilits (Analytical Theory of Probabilities). The first book studies generating functions and also approximations to various expressions occurring in probability theory. The second book contains Laplace's definition of probability, Bayes's rule, and mathematical expectation. 1814 Argand gives a beautiful proof (with some gaps) of the fundamental theorem of algebra. (See this History Topic.) 1814 Barlow produces Barlow's Tables which give factors, squares, cubes, square roots, reciprocals and hyperbolic logs of all numbers from 1 to 10000. 1815 Peter Roget (the author of Roget's Thesaurus) invents the "log-log" slide rule. 1815 Pfaff publishes important work on what are now called "Pfaffian forms". 1816 Peacock, Herschel and Babbage are the leaders of the Analytical Society at Cambridge which publishes an English translation of Lacroix's textbook Trait de Calcul differntiel et intgral. 1817 Bessel discovers a class of integral functions, now called "Bessel functions", in his study of a problem of Kepler to determine the motion of three bodies moving under mutual gravitation. 1817 Bolzano publishes Rein analytischer Beweis (Pure Analytical Proof) which contain an attempt to free calculus from the concept of the infinitesimal. He defines continuous functions without the use of infinitesimals. The work contains the Bolzano-Weierstrass theorem. 1818 Inspired by the work of Laplace, Adrain publishes Investigation of the figure of the Earth and of the gravity in different latitudes. 1819 Horner submits a paper giving "Horner's method" for solving algebraic equations to the Royal Society and was published in the same year in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. 1820 Brianchon publishes Recherches sur la determination d'une hyperbole equilatre, au moyen de quatres conditions donnes which contains a statement and proof of the nine point circle theorem. 1821 Navier gives the well known "Navier-Stokes equations" for an incompressible fluid. 1821 Cauchy publishes Cours d'analyse (A Course in Analysis), which sets mathematical analysis on a formal footing for the first time. Designed for students at the Ecole Polytechnique it was concerned with developing the basic theorems of the calculus as rigorously as possible. 1822 Poncelet develops the principles of projective geometry in Trait des proprits projectives des figures (Treatise on the Projective Properties of Figures). This work contains fundamental ideas of projective geometry such as the cross-ratio, perspective, involution and the circular points at infinity. 1822 Fourier's prize winning essay of 1811 is published as Thorie analytique de la chaleur (Analytical Theory of Heat). It makes widely available the techniques of Fourier analysis, which will have widespread applications in mathematics and throughout science. 1822 Feuerbach publishes his discoveries on the nine point circle of a triangle.
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1823 Jnos Bolyai completes preparation of a treatise on a complete system of non-Euclidean geometry. When Bolyai discovers that Gauss had anticipated much of his work, but not published anything, he delays publication. (See this History Topic.) 1823 Babbage begins construction of a large "difference engine" which is able to calculate logarithms and trigonometric functions. He was using the experience gained from his small "difference engine" which he constructed between 1819 and 1822. 1824 Sadi Carnot publishes Rflexions sur la puissance motrice du feu et sur les machines propres dvelopper cette puissance (Thoughts on the Motive Power of Fire, and on Machines Suitable for Developing that Power). A book on steam engines, it will be of fundamental importance in thermodynamics. The "Carnot cycle" which forms the basis of the second law of thermodynamics also appears in the book. 1824 Abel proves that polynomial equations of degree greater than four cannot be solved by radicals. He publishes it at his own expense as a six page pamphlet. 1824 Bessel develops "Bessel functions" further while undertaking a study of planetary perturbations. 1824 Steiner develops synthetic geometry. He publishes his theories on the topic in 1832. 1825 Gompertz gives "Gompertz's Law of Mortality" which shows that the mortality rate increases in a geometric progression so when death rates are plotted on a logarithmic scale, a straight line known as the "Gompertz function" is obtained. 1826 Ampre publishes Memoir on the Mathematical Theory of Electrodynamic Phenomena, Uniquely Deduced from Experience. It contains a mathematical derivation of the electrodynamic force law and describes four experiments. It lays the foundation for electromagnetic theory. 1826 Crelle begins publication of his Journal fr die reine und angewandte Mathematik which will become known as Crelle's Journal. The first volume contains several papers by Abel. 1826 Poncelet's work on the pole and polar lines associated with conics lead him to discover the principle of duality. Gergonne, who introduced the word polar, discovers independently the principle of duality. 1827 Jacobi writes a letter to Legendre detailing his discoveries on elliptic functions. Abel was independently working on elliptic functions at this time. 1827 Mbius publishes Der barycentrische Calkul on analytical geometry. It becomes a classic and includes many of his results on projective and affine geometry. In it he introduces homogeneous coordinates and also discusses geometric transformations, in particular projective transformations. 1827 Feuerbach writes a paper which, independently of Mbius, introduces homogeneous coordinates. 1828 Gauss introduces differential geometry and publishes Disquisitiones generales circa superficies. This paper arises from his geodesic interests, but it contains such geometrical ideas as "Gaussian curvature". The paper also includes Gauss's famous theorema egregrium. 1828 Green publishes Essay on the Application of Mathematical Analysis to the Theory of Electricity and Magnets, in which he applies mathematics to the properties of electric and magnetic fields. He introduces the term potential, develops properties of the potential function and applies them to electricity and magnetism. The formula connecting surface and volume integrals, now known as
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"Green's theorem", appears for the first time in the work, as does the "Green's function" which would be extensively used in the solution of partial differential equations. 1828 Abel begins a study of doubly periodic elliptic functions. 1828 Plcker publishes Analytisch-geometrische which develops the "Plcker abridged notation". He, independently of Mbius and Feuerbach one year earlier, discovers homogeneous coordinates. 1829 Galois submits his first work on the algebraic solution of equations to the Acadmie des Sciences in Paris. 1829 Lobachevsky develops non-euclidean geometry, in particular hyperbolic geometry, and his first account of the subject is published in the Kazan Messenger. When it was submitted for publication in the St Petersburg Academy of Sciences Ostrogradski rejects it. (See this History Topic.) About 1830 Babbage creates the first accurate actuarial tables for use in insurance calculations. 1830 Poisson introduces "Poisson's ratio" in elasticity which involves stresses and strains on materials. 1830 Peacock publishes his Treatise on Algebra which attempts to give algebra a logical treatment comparable to Euclid's Elements. 1831 Mbius publishes ber eine besondere Art von Umkehrung der Reihen which introduces the "Mbius function" and the "Mbius inversion formula". 1831 Cauchy gives power series expansions of analytic functions of a complex variable. 1832 Steiner publishes Systematische Entwicklungen ... (Systematic Development of the Dependency of Geometrical Forms on One Another) which gives a treatment of projective geometry based on metric considerations. 1832 Jnos Bolyai's work on non-Euclidean geometry is published as an appendix to an essay by Farkas Bolyai, his father. (See this History Topic.) 1833 Legendre points out the flaws in 12 "proofs" of the parallel postulate. (See this History Topic.) 1834 Hamilton uses algebra in treating dynamics in On a General Method in Dynamics. This paper gives the first statement of the characteristic function applied to dynamics. 1835 Quetelet publishes Sur l'homme et le dveloppement de ses facults (A treatise on Man and the Development of his Faculties). He presents his conception of the "average man" as the central value about which measurements of a human trait are grouped according to the normal curve. 1835 Coriolis publishes Sur les quations du mouvement relatif des systmes de corps. He introduces the "Coriolis force" and shows that the laws of motion can be used in a rotating frame of reference if an extra force called the "Coriolis acceleration" is added to the equations of motion. In the same year Coriolis publishes a work on a mathematical theory of billiards. 1836 Ostrogradski rediscovers Green's theorem. 1836 Liouville founds a mathematics journal Journal de Mathmatiques Pures et Appliques. This journal, sometimes known as Journal de Liouville, did much to advance mathematics in France throughout the 19th century.
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1836 Poncelet publishes Cours de mcanique applique aux machines (A Course in Mechanics Applied to Machines). It is the first to propose the use of mathematics in machine design. 1837 Poisson publishes Recherches sur la probabilit des jugements (Researches on the Probabilities of Opinions). In this work he establishes the rules of probability, gives "Poisson's law of large numbers" and describes the "Poisson distribution" for a discrete random variable which is a limiting case of the binomial distribution. 1837 The Cambridge and Dublin Mathematical Journals begins publication. 1837 Dirichlet gives a general definition of a function. 1837 Liouville discusses integral equations and gives the "Sturm-Liouville theory" which is used in solving such equations. 1837 Wantzel proves that the classical problems of duplicating a cube and trisecting an angle could not be solved with ruler and compass. 1838 Bessel measures the parallax of the star 61 Cygni, the first star for which this is calculated. 1838 Cournot publishes Recherches sur les principes mathmatiques de la thorie des richesses in which he discusses mathematical economics, in particular supply- and demand-functions. 1838 De Morgan invents the term "mathematical induction" and makes the method precise. 1839 Lam proves Fermat's Last Theorem for n = 7. (See this History Topic.) 1840 Cauchy publishes the first volume of the four volume work Exercises d'analyse et de physique mathematique. 1841 Gauss publishes a treatise on optics in which he gives a formulae for calculating the position and size of the image formed by a lens with a given focal length. 1841 Jacobi writes a long memoir De determinantibus functionalibus devoted to the functional determinant now called the Jacobian. 1841 Quetelet establishes the Belgium Central Statistical Bureau. 1842 Hesse introduces the "Hessian determinant" in a paper which investigates cubic and quadratic curves. 1842 Stokes begins his research on fluids and publishes On the steady motion of incompressible fluids. 1843 Cayley is the first person to investigate "geometry of n dimensions" which occurs in the title of his paper of that year. He uses determinants as the major tool. 1843 Hamilton discovers quaternions, which generalise complex numbers to four dimensions. 1843 Liouville announces to the Acadmie des Sciences in Paris that he had found deep results in Galois's unpublished work and promises to publish Galois's papers together with his own commentary. 1843 Kummer invents "ideal complex numbers" in his study of unique factorisation. This leads to the development of ring theory.
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1844 Liouville finds the first transcendental numbers - numbers that cannot be expressed as the roots of an algebraic equation with rational coefficients. 1844 Grassmann publishes Die lineale Ausdehnundslehre, ein neuer Zweig der Mathematik in which he develops the idea of an algebra in which the symbols representing geometric entities such as points, lines and planes, are manipulated using specific rules. 1845 Cayley publishes Theory of Linear Transformations in which he examines the composition of linear transformations. 1845 While examining permutation groups Cauchy proves a fundamental theorem of group theory which became known as "Cauchy's theorem". (See this History Topic.) 1846 Liouville publishes Galois' papers on the solution of algebraic equations in Liouville's Journal. 1846 Maxwell writes his first paper at the age of 14: On the description of oval curves, and those having a plurality of foci. 1847 Boole publishes The Mathematical Analysis of Logic, in which he shows that the rules of logic can be treated mathematically rather than metaphysically. Boole's work lays the foundation of computer logic. 1847 De Morgan proposes two laws of set theory that are now known as "de Morgan's laws". 1847 Von Staudt publishes Geometrie der Lage. It is the first work to completely free projective geometry from any metrical basis. 1848 Thomson (Lord Kelvin) proposes the absolute temperature scale now named after him. 1849 Hermite applies Cauchy's residue techniques to doubly periodic functions. 1850 Chebyshev publishes On Primary Numbers in which he proves new results in the theory of prime numbers. He proves Bertrand's conjecture there is always at least one prime between n and 2n for n > 1. 1850 In his paper On a New Class of Theorems Sylvester first uses the word "matrix". (See this History Topic.) 1851 Bolzano's book Paradoxien des Undendlichen (Paradoxes of the Infinite) is published three years after his death. It introduces his ideas about infinite sets. 1851 Liouville publishes a second work on the existence of specific transcendental numbers which are now known as "Liouville numbers". In particular he gave the example 0.1100010000000000000000010000... where there is a 1 in place n! and 0 elsewhere. 1851 Riemann's doctoral thesis contains ideas of exceptional importance, for example "Riemann surfaces" and their properties. 1852 Sylvester establishes the theory of algebraic invariants. 1852 Francis Guthrie poses the Four Colour Conjecture to De Morgan. (See this History Topic.)
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1852 Chasles publishes Trait de gomtrie which discusses cross ratio, pencils and involutions, all notions which he introduced. 1853 Hamilton publishes Lectures on Quaternions. 1853 Shanks gives to 707 places (in 1944 it was discovered that Shanks was wrong from the 528th place). 1854 Riemann completes his Habilitation. In his dissertation he studied the representability of functions by trigonometric series. He gives the conditions for a function to have an integral, what we now call the condition of "Riemann integrability". In his lecture ber die Hypothesen welche der Geometrie zu Grunde liegen (On the hypotheses that lie at the foundations of geometry), delivered on 10 June 1854 he defines an n-dimensional space and gives a definition of what today is called a "Riemannian space". 1854 Boole publishes The Laws of Thought on Which are founded the Mathematical Theories of Logic and Probabilities. He reduces logic to algebra and this algebra of logic is now known as Boolean algebra. 1854 Cayley makes an important advance in group theory when he makes the first attempt, which is not completely successful, to define an abstract group. (See this History Topic.) 1855 Maxwell publishes On Faraday's lines of force showing that a few relatively simple mathematical equations could express the behaviour of electric and magnetic fields and their interrelation. 1856 Weierstrass publishes his theory of inversion of hyperelliptic integrals in Theorie der Abelschen Functionen which appeared in Crelle's Journal. 1857 Riemann publishes Theory of abelian functions. It develops further the idea of Riemann surfaces and their topological properties, examines multi-valued functions as single valued over a special "Riemann surface", and solves general inversion problems special cases of which had been solved by Abel and Jacobi. 1858 Cayley gives an abstract definition of a matrix, a term introduced by Sylvester in 1850, and in A Memoir on the Theory of Matrices he studies its properties. 1858 Mbius describes a strip of paper that has only one side and only one edge. Now known as the "Mbius strip", it has the surprising property that it remains in one piece when cut down the middle. Listing makes the same discovery in the same year. 1858 Dedekind discovers a rigorous method to define irrational numbers with "Dedekind cuts". The idea comes to him while he is thinking how to teach differential and integral calculus. 1859 Mannheim invents the first modern slide rule that has a "cursor" or "indicator". 1859 Riemann makes a conjecture about the zeta function which involves prime numbers. It is still not known whether Riemann's hypothesis is true in general although it is known to be true in millions of cases. It is perhaps the most famous unsolved problem in mathematics in the 21st century. 1860 Delaunay publishes the first volume of La Thorie du mouvement de la lune which is the result of 20 years work. Delaunay solves the three-body problem by giving the longitude, latitude and parallax of the Moon as infinite series. 1861 Weierstrass discovers a continuous curve that is not differentiable any point.
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1862 Maxwell proposes that light is an electromagnetic phenomenon. 1862 Jevons reads General Mathematical Theory of Political Economy to the British Association. 1862 Listing publishes Der Census raumlicher Complexe oder Verallgemeinerung des Euler'schen Satzes von den Polyedern which discusses extensions of "Euler's formula". 1863 Weierstrass gives a proof in his lecture course that the complex numbers are the only commutative algebraic extension of the real numbers. 1864 Bertrand publishes Treatise on Differential and Integral Calculus. 1864 London Mathematical Society founded. (See this Article.) 1864 Benjamin Peirce presents his work on Linear Associative Algebras to the American Academy. It classifies all complex associative algebras of dimension less than seven using the, now familiar, tools of idempotent and nilpotent elements. 1865 Plcker makes further advances in geometry when he defines a four dimensional space in which straight lines rather than points are the basic elements. 1866 Hamilton's Elements of Quaternions is unfinished on his death but the 800 page work which took seven years to write is published posthumously by his son. 1867 Moscow Mathematical Society is founded. 1868 Beltrami publishes Essay on an Interpretation of Non-Euclidean Geometry which gives a concrete model for the non-euclidean geometry of Lobachevsky and Bolyai. 1869 Lueroth discovers the "Lueroth quartic". 1870 Benjamin Peirce publishes Linear Associative Algebras at his own expense. 1871 Betti publishes a memoir on topology which contains the "Betti numbers". 1872 Dedekind publishes his formal construction of real numbers and gives a rigorous definition of an integer. 1872 Heine publishes a paper which contains the theorem now known as the "Heine-Borel theorem". 1872 Socit Mathmatique de France is founded. 1872 Mray publishes Nouveau prcis d'analyse infinitsimale which aims to present the theory of functions of a complex variable using power series. 1872 Sylow publishes Thormes sur les groupes de substitutions which contains the famous three "Sylow theorems" about finite groups. He proves them for permutation groups. 1872 Klein gives his inaugural address at Erlanger. He defines geometry as the study of the properties of a space that are invariant under a given group of transformations. This became known as the "Erlanger programm" and profoundly influences mathematical development.
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1873 Maxwell publishes Electricity and Magnetism. This work contains the four partial differential equations, now known as "Maxwell's equations". 1873 Hermite publishes Sur la fonction exponentielle (On the Exponential Function) in which he proves that e is a transcendental number. 1873 Gibbs publishes two important papers on diagrams in thermodynamics. 1873 Brocard produces his work on the triangle. 1874 Cantor publishes his first paper on set theory. He rigorously describes the notion of infinity. He shows that infinities come in different sizes. He proves the controversial result that almost all numbers are transcendental. 1876 Gibbs publishes On the Equilibrium of Heterogeneous Substances which represents a major application of mathematics to chemistry. 1877 Cantor is surprised at his own discovery that there is a one-one correspondence between points on the interval [0, 1] and points in a square. 1878 Sylvester founds the American Journal of Mathematics. 1879 Kempe published his false proof of the Four Colour Theorem. (See this History Topic.) 1879 Lexis publishes On the theory of the stability of statistical series which begins the study of time series. 1879 Kharkov Mathematical Society is founded. 1880 Poincar publishes important results on automorphic functions. 1881 Venn introduces his "Venn diagrams" which become a useful tools in set theory. 1881 Gibbs develops vector analysis in a pamphlet written for the use of his own students. The methods will be important in Maxwell's mathematical analysis of electromagnetic waves. 1882 Lindemann proves that is transcendental. This proves that it is impossible to construct a square with the same area as a given circle using a ruler and compass. The classic mathematical problem of squaring the circle dates back to ancient Greece and had proved a driving force for mathematical ideas through many centuries. 1882 Mittag-Leffler founds the journal Acta Mathematica. 1883 Reynolds publishes An experimental investigation of the circumstances which determine whether the motion of water in parallel channels shall be direct or sinuous and of the law of resistance in parallel channels. The "Reynolds number" (as it is now called) used in modelling fluid flow appears in this work. 1883 Poincar publishes a paper which initiates the study of the theory of analytic functions of several complex variables. 1883 The Edinburgh Mathematical Society is founded. (See this Article.)
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1884 Volterra begins his study of integral equations. 1884 Frege publishes The Foundations of Arithmetic. 1884 Hlder discovers the "Hlder inequality". 1884 Mittag-Leffler publishes Sur la reprsentation analytique fes fonctions monognes uniformes d'une variable indpendante which gives his theorem on the construction of a meromorphic function with prescribed poles and singular parts. 1884 Frobenius proves Sylow's theorems for abstract groups. 1884 Ricci-Curbastro begins work on the absolute differential calculus. 1884 Circolo Matematico di Palermo is founded. 1885 Weierstrass shows that a continuous function on a finite subinterval of the real line can be uniformly approximated arbitrarily closely by a polynomial. 1885 Edgeworth publishes Methods of Statistics which presents an exposition of the application and interpretation of significance tests for the comparison of means. 1886 Reynolds formulates a theory of lubrication 1886 Peano proves that if f(x, y) is continuous then the first order differential equation dy/dx = f(x, y) has a solution. 1887 Levi-Civita publishes a paper developing the calculus of tensors. 1888 Dedekind publishes Was sind und was sollen die Zahlen? (The Nature and Meaning of Numbers). He puts arithmetic on a rigorous foundation giving what were later known as the "Peano axioms". 1888 Galton introduces the notion of correlation. 1888 Engel and Lie publish the first of three volumes of Theorie der Transformationsgruppen (Theory of Transformation Groups) which is a major work on continuous groups of transformations. 1889 Peano publishes Arithmetices principia, nova methodo exposita (The Principles of Arithmetic) which gives the Peano axioms defining the natural numbers in terms of sets. 1889 FitzGerald suggests what is now called the FitzGerald-Lorentz contraction to explain the "MichelsonMorley experiment". 1890 Peano discovers a space filling curve. 1890 St Petersburg Mathematical Society is founded. 1890 Heawood publishes Map colour theorems in which he points out the error in Kempe's proof of the Four Colour Theorem. He proves that five colours suffice. (See this History Topic.) 1891 Fedorov and Schnflies independently classify crystallographic space groups showing that there are 230 of them.
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1892 Poincar publishes the first of three volumes of Les Mthodes nouvelles de la mcanique cleste (New Methods in Celestial Mechanics). He aims to completely characterise all motions of mechanical systems, invoking an analogy with fluid flow. He also shows that series expansions previously used in studying the three-body problem, for example by Delaunay, were convergent, but not in general uniformly convergent. This puts in doubt the stability proofs of the solar system given by Lagrange and Laplace. 1893 Pearson publishes the first in a series of 18 papers, written over the next 18 years, which introduce a number of fundamental concepts to the study of statistics. These papers contain contributions to regression analysis, the correlation coefficient and includes the chi-square test of statistical significance. 1894 Poincar begins work on algebraic topology. 1894 Borel introduces "Borel measure". 1894 Cartan, in his doctoral dissertation, classifies all finite dimensional simple Lie algebras over the complex numbers. 1895 Poincar publishes Analysis situs his first work on topology which gives an early systematic treatment of the topic. He is the originator of algebraic topology publishing six papers on the topic. He introduces fundamental groups. 1895 Cantor publishes the first of two major surveys on transfinite arithmetic. 1895 Heinrich Weber publishes his famous text Lehrbuch der Algebra (Lectures on Algebra). 1896 The prime number theorem is proved independently by Hadamard and de la Valle-Poussin. This theorem gives an estimate of the number of primes there are up to a given number, showing that the number of primes less than n tends to infinity as n/log n. 1896 Cesro publishes Lezione di geometria intrinseca in which he formulates intrinsic geometry. 1896 Frobenius introduces group characters. 1897 Hensel invents the p-adic numbers. 1897 Burali-Forti is the first to discover of a set theory paradox. 1897 Burnside publishes The Theory of Groups of Finite Order. 1897 Frobenius begins the study of the representation theory of groups. 1898 Frobenius introduces the notion of induced representations and the "Frobenius Reciprocity Theorem". 1898 Hadamard's work on geodesics on surfaces of negative curvature lays the foundations of symbolic dynamics. 1899 Hilbert publishes Grundlagen der Geometrie (Foundations of Geometry) putting geometry in a formal axiomatic setting.

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1899 Lyapunov devises methods which provide ways of determining the stability of sets of ordinary differential equations. 1900 Hilbert poses 23 problems at the Second International Congress of Mathematicians in Paris as a challenge for the 20th century. The problems include the continuum hypothesis, the well ordering of the real numbers, Goldbach's conjecture, the transcendence of powers of algebraic numbers, the Riemann hypothesis, the extension of "Dirichlet's principle" and many more. Many of the problems were solved during the 20th century, and each time one of the problems was solved it was a major event for mathematics. 1900 Goursat begins publication of Cours d'analyse mathematique which introduces many new analysis concepts. 1900 Fredholm develops his theory of integral equations in Sur une nouvelle mthode pour la rsolution du problme de Dirichlet. 1900 Fejr publishes a fundamental summation theorem for Fourier series. 1900 Levi-Civita and Ricci-Curbastro publish Mthodes de calcul differential absolu et leures applications in which they set up the theory of tensors in the form that will be used in the general theory of relativity 15 years later. 1901 Russell discovers "Russell's paradox" which illustrates in a simple fashion the problems inherent in naive set theory. 1901 Planck proposes quantum theory. (See this History Topic.) 1901 The Runge-Kutta method for numerically solving ordinary differential equations is proposed. 1901 Lebesgue formulates the theory of measure. 1901 Dickson publishes Linear groups with an exposition of the Galois field theory. 1902 Lebesgue gives the definition of the "Lebesgue integral". 1902 Beppo Levi states the axiom of choice for the first time. 1902 Gibbs publishes Elementary Principles of Statistical Mechanics which is a beautiful account putting the foundations of statistical mechanics on a firm foundation. 1903 Castelnuovo publishes Geometria analitica e proiettiva his most important work in algebraic geometry. 1904 Poincar gives a lecture in which he proposes a theory of relativity to explain the "Michelson and Morley experiment". (See this History Topic.) 1904 Zermelo uses the axiom of choice to prove that every set can be well ordered. 1904 Lorentz introduces the "Lorentz transformations". (See this History Topic.) 1904 Poincar proposes the Poincar Conjecture, namely that any closed 3-dimensional manifold which is homotopy equivalent to the 3-sphere must be the 3-sphere.
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1905 Einstein publishes the special theory of relativity. (See this History Topic.) 1905 Lasker proves the decomposition theorem for ideals into primary ideals in a polynomial ring. 1906 Frchet, in his dissertation, investigated functionals on a metric space and formulated the abstract notion of compactness. 1906 Markov studies random processes that are subsequently known as "Markov chains". 1906 Bateman applies Laplace transforms to integral equations. 1906 Koch publishes Une methode geometrique elementaire pour l'etude de certaines questions de la theorie des courbes plane which contains the "Koch curve". It is a continuous curve which is of infinite length and nowhere differentiable. 1907 Frchet discovers an integral representation theorem for functionals on the space of "quadratic Lebesgue integrable functions". A similar result was discovered independently by Riesz. 1907 Einstein publishes his principle of equivalence, in which says that gravitational acceleration is indistinguishable from acceleration caused by mechanical forces. It is a key ingredient of general relativity. (See this History Topic.) 1907 Heegaard and Dehn publish Analysis Situs which marks the beginnings of combinatorial topology. 1907 Brouwer's doctoral thesis on the foundations of mathematics attacked the logical foundations of mathematics and marks the beginning of the Intuitionist School. 1907 Dehn formulates the word problem and the isomorphism problem for group presentations. 1907 Riesz proves the theorem now called the "Riesz-Fischer theorem" concerning Fourier analysis on Hilbert space. 1908 Gosset introduces "Student's t-test" to handle small samples. 1908 Hardy and Weinberg present a law describing how the proportions of dominant and recessive genetic traits would be propagated in a large population. This establishes the mathematical basis for population genetics. 1908 Zermelo publishes Untersuchungen ber die Grundlagen der Mengenlehre (Investigations on the Foundations of Set Theory). He bases set theory on seven axioms : Axiom of extensionality, Axiom of elementary sets, Axiom of separation, Power set axiom, Union axiom, Axiom of choice and Axiom of infinity. This aims to overcome the difficulties with set theory encountered by Cantor. 1908 Poincar publishes Science et mthode (Science and Method), perhaps his most famous popular work. 1909 Carmichael investigates pseudoprimes. 1909 Edmund Landau gives the first systematic presentation of analytic number theory. 1910 Russell and Whitehead publish the first volume of Principia Mathematica. They attempt to put the whole of mathematics on a logical foundation. They were able to provide detailed derivations of many major theorems in set theory, finite and transfinite arithmetic, and elementary measure theory. The
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third and final volume will appear three years later, while a fourth volume on geometry was planned but never completed. 1910 Steinitz gives the first abstract definition of a field in Algebraische Theorie der Krper. 1911 Sergi Bernstein introduces the "Bernstein polynomials" in giving a constructive proof of Weierstrass's theorem of 1885. 1912 Denjoy introduces the "Denjoy integral". 1913 Hardy receives a letter from Ramanujan. He brings Ramanujan to Cambridge and they go on to write five remarkable number theory papers together. 1913 Weyl publishes Die Idee der Riemannschen Flache which brings together analysis, geometry and topology. 1914 Hausdorff publishes Grundzge der Mengenlehre in which he creates a theory of topological and metric spaces. 1914 Bieberbach introduces the "Bieberbach polynomials" which approximate a function that conformally maps a given simply-connected domain onto a disc. 1914 Harald Bohr and Edmund Landau prove their theorem on the distribution of zeros of the zeta function. 1915 Einstein submits a paper giving a definitive version of the general theory of relativity. (See this History Topic.) 1916 Bieberbach formulates the Bieberbach Conjecture. 1916 Macaulay publishes The algebraic theory of modular systems which studies ideals in polynomial rings. It contains many ideas which today occur in the theory of "Grobner bases". 1916 Sierpinski gives the first example of an absolutely normal number, that is a number whose digits occur with equal frequency in whichever base it is written. 1917 Kakeya poses his problem on minimising areas. 1919 Russell publishes Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy which had been largely written while he was in prison for anti-war activities. 1919 Hausdorff introduces the notion of "Hausdorff dimension", which is a real number lying between the topological dimension of an object and 3. It is used to study objects such as Koch's curve. 1920 Takagi publishes his fundamental paper on class field theory. 1920 Hasse discovers the "local-global" principle. 1920 Siegel's dissertation is important in the theory of Diophantine approximations. 1920 Fundamenta Mathematica is founded by Sierpinski and Mazurkiewicz. 1921 Keynes publishes his Treatise on Probability in which he argues that probability is a logical relation
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and so it is objective. A statement involving probability relations has a truth-value independent of people's opinions. This is to have a profound effect on statistics as well as economics. 1921 Fisher introduces the concept of likelihood into statistics. 1921 Borel publishes the first in a series of papers on game theory and becomes the first to define games of strategy. 1921 Emmy Noether publishes Idealtheorie in Ringbereichen which is of fundamental importance in the development of modern abstract algebra. 1922 Richardson publishes Weather Prediction by Numerical Process. He is the first to apply mathematics, in particular the method of finite differences, to predicting the weather. The calculations are prohibitive by hand calculation and only the development of computers will make his idea a reality. 1922 Banach is awarded his habilitation for a thesis on measure theory. He begins his work on a development of normed vector spaces. 1922 Fraenkel attempts to put set theory into an axiomatic setting. 1922 Chebotaryov proves the density theorem on primes in an arithmetical progression. 1922 Fejr and Riesz publish an important work on conformal mappings. 1922 Kolmogorov constructs a summable function which diverges almost everywhere. 1923 Study publishes important work on real and complex algebras of low dimension. 1924 Alexander introduces the now famous "Alexander horned sphere". 1925 Fisher publishes Statistical Methods for Research Workers. He gives experimental and statistical methods which can be used in biology. 1925 Whitehead publishes Science and the Modern World. It results from a series of lectures given in the United States and serves as an introduction to his later metaphysics. He considers the growth, success, and impact of "scientific materialism" which is the notion that nature is merely matter and energy. 1925 Besicovitch solves "Kakeya's problem" on minimising areas. 1925 Krull proves the "Krull-Schmidt theorem" for decomposing abelian groups of operators. 1926 Reidemeister publishes an important book on knot theory: Knoten und gruppen. 1926 Artin and Schreier publish a paper on ordering formally real fields and real closed fields. 1926 Banach and Tarski publish the "Banach-Tarski paradox" in a joint paper in Fundamenta Mathematicae: Sur la decomposition des ensembles de points en partiens respectivement congruent. 1927 Emmy Noether, Helmut Hasse and Richard Brauer work on non-commutative algebras. 1927 Artin publishes his reciprocity law in Beweis des allgemeinen Reziprozittsgesetzes. 1928 Von Mises publishes Probability, Statistics and Truth.
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1928 Von Neumann proves the minimax theorem in game theory. 1928 Hopf introduces homology groups. 1929 Gelfond makes his Conjecture about the linear independence of algebraic numbers over the rational numbers. 1930 Van der Waerden's famous work Modern Algebra is published. This two volume work presents the algebra developed by Emmy Noether, Hilbert, Dedekind and Artin. 1930 Hurewicz proves his embedding theorem for separable metric spaces into compact spaces. 1930 Kuratowski proves his theorem on planar graphs. 1931 G D Birkhoff proves the general ergodic theorem. This will transform the Maxwell-Boltzmann kinetic theory of gases into a rigorous principle through the use of Lebesgue measure. 1931 Gdel publishes ber formal unentscheidbare Stze der Principia Mathematica und verwandter Systeme (On Formally Undecidable Propositions in Principia Mathematica and Related Systems). He proves fundamental results about axiomatic systems showing in any axiomatic mathematical system there are propositions that cannot be proved or disproved within the axioms of the system. In particular the consistency of the axioms cannot be proved. 1931 Von Mises introduces the idea of a sample space into probability theory. 1931 Borsuk publishes his theory or retracts in metric differential geometry. 1932 Haar introduces the "Haar measure" on groups. 1932 Hall publishes A contribution to the theory of groups of prime power order. 1932 Magnus proves that the word problem is true for one relator groups. 1932 Von Neumann publishes Grundlagen der Quantenmechanik on quantum mechanics. (See this History Topic.) 1933 Kolmogorov publishes Foundations of the Theory of Probability which presents an axiomatic treatment of probability. 1934 Gelfond and Schneider solve "Hilbert's Seventh problem" independently. They proved that aq is transcendental when a is algebraic ( 0 or 1) and q is an irrational algebraic number. 1934 Leray shows the existence of weak solutions to the Navier-Stokes equations. 1934 Zorn establishes "Zorn's lemma" so named by (probably) by Tukey. It is equivalent to the axiom of choice. 1935 Church invents "lambda calculus" which today is an invaluable tool for computer scientists. 1936 Turing publishes On Computable Numbers, with an application to the Entscheidungsproblem which describes a theoretical machine, now known as the "Turing machine". It becomes a major ingredient in the theory of computability.
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1936 Church publishes An unsolvable problem in elementary number theory. "Church's Theorem", which shows there is no decision procedure for arithmetic, is contained in this work. 1937 Vinogradov publishes Some theorems concerning the theory of prime numbers in which he proves that every sufficiently large odd integer can be expressed as the sum of three odd primes. This is a major contribution to the solution of the Goldbach conjecture. 1938 Kolmogorov publishes Analytic Methods in Probability Theory which lays the foundations of the theory of Markov random processes. 1939 Douglas gives a complete solution to the Plateau problem, proving the existence of a surface of minimal area bounded by a contour. 1939 Abraham Albert publishes Structure of Algebras. 1940 Baer introduces the concept of an injective module, then begins studying group actions in geometry. 1940 Aleksandrov introduces exact sequences. 1941 Linnik introduces the large sieve method in number theory. 1941 Abraham Albert starts work on nonassociative algebras. 1942 Steenrod publishes a paper in which "Steenrod squares" are introduced for the first time. 1942 Eilenberg and MacLane publish a paper which introduces "Hom" and "Ext" for the first time. 1943 Marshall Hall publishes on projective planes. 1943 Naimark proves the "Gelfand-Naimark theorem" on self-adjoint algebras of operators in Hilbert space. 1944 Von Neumann and Morgenstern publish Theory of Games and Economic Behaviour. The theory of games is used in the study of economics. 1944 Artin studies rings with the minimum condition, now called "Artinian rings". 1945 Eilenberg and MacLane introduce the terms "category" and "natural transformation". 1946 Weil publishes Foundations of Algebraic Geometry. 1947 George Dantzig introduces the simplex method of optimisation. 1948 Norbert Wiener publishes Cybernetics: or, Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine. The term "cybernetics" is due to Wiener. The book details work done on the theory of information control, particularly applied to as computers. 1948 Shannon invents information theory and applies mathematical methods to study errors in transmitted information. This becomes of vital importance in computer science and communications. 1948 Schwartz publishes Gnralisation de la notion de fonction, de drivation, de transformation de Fourier et applications mathmatique et physiques which is his first important publication on the theory of distributions.
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1949 Mauchly and John Eckert build the Binary Automatic Computer (BINAC). One of the major advances of this machine is that data is stored on magnetic tape rather than on punched cards. 1949 Selberg and Erds find an elementary proof of the prime number theorem that makes no use of complex function theory. 1950 Carnap publishes Logical Foundations of Probability. 1950 Hamming publishes a fundamental paper on error-detecting and error-correcting codes. 1950 Hodge puts forward the "Hodge Conjecture" on projective algebraic varieties. 1951 Serre uses spectral sequences to the study of the relations between the homology groups of fibre, total space and base space in a fibration. This enables him to discover fundamental connections between the homology groups and homotopy groups of a space and to prove important results on the homotopy groups of spheres. 1952 Hrmander begins working on the theory of partial differential equations. Ten years later he will receive a Fields Medal for this work. 1954 Serre is awarded a Fields Medal for his work on spectral sequences and his work developing complex variable theory in terms of sheaves. 1954 Kolmogorov publishes his second paper on the theory of dynamical systems. This marks the beginning of KAM-theory, which is named after Kolmogorov, Arnold and Moser. 1955 Cartan and Eilenberg develop homological algebra which allows powerful algebraic methods and topological methods to be related. 1955 Novikov proves the insolubility of the word problem for groups. 1955 Taniyama poses his conjecture on elliptic curves which will play a major role in the proof of Fermat's Last Theorem. 1956 Milnor publishes On manifolds homeomorphic to the 7-sphere which opens up the new field of differential topology. 1957 Kolmogorov solves "Hilbert's Thirteenth Problem" on continuous functions of three variables which cannot be represented by continuous functions of two variables. 1958 Thom is awarded a Fields Medal for his work on topology, in particular on characteristic classes, cobordism theory and the "Thom transversality theorem". 1959 Boone proves that many decision problems for groups are insoluble. 1959 Marshall Hall publishes his famous text Theory of Groups. 1960 M Suzuki discovers new infinite families of finite simple groups. 1961 Edward Lorenz discovers a simple mathematical system with chaotic behaviour. It leads to the new mathematics of chaos theory which is widely applicable.
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1961 Smale proves the higher dimensional Poincar conjecture for n > 4, namely that any closed ndimensional manifold which is homotopy equivalent to the n-sphere must be the n-sphere. 1962 Jacobson publishes his classic text Lie algebras. 1962 Sobolev publishes Applications of Functional Analysis in Mathematical Physics. 1963 John Thompson and Feit publish Solvability of Groups of Odd Order which proves that all nonabelian finite simple groups are of even order. Their paper requires 250 pages to prove the theorem. 1963 Cohen proves the independence of the axiom of choice and of the continuum hypothesis. 1964 Hironaka solves a major problem concerning the resolution of singularities on an algebraic variety. 1965 Sergi Novikov's work on differential topology, in particular in calculating stable homotopy groups and classifying smooth simply-connected manifolds, leads him to make the "Novikov Conjecture". 1965 Bombieri uses his improved large sieve method to prove what is now called "Bombieri's mean value theorem", which concerns the distribution of primes in arithmetic progressions. 1965 Tukey and Cooley publish a paper introducing the "Fast Fourier Transform" algorithm. 1965 Selten publishes important work on distinguishing between reasonable and unreasonable decisions in predicting the outcome of games. It will lead to the award of a Nobel Prize in 1994. 1966 Grothendieck receives a Fields Medal for his work on geometry, number theory, topology and complex analysis. His theory of schemes allows certain of Weil's number theory conjectures to be solved. His theory of topoi is highly relevant to mathematical logic, he had given an algebraic proof of the Riemann-Roch theorem, and provided an algebraic definition of the fundamental group of a curve. 1966 Lander and Parkin use a computer to find a counterexample to Euler's Conjecture. They find 275 + 845 + 1105 + 1335 = 1445. 1966 Alan Baker proves "Gelfond's Conjecture" about the linear independence of algebraic numbers over the rational numbers. 1967 Atiyah publishes K-theory which details his work on K-theory and the index theorem which led to the award of a Fields Medal in 1966. 1968 Novikov and Adian jointly publish a proof that the Burnside group B(d, n) is infinite for every d > 1 and every n > 4380. 1969 Conway publishes details of his discovery of new sporadic finite simple groups. 1970 Alan Baker is awarded a Fields Medal for his work on Diophantine equations. 1970 Matiyasevich shows that "Hilbert's tenth problem" is unsolvable, namely that there is no general method for determining when polynomial equations have a solution in whole numbers. 1971 Stephen Cook formulates the P versus NP problem regarding polynomial time algorithms. 1972 Thom publishes Structural Stability and Morphogenesis which explains catastrophe theory. The theory
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examines situations in which gradually changing forces lead to so-called catastrophes, or abrupt changes, and has important applications in biology and optics. 1972 Quillen formulates higher algebraic K-theory, a new tool that uses geometric and topological methods and ideas to formulate and solve major problems in algebra, particularly ring theory and module theory. 1973 Deligne proves the three "Weil conjectures". 1973 Chen Jingrun shows that every sufficiently large even integer is the sum of a prime and a number with at most two prime factors. It makes a major contribution to the Goldbach Conjecture. 1974 Mumford is awarded a Fields Medal for his work on algebraic varieties. 1975 Feigenbaum discovers a new constant, approximately 4.669201660910..., which is related to perioddoubling bifurcations and plays an important part in chaos theory. 1975 Mandelbrot publishes Les objets fractals, forn, hasard et dimension which describe the theory of fractals. 1976 Lakatos work Proofs and Refutations is published as a book two years after his death. First published in four parts in 1963-64 the work gives Lakatos's account of how mathematics develops. 1976 Thurston is awarded the Oswald Veblen Geometry Prize of the American Mathematical Society for his work on foliations. 1976 Appel and Haken show that the Four Colour Conjecture is true using 1200 hours of computer time to examine around 1500 configurations. (See this History Topic.) 1977 Adleman, Rivest, and Shamir introduce public-key codes, a system for passing secret messages using large primes and a key which can be published. 1978 Fefferman is awarded a Fields Medal for his work on partial differential equations, Fourier analysis, in particular convergence, multipliers, divergence, singular integrals and "Hardy spaces". 1978 Mori proves the "Hartshorne conjecture", that projective spaces are the only smooth complete algebraic varieties with ample tangent bundles. 1979 Connes publishes work on non-commutative integration theory. 1980 The classification of finite simple groups is complete. 1982 Mandelbrot publishes The fractal geometry of nature which develops his theory of fractal geometry more fully than his work of 1975. 1982 Freedman proves that any closed 4-dimensional manifold which is homotopy equivalent to the 4sphere must be the 4-sphere. This proves a further case of the higher dimensional Poincar conjecture following Smale's work in 1961. 1982 Shing-Tung Yau is awarded a Fields Medal for his contributions to partial differential equations, to the "Calabi conjecture" in algebraic geometry, to the positive mass conjecture of general relativity theory, and to real and complex Monge-Ampre equations.
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1983 Donaldson publishes Self-dual connections and the topology of smooth 4-manifolds which leads to totally new ideas concerning the geometry of 4-manifolds. 1983 Faltings proves the "Mordell conjecture". He makes a major contribution to Fermat's Last Theorem showing that for every n there are at most a finite number of coprime integers x, y, z satisfying xn + yn = zn. (See this History Topic.) 1984 Louis de Brange solves the Bieberbach Conjecture. 1984 Vaughan Jones discovers a new polynomial invariant for knots and links in 3-space. 1984 Witten publishes Supersymmetry and Morse theory containing ideas that have become of central importance in the study of differential geometry. 1986 Margulis proves the "Oppenheim conjecture" on the values of indefinite irrational quadratic forms at integer points. 1987 Zelmanov proves an important conjecture about when an infinite dimensional Lie algebra is nilpotent. 1988 Langlands is the first recipient of the National Academy of Sciences Award in Mathematics. He receives it for "extraordinary vision that has brought the theory of group representations into a revolutionary new relationship with the theory of automorphic forms and number theory." 1988 Elkies finds a counterexample to Euler's Conjecture with n = 4, namely 958004 + 2175194 + 4145604 = 4224814. 1989 Bourgain, using analytic and probabilistic methods, solves the L(p) problem which had been a longstanding one in "Banach space" theory and harmonic analysis. 1990 Drinfeld is awarded a Fields Medal at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Kyoto, Japan for his work on quantum groups and for his work in number theory. 1991 Zelmanov solves the restricted Burnside problem for groups. 1991 Quidong Wang finds infinite series solutions to the n-body problem (with minor exceptions). 1993 Menasco and Thistlethwaite prove the knot theory conjecture known as "Tait's Second Conjecture", namely that any two reduced alternating diagrams of the same prime knot are related by a sequence of twists. 1994 Wiles proves Fermat's Last Theorem. (See this History Topic.) 1994 Connes publishes a major text on noncommutative geometry. 1994 Lions is awarded a Fields Medal for his work on the theory of nonlinear partial differential equations. 1994 Yoccoz is awarded a Fields Medal for his work on dynamical systems. 1994 Krystyna Kuperberg solves the "Seifert Conjecture" about the topology of dynamical systems. 1995 A large prize is offered by banker Andrew Beal for a solution to the Beal Conjecture: the equation xp + yq = zr has no solutions for p, q, r > 2 and coprime integers x, y, z.
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1997 Wiles is awarded the Wolfskehl Prize for solving Fermat's last theorem. 1998 Borcherds is awarded a Fields Medal for his work in automorphic forms and mathematical physics; Gowers receives one for his work in functional analysis and combinatorics; Kontsevich receives one for his work in algebraic geometry, algebraic topology, and mathematical physics; and McMullen receives one for his work on holomorphic dynamics and geometry of 3-dimensional manifolds. 1998 Thomas Hales proves Kepler's problem on sphere packing. 1999 The Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search project finds the 38th Mersenne prime: 26972593 -1. 1999 Conrad and Taylor prove the "Taniyama-Shimura conjecture". Wiles proved a special case in 1993 on his way to giving a proof of Fermat's Last Theorem. 2000 At a meeting of the American Mathematical Society in Los Angeles "Mathematical Challenges of the 21st Century" were proposed. Unlike "Hilbert's problems" from 100 years earlier, these were given by a team of 30 leading mathematicians of whom eight were Fields Medal winners.

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A Time Line of Mathematicians

Click below to see time lines of mathematicians between the dates stated. They show how the lives of the mathematicians overlap. 800 BC - 700 AD (The Greek period) 600 - 1500 (The Arabic period) 1450 - 1700 (The 16th and 17th Centuries) 1650 - 1800 (The 18th Century) 1750 - 1850 (The early 19th Century) 1825 - 1900 (The late 19th Century) 1875 - 1960 (The 20th Century) Although they will arrive quite quickly (each picture is between 10K and 35K), the pictures occupy rather a large area so you will have to use your browser to scroll both vertically and horizontally. It may take your browser a little while to format them. Note: Where either the birth or death of a mathematician is unknown (mostly for those in the era BC) the life-span is given as 60 years for the purpose of these diagrams. You may wish to see a list of mathematicians alive at a particular date.

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Full Alphabetical Index

Click below to go to one of the separate alphabetical indexes

The number of words in the biography is given in brackets. A * indicates that there is a portrait.

Abbe, Ernst (602*) Abel, Niels Henrik (2899*) Abraham bar Hiyya (641) Abraham, Max (798*) Abu Kamil Shuja (1012) Abu Jafar, al_Khazin (1148) Abu'l-Wafa al-Buzjani (1115) Ackermann, Wilhelm (205) Adams, John Couch (617*) Adams, J Frank (550*) Adelard of Bath (1008) Adler, August (114) Adrain, Robert (1317*) Adrianus, Romanus (419) Aepinus, Franz (822) Agnesi, Maria (2018*) Ahlfors, Lars (725*) Ahmed ibn Yusuf (660) Ahmes (171) Aida Yasuaki (696) Aiken, Howard (665*) Airy, George (2362*) Aitken, Alec (825*) Ajima, Naonobu (144) Akhiezer, Naum Il'ich (248*) al-Baghdadi, Abu (947) al-Banna, al-Marrakushi (861) al-Battani, Abu Allah (1333*) al-Biruni, Abu Arrayhan (3002*) al-Farisi, Kamal (1102) al-Haitam, Abu Ali (2490*) al-Hasib Abu Kamil (1012) al-Haytham, Abu Ali (2490*) al-Jawhari, al-Abbas (627) al-Jayyani, Abu (892) al-Karaji, Abu (1789) al-Karkhi (1789) al-Kashi, Ghiyath (1725*) al-Khazin, Abu (1148) al-Khalili, Shams (677) al-Khayyami, Omar (2140*) al-Khwarizmi, Abu (2847*) al-Khujandi, Abu (713) al-Kindi, Abu (1151) al-Kuhi, Abu (1146) al-Maghribi, Muhyi (602) al-Mahani, Abu (507) al-Marrakushi, ibn al-Banna (861) al-Nasawi, Abu (681) al-Nayrizi, Abu'l (621) al-Qalasadi, Abu'l (1247) al-Quhi, Abu (1146) al-Samarqandi, Shams (202) al-Samawal, Ibn (1569) al-Sijzi, Abu (708) al-Tusi, Nasir (1912*) al-Tusi, Sharaf (1138) al-Umawi, Abu (1014) al-Uqlidisi, Abu'l (1028) Albanese, Giacomo (282) Albategnius (al-Battani) (1333*) Albert, A Adrian (1550*) Albert of Saxony (121) Alberti, Leone (181*) Albertus Magnus, Saint (109*) Alcuin of York (591*) Aleksandrov, Aleksandr (1174*) Aleksandrov, Pavel (2175*) Alembert, Jean d' (2501*) Alexander, Archie (1089) Alexander, James (836*) Alexandroff, Alexander (1174*) Alexandroff, Pave (2175*) Alhazen (al-Haitam) (2490*) Ampre, Andr-Marie (2361*) Amringe, Howard van (354*) Amsler, Jacob (660*) Anaxagoras of Clazomenae (1237*) Anderson, Oskar (1096*) Andreev, Konstantin (117) Angeli, Stephano degli (234) Anstice, Robert (675) Anthemius of Tralles (370*) Antiphon the Sophist (1025) Antonelli, Kathleen (746*) Apastamba (383) Apianus, Petrus (1011*) Apollonius of Perga (1697*) Appell, Paul (1377*) Arago, Franois (345*) Arbogast, Louis (1029) Arbuthnot, John (251*) Archimedes of Syracuse (3190*) Archytas of Tarentum (1366*) Arf, Cahit (1452*) Argand, Jean (951) Aristaeus the Elder (588) Aristarchus of Samos (1548) Aristotle (3445*) Arnauld, Antoine (1492*) Aronhold, Siegfried (234*) Artin, Emil (2621*) Aryabhata I (1907) Aryabhata II (427) Askey, Richard (884*) Atiyah, Michael (885*) Atwood, George (186) Auslander, Maurice (1180*) Autolycus of Pitane (810) Avicenna, Abu Ali (1965*)

Babbage, Charles (2793*) Bertins, Alexis des (555) Boscovich, Ruggero (160*) 44
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Bachelier, Louis (1384*) Bachet, Claude (165) Bachmann, Paul (386*) Backus, John (542*) Bacon, Roger (657*) Baer, Reinhold (596*) Baghdadi, Abu al (947) Baire, Ren-Louis (1823*) Baker, Alan (647*) Baker, Henry (195*) Ball, Walter W Rouse (85) Balmer, Johann (601*) Banach, Stefan (2533*) Banneker, Benjamin (892*) Banna, al-Marrakushi al (861) Banu Musa brothers (1208) Banu Musa, al-Hasan (133) Banu Musa, Ahmad (61) Banu Musa, Jafar (161) bar Hiyya, Abraham (641) Barbier, Joseph Emile (637) Bari, Nina (403*) Barlow, Peter (623) Barnes, Ernest (609*) Barocius, Franciscus (201) Barrow, Isaac (2332*) Barozzi, Francesco (201) Bartholin, Erasmus (189) Batchelor, George (1035*) Bateman, Harry (545*) Battaglini, Guiseppe (102*) Baudhayana (478) Battani, Abu al- (1333*) Baxter, Agnes (624*) Bayes, Thomas (538*) Beaugrand, Jean (222) Beaune, Florimond de (316) Beg, Ulugh (1219*) Bell, Eric Temple (296*) Bell, John (3132*) Bellavitis, Giusto (762*) Beltrami, Eugenio (1057*) ben Ezra, Abraham (552) ben Gerson, Levi (268) ben Tibbon, Jacob (198) Bendixson, Ivar Otto (1208*) Benedetti, Giovanni (211) Bergman, Stefan (311*) Berkeley, George (239*) Bernays, Paul Isaac (772*) Bernoulli, Daniel (2341*) Bernoulli, Jacob (1913*) Bernoulli, Jacob(II) (289*)

Bertrand, Joseph (306*) Berwald, Lugwig (336) Berwick, William (121) Besicovitch, Abram (1805*) Bessel, Wilhelm (1664*) Bessy, Bernard de (411) Betti, Enrico (1150*) Beurling, Arne (177*) Bzout, Etienne (1146) Bhaskara I (786) Bhaskara II (2545) Bhaskaracharya (2545) Bianchi, Luigi (438*) Bieberbach, Ludwig (847*) Bienaym, Irne-Jules (467*) Billy, Jacques de (150) Binet, Jacques (438*) Bing, R (1625*) Biot, Jean-Baptiste (417*) Birkhoff, Garrett (1164*) Birkhoff, George (1620*) Biruni, Abu al (3002*) Bjerknes, Carl (535*) Bjerknes, Vilhelm (1147*) Black, Max (1139) Blackwell, David (1242*) Blaschke, Wilhelm (107*) Blichfeldt, Hans (665*) Bliss, Gilbert (566*) Bloch, Andr (143) Blum, Lenore (1650*) Bobillier, Etienne (398) Bcher, Maxime (564*) Bochner, Salomon (149*) Boethius, Anicus (1033*) Boggio, Tommaso (436*) Bohl, Piers (442) Bohr, Harald (616*) Bohr, Niels (2798*) Bois-Reymond, Paul du (137*) Boislaurent, Budan de (171) Boltzmann, Ludwig (1135*) Bolyai, Farkas (160*) Bolyai, Jnos (450*) Bolza, Oskar (459*) Bolzano, Bernhard (790*) Bombelli, Rafael (2012) Bombieri, Enrico (801*) Bonferroni, Carlo (262*) Bonnet, Pierre (368*) Boole, Alicia (Stott) (340*) Boole, George (796*) Boone, Bill (311*)

Bose, Satyendranath (186*) Bossut, Charles (159*) Bougainville, Louis de (1054*) Bouguer, Pierre (688) Boulliau, Ismael (269*) Bouquet, Jean Claude (264*) Bour, Edmond (490*) Bourgain, Jean (728*) Boutroux, Pierre Lon (617*) Bouvelles, Charles (705) Bowditch, Nathaniel (1616*) Bowen, Rufus (125*) Bowman,Julia (Robinson) (407*) Boyle, Robert (2607*) Boys, Charles (291*) Bradwardine, Thomas (1193) Brahe, Tycho (3050*) Brahmadeva (219) Brahmagupta (1512) Braikenridge, William (1247) Bramer, Benjamin (180) Brashman, Nikolai (276*) Brauer, Alfred (1412*) Bremermann, Hans-Joachim (1177*) Brauer, Richard (2242*) Brianchon, Charles (689) Briggs, Henry (2200) Brill, Alexander von (473*) Brillouin, Marcel (367*) Bring, Erland (213*) Brioschi, Francesco (211*) Briot, Charlese (1056) Brisson, Barnab (332) Britton, John (688*) Brocard, Henri (99) Brodetsky, Selig (598*) Broglie, Louis duc de (1571*) Bromwich, Thomas (544*) Bronowski, Jacob (1785*) Brouncker, William (2130*) Brouwer, L E J (419*) Brown, Ernest (470*) Browne, Marjorie (1102*) Brunelleschi, Filippo (1667*) Bruno, Francesco Fa di (521*) Bruno, Giuseppe (297) Bruno, Giordano (1891*) Bruns, Heinrich (90*) Bryson of Heraclea (527) Buckminster Fuller, R (135*) Budan de Boislaurent (171) Buffon, Georges Comte de (157*) 45

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Bernoulli, Johann (2524*) Bernoulli, Johann(II) (236*) Bernoulli, Johann(III) (273*) Bernoulli, Nicolaus(I) (532) Bernoulli, Nicolaus(II) (193*) Bernstein, Felix (161*) Bernstein, Sergi (387*) Bers, Lipa (2157*) Bertini, Eugenio (151*)

Borchardt, Carl (127*) Borda, Jean (2134*) Borel, Emile (219*) Borgi, Piero (51) Born, Max (766*) Borsuk, Karol (1109*) Bortkiewicz, Ladislaus (845*) Bortolotti, Ettore (210) Bosanquet, Stephen (359*)

Bugaev, Nicolay (622*) Bukreev, Boris (165*) Bunyakovsky, Viktor (729*) Burali-Forti, Cesare (530) Burchnall, Joseph (326*) Brgi, Joost (166*) Burkhardt, Heinrich (213) Burkill, John (411*) Burnside, William (711*) Burton Jones, F (999*)

Caccioppoli, Renato (1455*) Ceulen, Ludolph van (223*) Cajori, Florian (960*) Ceva, Giovanni (296) Caldern, Alberto (879*) Ceva, Tommaso (172*) Callippus (651) Ch'in Chiu-Shao (62) Campanus of Novara (171) Ch'ung Chi Tsu (127*) Campbell, John (719*) Chandrasekhar, Subrah. (236*) Camus, Charles (776) Chang, Sun-Yung Alice (620*) Cannell, Doris (442*) Chaplygin, Sergi (366*) Cantelli, Francesco (104*) Chapman, Sydney (792*) Cantor, Georg (3100*) Chasles, Michel (1204*) Cantor, Moritz (498*) Chtelet, Gabrielle du (3021*) Caramuel, Juan (227) Chebotaryov, Nikolai (409*) Carathodory, Constantin (267*) Chebyshev, Pafnuty (3067*) Carcavi, Pierre de (439) Chern, Shiing-shen (627*) Cardano, Girolamo (2818*) Chernikov, Sergei (1070*) Carlitz, Leonard (720*) Chevalley, Claude (369*) Carlyle, Thomas (372*) Chi Tsu Ch'ung (127*) Carnot, Lazare (597*) Chiu-Shao Ch'in (62) Carnot, Sadi (1607*) Chisholm Young, Grace (583*) Carroll, Lewis ((2839*) Chowla, Sarvadaman (819*) Carslaw, Horatio (525*) Christoffel, Elwin (1580*) Cartan, Elie (406*) Chrysippus (831) Cartan, Henri (134*) Chrystal, George (2763*) Cartwright, Dame Mary (1483*) Chu Shih-Chieh (80) Cassels, John (418*) Chung, Graham Fan (2026*) Casorati, Felice (95*) Chuquet, Nicolas (299) Cassini, Giovanni Domenico Church, Alonzo (193*) (2116*) Civita, Tullio Levi- (418*) Cassini de Thury, Csar-Franois Clairaut, Alexis (2087*) (1624*) Clapeyron, Emile (525*) Cassini, Jean-Dominique (1799*) Clarke, Samuel (284*) Cassini, Jacques (1415*) Clausen, Thomas (357*) Castel, Louis (172) Clausius, Rudolf (2619*) Castelnuovo, Guido (1702*) Clavius, Christopher (405*) Castigliano, Alberto (456*) Clebsch, Alfred (576*) Castillon, Johann (162) Cleomedes, Cleomedes (1183) Catalan, Eugne (155*) Clifford, William (852*) Cataldi, Pietro (308) Coates, John (741*) Cauchy, Augustin-Louis (2467*) Coble, Arthur (445*) Cavalieri, Bonaventura (565*) Cochran, William (452*)
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Codazzi, Delfino (129) Cohen, Paul (314*) Cohn, Paul (1035*) Cole, Frank (421*) Collingwood, Edward (479*) Collins, John (921) Commandino, Frederico (1742*) Condamine, Charles de La (480*) Condorcet, Marie Jean (696*) Connes, Alain (745*) Conon of Samos (583) Contractus, Hermann (231) Conway, Arthur (1073*) Conway, John H (1779*) Coolidge, Julian (852) Cooper, Lionel (311*) Copernicus, Nicolaus (3455*) Copson, Edward (332*) Coriolis, Gustave de (805*) Cosserat, Eugne (278*) Cotes, Roger (313*) Coulomb, Charles de (2025*) Courant, Richard (2064*) Cournot, Antoine (515*) Couturat, Louis (130*) Cox, Gertrude (295*) Coxeter, Donald (722*) Craig, John (279) Cramer, Gabriel (1797*) Cramr, Harald (1077*) Crank, John (272*) Crelle, August (1061*) Cremona, Luigi (1698*) Crighton, David (1116*) Crofton, Morgan (1203) Cunha, Anastcio da (902) Cunningham, Ebenezer (358*) Curbastro, G Ricci- (1335*) Curry, Haskell (102*) Cusa, Nicholas (267*) 46

Cayley, Arthur (1158*) Cech, Eduard (1364*) Cesro, Ernesto (1069*)

Cocker, Edward (702*)

d'Alembert, Jean (2501*) de Molires, Joseph (216) D'Arcy Thompson W (479*) de Montmort, Pierre (300) d'Oresme, Nicole (191*) De Morgan, Augustus (856*) D'Ovidio, Enrico (414*) de Prony, Gaspard (1015*) da Vinci, Leonardo (704*) de Ortega, Juan (157) Dandelin, Germinal (392*) de Rham, Georges (741*) Danti, Egnatio (1869*) de Roberval, Gilles (349) Dantzig, David van (518) de St-Venant, Adhmar (554*) Dantzig, George (2280*) de Sitter, Willem (483*) Darboux, Gaston (814*) de Sluze, Ren (323) Darwin, George (167*) de Tilly, Joseph (179) Dase, Zacharias (125) de Tinseau, D'Amondans (144) Daubechies, Ingrid (1728*) de Witt, Johan (412*) Davenport, Harold (700*) de Wronski, Josef (324*) Davidov, August (435*) Dechales, Claude (175) Davies, Evan Tom (299*) Dedekind, Richard (2081*) de Beaune, Florimond (316) Dee, John (2364*) de Bessy, Bernard (411) Dehn, Max (691*) de Billy, Jacques (150) del Ferro, Scipione (1407) de Boislaurent, Budan (171) Delamain, Richard (393) de Bougainville, Louis (1054*) Delambre, Jean Baptiste (2729*) de Broglie, Louis duc (488*) Delaunay, Charles (172*) de Carcavi, Pierre (439) Deligne, Pierre (362*) de Coriolis, Gustave (805*) Della Porta, Giambattista (409*) de Coulomb, Charles (2025*) Delone, Boris (485*) de Fermat, Pierre (2491*) Delsarte, Jean (416*) de Fontenelle, Bernard (255*) Democritus of Abdera (1555*) de Groot, Johannes (444*) Denjoy, Arnaud (1015*) de Jonquires, Ernest (239) Deparcieux, Antoine (618) de L'Hpital, Guillaume (204*) des Bertins, Alexis (555) de La Condamine, Charles (480*) Desargues, Girard (720*) della Faille, Jan-Karel (233*) Descartes, Ren (1720*) de La Hire, Philippe (297) di Bruno, Francesco Fa (521*) de La Roche, Estienne (275) Dickson, Leonard (618*) de la Valle Poussin, (1702*) Dickstein, Samuel (1009*) de Lagny, Thomas (186*) Dieudonn, Jean (138*) de Moivre, Abraham (379*) Digges, Thomas (1025) Dilworth, Robert (1553*) Dinghas, Alexander (919*) Dini, Ulisse (1000*) Dinostratus (491) Diocles (1023) Dionis du Sjour, A (630) Dionysodorus (779) Diophantus of Alexandria (2271) Dirac, Paul (2392*) Dirichlet, Lejeune (2094*) Dixon, Alfred (623*) Dixon, Arthur Lee (483*) Dodgson, Charles (2839*) Doeblin, Wolfang (964*) Domninus of Larissa (614) Donaldson, Simon (678*) Doob, Joseph (145*) Doppelmayr, Johann (181*) Doppler, Christian (2467*) Douglas, Jesse (206*) Dowker, Clifford (1162*) Drach, Jules (143) Drinfeld, Vladimir (401*) du Bois-Reymond, Paul (137*) du Val, Patrick (380*) Dubreil, Paul (531*) Dubreil-Jacotin, Marie-Louise (2760*) Dudeney, Henry (395*) Duhamel, Jean-Marie (179*) Duhem, Pierre (2002*) Dupin, Pierre (668*) Dupr, Athanase (275) Drer, Albrecht (2553*) Dyck, Walther von (737*) Dynkin, Evgenii (939*) Dyson, Freeman (712*)

Eckert, J Presper (1000*) Eckert, Wallace J (623*) Eckmann, Beno (920*) Eddington, Arthur (2085*) Edge, William (1044*) Edgeworth, Francis (597*) Eisenhart, Luther (576*) Eisenstein, Gotthold (2427*) Elliott, Edwin (587*) Empedocles (1074) Engel, Friedrich (433*) Enriques, Federigo (470*) Erlang, Agner (409*) Escher, Maurits (3142*) Esclangon, Ernest (528*) Euclid of Alexandria (2950*) Eudemus of Rhodes (1085) Eudoxus of Cnidus (2317) 47

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Edmonds, Sheila (837) Egorov, Dimitri (408*) Ehrenfest, Paul (2596*) Ehresmann, Charles (669*) Eilenberg, Samuel (1748*) Einstein, Albert (2115*)

Enskog, David (386*) Etvs, Lrand von (159*) Epstein, Paul (660*) Eratosthenes of Cyrene (1743*) Erdlyi, Arthur (589*) Erds, Paul (2168*)

Euler, Leonhard (4583*) Eutocius of Ascalon (763) Evans, Griffith (1131*) Ezra, Rabbi Ben (552)

Fa di Bruno, Francesco (521*) Faber,Georg (263) Fabri, Honor (360*) Fagnano, Giovanni (293) Fagnano, Giulio (660) Falconer, Etta (1284*) Faille, Charles de La (233*) Faltings, Gerd (275*) Fano, Gino (697*) Faraday, Michael (2159*) Farey, John (1137) Fasenmyer, Mary (1272*) Farisi, Kamal al (1102) Fatou, Pierre (672*) Faulhaber, Johann (519*) Fawcett, Philippa (1736*) Fefferman, Charles (462*) Feigenbaum, Mitchell (2050*) Feigl, Georg (189*) Fejr, Lipt (511*) Feller, William (394*) Fermat, Pierre de (2491*) Ferrar, Bill (547*) Ferrari, Lodovico (722) Ferrel, William (1916*) Ferro, Scipione del (1407) Feuerbach, Karl (337*) Fvre, Jean Le (542) Feynman, Richard (2533*) Fibonacci, Leonardo (2223*) Fields, John (290*) Finck, Pierre-Joseph (367) Fincke, Thomas (213) Fine, Henry (486*) Fine, Oronce (204*) Finsler, Paul (529*) Fischer, Ernst (128*) Fisher, Sir Ronald (361*) Fiske, Thomas (500*) FitzGerald, George (3067*) Flamsteed, John (772*) Flgge-Lotz, Irmgard (357*) Fomin, Sergei (1118*) Fontaine des Bertins, A (555) Fontenelle, Bernard de (255*) Forsyth, Andrew (615*) Forti, Cesare Burali- (530) Fourier, Joseph (2156*) Fowler, Ralph (2443*) Fox, Charles (235*) Fraenkel, Adolf (310*) Franais, Franois (659) Franais, Jacques (692) Francesca, Piero della (540*) Francoeur, Louis (301) Frank, Philipp (653) Franklin, Benjamin (325*) Franklin, Philip (251) Frattini, Giovanni (909) Frchet, Maurice (217*) Fredholm, Ivar (1694*) Freedman, Michael (1018*) Frege, Gottlob (2795*) Freitag, Herta (382*) Frenet, Jean (119) Frenicle de Bessy, B (411) Frenkel, Jacov (900*) Fresnel, Augustin (2040*) Freudenthal, Hans (1031*) Freundlich, Finlay (1701*) Friedmann, Alexander (2499*) Friedrichs, Kurt (108*) Frisi, Paolo (627) Frisius, Regnier Gemma (1774*) Frobenius, Georg (2147*) Fubini, Guido (1008*) Fuchs, Lazarus (698*) Fueter, Rudolph (578*) Fuller, R Buckminster (135*) Fuss, Nicolai (187)

Galerkin Boris (463*) Galileo Galilei (4326*) Gallarati, Dionisio (486*) Galois, Evariste (2110*) Galton, Francis (188*) Gassendi, Pierre (284*) Gauss, Carl Friedrich (2364*) Geber, (Jabir ibn Aflah) (529) Gegenbauer, Leopold (123*) Geiringer, Hilda von Mises (1469*) Geiser, Karl (258*) Gelfand, Israil (1090*) Gherard of Cremona (668) Ghetaldi, Marino (235) Gibbs, J Willard (1028*) Girard, Albert (251) Girard, Pierre Simon (210*) Glaisher, James (686*) Glenie, James (103) Gnedenko, Boris (2103*) Gdel, Kurt (824*) Gohberg, Israel (640*) Goldbach, Christian (160) Goldstein, Sydney (350*) Gompertz, Benjamin (516*) Grandi, Guido (444*) Granville, Evelyn (1875*) Grassmann, Hermann (267*) Grave, Dmitry (469) Gravesande, Willem 's (180*) Green, George (2688) Greenhill, Alfred (541*) Gregory, James (3060*) Gregory, David (333*) Gregory, Duncan (414) Groot, Johannes de (444*) Grosseteste, Robert (317*) Grossmann, Marcel (114*) 48

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Gelfond, Aleksandr (226*) Gellibrand, Henry (199) Geminus (1381) Gemma Frisius, Regnier (1774*) Genocchi, Angelo (858*) Gentry, Ruth (701) Gentzen, Gerhard (1519*) Gerard of Cremona (668) Gergonne, Joseph (1116) Gerhard of Cremona (668) Germain, Sophie (1063*) Gerson, Levi ben (268)

Gongora, Siguenza y (566) Goodstein, Reuben (257*) Gpel, Adolph (251) Gordan, Paul (958*) Gorenstein, Daniel (1300*) Gosset, William (416*) Goursat, Edouard (156*) Govindasvami (237) Grffe, Karl (140) Graham, Fan Chung (2026*) Gram, Jorgen (1066*)

Grothendieck, Alexander (607*) Grunsky, Helmut (772*) Guarini, Guarino (962*) Guccia, Giovanni (582) Gudermann, Christoph (568) Guenther, Adam (533) Guinand, Andrew (529*) Guldin, Paul (210*) Gunter, Edmund (279)

Haar, Alfrd (269*) Hachette, Jean (944*) Hadamard, Jacques (2674*) Hadley, John (191*) Hahn, Hans (138*) Hjek, Jaroslav (907*) Haitam, Abu Ali al- (2490*) Hall, Marshall Jr. (438*) Hall, Philip (2616*) Halley, Edmond (2532*) Halmos, Paul (1328*) Halphen, George (872*) Halsted, George (299*) Hamill, Christine (398) Hamilton, William (132*) Hamilton, William R (2886*) Hamming, Richard W (582*) Hankel, Hermann (546*) Hardy, Claude (168) Hardy, G H (2486*) Harish-Chandra (413*) Harriot, Thomas (3306*) Hartley, Brian (466*) Hartree, Douglas (436*) Hasib Abu Kamil al (1012) Hasse, Helmut (1189*) Hau, Lene (1018*) Hausdorff, Felix (345*) Hawking, Stephen (1282*) Hay, Louise (2037*) Hayes, Ellen (1060*) Hazlett, Olive (1345*) Haytham, Abu Ali al (2490*) Heath, Thomas (199*) Heaviside, Oliver (1209*) Heawood, Percy (596*) Hecht, Daniel (117) Hecke, Erich (730*) Hiyya, Abraham bar (641) Hedrick, Earle (501*) Hniedenko, Boris (2103*) Heegaard, Poul (380*) Hobbes, Thomas (2973*) Heilbronn, Hans (2080*) Hobson, Ernest (212*) Heine, Eduard (268*) Hodge, William (175*) Heisenberg, Werner (2604*) Hlder, Otto (541*) Hellinger, Ernst (1233*) Hollerith, Herman (1626*) Helly, Eduard (909*) Holmboe, Bernt (179*) Helmholtz, Hermann von (2214*) Honda, Taira (515*) Heng, Zhang (228*) Holywood John of (328) Henrici, Olaus (117*) Hooke, Robert (3297) Hensel, Kurt (252*) Hopf, Eberhard (1071*) Heraclides of Pontus (773*) Hopf, Heinz (1808*) Herbrand, Jacques (376*) Hpital, Guillaume de L' (204*) Hrigone, Pierre (148) Hopkins, William (858) Hermann, Jakob (267*) Hopkinson, John (401) Hermann of Reichenau (231) Hopper, Grace (1729*) Hermite, Charles (1849*) Hrmander, Lars (799*) Heron of Alexandria (2275) Horner, William (207) Herschel, Caroline (1760*) Hoel, Jules (421*) Herschel, John (2821*) Householder, Alston (1122*) Herstein, Yitz (295*) Hoyle, Sir Fred (2930*) Hesse, Otto (165*) Hsu, Pao-Lu (1171*) Heuraet, Hendrik van (170) Hubble, Edwin (591*) Heyting, Arend (1101*) Hudde, Johann (264*) Higman, Graham (1363*) Hudson, Hilda (1072) Hilbert, David (1657*) Hui Yang (190) Hill, George (514*) Humbert, Georges (645*) Hille, Einar (1295*) Humbert, Pierre (534) Hindenburg, Carl (512) Hunayn ibn Ishaq (780) Hipparchus of Rhodes (2557*) Huntington, Edward (773) Hippias of Elis (904) Hurewicz, Witold (529*) Hippocrates of Chios (1282*) Hurwitz, Adolf (302*) Hire, Philippe de La (297) Hutton, Charles (1955*) Hironaka, Heisuke (279*) Huygens, Christiaan (2463*) Hirsch, Kurt (528*) Hypatia of Alexandria (821*) Hirst, Thomas (1788*) Hypsicles of Alexandria (645) 49

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ibn al-Banna (861) ibn Iraq, Mansur (1190) ibn Ishaq Hunayn (780) ibn Labban, Kushyar (448) ibn Qurra, Thabit (1507*) ibn Sina (Avicenna) (1965*) ibn Sinan, Ibrahim (688) ibn Tahir (947) ibn Tibbon, Jacob (198) ibn Yunus, Abu'l-Hasan (1312) ibn Yusuf Ahmed (660) Ibrahim, ibn Sinan (688) Ingham, Albert (539*) Ito, Kiyosi (1545*) Iraq, Mansur ibn (1190) Ivory, James (245) Iwasawa, Kenkichi (1331*) Iyanaga, Shokichi (1132*) Jabir ibn Aflah (529*) Jacobi, Carl (2614*) Jacobson, Nathan (2083*) Jafar, Abu al-Khazin (1148) Jagannatha, Samrat (406) James, Ioan (773*) Jamshid, al-Kashi (1725*) Janiszewski, Zygmunt (1645*) Janovskaja, Sof'ja (183*) Jarnik, Vojtech (468*) Jawhari, al-Abbas al (627) Jayyani, Abu al (892) Jeans, Sir James (2242*) Jeffrey, George (373*) Jeffreys, Sir Harold (734*) Jensen, Johan (539*) Jerrard, George (245) Jevons, William (1771*) Joachimsthal, Ferdinand (368*) John, Fritz (1077*) John of Holywood (328) Johnson, Anna (Wheeler) (504*) Johnson, Barry (516*) Johnson, William (250*) Jones, Vaughan (745*) Jones, William (231) Jones, F Burton (999*) Jonquires, Ernest de (239) Jordan, Camille (2048*) Jordanus Nemorarius (1014) Joukowski, Nikolay (806*) Jourdain, Philip (181) Juel, Christian (445*) Julia, Gaston (269*) Jungius, Joachim (283*) Jyesthadeva (641)

Kac, Mark (1697*) Kaestner, Abraham (525*) Kagan, Benjamin (343) Kakutani, Shizuo (937*) Kalmr, Lszl (753*) Kaluza, Theodor (699*) Kaluznin, Lev (2243*) Kamalakara (366) Kamal, al-Farisi (1102) Kamil Abu Shuja (1012) Kantorovich, Leonid (632*) Kaplansky, Irving (1027*) Karaji, Abu al (1789) Karkhi al (1789) Krmn, Theodore von (202*) Karp, Carol (605*) Kashi, Ghiyath al (1725*) Katyayana (281) Keen, Linda (895*) Keill, John (207) Kelland, Philip (650*) Kellogg, Oliver (566) Kelvin, Lord (Thomson) (2613*) Kemeny, John (852*) Kempe, Alfred (2319*) Kendall, David (550*) Kendall, Maurice (1193*) Kepler, Johannes (3690*) Kerkjrt, Bla (83*) Khalili, Shams al (677) Khayyam, Omar (2140*) Khazin, Abu Jafar al (1148) Khinchin, Aleksandr (1018*) Khujandi, Abu al (713) Khwaja-yi, Tus1 (1912) Khwaja, Nasir (1912) Khwarizmi, Abu al- (2847*) Killing, Wilhelm (306*) Kindi, Abu al (1151) Kingman, John (1632*) Kirchhoff, Gustav (1523*) Kirkman, Thomas (1045*) Kleene, Stephen (328*) Klein, Felix (2014*) Klein, Oskar (2294*) Klingenberg, Wilhelm (511*) Kloosterman, Hendrik (776*) Klgel, Georg (415) Kneser, Adolf (187*) Kneser, Hellmuth (845*) Knopp, Konrad (168*) Knuth, Donald (2546*) Kober, Hermann (115*) Koch, Helge von (736*) Kochin, Nikolai (145) Kochina, Pelageia (2041*) Kodaira, Kunihiko (382*) Koebe, Paul (417*) Kolmogorov, Andrey (2076*) Kolosov, Gury (120) Konig, Denes (217) Knig, Julius (193*) Knig, Samuel (908*) Knigsberger, Leo (389*) Korteweg, Diederik (193*) Kotelnikov, Aleksandr (412) Kovalevskaya, Sofia (1283*) Kramer, Edna (1892) Kramp, Christian (219) Krawtchouk, Mikhail (703*) Krein, Mark (1271*) Kreisel, Georg (550*) Krieger, Cecilia (815) Kronecker, Leopold (2144*) Krull, Wolfgang (886*) Krylov, Aleksei (228*) Krylov, Nikolai (120*) Kuhi, Abu al- (1146) Kulik, Yakov (288) Kumano-Go, Hitoshi (547*) Kummer, Eduard (1412*) Kuperberg, Krystyna (1176*) Kuratowski, Kazimierz (2191*) Kurosh, Aleksandr (1284*) Krschk, Jzsef (161) Kushyar, ibn Labban (448) Kutta, Martin (91*) 50

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Keynes, John Maynard (2206*)

Koenigs, Gabriel (156)

Kuttner, Brian (412*)

L'Hpital, Guillaume de (204*) Lavanha, Joao Baptista (180) La Condamine, Charles de (480*) Lavrentev, Mikhail (341*) La Faille, Charles de (233*) Lax, Gaspar (147) La Hire, Philippe de (297*) Le Fvre, Jean (542) La Roche, Estienne de (275) Le Paige, Constantin (314*) la Valle Poussin, C de (1702*) Le Tenneur, Jacques (249) Labban, Kushyar ibn (448) Le Verrier, Urbain (450*) Lacroix, Sylvestre (254) Lebesgue, Henri (313*) Ladd-Franklin, Christine (1731*) Ledermann, Walter (1901*) Lagny, Thomas de (186*) Leech, John (582*) Lagrange, Joseph-Louis (3183*) Leffler, Magnus Mittag- (829*) Laguerre, Edmond (111*) Lefschetz, Solomon (2048*) Lah, Ivo (724*) Legendre, Adrien-Marie (1953*) Lakatos, Imre (1145*) Lger, Emile (186) Lalande, Joseph-Jrme (2841*) Lehmer, Derrick (1715*) Lalla (502) Lehmer, Emma (1658*) Lamb, Horace (772*) Leibniz, Gottfried von (3723*) Lambert, Johann (227*) Lemoine, Emile (605*) Lam, Gabriel (1192*) Leonardo da Vinci (704*) Lame, Hermann the (231) Leray, Jean (990*) Lamy, Bernard (273) Lerch, Mathias (470*) Lanczos, Cornelius (834*) Leshniewski, Stanislaw (1180*) Landau, Edmund (474*) Leslie, John (99*) Landau, Lev (226*) Leucippus (768) Landen, John (238) Levi ben Gerson (268) Landsberg, Georg (264) Levi-Civita, Tullio (418*) Langlands, Robert (816*) Levinson, Norman (2320*) Lansberge, Philippe van (243*) Levy, Hyman (741) Laplace, Pierre-Simon (3821*) Lvy, Paul (714*) Larmor, Sir Joseph (1486*) Levytsky, Volodymyr (296*) Lasker, Emanuel (339*) Lexell, Anders (861) Lassar, Edna Kramer (1892) Lexis, Wilhelm (562*) Laurent, Hermann (54) Lhuilier, Simon (1091) Laurent, Pierre (90) Libri Guglielmo (429*) Lie, Sophus (2699*) Lifshitz, Evgenii (441*) Lighthill, Sir James (1863*) Lindelf, Ernst (592*) Lindemann, Ferdinand von (895*) Linnik, Yuri (273*) Lions, Pierre-Louis (923*) Lions, Jacques-Louis (2154*) Liouville, Joseph (1968*) Lipschitz, Rudolf (562*) Lissajous, Jules (234*) Listing, Johann (1666*) Littlewood, Dudley (506*) Littlewood, John E (2267*) Livsic, Moshe (626*) Llull, Ramon (348) Lobachevsky, Nikolai (2143*) Loewner, Karl (1807*) Loewy, Alfred (127*) Lopatynsky, Yaroslav (218*) Lorentz, Hendrik (680*) Love, Augustus (139*) Lovelace, Augusta Ada (2243*) Lwenheim, Leopold (109*) Lwner, Karl (249*) Loyd, Samuel (150*) Lucas, F Edouard (394*) Lueroth, Jacob (395*) Lukacs, Eugene (1185*) Lukasiewicz, Jan (600*) Luke, Yudell (1143*) Luzin, Nikolai (2072*) Lyapunov, Aleksandr (75*) Lyndon, Roger (521*)

Macaulay, Francis (448*) Mathews, George (492) MacCullagh, James (922*) Mathieu, Claude-Louis (85*) Macdonald, Hector (81*) Mathieu, Emile (575) Machin, John (1162*) Matsushima, Yozo (1147*) Macintyre, Sheila Scott (449) Mauchly, John (1173*) Mac Lane, Saunders (618*) Maupertuis, Pierre de (2527*) Maclaurin, Colin (2732*) Maurolico, Francisco (213) MacMahon, Percy (591*) Maxwell, James Clerk (2554*) Madhava, Sangamagramma (947) Mayer, Adolph (375*) Magnitsky, Leonty (239) Mayer, Tobias (283*) Magnus, Wilhelm (537*) Mazur, Stanislaw (1146*)
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Mineur, Henri (369*) Minkowski, Hermann (292*) Mirsky, Leon (400*) Mises, Hilda Geiringer von (1469*) Mises, Richard von (2108*) Mittag-Leffler, Gsta (2254*) Mbius, August (1406*) Mohr, Georg (184) Moivre, Abraham de (379*) Molien, Theodor (710) 51

Maghribi, Muhyi al (602) Mazurkiewicz, Stefan (1322*) Mahani, Abu al (507) McAfee, Walter (1273*) Mahavira, Mahavira (994) McClintock, John (344*) Mahendra, Suri (259) McDuff, Margaret (1297*) Mahler, Kurt (472*) McNulty, Kathleen (746*) Maior, John (52) McShane, Edward (808*) Mal-tsev, Anatoly (1299*) Mchain, Pierre (2419*) Malcev, Anatoly (1299*) Meissel, Ernst (140*) Malebranche, Nicolas (1326*) Mellin, Hjalmar (568*) Malfatti, Francesco (419*) Menabrea, Luigi (131*) Malone-Mayes, Vivienne (1482*) Menaechmus (1104) Malus, Etienne Louis (486*) Menelaus of Alexandria (1037) Manava (301) Menger, Karl (485*) Mandelbrot, Benoit (1838*) Mengoli, Pietro (188) Mannheim, Amde (404*) Menshov, Dmitrii (1221*) Mansion, Paul (373*) Mray, Charles (606) Mansur ibn Ali, Abu (1190) Mercator, Gerardus (2477*) Marchenko, Vladimir (248*) Mercator, Nicolaus (279) Marcinkiewicz, Jozef (1134*) Mercer, James (526) Marczewski, Edward (1012*) Merrifield, Charles (68*) Margulis, Gregori (812*) Merrill, Winifred (686*) Marinus of Neapolis (405) Mersenne, Marin (518*) Markov, Andrei (222*) Mertens, Franz (64*) Marrakushi, al (861) Meshchersky, Ivan (61) Mascheroni, Lorenzo (197*) Meyer, Wilhelm (73*) Maschke, Heinrich (377*) Miller, George (112*) Maseres, Francis (224*) Milne, Edward (1080*) Maskelyne, Nevil (477*) Milnor, John (683*) Mason, Max (306) Minding, Ferdinand (392*)

Molires, Joseph Privat de (216) Molin, Fedor (710) Monge, Gaspard (2951*) Monte, Guidobaldo del (1655*) Montel, Paul (135*) Montmort, Pierre Rmond de (300) Montucla, Jean (1666*) Moore, Eliakim (1229*) Moore, Jonas (789*) Moore, Robert (1781*) Morawetz, Cathleen (1099*) Mordell, Louis (2338*) More, Henry (1559*) Morgan, Augustus De (856*) Mori, Shigefumi (674*) Morin, Arthur (54) Morin, Jean-Baptiste (418*) Morley, Frank (457*) Morse, Harald Marston (302*) Mostowski, Andrzej (168*) Motzkin, Theodore (1147*) Moufang, Ruth (445*) Mouton, Gabriel (147) Muhaqqiq-i, Nasir (1912) Muir, Thomas (267*) Mller (Regiomontanus) (341*) Mumford, David (617*) Mydorge, Claude (255) Mytropolshy, Yurii (381*)

Naimark, Mark (327*) Napier, John (2443*) Narayana, Pandit (515) Nasawi, Abu al (681) Nash, John (3880*) Navier, Claude (1072*) Nayrizi, Abu'l al (621) Neile, William (310) Nekrasov, Aleksandr (564*) Nelson, Evelyn (1476*) Netto, Eugen (575*) Neuberg, Joseph (354) Neugebauer, Otto (1234*) Neumann, Bernhard (1683*) Neumann, Carl Gottfried (449*) Neumann, Franz Ernst (1053*) Neumann, Hanna (267*) Neumann, John von (2475*) Nevanlinna, Rolf (418*) Newcomb, Simon (567*) Newman, Maxwell (463*) Newton, Sir Isaac (3681*) Neyman, Jerzy (451*) Nicolson, Phyllis (241*) Nicomachus of Gerasa (1183*) Nicomedes (545*) Nielsen, Jacob (1429*) Nielsen, Niels (193) Nightingale, Florence (1781*) Nikodym, Otton (1252) Nilakantha, Somayaji (877) Niven, William (202*) Noether, Emmy (1003*) Noether, Max (179*) Novikov, Petr (750*) Novikov, Sergi (1361*) Nunes Salaciense, Pedro (332*)

Ockham, William of (140*) Oenopides of Chios (818) Ohm, Georg Simon (1910*) Omar Khayyam (2140*) Oresme, Nicole d' (191*) Orlicz, Wladyslaw (1933*) Ostrogradski, Mikhail (528*) Ostrowski, Alexander (1419*) Oughtred, William (654*) 52

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Oka, Kiyoshi (485*) Oleinik, Olga (880*) Olivier, Thodore (665)

Ortega, Juan de (157) Osgood, William (186*) Osipovsky, Timofei (187)

Ovidio, Enrico D' (414) Ozanam, Jacques (1604)

Pacioli, Luca (1980*) Pad, Henri (1369*) Padoa, Alessandro (365) Paige, Constantin Le (314*) Painlev, Paul (111*) Paley, Raymond (491) Paman, Roger (1934) Panini (1257) Papin, Denis (492*) Pappus of Alexandria (2265) Paramesvara, Paramesvara (776) Pars, Leopold (328*) Parseval des Chnes, M-A (896) Pascal, Blaise (1824*) Pascal, Etienne (175) Pasch, Moritz (132*) Pastor, Julio Rey (404*) Patodi, Vijay (445*) Pauli, Wolfgang (2320*) Peacock, George (594*) Peano, Giuseppe (2385*) Pearson, Egon (1507*) Pearson, Karl (257*) Peirce, Benjamin (188*) Peirce, Charles (334*) Pell, Anna (Wheeler) (516*) Pell, John (304) Penney, Bill (480*) Penrose, Roger (2335*) Prs, Joseph (437) Perron, Oskar (534*) Perseus (439) Personne, G de Roberval (349) Pter, Rzsa (477*) Petersen, Julius (133*) Peterson, Karl (211*) Petit, Alxis (120) Petrovsky, Ivan (327*) Petryshyn, Volodymyr (282*) Petzval, Jzeph (421*) Peurbach, Georg (202) Pfaff, Johann (929*) Pfeiffer, Georgii (226*) Philon of Byzantium (737) Picard, Emile (1267*) Picard, Jean (297) Pieri, Mario (536) Piero della Francesca (540*) Pillai, K C Sreedharan (362*) Piero della Francesca (540*) Pincherle, Salvatore (446*) Pisano, Leonardo Fibonacci (2223*) Pitiscus, Bartholomeo (172) Plana, Giovanni (900*) Planck, Max (788*) Plateau, Joseph (114*) Plato (2043*) Playfair, John (2916*) Plemelj, Josip (1899*) Pless, Vera (1478*) Plessner, Abraham (442*) Plcker, Julius (177*) Poincar, J Henri (3011*) Poinsot, Louis (867*) Poisson, Simon (2550*) Poleni, Giovanni (152) Polozii, Georgii (213) Plya, George (3395*) Poncelet, Jean-Victor (252*) Pontryagin, Lev (1470*) Poretsky, Platon (227*) Porphyry, Malchus (763*) Porta, Giambattista Della (409*) Posidonius of Rhodes (908) Post, Emil (1939*) Potapov, Vladimir (577*) Poussin, C de la Valle (1702*) Pratt, John (331) Pringsheim, Alfred (69*) Privalov, Ivan (150*) Privat de Molires, Joseph (216) Proclus Diadochus (1316) Prony, Gaspard de (1015*) Prthudakasvami (263) Prophatius (ben Tibbon) (198) Prfer, Heinz (41) Ptolemy (3383*) Puiseux, Victor (452*) Puissant, Louis (70) Pythagoras of Samos (3053*) Qadi Zada, al-Rumi (1016) Qalasadi, Abu'l al (1247) Quetelet, Adolphe (259*) Quhi, Abu al (1146) Quillen, Daniel (749*) Quine, Willard Van (1918*) Qurra, Thabit ibn (1507*)

Rademacher, Hans (531*) Rado, Richard (381*) Rad, Tibor (1929*) Radon, Johann (157*) Rahn, Johann (79) Rajagopal, Cadambathur (258*) Ramanujam, Chidambaram (1636*) Ramanujan, Srinivasa (2798*) Reye, Theodor (309*) Reymond, Paul du Bois- (137*) Reynaud, Antoine-Andr (507) Reyneau, Charles (351) Reynolds, Osborne (926*) Rham, Georges de (741*) Rheticus, Georg Joachim (1559) Riccati, Jacopo (202*) Riccati, Vincenzo (247*) Rocard, Yves-Andr (341*) Rodrigues, Benjamin (1295) Roche, Estienne de La (275) Rogers, Ambrose (456*) Rogers, James(823) Rohn, Karl (117*) Rolle, Michel (232) Romanus, Adrianus (419) Roomen, Adriaan van (419) 53

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Ramsden, Jesse (112*) Ramsey, Frank (1319*) Ramus, Peter (1262*) Rankin, Robert (1546*) Rankine, William (118*) Raphson, Joseph (765) Rasiowa, Helena (876*) Rayleigh, Lord (J Strutt) (190*) Razmadze, Andrei (373) Recorde, Robert (2383*) Rees, Mina (1102*) Regiomontanus Johann (341*) Reichenbach, Hans (125*) Reidemeister, Kurt (472*) Reiner, Irving (436) Remak, Robert (1039*) Remez, Evgeny (196*) Rnyi, Alfrd (297*) Rey Pastor, Julio (404*)

Ricci, Matteo (635*) Rosanes, Jakob (132*) Ricci, Michelangelo (234) Rosenhain, Johann (146) Ricci-Curbastro, Georgorio Rota, Gian-Carlo (1420*) (1335*) Roth, Klaus (706*) Richard, Jules (137*) Roth, Leonard (97*) Richard, Louis (116) Rouch, Eugne (560) Richardson, Lewis (273*) Routh, Edward (152) Richer, Jean (357) Rudin, Mary (1857*) Richmond, Herbert (725*) Rudio, Ferdinand (268*) Riemann, G F Bernhard (2707*) Rudolff, Christoff (172) Ries, Adam (380*) Ruffini, Paolo (2196*) Riesz, Frigyes (861*) Runge, Carle (332*) Riesz, Marcel (111*) Russell, Bertrand (1485*) Ringrose, John (544*) Russell, John (851*) Roberts, Samuel (389*) Rutherford, Daniel E (116*) Roberval, Gilles de (349) Rydberg, Johannes (413*) Robins, Benjamin (375) Robinson, Abraham (1650*) Robinson, Julia Bowman (1924*)

Saccheri, Giovanni (212) Sacrobosco, Johannes de (328) St-Venant, Adhmar de (554*) Saint-Vincent, Gregorius (296*) Saks, Stanislaw (1132*) Salaciense, Pedro Nunes (332*) Salem, Raphal (1545*) Salmon, George (545*) Samarqandi, Shams al (202) Samawal, Ibn al (1569) Samoilenko, Anatoly (252*) Sang, Edward (471*) Sankara, Narayana (724) Sargent, Winifred (1339) Sasaki, Shigeo (1066*) Saurin, Joseph (210) Savage, Leonard (299*) Savart, Felix (106) Savary, Flix (153) Savasorda (A bar Hiyya) (641) Savile, Sir Henry (1130*) Schafer, Alice (1344*) Schatten, Robert (682) Schauder, Juliusz (1012*) Scheff, Henry (844*) Scheffers, Georg (143*) Schickard, Wilhelm (219*) Schlfli, Ludwig (191*) Schlmilch, Oscar (49*) Schmidt, Erhard (1382*) Schoenberg, Isaac (816*) Segre, Corrado (574*) Seidel, Philipp von (572) Seifert, Karl (1709*) Seki Kowa, Takakazu (411*) Selberg, Atle (814*) Selten, Reinhard (266*) Semple, Jack (228*) Serenus (566) Serre, Jean-Pierre (731*) Serret, Joseph (164*) Servois, Franois (549) Severi, Francesco (792*) 'sGravesande, Willem (180*) Shafarevich, Igor (419*) Shanks, William (153) Shannon, Claude (1045*) Sharkovsky, Oleksandr (134*) Shatunovsky, Samuil (221) Shen Kua (177) Shewhart, Walter (52*) Shields, Allen (195*) Shih-Chieh Chu (80) Shnirelman, Lev (137) Shoda, Kenjiro (1235*) Shtokalo, Josif (325*) Siacci, Francesco (504*) Siegel, Carl (2131*) Sierpinski, Waclaw (2004*) Siguenza, y Gongora (566) Sijzi, Abu al (708) Simplicius, Simplicius (933) Sokolov, Yurii (176*) Somerville, Mary (2125*) Sommerfeld, Arnold (479*) Sommerville, Duncan (523) Somov, Osip (106*) Sonin, Nikolay (124*) Spanier, Edwin (591*) Spence, William (65) Sperry, Pauline (1230*) Sporus of Nicaea (357) Spottiswoode, William (423*) Sridhara, Sridhara (766) Sripati (541) Stckel, Paul (60*) Stampioen, Jan (153) Staudt, Carl Georg C von (146*) Steenrod, Norman (1144*) Stefan, Josef (111*) Stefan, Peter (364*) Steiner, Jakob (310*) Steinhaus, Hugo (1702*) Steinitz, Ernst (328*) Steklov, Vladimir A (1229*) Stepanov, Vyacheslaw V (135*) Stevin, Simon (351*) Stewart, Matthew (260) Stewartson, Keith (312*) Stieltjes, Thomas Jan (1530*) Stifel, Michael (331) Stirling, James (2856) Stokes, George Gabriel (2422*) 54

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Schnflies, Arthur (370*) Schooten, Frans van (259*) Schottky, Friedrich (251*) Schoute, Pieter (363) Schouten, Jan (341*) Schreier, Otto (582*) Schrder, Ernst (174*) Schrdinger, Erwin (2527*) Schroeter, Heinrich (182*) Schubert, Hermann (101*) Schur, Issai (1667*) Schwartz, Laurent (637*) Schwarz, Herman (1192*) Schwarz, Stefan (867*) Schwarzschild, Karl (317*) Schwinger, Julian (1455*) Scott, Charlotte (338*) Scott, Sheila (Macintyre) (449) Segner, Jan (356*) Segre, Beniamino (397*)

Simpson, Thomas (263*) Simson, Robert (1914) Sina, ibn (Avicenna) (438*) Sinan ibn Thabit (719) Sintsov, Dmitrii (223*) Sitter, Willem de (483*) Skolem, Thoralf (100*) Slaught, Herbert (543*) Sleszynski, Ivan (194) Slutsky, Evgeny (383*) Sluze, Ren de (323) Smale, Stephen (795*) Smirnov, Vladimir (588*) Smith, Henry (444*) Smullyan, Raymond (2022*) Sneddon, Ian (1703*) Snell, Willebrord (239*) Snyder, Virgil (242*) Sobolev, Sergei (1282*) Sokhotsky, Yulian-Karl (183*)

Stolz, Otto (113*) Stone, Marshall (497*) Stott, Alicia Boole (340*) Struik, Dirk (1059*) Strutt (Lord Rayleigh) (190*) Study, Eduard (454*) Sturm, J Charles-Franois (1282*) Sturm, Rudolf (668) Subbotin, Mikhail (817) Suetuna, Zyoiti (897) Suter, Heinrich (56) Suvorov, Georgii (170*) Swain, Lorna (598) Sylow, Ludwig (486*) Sylvester, James Joseph (1146*) Synge, John (1155*) Szsz, Otto (751*) Szeg, Gbor (479*)

Tacquet, Andrea (181) Tahir, ibn (947) Tait, Peter Guthrie (3450*) Takagi, Teiji (1675*) Takakazu (Seki) (411*) Talbot, Henry Fox (163*) Taniyama, Yutaka (345*) Tannery, Jules (828*) Tannery, Paul (1420*) Tapia, Richard (1383*) Tarry, Gaston (93*) Tarski, Alfred (3170*) Tartaglia, Niccolo Fontana (1664*) Tauber, Alfred (100) Taurinus, Franz (567) Taussky-Todd, Olga (2064*) Taylor, Brook (1879*) Taylor, Geoffrey (811*) Teichmller, Oswald (122*) Temple, George (506*) Tenneur, Jacques (249) Tetens, Johannes (82*) Thabit ibn Qurra, Abu'l (1507*) Thales of Miletus (2091*) Theaetetus of Athens (1320) Theodorus of Cyrene (673) Theodosius of Bithynia (1044) Theon of Alexandria (1135) Theon of Smyrna (655) Thiele, Thorvald (950*) Thom, Ren (984*) Thomae, Johannes (99*) Thomason, Bob (1053*) Thompson, D'Arcy W (479*) Thompson, John (1286*) Thomson, W (Lord Kelvin) (2613*) Thue, Axel (415*) Thurston, Bill (582*) Thymaridas (186) Tibbon, Jacob ben (198) Tietze, Heinrich (816) Tikhonoff, Andrey (1069*) Tikhonov, Andrei (1069*) Tilly, Joseph de (179) Tinbergen, Jan (708*) Tinseau, Charles (144) Tisserand, Flix (600) Titchmarsh, Edward (1458*) Todd, John (876*) Todhunter, Isaac (1055*) Toeplitz, Otto (859*) Torricelli, Evangelista (2867*) Trail, William (73) Tricomi, Francesco (556*) Troughton, Edward (387*) Tschirnhaus, E von (321*) Tsu Ch'ung Chi (127*) Tukey, John (744*) Tunstall, Cuthbert (187*) Turn, Paul (125*) Turing, Alan (2876*) Turnbull, Herbert (1652*) Turner, Peter (225) Tusi, Nasir al (1912) Tusi, Sharaf al (1138) Tutte, William (1869*) Tychonoff, Andrey (1069*)

Uhlenbeck, George (1800*) Uhlenbeck, Karen (1114*) Vandermonde, Alexandre (1379) Vlacq, Adriaan (199) Vandiver, Harry (215) Vleck, Edward van (344*) 55

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Ulam, Stanislaw (1422*) Ulugh Beg (1219*) Umawi, Abu al (1014) Uqlidisi, Abu'l al(1028) Upton, Francis (359*) Urysohn, Pavel (1391*) Vacca, Giovanni (707*) Vailati, Giovanni (555*) Val, Patrick du (380*) Valerio, Luca (278) Valle Poussin, C de la (1702*) van Amringe, Howard (354*) van Ceulen, Ludolph (223*) van Dantzig, David (518) van der Waerden, Bartel (552*) van Heuraet, Hendrik (170) van Lansberge, Philip (243*) van Roomen, Adriaan (419) van Schooten, Frans (259*) van Vleck, Edward (358*)

Varahamihira, Varahamihira (744) Varignon, Pierre (199*) Vashchenko-Z, Mikhail (241*) Veblen, Oswald (655*) Vega, Jurij von (295*) Velez-Rodriguez, Argelia (768*) Venant, Adhmar de St- (554*) Venn, John (385*) Verhulst, Pierre (411) Vernier, Pierre (344) Veronese, Giuseppe (617*) Verrier, Urbain Le (450*) Vessiot, Ernest (229*) Vite, Franois (2352*) Vijayanandi (424) Vincent, Gregorius Saint- (296*) Vinci, Leonardo da (704*) Vinogradov, Ivan (685*) Vitali, Giuseppe (269*) Viviani, Vincenzo (339*)

Volterra, Vito (436*) von Brill, Alexander (473*) von Dyck, Walther (737*) von Etvs, Roland (159*) von Helmholtz, Hermann (2214*) von Krmn, Theodore (202*) von Koch, Helge (736*) von Leibniz, Gottfried (3723*) von Lindemann, Carl (895*) von Mises, Hilda Geiringer (1469*) von Mises, Richard (2108*) von Neumann, John (2475*) von Segner, Johann (356*) von Seidel, Philipp (572) von Staudt, Karl (146*) von Tschirnhaus, E (321*) von Vega, Georg (295*) Voronoy, Georgy (198*) Vranceanu, Gheorghe (999*)

Waerden, Bartel van der (552*) Wafa al-Buzjani Abu'l (1115) Wald, Abraham (1465*) Walker, Geoffrey (439*) Walker, John (553*) Wall, C Terence (545*) Wallace, William (261*) Wallis, John (2463*) Wang, Hsien Chung (649) Wangerin, Albert (481*) Wantzel, Pierre (1020) Waring, Edward (1378*) Warner, Mary (1674*) Watson, G N (171*) Watson, Henry (404*) Wazewski, Tadeusz (759*) Weatherburn, Charles (506*) Weber, Heinrich Martin (654*) Weber, Wilhelm (272*) Wedderburn, Joseph (1714*) Weierstrass, Karl (2599*) Weil, Andr (973*) Weingarten, Julius (734*) Weinstein, Alexander (408*) Weisbach, Julius (528*) Weldon, Raphael (437*) Werner, Johann (145) Wessel, Caspar (1685) West, John (138) Weyl, Hermann (282*) Weyr, Emil (65*) Wheeler, Anna J Pell (516*) Whiston, William (407*) White, Henry (384*) Whitehead, Alfred N (2076*) Whitehead, J Henry C (173*) Whitney, Hassler (311*) Whittaker, Edmund (854*) Whittaker, John (388*) Whyburn, Gordon (1087*) Widman, Johannes (156) Wielandt, Helmut (675*) Wien, Wilhelm (395*) Wiener, Christian (179) Wiener, Norbert (2361*) Wigner, Eugene (2458*) Wilczynski, Ernest (652) Wiles, Andrew (1178*) William of Ockham (140*) Wilkins, Ernest (1215*) Wilkins, John (2456*) Wilkinson, Jim (406*) Wilks, Samuel (457*) Wilson, Alexander (163) Wilson, Edwin (677) Wilson, John (278) Winkler, Wilhelm (744*) Wintner, Aurel (1461) Wirtinger, Wilhelm (586*) Wishart, John (989*) Witt, Ernst (331*) Witt, Johan de (412*) Witten, Edward (893*) Wittgenstein, Ludwig (1977*) Wolf, Rudolph (186*) Wolfowitz, Jacob (1031*) Wolstenholme, Joseph (677) Woodhouse, Robert (179) Woodward, Robert (311*) Wren, Sir Christopher (3006*) Wronski, Hon (324*)

Xenocrates of Chalcedon (636) Young, Lai-Sang (1248*) Zelmanov, Efim (1028*) 56
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Yang Hui (190) Yates Frank (439*) Yativrsabha (219) Yau, Shing-Tung (699*) Yavanesvara (405) Yoccoz, Jean-Christophe (606*) Youden, William (800) Young, Grace Chisholm (583*) Young, William (1055*) Young, Alfred (1537)

Yule, George (1538*) Yunus, Abu'l-Hasan ibn (1312) Yushkevich, Adolph P (579) Yusuf Ahmed ibn(660) Zada, al-Rumi Qadi (1016) Zakharchenko, M V- (241*) Zarankiewicz, Kazimierz (937*) Zaremba, Stanislaw (1084*) Zariski, Oscar (1654*) Zassenhaus, Hans (512*) Zeeman, Chris (930*) Zeckendorf, Edouard (176*)

Zeno of Elea (2124*) Zeno of Sidon (1046*) Zenodorus (512) Zermelo, Ernst (1367*) Zeuthen, Hieronymous (821*) Zhu Shie-jie (80) Zhukovsky, Nikolay (806*) Zolotarev, Egor (639*) Zorn, Max (1521*) Zuse, Konrad (1110*) Zygmund, Antoni (228*)

Index of Countries
Click on a name below to go to that entry. The number shown in brackets is the number of mathematicians in our archive born at that country. Algeria (1) France (211) Latvia (4) Scotland (44) Australia (5) Georgia (2) Lebanon (2) Slovakia (5) Azerbaijan (1) Germany (162) Libya (2) Slovenia (1) Argentina (1) Gibraltar (1) Lithuania (2) South Africa (2) Austria (28) Greece (25) Luxembourg (2) Spain (11) Belarus (8) Haiti (1) Malta (1) Sweden (11) Belgium (19) Hungary (29) Mexico (1) Switzerland (27) Canada (7) India (39) Moldavia (1) Syria (5) China (10) Indonesia (1) Netherlands (25) Tajikistan (1) Croatia (3) Iran (11) New Zealand (2) Turkey (22) Czech Republic (13) Iraq (17) Norway (10) Ukraine (37) Denmark (18) Israel (2) Pakistan (2) USA (108) Egypt (13) Ireland (18) Poland (68) Uzbekistan (3) England (204) Italy (101) Portugal (3) Wales (5) Estonia (2) Japan (9) Romania (5) Morocco (1) Finland (5) Jordan (1) Russia (81)

Mathematicians born in Greece

Mathematicians' birthplaces are given relative to modern-day boundaries. Click on the name below to go to the biography. Antiphon Conon Geminus Salem Arf Democritus Hippias Theaetetus Aristaeus Dinostratus Hippocrates Thymaridas Aristarchus Diocles Nicomedes Zenodorus Aristotle Dionysodorus Oenopides Barocius Domninus Plato Cleomedes Eudemus Pythagoras

Indexes of Biographies
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Chronological indexes - 500 500- 10001800- 1820- 1830- 1840- 185019051900-1904 AD 1499 1499 1819 1829 1839 1849 1859 1909 1500- 1600- 16501860- 1865- 1870- 1875- 188019201915-1919 1599 1649 1699 1864 1869 1874 1879 1884 1929 1700- 1750- 17801885- 1890- 18951940-present 1749 1779 1799 1889 1894 1899 Female mathematicians Recent changes in the archive Full Alphabetical index Full Chronological index

19101914 19301939

Mathematicians born before 500 AD

(1680BC-1620BC) Ahmes (800 BC - 740 BC) Baudhayana (750 BC - 690 BC) Manava (624 BC - 546 BC) Thales (600 BC - 540 BC) Apastamba (580 BC - 520 BC) Pythagoras (520 BC - 460 BC) Panini (499 BC - 428 BC) Anaxagoras (492 BC - 432 BC) Empedocles (490 BC - 430 BC) Zeno of Elea (490 BC - 420 BC) Oenopides (480 BC - 420 BC) Leucippus (480 BC - 411 BC) Antiphon (470 BC - 410 BC) Hippocrates (465 BC - 398 BC) Theodorus (460 BC - 400 BC) Hippias (460 BC - 370 BC) Democritus (450 BC - 390 BC) Bryson (10 AD - 75) Heron (10 AD - 70) Cleomedes (60 AD - 120) Nicomachus (70 AD - 135) Theon of Smyrna (70 AD - 130) Menelaus (78 AD - 139) Heng (85 AD - 165) Ptolemy (428 BC - 350 BC) Archytas (428 BC - 347 BC) Plato (415 BC - 369 BC) Theaetetus (408 BC - 355 BC) Eudoxus (400 BC - 350 BC) Thymaridas (396 BC - 314 BC) Xenocrates (390 BC - 320 BC) Dinostratus (387 BC - 312 BC) Heraclides (384 BC - 322 BC) Aristotle (380 BC - 320 BC) Menaechmus (370 BC - 310 BC) Callippus (360 BC - 300 BC) Aristaeus (360 BC - 290 BC) Autolycus (350 BC - 290 BC) Eudemus (325 BC - 265 BC) Euclid (310 BC - 230 BC) Aristarchus (287 BC - 212 BC) Archimedes (280 BC - 210 BC) Nicomedes (120 - 180) Yavanesvara (200 - 284) Diophantus (233 - 309) Porphyry (240 - 300) Sporus (290 - 350) Pappus (300 - 360) Serenus (335 - 395) Theon (370 - 415) Hypatia (411 - 485) Proclus (280 BC - 206 BC) (280 BC - 220 BC) (280 BC - 220 BC) (276 BC - 197 BC) (262 BC - 190 BC) (250 BC - 190 BC) (240 BC - 180 BC) (200 BC - 140 BC) (200 BC - 140 BC) (190 BC - 120 BC) (190 BC - 120 BC) (180 BC - 120 BC) (160 BC - 90 BC) (150 BC - 70 BC) Chrysippus Conon Philon Eratosthenes Apollonius Dionysodorus Diocles Zenodorus Katyayana Hipparchus Hypsicles Perseus Theodosius Zeno of Sidon

(135 BC - 51 BC) Posidonius ( 10 BC - 60 AD) Geminus (420 - 480) Domninus (430 - 501) Tsu (450 - 500) Marinus (474 - 534) Anthemius (475 - 524) Boethius (476 - 550) Aryabhata I (480 - 540) Eutocius (490 - 560) Simplicius

Mathematicians born from 500 to 999

(500 (505 (598 (600 (720 (735 (790 570) 587) 670) 680) 790) 804) 850) Yativrsabha Varahamihira Brahmagupta Bhaskara I Lalla Alcuin al-Khwarizmi (810 - 873) Muhammad (820 - 880) (826 - 901) (830 - 890) (835 - 912) (840 - 900) Banu Musa, Al-Mahani Thabit Prthudakasvami Ahmed Sankara Narayana (920 -1000) (940 - 998) (940 -1000) (940 -1000) (940 -1010) (945 -1020) (950 -1009) Aryabhata II Abu'l-Wafa al-Quhi Al-Khujandi Vijayanandi al-Sijzi Yunus 58

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(800 (800 (800 (805 (808 (810 (810 -

860) 870) 860) 873) 873) 873) 873)

Al-Jawhari (850 Mahavira (850 Govindasvami (870 al-Kindi (880 Hunayn (875 Banu Musa, Ahmad (900 Banu Musa, al-Hasan(908 (920 -

930) 929) 930) 943) 940) 971) 946) 980)

Abu Kamil al-Battani Sridhara Sinan Al-Nayrizi Al-Khazin Ibrahim al-Uqlidisi

(953 -1029) (965 -1039) (970 -1036) (973 -1048) (980 -1037) (980 -1037) (989 -1079)

Al-Karaji al-Haitam Mansur al-Biruni Avicenna al-Baghdadi Al-Jayyani

Mathematicians born from 1000 to 1499

(1010-1075) (1013-1054) (1019-1066) (1031-1095) (1048-1122) (1060-1130) (1070-1130) (1075-1160) (1092-1167) (1100-1160) (1114-1185) (1114-1187) (1130-1180) (1135-1213) (1168-1253) (1170-1250) (1195-1256) (1200-1280) (1201-1274) (1202-1261) (1219-1292) (1220-1296) (1220-1280) (1225-1260) Al-Nasawi Hermann of R. Sripati Shen Khayyam Brahmadeva Abraham Adelard Ezra Aflah Bhaskara II Gherard al-Samawal al-Tusi, Sharaf Grosseteste Fibonacci Sacrobosco Albertus al-Tusi, Nasir Ch'in Bacon Campanus al-Maghribi Jordanus (1235-1316) (1236-1312) (1238-1298) (1250-1310) (1256-1321) (1260-1320) (1270-1330) (1285-1349) (1288-1344) (1290-1349) (1316-1390) (1320-1380) (1323-1382) (1340-1410) (1340-1400) (1350-1425) (1364-1436) (1370-1460) (1377-1446) (1380-1450) (1393-1449) (1400-1489) (1401-1464) (1404-1472) (1412-1492) Llull Tibbon Yang al-Samarqandi al-Banna al-Farisi Chu Ockham Levi Bradwardine Albert al-Khalili Oresme Mahendra Suri Narayana Madhava Qadi Zada Paramesvara Brunelleschi al-Kashi Ulugh Beg al-Umawi Cusa Alberti Francesca (1412-1486) (1423-1461) (1424-1484) (1436-1476) (1444-1544) (1445-1500) (1445-1517) (1452-1519) (1462-1498) (1465-1526) (1468-1522) (1469-1550) (1470-1530) (1471-1528) (1471-1553) (1473-1543) (1474-1559) (1480-1568) (1487-1560) (1487-1567) (1492-1559) (1494-1575) (1494-1555) (1495-1552) (1499-1545) al-Qalasadi Peurbach Borgi Regiomontanus Nilakantha Chuquet Pacioli Leonardo Widman Ferro Werner Maior La Roche Drer Bouvelles Copernicus Tunstall Ortega Lax Stifel Ries Maurolico Fine Apianus Rudolff

Mathematicians born from 1500 to 1599

(1500-1557) (1500-1575) (1501-1576) (1502-1587) (1506-1575) (1508-1555) (1510-1558) (1512-1592) (1514-1574) (1515-1572) Tartaglia Jyesthadeva Cardan Nunes Commandino Gemma Frisius Recorde Mercator, G Rheticus Ramus (1546-1595) (1548-1626) (1548-1620) (1549-1622) (1550-1624) (1550-1617) (1552-1632) (1552-1610) (1552-1618) (1560-1621) Digges Cataldi Stevin Savile Lavanha Napier Brgi Ricci, Matteo Valerio Harriot (1580-1626) (1581-1638) (1581-1626) (1584-1637) (1584-1667) (1585-1647) (1586-1652) (1587-1657) (1588-1652) (1588-1679) Snell Bachet Gunter Vernier Saint-Vincent Mydorge Turner Jungius Bramer Hobbes 59

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(1522-1565) (1526-1573) (1527-1608) (1530-1590) (1535-1615) (1536-1586) (1537-1604) (1537-1612) (1540-1610) (1540-1603) (1545-1607) (1546-1601)

Ferrari Bombelli Dee Benedetti Porta Danti Barocius Clavius van Ceulen Vite Monte Brahe

(1561-1656) (1561-1632) (1561-1613) (1561-1615) (1561-1630) (1564-1642) (1566-1626) (1571-1630) (1574-1660) (1577-1643) (1580-1635) (1580-1643)

Fincke Lansberge Pitiscus Roomen Briggs Galileo Ghetaldi Kepler Oughtred Guldin Faulhaber Hrigone

(1588-1640) (1588-1648) (1591-1661) (1592-1655) (1592-1635) (1595-1640) (1595-1632) (1596-1650) (1597-1652) (1597-1636) (1598-1647) (1598-1678)

Pascal, Etienne Mersenne Desargues Gassendi Schickard Beaugrand Girard, Albert Descartes La Faille Gellibrand Cavalieri Hardy, Claude

Mathematicians born from 1600 to 1649

(1600-1684) (1600-1667) (1600-1644) (1601-1665) (1601-1652) (1602-1679) (1602-1675) (1605-1694) (1605-1675) (1606-1682) (1607-1688) (1608-1647) (1610-1660) (1610-1690) (1611-1685) (1612-1694) (1612-1660) (1614-1687) (1614-1672) (1615-1660) (1616-1703) (1616-1700) Carcavi Vlacq Delamain Fermat de Beaune Billy Roberval Boulliau de Bessy Caramuel Fabri Torricelli Le Tenneur Stampioen Pell Arnauld Tacquet More Wilkins Schooten Wallis Kamalakara (1618-1694) (1619-1682) (1620-1682) (1620-1684) (1620-1687) (1621-1678) (1622-1676) (1622-1703) (1622-1685) (1623-1662) (1623-1697) (1625-1683) (1624-1683) (1625-1712) (1625-1698) (1625-1672) (1626-1686) (1627-1691) (1627-1679) (1628-1704) (1629-1695) (1630-1677) Mouton Ricci Picard, Jean Brouncker Mercator, N Dechales Rahn Viviani Sluze Pascal, Blaise Angeli Collins Guarini Cassini Bartholin de Witt Mengoli Boyle Moore, Jonas Hudde Huygens Barrow (1630-1696) (1631-1675) (1632-1723) (1633-1660) (1635-1703) (1637-1670) (1638-1715) (1638-1675) (1640-1718) (1640-1697) (1640-1715) (1640-1717) (1642-1708) (1643-1727) (1645-1700) (1646-1716) (1646-1719) (1647-1712) (1647-1734) (1648-1737) (1648-1715) Richer Cocker Wren Heuraet Hooke Neile Malebranche Gregory, James La Hire Mohr Lamy Ozanam Seki Newton Siguenza Leibniz Flamsteed Papin Ceva, Giovanni Ceva, Tommaso Raphson

Mathematicians born from 1650 to 1699

(1651-1708) (1652-1706) (1652-1719) (1654-1705) (1654-1722) (1656-1728) (1656-1742) (1657-1757) (1659-1708) (1659-1737) (1660-1734) Tschirnhaus Le Fvre Rolle Bernoulli, Jacob Varignon Reyneau Halley Fontenelle Gregory, David Saurin Lagny (1667-1735) (1667-1733) (1669-1739) (1671-1742) (1671-1721) (1671-1750) (1675-1729) (1675-1749) (1676-1754) (1677-1756) (1677-1742) Arbuthnot Saccheri Magnitsky Grandi Keill Doppelmayr Clarke Jones Riccati Cassini de Molires (1682-1766) (1683-1761) (1685-1753) (1685-1731) (1687-1768) (1687-1759) (1688-1742) (1688-1757) (1690-1764) (1692-1770) (1695-1726) Fagnano, Giulio Poleni Berkeley Taylor, Brook Simson Bernoulli, N(I) 'sGravesande Castel Goldbach Stirling Bernoulli, N(II) 60

F;ile: /var/www/apps/conversion/tmp/scratch_5/176675770.doc

(1661-1704) (1663-1731) (1667-1754) (1667-1748) (1667-1752)

de L'Hpital Craig de Moivre Bernoulli, Johann Whiston

(1678-1733) (1678-1719) (1680-1751) (1682-1744) (1682-1716)

Hermann Montmort Machin Hadley Cotes

(1698-1758) (1698-1759) (1698-1746) (1699-1768)

Bouguer Maupertuis Maclaurin Camus

Mathematicians born from 1700 to 1749

(1700-1782) (1700-1762) (1701-1774) (1702-1761) (1703-1768) (1704-1791) (1704-1752) (1704-1771) (1704-1777) (1706-1790) (1706-1749) (1707-1775) (1707-1783) (1707-1788) (1707-1751) (1710-1790) (1710-1761) (1710-1748) (1711-1787) (1712-1757) (1713-1765) (1714-1784) (1714-1786) (1715-1797) Bernoulli, Daniel Braikenridge La Condamine Bayes Deparcieux Castillon Cramer des Bertins Segner Franklin, Benjamin Chtelet Riccati, V Euler Buffon Robins Bernoulli, Joh(II) Simpson Paman Boscovich Knig, Samuel Clairaut Cassini de Thury Wilson, A Fagnano, Gio (1717-1785) (1717-1783) (1718-1799) (1719-1790) (1719-1800) (1723-1762) (1724-1802) (1725-1799) (1728-1784) (1728-1777) (1729-1811) (1730-1783) (1730-1814) (1731-1806) (1731-1824) (1731-1807) (1732-1807) (1732-1811) (1732-1798) (1733-1799) (1734-1794) (1734-1798) (1735-1796) (1735-1800) Stewart d'Alembert Agnesi Landen Kaestner Mayer, Tobias Aepinus Montucla Frisi Lambert Bougainville Bzout Bossut Banneker Maseres Malfatti Lalande Maskelyne Ajima Borda Dionis Waring Vandermonde Ramsden (1736-1813) (1736-1806) (1736-1798) (1736-1807) (1737-1823) (1739-1812) (1740-1784) (1741-1808) (1741-1793) (1743-1794) (1744-1804) (1744-1807) (1744-1787) (1745-1818) (1745-1807) (1746-1818) (1746-1831) (1747-1817) (1748-1819) (1748-1822) (1748-1845) (1749-1827) (1749-1822) Lagrange Coulomb Bring Tetens Hutton Klgel Lexell Hindenburg Wilson, John Condorcet Mchain Bernoulli, Joh(III) Cunha Wessel Atwood Monge Trail Aida Playfair Tinseau Cassini Laplace Delambre

Mathematicians born from 1750 to 1779

(1750-1848) (1750-1840) (1750-1800) (1750-1817) (1752-1833) (1753-1823) (1753-1836) (1754-1802) (1755-1826) (1755-1836) (1755-1839) (1756-1817) (1759-1803) (1759-1789) (1760-1826) (1761-1840) Herschel, C Lhuilier Mascheroni Glenie Legendre Carnot Troughton Vega Fuss Parseval de Prony West Arbogast Bernoulli, Jac(II) Kramp Budan de BL (1765-1842) (1765-1843) (1765-1822) (1765-1836) (1765-1825) (1766-1832) (1766-1826) (1768-1830) (1768-1810) (1768-1822) (1768-1847) (1768-1843) (1769-1834) (1769-1943) (1771-1859) (1771-1844) Ivory Lacroix Ruffini Girard, Pierre Pfaff Leslie Farey Fourier Franais F Argand Servois Wallace Hachette Puissant Gergonne Reynaud (1773-1827) (1773-1849) (1774-1862) (1775-1836) (1775-1856) (1775-1833) (1775-1812) (1775-1843) (1776-1831) (1776-1862) (1777-1859) (1777-1855) (1777-1833) (1777-1828) (1777-1815) (1778-1853) Woodhouse Francoeur Biot Ampre Bolyai, Farkas Francais, J Malus Adrain Germain Barlow Poinsot Gauss Hecht Brisson Spence Wronski 61

F;ile: /var/www/apps/conversion/tmp/scratch_5/176675770.doc

(1765-1832) Osipovsky

(1773-1838) Bowditch

(1779-1865) Gompertz

Mathematicians born from 1780 to 1799

(1780-1855) (1780-1872) (1781-1840) (1781-1848) (1781-1864) (1783-1863) (1783-1875) (1783-1864) (1784-1846) (1784-1873) (1785-1836) (1786-1856) (1786-1853) (1786-1837) (1788-1856) (1788-1827) (1788-1867) (1789-1854) (1789-1857) Crelle Somerville Poisson Bolzano Plana Kulik Mathieu, C Brianchon Bessel Dupin Navier Binet Arago Horner Hamilton W Fresnel Poncelet Ohm Cauchy (1790-1868) (1791-1858) (1791-1841) (1791-1867) (1791-1820) (1791-1871) (1792-1871) (1792-1843) (1792-1856) (1793-1853) (1793-1866) (1793-1880) (1793-1841) (1794-1847) (1794-1851) (1794-1874) (1795-1850) (1795-1849) (1795-1870) Mbius Peacock Savart Faraday Petit Babbage Herschel Coriolis Lobachevsky Olivier Hopkins Chasles Green Dandelin Rodrigues Taurinus Holmboe Richard, Louis Lam (1795-1838) (1795-1880) (1795-1881) (1796-1874) (1796-1863) (1796-1832) (1796-1866) (1796-1878) (1797-1872) (1797-1886) (1797-1841) (1797-1870) (1798-1867) (1798-1852) (1798-1840) (1798-1895) (1799-1864) (1799-1873) Lger Morin Carlyle Quetelet Steiner Carnot, Sadi Brashman Bienaym Duhamel Saint-Venant Savary Finck von Staudt Gudermann Bobillier Neumann, Franz Clapeyron Grffe

Mathematicians born from 1800 to 1819

(1800-1877) (1800-1834) (1801-1885) (1801-1868) (1801-1892) (1801-1877) (1801-1862) (1801-1883) (1802-1829) (1802-1860) (1803-1869) (1803-1855) (1803-1880) (1803-1853) (1804-1891) (1804-1849) (1804-1851) (1804-1889) (1804-1863) (1805-1890) (1805-1859) (1805-1865) (1806-1885) (1806-1895) Talbot Feuerbach Clausen Plcker Airy Cournot Ostrogradski Plateau Abel Bolyai, Jnos Libri Sturm, Charles Bellavitis Doppler Weber Verhulst Jacobi Bunyakovsky Jerrard Sang Dirichlet Hamilton, W R Minding Kirkman (1806-1871) (1806-1871) (1807-1891) (1808-1882) (1808-1877) (1808-1882) (1808-1869) (1808-1879) (1809-1882) (1809-1880) (1809-1871) (1809-1896) (1809-1896) (1810-1893) (1811-1877) (1811-1874) (1811-1832) (1812-1882) (1812-1847) (1813-1853) (1813-1844) (1813-1854) (1814-1895) (1814-1894) De Morgan Weisbach Petzval Russell, Scott Grassmann Listing Dupr Kelland Liouville Peirce, B Pratt Menabrea MacCullagh Kummer Le Verrier Hesse Galois Shanks Gpel Anstice Gregory, Duncan Laurent, Pierre Schlfli Catalan (1814-1894) (1814-1897) (1815-1876) (1815-1864) (1815-1897) (1815-1852) (1816-1900) (1816-1872) (1816-1887) (1816-1893) (1817-1891) (1817-1880) (1817-1889) (1817-1882) (1818-1861) (1819-1892) (1819-1884) (1819-1903) (1819-1885) (1819-1885) (1819-1904) (1819-1892) Wantzel Sylvester Somov Boole Weierstrass Lovelace Frenet Delaunay Rosenhain Wolf Ferrel Borchardt Genocchi Briot Joachimsthal Adams Aronhold Stokes Serret Bouquet Salmon Bonnet

F;ile: /var/www/apps/conversion/tmp/scratch_5/176675770.doc


Mathematicians born from 1820 to 1829

(1820-1883) (1820-1910) (1820-1872) (1820-1901) (1820-1884) (1821-1881) (1821-1894) (1821-1895) (1821-1894) (1821-1896) (1822-1888) (1822-1911) (1822-1880) (1822-1900) (1822-1901) (1823-1886) Puiseux Nightingale Rankine Jonquires Todhunter Heine Chebyshev Cayley Helmholtz Seidel Clausius Galton Lissajous Bertrand Hermite Hoel (1823-1852) (1823-1901) (1823-1892) (1823-1912) (1823-1891) (1823-1885) (1824-1873) (1824-1887) (1824-1907) (1824-1897) (1824-1861) (1825-1883) (1825-1907) (1825-1898) (1825-1900) (1825-1903) Eisenstein Schlmilch Betti Amsler Kronecker Davidov Codazzi Kirchhoff Thomson Brioschi Dase Spottiswoode Fa di Bruno Balmer Walker, John Bjerknes, Carl (1825-1912) (1826-1894) (1826-1895) (1826-1866) (1826-1883) (1826-1896) (1826-1915) (1827-1903) (1827-1913) (1827-1884) (1828-1881) (1828-1893) (1829-1892) (1829-1920) (1829-1891) (1829-1900) Vashchenko-Z Battaglini Meissel Riemann Smith Wiener, C Crofton Watson, Henry Roberts Merrifield Peterson Bruno Schroeter Cantor, Moritz Wolstenholme Christoffel

Mathematicians born from 1830 to 1839

(1830-1891) (1830-1903) (1831-1907) (1831-1901) (1831-1879) (1831-1906) (1831-1916) (1831-1889) (1832-1898) (1832-1925) (1832-1903) (1832-1866) (1832-1910) (1832-1918) (1833-1872) Hirst Cremona Routh Tait Maxwell Mannheim Dedekind du Bois-Reymond Dodgson Neumann, Carl Lipschitz Bour Rouch Sylow Clebsch (1833-1902) (1834-1886) (1834-1923) (1835-1909) (1835-1893) (1835-1915) (1835-1890) (1835-1882) (1835-1911) (1835-1899) (1835-1890) (1836-1910) (1837-1912) (1837-1920) (1837-1914) Fuchs Laguerre Venn Newcomb Stefan, Josef Amringe Mathieu Jevons Mray Beltrami Casorati Weingarten Gordan Bachmann Lexis (1837-1906) (1837-1903) (1837-1921) (1838-1922) (1838-1914) (1838-1919) (1838-1910) (1839-1903) (1839-1873) (1839-1903) (1839-1920) (1839-1889) (1839-1907) (1839-1910) (1839-1914) Tilly Bugaev Knigsberger Jordan Hill Reye Thiele Gibbs Hankel Mayer, Adolph Zeuthen Barbier Siacci Petersen Peirce, Charles

Mathematicians born from 1840 to 1849

(1840-1909) (1840-1927) (1840-1916) (1840-1926) (1840-1912) (1840-1921) (1840-1918) (1841-1919) (1841-1911) (1841-1908) (1841-1902) Abbe Mertens McClintock Neuberg Lemoine Thomae Henrici Sturm, Rudolf Loyd Laurent, H Schrder (1843-1930) (1843-1904) (1843-1917) (1844-1906) (1844-1910) (1844-1919) (1844-1934) (1844-1921) (1844-1889) (1844-1933) (1845-1896) Pasch Tannery, Paul Niven Boltzmann Lueroth Mansion Muir Noether, Max Halphen Wangerin Tisserand (1847-1927) (1847-1930) (1848-1922) (1848-1923) (1848-1910) (1848-1921) (1848-1941) (1848-1911) (1848-1919) (1848-1894) (1848-1919) Greenhill Ladd-Franklin Suter Guenther Tannery, Jules Andreev Korteweg Schubert Netto Weyr Etvs 63

F;ile: /var/www/apps/conversion/tmp/scratch_5/176675770.doc

(1842-1927) (1842-1891) (1842-1905) (1842-1913) (1842-1933) (1842-1917) (1842-1922) (1842-1912) (1842-1935) (1842-1919) (1842-1899) (1843-1921) (1843-1934) (1843-1913)

Sokhotsky Lucas Stolz Weber, Heinrich D'Ovidio Darboux Rosanes Reynolds Brill Rayleigh Lie Schwarz Geiser Tarry

(1845-1918) (1845-1879) (1845-1922) (1845-1912) (1845-1918) (1845-1926) (1846-1923) (1846-1927) (1846-1907) (1846-1933) (1847-1921) (1847-1878) (1847-1923) (1847-1884)

Cantor Georg Clifford Brocard Darwin Dini Edgeworth Schoute Mittag-Leffler Poretsky Bertini Zhukovsky Zolotarev Killing Castigliano

(1848-1919) (1848-1928) (1848-1925) (1849-1903) (1849-1915) (1849-1925) (1849-1922) (1849-1924) (1849-1898) (1849-1917) (1849-1934) (1849-1913)

Bruns Glaisher Frege Gegenbauer Sonin Klein Kempe Woodward Hopkinson Frobenius Lamb Knig, Julius

Mathematicians born from 1850 to 1859

(1850-1891) (1850-1925) (1850-1916) (1850-1925) (1850-1941) (1851-1911) (1851-1939) (1851-1937) (1851-1935) (1851-1901) (1851-1930) (1852-1925) (1852-1929) (1852-1939) (1852-1927) (1852-1921) (1853-1925) (1853-1936) (1853-1928) (1853-1928) (1853-1908) (1853-1922) Kovalevskaya Heaviside Gram Ball Pringsheim Chrystal Dickstein Elliott Schottky FitzGerald Hayes Giovanni Le Paige Lindemann Burnside Upton Ricci-Curbastro Pincherle Schnflies Lorentz Maschke Halsted (1854-1912) (1854-1917) (1854-1931) (1854-1929) (1854-1919) (1854-1948) (1854-1933) (1855-1935) (1855-1920) (1855-1944) (1855-1930) (1855-1914) (1856-1928) (1856-1922) (1856-1941) (1856-1929) (1856-1934) (1856-1927) (1856-1933) (1856-1934) (1856-1894) (1857-1936) Poincar Veronese Sleszynski MacMahon Rydberg Brillouin Mellin Juel Rohn Boys Appell Guccia Bianchi Markov Picard, Emile Rudio Meyer Runge Hobson von Dyck Stieltjes Pearson (1857-1931) (1857-1942) (1857-1918) (1857-1942) (1858-1931) (1858-1947) (1858-1936) (1858-1931) (1858-1942) (1858-1931) (1858-1932) (1858-1928) (1859-1921) (1859-1930) (1859-1906) (1859-1919) (1859-1929) (1859-1925) (1859-1935) (1859-1962) (1859-1937) Dudeney Bolza Lyapunov Larmor Koenigs Planck Goursat Scott Forsyth Johnson Peano Fine, Henry Humbert, G Cajori Cesro Hurwitz Shatunovsky Jensen Meshchersky Bukreev Hlder

Mathematicians born from 1860 to 1864

(1860-1922) (1860-1929) (1860-1906) (1860-1948) (1860-1940) (1860-1940) (1860-1913) (1860-1937) (1861-1947) Lerch Hollerith Weldon Thompson, D'Arcy Volterra Stott Pieri Morley Whitehead, Henry (1861-1940) (1861-1914) (1861-1941) (1861-1941) (1862-1943) (1862-1932) (1862-1937) (1862-1917) (1862-1933) Heath Burkhardt Hensel Engel Hilbert Moore, Eliakim Macaulay Gentry Rogers (1863-1909) (1863-1932) (1863-1943) (1863-1948) (1863-1951) (1863-1945) (1863-1924) (1863-1939) (1863-1942) Vailati Fields van Vleck Richmond Miller Krylov, Aleksei Segre, Corrado Grave Young 64

F;ile: /var/www/apps/conversion/tmp/scratch_5/176675770.doc

(1861-1922) (1861-1943) (1861-1916) (1861-1937) (1861-1935) (1861-1931) (1861-1955) (1861-1941) (1861-1926)

Mathews White Duhem Slaught Bendixson Burali-Forti Heawood Molien Cole

(1862-1951) (1862-1930) (1862-1930) (1862-1924) (1862-1956) (1862-1919) (1862-1951) (1863-1922) (1863-1940)

Bjerknes, V Kneser Study Campbell Richard, Jules Stckel Merrill Thue Love

(1863-1933) (1863-1953) (1863-1923) (1863-1942) (1864-1926) (1864-1928) (1864-1943) (1864-1933) (1864-1909)

Painlev Pad Adler Zaremba Steklov Wien Osgood Krschk Minkowski

Mathematicians born from 1865 to 1869

(1865-1935) (1865-1912) (1865-1952) (1865-1944) (1865-1936) (1865-1945) (1865-1952) (1865-1944) (1865-1921) (1865-1931) (1865-1963) (1866-1947) (1866-1931) Macdonald Landsberg Vessiot Fiske Dixon Wirtinger Castelnuovo Kotelnikov Bohl Nielsen Hadamard Bortolotti Cosserat (1866-1927) (1866-1956) (1866-1962) (1866-1942) (1866-1945) (1866-1938) (1867-1936) (1867-1918) (1867-1944) (1867-1946) (1867-1955) (1868-1914) (1868-1944) Fredholm Baker Valle Poussin Tauber Scheffers Brown Kolosov Bcher Kutta Sintsov Dixon, Arthur Couturat Chisholm Young (1868-1948) (1868-1908) (1868-1931) (1868-1937) (1869-1942) (1868-1951) (1868-1941) (1869-1953) (1869-1942) (1869-1951) (1869-1950) (1869-1942) (1869-1931) Fawcett Voronoy Bortkiewicz Padoa Hausdorff Sommerfeld Lasker Kagan Chaplygin Cartan Snyder Hausdorff Egorov

Mathematicians born from 1870 to 1874

(1870-1924) (1870-1954) (1870-1946) (1870-1946) (1870-1917) (1871-1946) (1871-1952) (1871-1956) (1871-1951) (1871-1945) (1871-1941) Koch Carslaw Lindelf Bachelier Baxter Enriques Fano Borel Yule Galerkin Drach (1871-1928) (1871-1939) (1871-1951) (1871-1948) (1872-1934) (1872-1970) (1872-1953) (1872-1946) (1872-1956) (1873-1945) (1873-1941) Steinitz Epstein Zermelo Heegaard Sitter Russell Vacca Pfeiffer Levytsky Blichfeldt Levi-Civita (1873-1940) (1873-1935) (1873-1950) (1873-1954) (1873-1916) (1873-1956) (1873-1967) (1874-1932) (1874-1954) (1874-1953) (1874-1952) Young, Alfred Loewy Carathodory Coolidge Schwarzschild Whittaker Plemelj Baire Dickson Barnes Huntington

Mathematicians born from 1875 to 1879

(1875-1941) (1875-1929) (1875-1922) (1875-1960) (1875-1941) (1875-1959) (1875-1932) (1875-1950) Schur Bromwich Abraham, Max Takagi Lebesgue Fischer Vitali Conway (1876-1937) (1876-1943) (1876-1932) (1877-1947) (1877-1938) (1877-1946) (1877-1961) (1877-1963) Gosset Hedrick, Earle Wilczynski Hardy Landau Jeans Mason Boggio (1878-1973) (1878-1966) (1878-1952) (1878-1956) (1879-1943) (1879-1955) (1879-1961) (1879-1964) Frchet Coble Dehn Lukasiewicz Fubini Einstein Severi Wilson, Edwin 65

F;ile: /var/www/apps/conversion/tmp/scratch_5/176675770.doc

(1875-1966) (1876-1965) (1876-1959) (1876-1954) (1876-1975) (1876-1951)

Cantelli Eisenhart Schmidt Esclangon Montel Bliss

(1878-1929) (1878-1956) (1878-1929) (1878-1936) (1878-1957) (1878-1957)

Erlang Bernstein, Felix Fatou Grossmann Lwenheim Kellogg

(1879-1934) (1879-1921) (1879-1934) (1879-1955)

Hahn Jourdain Sommerville Krylov, Nikolai

Mathematicians born from 1880 to 1884

(1880-1933) (1880-1956) (1880-1959) (1880-1968) (1880-1948) (1880-1975) (1880-1960) (1880-1950) (1880-1964) (1880-1922) (1881-1966) (1881-1977) (1881-1963) (1881-1965) (1881-1940) (1881-1953) Ehrenfest Riesz Fejr Bernstein, Sergi Slutsky Perron Veblen Fueter Tietze Boutroux Brouwer Cunningham Krmn Hudson Toeplitz Richardson (1882-1948) (1882-1945) (1882-1935) (1882-1946) (1882-1957) (1882-1969) (1882-1973) (1882-1974) (1882-1970) (1882-1944) (1883-1932) (1883-1960) (1883-1953) (1883-1966) (1883-1946) (1883-1971) Wedderburn Koebe Noether, Emmy Bateman Knopp Sierpinski Vandiver Moore, Robert Born Eddington Mercer Bell Mises Wheeler Keynes Schouten (1883-1950) (1883-1942) (1883-1950) (1883-1957) (1884-1974) (1884-1944) (1884-1966) (1884-1947) (1884-1943) (1884-1974) (1884-1984) (1884-1972) (1884-1944) (1884-1952) Hellinger Berwald Luzin Nekrasov Denjoy Birkhoff Frank Enskog Helly Weatherburn Winkler Lefschetz Konig Szsz

Mathematicians born from 1885 to 1889

(1885-1967) (1885-1964) (1885-1977) (1885-1961) (1885-1962) (1885-1962) (1885-1933) (1885-1945) (1885-1955) (1886-1965) (1886-1975) (1886-1939) (1886-1971) (1886-1969) (1886-1982) Sperry Freundlich Littlewood Turnbull Blaschke Bohr, Niels Haar Kaluza Weyl Watson Taylor, Geoffrey Leshniewski Lvy, Paul Riesz, Marcel Bieberbach (1887-1951) (1887-1973) (1887-1963) (1887-1974) (1887-1960) (1887-1961) (1887-1947) (1887-1985) (1887-1956) (1887-1920) (1887-1972) (1888-1972) (1888-1970) (1888-1972) (1888-1944) Bohr, Harald Evans Skolem Smirnov Anderson Schrdinger Hecke Plya Radon Ramanujan Steinhaus Courant Chapman Mordell Berwick (1888-1958) (1888-1920) (1888-1925) (1888-1962) (1888-1971) (1888-1945) (1888-1977) (1888-1973) (1888-1942) (1889-1944) (1889-1975) (1889-1951) (1889-1929) (1889-1950) (1889-1953) Alexander Janiszewski Friedmann Rey Pastor Alexander Mazurkiewicz Bernays Kober Remak Fowler Levy, Hyman Wittgenstein Razmadze Stepanov Hubble

Mathematicians born from 1890 to 1894

(1890-1962) (1890-1973) (1890-1948) (1890-1945) Fisher Delone Albanese Feigl (1892-1960) (1892-1977) (1892-1945) (1892-1969) Bonferroni Morse Banach Rademacher (1893-1990) (1893-1948) (1894-1974) (1894-1952) Ferrar Bloch Bose Frenkel 66

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(1890-1959) (1890-1974) (1890-1962) (1891-1970) (1891-1941) (1891-1965) (1891-1967) (1891-1936) (1891-1989) (1891-1957) (1891-1953) (1891-1983) (1891-1953)

Nielsen Hazlett Prs Besicovitch Privalov Fraenkel Shewhart Swain Jeffreys Jeffrey Humbert, Pierre Vinogradov Reichenbach

(1892-1988) (1892-1987) (1892-1942) (1892-1975) (1893-1974) (1893-1978) (1893-1968) (1893-1960) (1893-1966) (1893-1986) (1893-1985) (1893-1973) (1893-1971)

Menshov Broglie Krawtchouk Burchnall Lanczos Julia Loewner Cech Subbotin Ostrowski Cramr, Harald Geiringer Reidemeister

(1894-1974) (1894-1970) (1894-1981) (1894-1985) (1894-1947) (1894-1980) (1894-1959) (1894-1977) (1894-2000) (1894-1971) (1894-1964)

Krieger Finsler Neyman Brauer Chebotaryov Hille Khinchin Klein Struik Hopf Wiener, Norbert

Mathematicians born from 1895 to 1899

(1895-1967) (1895-1977) (1895-1965) (1895-1983) (1895-1980) (1895-1980) (1895-1985) (1896-1985) (1896-1966) (1896-1980) (1896-1950) (1896-1975) (1896-1982) (1896-1971) (1896-1979) (1896-1972) (1896-1934) Aitken Bergman Rad Fuller Pearson Nevanlinna Szego Pars Janovskaja Kuratowski Milne Remez Aleksandrov Sokolov Lah Wazewski Prfer (1896-1962) (1896-1981) (1897-1979) (1897-1984) (1897-1954) (1897-1977) (1897-1995) (1897-1958) (1897-1978) (1897-1965) (1897-1987) (1897-1970) (1897-1942) (1898-1924) (1898-1962) (1898-1973) (1898-1980) Ackermann Siegel Weinstein Newman Post Fox Synge Hartree Tricomi Douglas Shtokalo Jarnik Saks Urysohn Artin Kneser, Hellmuth Heyting (1898-1972) (1898-1979) (1898-1946) (1898-1965) (1898-1963) (1898-1956) (1898-1970) (1899-1954) (1899-1999) (1899-1990) (1899-1986) (1899-1963) (1899-1982) (1899-1971) (1899-1943) Escher Hasse Kerkjrt Franklin Salem Wishart Suetuna Mineur Kochina Neugebauer Zariski Titchmarsh Bochner Krull Schauder

Mathematicians born from 1900 to 1904

(1900-1978) (1900-1970) (1900-1993) (1900-1973) (1900-1967) (1900-1968) (1900-1971) (1900-1958) (1900-1979) (1900-1982) (1900-1959) (1900-1980) (1900-1988) (1900-1998) (1900-1992) Cox Collingwood Burkill Aiken Ingham Kloosterman Youden Pauli Vranceanu Curry Dantzig Lavrentev Uhlenbeck Cartwright Zygmund (1901-1976) (1901-1944) (1902-1983) (1902-1977) (1902-1983) (1902-1959) (1902-1984) (1902-1994) (1902-1971) (1902-1979) (1902-1997) (1902-1984) (1902-1950) (1902-1995) (1903-1996) Heisenberg Kochin Tarski Shoda Hopf Zarankiewicz Lassar Yates Eckert, Wallace Baer Rees Dirac Wald Wigner van der Waerden (1903-1975) (1903-1974) (1903-1988) (1903-1979) (1903-1990) (1903-1968) (1903-1989) (1903-1984) (1903-1957) (1903-1957) (1903-1978) (1904-1969) (1904-1959) (1904-1994) (1904-1982) Hodge Flgge-Lotz Mahler Littlewood, D de Rham Delsarte Goldstein Bosanquet Neumann von Neumann Rajagopal Whyburn Caccioppoli Dubreil Hall, Philip 67

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(1901-1973) (1901-1977) (1901-1929) (1901-1980) (1901-1978) (1901-1983) (1901-1975) (1901-1980) (1901-1982) (1901-1961) (1901-1992)

Petrovsky Brauer Schreier Akhiezer Oka Zeckendorf Novikov Copson Friedrichs Bari Temple

(1903-1977) (1903-1930) (1903-1987) (1903-1989) (1903-1958) (1903-1994) (1903-1990) (1903-1987) (1903-1992) (1903-1990) (1903-1995)

Segre, Beniamino Ramsey du Val Stone Wintner Tinbergen Schoenberg Kolmogorov Rocard Orlicz Church

(1904-1993) (1904-1989) (1904-1985) (1904-1956) (1904- . . . .) (1904-1986) (1904-1968) (1904-1973) (1904-1997) (1904-1960)

Householder McShane Semple Hurewicz Cartan, Henri Grunsky Roth Davies Edge Whitehead, Henry

Mathematicians born from 1905 to 1909

(1905-1938) (1905-1977) (1905-1986) (1905-1977) (1905-1991) (1905-1984) (1905-1976) (1905-1979) (1905-1982) (1905-1979) (1905-1972) (1905-1990) (1905-1972) (1905-1981) (1906-1986) (1906- . . . .) (1906-1978) (1906-1989) (1906-1998) (1906-1993) (1906-1964) (1906-1992) (1906-1966) (1906-1970) (1906-1993) Shnirelman Moufang Beurling Pter Lehmer, Derrick Whittaker, John Kalmr Ehresmann Borsuk Sargent Dubreil-Jacotin Freudenthal Albert, Abraham Mazur Hirsch Iyanaga Gdel Rado, Richard Weil Zorn Wilks Dieudonn Rutherford Feller Yushkevich (1906-1987) (1906-1995) (1906-1996) (1906-1968) (1906-1993) (1906- . . . .) (1906-1998) (1906-1981) (1906-1992) (1907-1933) (1907-1990) (1907- . . . .) (1907-1989) (1907-1989) (1907-1977) (1907-1996) (1907-1996) (1907-1980) (1907-1983) (1907-1995) (1907-1969) (1907-1976) (1907-1999) (1908-1974) (1908-1971) Lukacs Taussky-Todd Fasenmyer Gelfond Tikhonov Lehmer, Emma Leray Lopatynsky Hopper Paley Magnus Coxeter Whitney Krein Scheff Ahlfors Seifert Mauchly Kendall Chowla Davenport Marczewski Carlitz Bronowski Kurosh (1908-1968) (1908-1974) (1908-1931) (1908-1970) (1908-1992) (1908-2000) (1908-1994) (1908-1988) (1908-1977) (1908-1989) (1908-1975) (1908-2000) (1909-1994) (1909-1984) (1909-1988) (1909-2001) (1909-1984) (1909-1991) (1909-1980) (1909- . . . .) (1909- . . . .) (1909-1945) (1909-1967) (1909-1978) Landau, Lev Dinghas Herbrand Motzkin Kuttner Quine Todd Pontryagin Erdlyi Sobolev Heilbronn Freitag Kleene Chevalley Black Walker, Geoffrey Ulam Penney Cochran Mac Lane Neumann, Bern. Gentzen Malcev Naimark

Mathematicians born from 1910 to 1914

(1910- . . . .) (1910-1940) (1910-1981) (1910-1971) (1910-1960) (1910- . . . .) (1910-1995) (1910-1976) (1910-1970) Doob Marcinkiewicz Wolfowitz Steenrod Macintyre John Zuse Turn Hsu (1911- . . . .) (1911-1991) (1911- . . . .) (1911- . . . .) (1912-1995) (1912-1986) (1912-1982) (1912-1987) (1912-1987) Ledermann Witt Kakutani Chern Gnedenko Kantorovich Dowker Guinand Chernikov (1913- . . . .) (1913-1998) (1913-1975) (1914-1980) (1914-1990) (1914-1971) (1914-1968) (1914-1972) (1914-1996) Gelfand Eilenberg Mostowski Potapov Kaluznin Neumann, Hanna Polozii de Groot Schwarz, Stefan 68

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(1910-1999) (1910-1990) (1910-1997) (1910-1995) (1910-1999) (1910-2001) (1911-1996) (1911-1977)

Jacobson Hall, Marshall Arf Chandrasekhar Jones, Burton Wielandt Birkhoff Schatten

(1912-1954) (1912-1991) (1912-1975) (1912- . . . .) (1912-1985) (1913-1996) (1913-2000) (1913-1943)

Turing Zassenhaus Levinson Sasaki Goodstein Erds Cannell Teichmller

(1914-1993) (1914-1984) (1914-1995) (1914-1979) (1914-1986) (1914- . . . .) (1914- . . . .)

Bers Kac McAfee Browne Bing Dantzig Dilworth

Mathematicians born from 1915 to 1919

(1915-1972) (1915-1998) (1915-1985) (1915- . . . .) (1915-1997) (1915-1940) (1915-2000) (1915- . . . .) (1915-2001) (1915- . . . .) (1915-2001) (1915-1977) (1916- . . . .) (1916- . . . .) (1916-2002) Linnik Hamming Lifshitz Schwartz Kodaira Doeblin Tukey Schafer Hoyle Ito Rankin Cooper Crank Halmos Edmonds (1916-2001) (1917- . . . .) (1917- . . . .) (1917- . . . .) (1917-2002) (1917- . . . .) (1917-1994) (1917- . . . .) (1917-1998) (1917-1968) (1917-1971) (1917-1975) (1917-1988) (1917- . . . .) (1918- . . . .) Shannon Mytropolshy Eckmann Kaplansky Tutte Selberg Rasiowa Livsic Iwasawa Nicolson Savage Fomin Lyndon Higman Kendall (1918-1994) (1918-1978) (1918-1988) (1918-1983) (1918-1974) (1918-1983) (1919-1995) (1919- . . . .) (1919-1984) (1919-1986) (1919-1985) (1919-2000) (1919- . . . .) Schwinger Wang Feynman Luke Robinson, Abraham Mirsky Eckert, John Blackwell Suvorov Wilkinson Robinson, Julia Sneddon Smullyan

Mathematicians born from 1920 to 1929

(1920-1983) (1920-1980) (1920-2000) (1920-1998) (1920- . . . .) (1921-1983) (1921- . . . .) (1921-1970) (1921-1996) (1922- . . . .) (1922- . . . .) (1922-1974) (1923-1992) (1923-1988) (1923- . . . .) (1923- . . . .) (1923- . . . .) (1923- . . . .) Boone Pillai Batchelor Caldern Rogers Matsushima Antonelli Rnyi Spanier Marchenko Cassels Lakatos Gorenstein Herstein Morawetz Gallarati Shafarevich Thom (1923- . . . .) Kreisel (1926-1992) (1923-1983) Harish-Chandra (1926-1992) (1923- . . . .) Wilkins, Ernest.html (1926-1994) (1926-1972) (1923- . . . .) Dyson (1926-1996) (1924- . . . .) Cohn (1926- . . . .) (1924-1998) Lighthill (1927-1958) (1924- . . . .) Klingenberg (1927-1994) (1924-1986) Reiner (1927-1989) (1924- . . . .) Granville (1928- . . . .) (1924- . . . .) Dynkin (1928-2001) (1924- . . . .) Mandelbrot (1928- . . . .) (1924- . . . .) Backus (1928-1990) (1924- . . . .) Rudin (1928- . . . .) (1925- . . . .) Zeeman (1928- . . . .) (1925-2001) Oleinik (1929- . . . .) (1925-1983) Stewartson (1929- . . . .) (1925- . . . .) Roth, Klaus (1926-1974) Hjek Kemeny Leech Auslander Karp Bremermann Serre Taniyama Britton Shields Grothendieck Lions James Bell Gohberg Nash Petryshyn Atiyah

Mathematicians born from 1930 to 1939

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(1930- . . . .) (1930- . . . .) (1930-1989) (1931- . . . .) (1931- . . . .) (1931- . . . .) (1931- . . . .) (1931- . . . .) (1932-1995) (1932-1999) (1932-1975) (1932-1998)

Smale Selten Adams, Frank Hrmander Milnor Pless Hironaka Penrose Malone-Mayes Rota Honda Warner

(1932- . . . .) (1932- . . . .) (1933- . . . .) (1933- . . . .) (1934- . . . .) (1935-1989) (1935-1982) (1936- . . . .) (1936- . . . .) (1936- . . . .) (1936- . . . .) (1937- . . . .)

Thompson, John Ringrose Askey Falconer Cohen Hay Kumano-Go Langlands Sharkovsky Wall Velez-Rodriguez Mumford

(1937- . . . .) (1937- . . . .) (1938- . . . .) (1938-1974) (1938- . . . .) (1938- . . . .) (1939- . . . .) (1939-1994) (1939- . . . .) (1939- . . . .)

Johnson Conway Samoilenko Ramanujam Knuth Novikov, Sergi Tapia Hartley Baker, Alan Kingman

Mathematicians born from 1940 to the present

(1940- . . . .) (1940- . . . .) (1940- . . . .) (1941-1978) (1942- . . . .) (1942- . . . .) (1942-2000) (1943-1987) (1943- . . . .) (1944- . . . .) (1944- . . . .) (1944- . . . .) (1945- . . . .) Quillen Keen Bombieri Stefan, Peter Hawking Uhlenbeck, Karen Crighton Nelson Blum Kuperberg Deligne Feigenbaum Coates (1945-1976) (1945- . . . .) (1946- . . . .) (1946- . . . .) (1947-1978) (1947- . . . .) (1948- . . . .) (1949- . . . .) (1949- . . . .) (1949- . . . .) (1951- . . . .) (1951- . . . .) (1951- . . . .) Patodi McDuff Margulis Thurston Bowen Connes Chang Yau Fefferman Chung Mori Freedman Witten (1952-1995) (1952- . . . .) (1952- . . . .) (1953- . . . .) (1954- . . . .) (1954- . . . .) (1954- . . . .) (1954- . . . .) (1955- . . . .) (1956- . . . .) (1957- . . . .) (1957- . . . .) (1959- . . . .) Thomason Jones, Vaughan Young Wiles Bourgain Faltings Daubechies Drinfeld Zelmanov Lions Yoccoz Donaldson Hau

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Mathematical Societies, Medals, Prizes and other honours

The Royal Society of London History of the Royal Society of London Fellows of the Royal Society Royal Medal Sylvester Medal Copley Medal Bakerian Lectures The Royal Society of Edinburgh History of the Royal Society of Edinburgh The RSE and the purchase of 22-24 George Street The London Mathematical Society History of the London Mathematical Society Presidents of the LMS De Morgan Medal Berwick Prize winners The Edinburgh Mathematical Society History of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society Honorary Fellows of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society The American Mathematical Society History of the American Mathematical Society Presidents of the AMS AMS Colloquium Lecturers AMS Gibbs Lecturers Bcher Memorial Prize Frank Nelson Cole Prize Major Prizes Fields Medal Winners Nobel Prize Winners Bruce Medallists of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific Professorships Savilian chairs of Mathematics and Astronomy Lucasian chair of Mathematics Other honours Paris street names Commemorated on the Eiffel Tower Lunar features (Full file: 68K) Lunar features (Shorter file: 21K) Planetary features Obituaries in The Times of London Biography in Aubrey's Brief Lives

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History Topics Index

The links below will take you to individual articles or to index pages for articles on these topics.

Mathematics in various cultures

Ancient Babylonian mathematics Ancient Egyptian mathematics Ancient Greek mathematics Indian mathematics Arabic mathematics Mayan mathematics American mathematics Mathematics in Scotland

Mathematical topics
Overview of the history of mathematics Algebra Analysis Numbers and number theory Geometry and topology Mathematical physics Mathematical astronomy Mathematical education

An overview of the history of mathematics

Alphabetical list of History Topics History Topics Index Mathematics starts with counting. It is not reasonable, however, to suggest that early counting was mathematics. Only when some record of the counting was kept and, therefore, some representation of numbers occurred can mathematics be said to have started. In Babylonia mathematics developed from 2000 BC. Earlier a place value notation number system had evolved over a lengthy period with a number base of 60. It allowed arbitrarily large numbers and fractions to be represented and so proved to be the foundation of more high powered mathematical development. Number problems such as that of the Pythagorean triples (a,b,c) with a2+b2 = c2 were studied from at least 1700 BC. Systems of linear equations were studied in the context of solving number problems. Quadratic equations were also studied and these examples led to a type of numerical algebra. Geometric problems relating to similar figures, area and volume were also studied and values obtained for p. The Babylonian basis of mathematics was inherited by the Greeks and independent development by the Greeks began from around 450 BC. Zeno of Elea's paradoxes led to the atomic theory of Democritus. A more precise formulation of concepts led to the realisation that the rational numbers did not suffice to measure all lengths. A geometric formulation of irrational numbers arose. Studies of area led to a form of integration. The theory of conic sections show a high point in pure mathematical study by Apollonius. Further mathematical discoveries were driven by the astronomy, for example the study of trigonometry. The major Greek progress in mathematics was from 300 BC to 200 AD. After this time progress continued in Islamic countries. Mathematics flourished in particular in Iran, Syria and India. This work did not match the progress made by the Greeks but in addition to the Islamic progress, it did preserve Greek mathematics. From about the 11th Century Adelard of Bath, then later Fibonacci, brought this Islamic mathematics and its knowledge of Greek mathematics back into Europe. Major progress in mathematics in Europe began again at the beginning of the 16th Century with Pacioli, then Cardan, Tartaglia and Ferrari with the algebraic solution of cubic and quartic equations. Copernicus and Galileo revolutionised the applications of mathematics to the study of the universe. The progress in algebra had a major psychological effect and enthusiasm for mathematical research, in particular research in algebra, spread from Italy to Stevin in Belgium and Vite in France. The 17th Century saw Napier, Briggs and others greatly extend the power of mathematics as a calculatory science with his discovery of logarithms. Cavalieri made progress towards the calculus with his infinitesimal methods and Descartes added the power of algebraic methods to geometry.
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Progress towards the calculus continued with Fermat, who, together with Pascal, began the mathematical study of probability. However the calculus was to be the topic of most significance to evolve in the 17th Century. Newton, building on the work of many earlier mathematicians such as his teacher Barrow, developed the calculus into a tool to push forward the study of nature. His work contained a wealth of new discoveries showing the interaction between mathematics, physics and astronomy. Newton's theory of gravitation and his theory of light take us into the 18th Century. However we must also mention Leibniz, whose much more rigorous approach to the calculus (although still unsatisfactory) was to set the scene for the mathematical work of the 18th Century rather than that of Newton. Leibniz's influence on the various members of the Bernoulli family was important in seeing the calculus grow in power and variety of application. The most important mathematician of the 18th Century was Euler who, in addition to work in a wide range of mathematical areas, was to invent two new branches, namely the calculus of variations and differential geometry. Euler was also important in pushing forward with research in number theory begun so effectively by Fermat. Toward the end of the 18th Century, Lagrange was to begin a rigorous theory of functions and of mechanics. The period around the turn of the century saw Laplace's great work on celestial mechanics as well as major progress in synthetic geometry by Monge and Carnot. The 19th Century saw rapid progress. Fourier's work on heat was of fundamental importance. In geometry Plcker produced fundamental work on analytic geometry and Steiner in synthetic geometry. Non-euclidean geometry developed by Lobachevsky and Bolyai led to characterisation of geometry by Riemann. Gauss, thought by some to be the greatest mathematician of all time, studied quadratic reciprocity and integer congruences. His work in differential geometry was to revolutionise the topic. He also contributed in a major way to astronomy and magnetism. The 19th Century saw the work of Galois on equations and his insight into the path that mathematics would follow in studying fundamental operations. Galois' introduction of the group concept was to herald in a new direction for mathematical research which has continued through the 20th Century. Cauchy, building on the work of Lagrange on functions, began rigorous analysis and began the study of the theory of functions of a complex variable. This work would continue through Weierstrass and Riemann. Algebraic geometry was carried forward by Cayley whose work on matrices and linear algebra complemented that by Hamilton and Grassmann. The end of the 19th Century saw Cantor invent set theory almost single handedly while his analysis of the concept of number added to the major work of Dedekind and Weierstrass on irrational numbers Analysis was driven by the requirements of mathematical physics and astronomy. Lie's work on differential equations led to the study of topological groups and differential topology. Maxwell was to revolutionise the application of analysis to mathematical physics. Statistical mechanics was developed by Maxwell, Boltzmann and Gibbs. It led to ergodic theory. The study of integral equations was driven by the study of electrostatics and potential theory. Fredholm's work led to Hilbert and the development of functional analysis. Notation and communication There are many major mathematical discoveries but only those which can be understood by others lead to progress. However, the easy use and understanding of mathematical concepts depends on their notation. For example, work with numbers is clearly hindered by poor notation. Try multiplying two numbers together in Roman numerals. What is MLXXXIV times MMLLLXIX? Addition of course is a different matter and in this case Roman numerals come into their own, merchants who did most of their arithmetic adding figures were reluctant to give up using Roman numerals. What are other examples of notational problems. The best known is probably the notation for the calculus used by Leibniz and Newton. Leibniz's notation lead more easily to extending the ideas of the calculus, while Newton's notation although good to describe velocity and acceleration had much less potential when functions of two variables were considered. British mathematicians who patriotically
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used Newton's notation put themselves at a disadvantage compared with the continental mathematicians who followed Leibniz. Let us think for a moment how dependent we all are on mathematical notation and convention. Ask any mathematician to solve ax = b and you will be given the answer x = b/a. I would be very surprised if you were given the answer a = b/x, but why not. We are, often without realising it, using a convention that letters near the end of the alphabet represent unknowns while those near the beginning represent known quantities. It was not always like this: Harriot used a as his unknown as did others at this time. The convention we use (letters near the end of the alphabet representing unknowns) was introduced by Descartes in 1637. Other conventions have fallen out of favour, such as that due to Vite who used vowels for unknowns and consonants for knowns. Of course ax = b contains other conventions of notation which we use without noticing them. For example the sign "=" was introduced by Recorde in 1557. Also ax is used to denote the product of a and x, the most efficient notation of all since nothing has to be written! Brilliant discoveries? It is quite hard to understand the brilliance of major mathematical discoveries. On the one hand they often appear as isolated flashes of brilliance although in fact they are the culmination of work by many, often less able, mathematicians over a long period. For example the controversy over whether Newton or Leibniz discovered the calculus first can easily be answered. Neither did since Newton certainly learnt the calculus from his teacher Barrow. Of course I'm not suggesting that Barrow should receive the credit for discovering the calculus, I'm mearly pointing out that the calculus comes out of a long period of progress staring with Greek mathematics. Now we are in danger of reducing major mathematical discoveries as no more than the luck of who was working on a topic at "the right time". This too would be completely unfair (although it does go some why to explain why two or more people often discovered something independently around the same time). There is still the flash of genius in the discoveries, often coming from a deeper understanding or seeing the importance of certain ideas more clearly. How we view history We view the history of mathematics from our own position of understanding and sophistication. There can be no other way but nevertheless we have to try to appreciate the difference between our viewpoint and that of mathematicians centuries ago. Often the way mathematics is taught today makes it harder to understand the difficulties of the past. There is no reason why anyone should introduce negative numbers just to be solutions of equations such as x + 3 = 0. In fact there is no real reason why negative numbers should be introduced at all. Nobody owned -2 books. We can think of 2 as being some abstract property which every set of 2 objects possesses. This in itself is a deep idea. Adding 2 apples to 3 apples is one matter. Realising that there are abstract properties 2 and 3 which apply to every sets with 2 and 3 elements and that 2 + 3 = 5 is a general theorem which applies whether they are sets of apples, books or trees moves from counting into the realm of mathematics. Negative numbers do not have this type of concrete representation on which to build the abstraction. It is not surprising that their introduction came only after a long struggle. An understanding of these difficulties would benefit any teacher trying to teach primary school children. Even the integers, which we take as the most basic concept, have a sophistication which can only be properly understood by examining the historical setting. A challenge If you think that mathematical discovery is easy then here is a challenge to make you think. Napier, Briggs and others introduced the world to logarithms nearly 400 years ago. These were used for 350 years as the main tool in arithmetical calculations. An amazing amount of effort was saved using logarithms, how could the heavy calculations necessary in the sciences ever have taken place without logs. Then the world changed. The pocket calculator appeared. The logarithm remains an important mathematical function but its use in calculating has gone for ever.
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Here is the challenge. What will replace the calculator? You might say that this is an unfair question. However let me remind you that Napier invented the basic concepts of a mechanical computer at the same time as logs. The basic ideas that will lead to the replacement of the pocket calculator are almost certainly around us. We can think of faster calculators, smaller calculators, better calculators but I'm asking for something as different from the calculator as the calculator itself is from log tables. I have an answer to my own question but it would spoil the point of my challenge to say what it is. Think about it and realise how difficult it was to invent non-euclidean geometries, groups, general relativity, set theory, .... . References General bibliography of about 700 items Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson

History Topics: Algebra Index

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. The abstract group concept Abstract linear spaces Fundamental theorem of algebra History of group theory Matrices and determinants Quadratic, cubic and quartic equations History of Set Theory History of the Burnside problem

The abstract group concept

Algebra index History Topics Index This article is based on a lecture given by Peter Neumann (a son of Bernhard Neumann and Hanna Neumann) at a conference at the University of Sussex on 19 March 2001 to celebrate the 90th birthday of Walter Ledermann. The talk was entitled Introduction to the theory of finite groups the title of the famous text written by Walter Ledermann. This article is based on notes taken by EFR at that lecture. The modern definition of a group is usually given in the following way. Definition A group G is a set with a binary operation G G G which assigns to every ordered pair of elements x, y of G a unique third element of G (usually called the product of x and y) denoted by xy such that the following four properties are satisfied: 1. 2. 3. 4. Closure: if x, y are in G then xy is in G. Associative law: if x, y, z are in G then x(yz) = (xy)z. Identity element: there is an element e in G with ex = xe = x for all x in G. Inverses: for every x in G there is an element u in G with xu = ux = e.

The first point to make is that 1. is debatable as an axiom since it is a consequence of the definition of a binary operation. However it is not our purpose to debate this here and it is convention that this axiom is included. Where did this, now standard, definition come from? Particularly we wish to examine some moves towards this definition made in the 19th century. We are not, therefore, concerned here with the bulk of the work done in group theory in the 19th century which concerned the study of permutation groups
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required for Galois theory. It is important to realise that the abstract definition of a group was merely an esoteric sideline of group theory through the 19th century. Let us first note that there were two meanings of the term "abstract group" during the first half of the 20th century - say from 1905 to 1955. One meaning was that of a group defined by the four axioms as above, while the second meaning was that of a group defined by generators and relations. For example Todd used the term in this second way when he talked about "the Mathieu groups as abstract groups". Here we are only interested in the first of these meanings. The emergence of the abstract group concept was a remarkably slow process. The story begins with the prehistory which involves Galois and Cauchy. Galois defined a group in 1832 although it did not appear in print until Liouville published Galois' papers in 1846. The first version of Galois' important paper on the algebraic solution of equations was submitted to the Paris Academy in 1829. Ren Taton has found evidence in the archives of the Academy which suggest that Cauchy spoke with Galois and persuaded him to withdraw the paper and submit a new version of it for the Grand Prix of 1830. This is based on strong circumstantial evidence, but we do know that Galois submitted to Fourier a new version of his paper to be considered for the Grand Prix in March 1830. Fourier died shortly after this and Galois' paper was lost. It was never considered for the prize which was awarded jointly to Abel (posthumously) and Jacobi in July 1830. Galois was invited by Poisson to submit a third version of his memoir on equations to the Academy and he did so on 17 January 1831. This version of the paper was refereed by Poisson who rejected it but wrote a very sympathetic report. Although Galois had proved the results in general, the paper only considered equations of prime degree. Poisson failed to understand the paper and suggested that the arguments were developed further. It was unclear to him how Galois' results classified which equations were soluble by radicals. The night before he fought the duel which led to his death Galois made notes on his papers. One of these notes, made on 29 May 1832, was the following:... if in such a group one has the substitutions S and T then one has the substitution ST. Although Galois had used groups extensively throughout his paper on equations, he had not given a definition. It is little wonder that Poisson found the paper hard to understand for it contains many explicit calculations in a group, yet the concept was not defined - poor Poisson! Now in 1845, one year before Liouville published the above definition by Galois, Cauchy gave a definition. He considered substitutions in n letters x, y, z, ... and defined derived substitutions to be all those which can be deduced by multiplying these substitutions together in any order. He then called the set of substitutions together with the derived substitutions, a "conjugate system of substitutions". For some time these two identical concepts, a "group" and a "conjugate system of substitutions", were both used. However, from 1863 when Jordan wrote a commentary on Galois' work in which he used "group", it became the standard term. This was reinforced when Jordan published his major group theory text Trait des substitutions et des quations algebraique in 1870. However, Cauchy's term "conjugate system of substitutions" continued to be used by some up to about 1880. How much was Cauchy influenced by Galois? Although he had seen Galois' papers submitted to the Academy, there was no explicit definition of a group in them. On the other hand he must have at least been subliminally influenced. Both Galois and Cauchy, of course, define groups in terms of the closure property alone. The now familiar axioms of associativity, identity and inverses do not appear. Both were dealing with permutations which means that closure is all that is necessary to define a group, the other properties all following automatically. Cauchy went on the write 25 papers on this topic between September 1845 and January 1846. [Note by EFR. Peter Neumann did not mention in his lecture any influence that Ruffini's ideas might have had on Cauchy. In 1821 Cauchy had written to Ruffini praising his work which he had clearly read. Although there is no explicit definition of a group in Ruffini's work, again the concept clearly appears and may have had as major an influence on Cauchy's thinking as the work of Galois.]

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The first person to try to give an abstract definition of a group was Cayley. He wrote a paper on groups in 1854 which he published again in two separate journals in 1878. In the 1854 paper he attempted to give an abstract definition in terms of symbols which operate on a system (x, y, ... ) so that (x, y, ... ) = (x', y', ... ) where x', y', ... are any functions of x, y, ... . Cayley went on to define an identity symbol 1 which leaves the members of the system unaltered. He defines the element as the result of operating on the system first by then by . He notes that need not equal . Cayley also requires the associative law . = . to be satisfied. He then says that any set of such symbols with the property that the product of any two is in the set is called a group. This is an important attempt at an abstract definition of a group but Cayley has overreached himself. What he has here is really a mess. Why does he require the associative law to hold if his symbols are operators? As for permutations the associative law follows automatically for operators. It is also not clear that (x', y', ... ) where x', y', ... are any functions of x, y, ... will be in the system. This definition is not entirely successful. In 1878 Cayley wrote:A group is defined by the law of composition of its members. This idea was picked up by Burnside, von Dyck and others. Burnside, in his book The Theory of Groups of Finite Order published in 1897 gave the following definition:Let A, B, C, ... represent a set of operations which can be performed on the same object or set of objects. He then supposes that any two of the operations are distinct in the sense that no two produce the same effect. He follows Cayley in requiring closure, the associative law, and inverses. Again his definition is subject to the same criticism at Cayley's definition. If his elements are operations then why does he need to postulate the associative law? Rather strangely Burnside does not assume the existence of an identity, although one can infer it from the fact that A and A -1 are in the set and we have closure. Burnside repeats exactly the same definition in the second edition of his book which appeared in 1911. It is worth noting that neither Cayley nor Burnside insisted that their groups were finite. The definition deliberately allowed for the possibility of infinite groups, and Burnside in particular was interested in studying infinite groups. What we have given here is part of a sequence of development which we might call the English school. There were other bits in the sequence between these major contributions which we have omitted. We now turn to another development of group theory which was going on at the same time which we might call the European school. In 1870 Kronecker gave a definition of a group in a completely different context, namely the context of a class group in algebraic number theory. He takes a specifically finite set ', '', ''', ... such that from any two, a third can be derived by a specific method. He then assumes that the commutative and associative laws hold and also that ' '' ' ''' if '' '''. This appears to be a separate development by Kronecker who does not tie it in with previous work on groups. However, Heinrich Weber in 1882 gave a very similar definition to that of Kronecker yet he did tie it in with previous work on groups. Heinrich Weber defined a group of degree h, like Kronecker in the context of class groups, again to be a finite set. He required that from two elements of the system one can derive a third element of the system so that the following hold:(
r s




. 77

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A few comments here. The associative law is put in a slightly strange way. The expression r s t has no meaning until the associative law is defined to hold, so in a modern treatment one might write: (
r s

) so that either side may be denoted by

One can still see that there is a little lack of clarity in the definition. What Heinrich Weber is in fact defining is a semigroup with cancellation and, given that it is finite, this is sufficient to ensure the existence of an identity and of inverses. That this fails for infinite systems was noted by Heinrich Weber in his famous text Lehrbuch der Algebra published in 1895. In this book he notes that the above definition of a group only works for finite groups and in the infinite case one needs to postulate inverses explicitly. Here is a diagram to illustrate the interactions between the various mathematicians working their way slowly towards the abstract definition of a group.

We should point out that there appears to be relatively little cross-fertilisation between the two lines of development. There was some, however. For instance Burnside did read Frobenius's papers, although he did so later than he should have done and had to apologise twice to Frobenius for not knowing what he had already published. Recently a letter from Burnside to Schur has been discovered and we know that Burnside corresponded with Hlder. We do know where some of the 20th century influences came from - Emmy Noether, an important 20th century figure particularly influential through van der Waerden's Algebra book, was strongly influenced by Heinrich Weber. On the other hand Schur, another influential 20th century figure, was influenced by Frobenius. Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson Some anecdotes about Ledermann's book, Introduction to the theory of finite groups are at this link

Abstract linear spaces

Algebra index History Topics Index Cartesian geometry, introduced by Fermat and Descartes around 1636, had a very large influence on mathematics bringing algebraic methods into geometry. By the middle of the 19th Century however there was some dissatisfaction with these coordinate methods and people began to search for direct methods, i.e. methods of synthetic geometry which were coordinate free. It is possible however to trace the beginning of the vector concept back to the beginning of the 19th Century with the work of Bolzano. In 1804 he published a work on the foundations of elementary geometry Betrachtungen ber einige Gegenstnde der Elementargoemetrie. Bolzano, in this book, considers points, lines and planes as undefined elements and defines operations on them. This is an important step in the axiomatisation of geometry and an early move towards the necessary abstraction for the concept of a linear space to arise.
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The move away from coordinate geometry was mainly due to the work of Poncelet and Chasles who were the founders of synthetic geometry. The parallel development in analysis was to move from spaces of concrete objects such as sequence spaces towards abstract linear spaces. Instead of substitutions defined by matrices, abstract linear operators must be defined on abstract linear spaces. In 1827 Mbius published Der barycentrische Calcul a geometrical book which studies transformations of lines and conics. The novel feature of this work is the introduction of barycentric coordinates. Given any triangle ABC then if weights a, b and c are placed at A, B and C respectively then a point P, the centre of gravity, is determined. Mbius showed that every point P in the plane is determined by the homogeneous coordinates [a,b,c], the weights required to be placed at A, B and C to give the centre of gravity at P. The importance here is that Mbius was considering directed quantities, an early appearence of vectors. In 1837 Mbius published a book on statics in which he clearly states the idea of resolving a vector quantity along two specified axes. Between these two works of Mbius, a geometrical work by Bellavitis was published in 1832 which also contains vector type quantities. His basic objects are line segments AB and he considers AB and BA as two distinct objects. He defines two line segments as 'equipollent' if they are equal and parallel, so, in modern notation, two line segments are equipollent if they represent the same vector. Bellavitis then defines the 'equipollent sum of line segments' and obtains an 'equipollent calculus' which is essentially a vector space. In 1814 Argand had represented the complex numbers as points on the plane, that is as ordered pairs of real numbers. Hamilton represented the complex numbers as a two dimensional vector space over the reals although of course he did not use these general abstract terms. He presented these results in a paper to the Irish Academy in 1833. He spent the next 10 years of his life trying to define a multiplication on the 3-dimensional vector space over the reals. Hamilton's quaternions, published in 1843, was an important example of a 4-dimensional vector space but, particularly with Tait's work on quaternions published in 1873, there was to be some competition between vector and quaternion methods. You can see a picture of the plaque commemorating where Hamilton discovered the Quaternions and an engraving of when he carved the rules. In 1857 Cayley introduced matrix algebras, helping the move towards more general abstract systems by adding to the different types of structural laws being studied. In 1858 Cayley noticed that the quaternions could be represented by matrices. In 1867 Laguerre wrote a letter to Hermite Sur le calcul des systmes linaires. His systmes linaires is a table of coefficients of a system of linear equations denoted by a single upper-case letter and Laguerre defines addition, subtraction and multiplication of of these linear sysyems. In this work Laguerre aims to unify algebraic systems such as complex numbers, Hamilton's quaternions and notions introduced by Galois and by Cauchy. Laguerre's work on linear systems was followed up by a paper by Carvallo in 1891. In this paper he defines operators on vector functions and draws a clear distinction between operators and matrices. To understand the difference between the notions of an operator and a matrix, it suffices to say that, if one changes the coordinate system, one obtains a different matrix to represent the same vector function, but the same operator. Another mathematician who was moving towards geometry without coordinates was Grassmann. His work is highly original but the notion of barycentric coordinates introduced by Mbius was his main motivation. Grassmann's contribution Die Ausdehnungslehre appeared in several different versions. The first was in 1844 but it was a very difficult work to read, and clearly did not find favour with mathematicians, so Grassmann tried to produce a more readable version which appeared in 1862. Clebsch inspired Grassmann to work on this new version. Grassmann studied an algebra whose elements are not specified, so are abstract quantities. He considers systems of elements on which he defines a formal operation of addition, scalar
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multiplication and multiplication. He starts with undefined elements which he calls 'simple quantities' and generates more complex quantities using specified rules. But ... I go further, since I call these not just quantities but simple quantities. There are other quantities which are themselves compounded quantities and whose characteristics are as distinct relative to each other as the characteristics of the different simple quantities are to each other. These quantities come about through addition of higher forms ... His work contains the familiar laws of vector spaces but, since he also has a multiplication defined, his structures satisfy the properties of what are today called algebras. The precise structures are now known as Grassmann algebras. The ideas of linearly independent and linearly dependent sets of elements are clearly contained in Grassmann's work as is the idea of dimension (although he does not use the term). The scalar product also appears in Grassmann's 1844 work. Grassmann's 1862 version of Die Ausdehnungslehre has a long introduction in which Grassmann gives a summary of his theory. In this introduction he also defends his formal methods which had clearly been objected to by a number of mathematicians. Grassmann's justification comes very close to saying that he is setting up an axiomatic theory and this shows that he is well ahead of his time. Cauchy and Saint-Venant have some claims to have invented similar systems to Grassmann. SaintVenant's claim is a fair one since he published a work in 1845 in which he multiples line segments in an analogous way to Grassmann. In fact when Grassmann read Saint-Venant's paper he realised that Saint-Venant had not read his 1844 work and sent two copies of the relevant parts to Cauchy, asking him to pass one copy to Saint-Venant. However, rather typically of Cauchy, in 1853 he published Sur les clefs algbrique in Comptes Rendus which describes a formal symbolic method which coincides with that of Grassmann's method (but makes no reference to Grassmann). Grassmann complained to the Acadmie that his work had priority over Cauchy's and, in 1854, a committee was set up to investigate who had priority. We still await the committee's report! The first to see the importance of Grassmann's work was Hankel. In 1867 he wrote a paper Theorie der complexen Zahlensysteme concerning formal systems where combination of the symbols are abstractly defined. He credits Grassmann's Die Ausdehnungslehre as giving the foundation for his work. The first to give an axiomatic definition of a real linear space was Peano in a book published in Torino in 1888. He credits Leibniz, Mbius's 1827 work, Grassmann's 1844 work and Hamilton's work on quaternions as providing ideas which led him to his formal calculus. Peano's 1888 book Calcolo geometrico secondo l'Ausdehnungslehre di H. Grassmann preceduto dalle operazioni della logica deduttiva is remarkable. It gives the basic calculus of set operation introducing the modern notation , , for intersection, union and an element of. It was many years before this notation was to become accepted, in fact Peano's book seems to have had very little influence for many years. It is equally remarkable for containing an almost modern introduction to linear spaces and linear algebra. In Chapter IX of the book Peano gives axioms for a linear space. It is hard to believe that Peano writes the following in 1888. It could almost come from a 1988 book! The first is for equality of elements 1. (a = b) if and only if (b = a), if (a = b) and (b = c) then (a = c). 2. The sum of two objects a and b is defined, i.e. an object is defined denoted by a + b, also belonging to the system, which satisfies: If (a = b) then (a + c = b + c), a + b = b + a, a + (b + c) = (a + b) + c, and the common value of the last equality is denoted by a + b + c. 3. If a is an object of the system and m a positive integer, then we understand by ma the sum of m objects equal to a. It is easy to see that for objects a, b, ... of the system and positive integers m, n, ... one has
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If (a = b) then (ma = mb), m(a+b) = ma+mb, (m+n)a = ma+na, m(na) = mna, 1a = a. We suppose that for any real number m the notation ma has a meaning such that the preceeding equations are valid. Peano goes on to state the existence of a zero object 0 and says that 0a = 0, that a - b means a + (-b) and states it is easy to show that a - a = 0 and 0 + a = a. Peano defines a linear system to be any system of objects satisfying his four conditions. He goes on to define dependent objects and independent objects. He then defines dimension. Definition: The number of the dimensions of a linear system is the maximal number of linearly independent objects in the system. He proves that finite dimensional spaces have a basis and gives examples of infinite dimensional linear spaces. Peano considers entire functions f(x) of a variable x, defines the sum of f1(x) and f2(x) and the product of f(x) by a real number m. He says:If one considers only functions of degree n, then these functions form a linear system with n + 1 dimensions, the entire functions of arbitrary degree form a linear system with infinitely many dimensions. Peano defines linear operators on a linear space, shows that by using coordinates one obtains a matrix. He defines the sum and product of linear operators. In the 1890's Pincherle worked on a formal theory of linear operators on an infinite dimensional vector space. However Pincherle did not base his work on that of Peano, rather on the abstract operator theory of Leibniz and d'Alembert. Like so much work in this area it had very little immediate impact and axiomatic infinite dimensional vector spaces were not studied again until Banach and his associates took up the topic in the 1920's. Although never attaining the level of abstraction which Peano had achieved, Hilbert and his student Schmidt looked at infinite dimensional spaces of functions in 1904. Schmidt introduced a move towards abstraction in 1908 introducing geometrical language into Hilbert space theory. The fully axiomatic approach appeared in Banach's 1920 doctoral dissertation. Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson

The fundamental theorem of algebra

Algebra index History Topics Index The Fundamental Theorem of Algebra (FTA) states Every polynomial equation of degree n with complex coefficients has n roots in the complex numbers. In fact there are many equivalent formulations: for example that every real polynomial can be expressed as the product of real linear and real quadratic factors. Early studies of equations by al-Khwarizmi (c 800) only allowed positive real roots and the FTA was not relevant. Cardan was the first to realise that one could work with quantities more general than the real numbers. This discovery was made in the course of studying a formula which gave the roots of a cubic equation. The formula when applied to the equation x3 = 15x + 4 gave an answer involving 121 yet Cardan knew that the equation had x = 4 as a solution. He was able to manipulate with his 'complex numbers' to obtain the right answer yet he in no way understood his own mathematics.

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Bombelli, in his Algebra, published in 1572, was to produce a proper set of rules for manipulating these 'complex numbers'. Descartes in 1637 says that one can 'imagine' for every equation of degree n, n roots but these imagined roots do not correspond to any real quantity. Vite gave equations of degree n with n roots but the first claim that there are always n solutions was made by a Flemish mathematician Albert Girard in 1629 in L'invention en algbre . However he does not assert that solutions are of the form a + bi, a, b real, so allows the possibility that solutions come from a larger number field than C. In fact this was to become the whole problem of the FTA for many years since mathematicians accepted Albert Girard's assertion as self-evident. They believed that a polynomial equation of degree n must have n roots, the problem was, they believed, to show that these roots were of the form a + bi, a, b real. Now Harriot knew that a polynomial which vanishes at t has a root x - t but this did not become well known until stated by Descartes in 1637 in La gomtrie, so Albert Girard did not have much of the background to understand the problem properly. A 'proof' that the FTA was false was given by Leibniz in 1702 when he asserted that x4 + t4 could never be written as a product of two real quadratic factors. His mistake came in not realising that i could be written in the form a + bi, a, b real. Euler, in a 1742 correspondence with Nicolaus(II) Bernoulli and Goldbach, showed that the Leibniz counterexample was false. D'Alembert in 1746 made the first serious attempt at a proof of the FTA. For a polynomial f he takes a real b, c so that f(b) = c. Now he shows that there are complex numbers z1 and w1 so that |z1| < |c|, |w1| < |c|. He then iterates the process to converge on a zero of f. His proof has several weaknesses. Firstly, he uses a lemma without proof which was proved in 1851 by Puiseau, but whose proof uses the FTA! Secondly, he did not have the necessary knowledge to use a compactness argument to give the final convergence. Despite this, the ideas in this proof are important. Euler was soon able to prove that every real polynomial of degree n, n 6 had exactly n complex roots. In 1749 he attempted a proof of the general case, so he tried to proof the FTA for Real Polynomials: Every polynomial of the nth degree with real coefficients has precisely n zeros in C. His proof in Recherches sur les racines imaginaires des quations is based on decomposing a monic polynomial of degree 2n into the product of two monic polynomials of degree m = 2n-1. Then since an arbitrary polynomial can be converted to a monic polynomial by multiplying by axk for some k the theorem would follow by iterating the decomposition. Now Euler knew a fact which went back to Cardan in Ars Magna, or earlier, that a transformation could be applied to remove the second largest degree term of a polynomial. Hence he assumed that x2m + Ax2m-2 + Bx2m-3 +. . . = (xm + txm-1 + gxm-2 + . . .)(xm - txm-1 + hxm-2 + . . .) and then multiplied up and compared coefficients. This Euler claimed led to g, h, ... being rational functions of A, B, ..., t. All this was carried out in detail for n = 4, but the general case is only a sketch. In 1772 Lagrange raised objections to Euler's proof. He objected that Euler's rational functions could lead to 0/0. Lagrange used his knowledge of permutations of roots to fill all the gaps in Euler's proof except that he was still assuming that the polynomial equation of degree n must have n roots of some kind so he could work with them and deduce properties, like eventually that they had the form a + bi, a, b real. Laplace, in 1795, tried to prove the FTA using a completely different approach using the discriminant of a polynomial. His proof was very elegant and its only 'problem' was that again the existence of roots was assumed. Gauss is usually credited with the first proof of the FTA. In his doctoral thesis of 1799 he presented his first proof and also his objections to the other proofs. He is undoubtedly the first to spot the
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fundamental flaw in the earlier proofs, to which we have referred many times above, namely the fact that they were assuming the existence of roots and then trying to deduce properties of them. Of Euler's proof Gauss says ... if one carries out operations with these impossible roots, as though they really existed, and says for example, the sum of all roots of the equation xm+axm-1 + bxm-2 + . . . = 0 is equal to -a even though some of them may be impossible (which really means: even if some are non-existent and therefore missing), then I can only say that I thoroughly disapprove of this type of argument. Gauss himself does not claim to give the first proper proof. He merely calls his proof new but says, for example of d'Alembert's proof, that despite his objections a rigorous proof could be constructed on the same basis. Gauss's proof of 1799 is topological in nature and has some rather serious gaps. It does not meet our present day standards required for a rigorous proof. In 1814 the Swiss accountant Jean Robert Argand published a proof of the FTA which may be the simplest of all the proofs. His proof is based on d'Alembert's 1746 idea. Argand had already sketched the idea in a paper published two years earlier Essai sur une manire de reprsenter les quantitis imaginaires dans les constructions gometriques. In this paper he interpreted i as a rotation of the plane through 90 so giving rise to the Argand plane or Argand diagram as a geometrical representation of complex numbers. Now in the later paper Rflexions sur la nouvelle thorie d'analyse Argand simplifies d'Alembert's idea using a general theorem on the existence of a minimum of a continuous function. In 1820 Cauchy was to devote a whole chapter of Cours d'analyse to Argand's proof (although it will come as no surprise to anyone who has studied Cauchy's work to learn that he fails to mention Argand !) This proof only fails to be rigorous because the general concept of a lower bound had not been developed at that time. The Argand proof was to attain fame when it was given by Chrystal in his Algebra textbook in 1886. Chrystal's book was very influential. Two years after Argand's proof appeared Gauss published in 1816 a second proof of the FTA. Gauss uses Euler's approach but instead of operating with roots which may not exist, Gauss operates with indeterminates. This proof is complete and correct. A third proof by Gauss also in 1816 is, like the first, topological in nature. Gauss introduced in 1831 the term 'complex number'. The term 'conjugate' had been introduced by Cauchy in 1821. Gauss's criticisms of the Lagrange-Laplace proofs did not seem to find immediate favour in France. Lagrange's 1808 2nd Edition of his treatise on equations makes no mention of Gauss's new proof or criticisms. Even the 1828 Edition, edited by Poinsot, still expresses complete satisfaction with the Lagrange-Laplace proofs and no mention of the Gauss criticisms. In 1849 (on the 50th anniversary of his first proof!) Gauss produced the first proof that a polynomial equation of degree n with complex coefficients has n complex roots. The proof is similar to the first proof given by Gauss. However it is adds little since it is straightforward to deduce the result for complex coefficients from the result about polynomials with real coefficients. It is worth noting that despite Gauss's insistence that one could not assume the existence of roots which were then to be proved reals he did believe, as did everyone at that time, that there existed a whole hierarchy of imaginary quantities of which complex numbers were the simplest. Gauss called them a shadow of shadows. It was in searching for such generalisations of the complex numbers that Hamilton discovered the quaternions around 1843, but of course the quaternions are not a commutative system. The first proof that the only commutative algebraic field containing R was given by Weierstrass in his lectures of 1863. It was published in Hankel's book Theorie der complexen Zahlensysteme.

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Of course the proofs described above all become valid once one has the modern result that there is a splitting field for every polynomial. Frobenius, at the celebrations in Basle for the bicentenary of Euler's birth said:Euler gave the most algebraic of the proofs of the existence of the roots of an equation, the one which is based on the proposition that every real equation of odd degree has a real root. I regard it as unjust to ascribe this proof exclusively to Gauss, who merely added the finishing touches. The Argand proof is only an existence proof and it does not in any way allow the roots to be constructed. Weierstrass noted in 1859 made a start towards a constructive proof but it was not until 1940 that a constructive variant of the Argand proof was given by Hellmuth Kneser. This proof was further simplified in 1981 by Martin Kneser, Hellmuth Kneser's son. Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson

The development of group theory

Algebra index History Topics Index The study of the development of a concept such as that of a group has certain difficulties. It would be wrong to say that since the non-zero rationals form a group under multiplication then the origin of the group concept must go back to the beginnings of mathematics. Rather we must take the view that group theory is the abstraction of ideas that were common to a number of major areas which were being studied essentially simultaneously. The three main areas that were to give rise to group theory are:1. geometry at the beginning of the 19th Century, 2. number theory at the end of the 18th Century, 3. the theory of algebraic equations at the end of the 18th Century leading to the study of permutations. (1) Geometry has been studied for a very long time so it is reasonable to ask what happened to geometry at the beginning of the 19th Century that was to contribute to the rise of the group concept. Geometry had began to lose its 'metric' character with projective and non-euclidean geometries being studied. Also the movement to study geometry in n dimensions led to an abstraction in geometry itself. The difference between metric and incidence geometry comes from the work of Monge, his student Carnot and perhaps most importantly the work of Poncelet. Non-euclidean geometry was studied by Lambert, Gauss, Lobachevsky and Jnos Bolyai among others. Mbius in 1827, although he was completely unaware of the group concept, began to classify geometries using the fact that a particular geometry studies properties invariant under a particular group. Steiner in 1832 studied notions of synthetic geometry which were to eventually become part of the study of transformation groups. (2) In 1761 Euler studied modular arithmetic. In particular he examined the remainders of powers of a number modulo n. Although Euler's work is, of course, not stated in group theoretic terms he does provide an example of the decomposition of an abelian group into cosets of a subgroup. He also proves a special case of the order of a subgroup being a divisor of the order of the group. Gauss in 1801 was to take Euler's work much further and gives a considerable amount of work on modular arithmetic which amounts to a fair amount of theory of abelian groups. He examines orders of elements and proves (although not in this notation) that there is a subgroup for every number dividing the order of a cyclic group. Gauss also examined other abelian groups. He looked at binary quadratic forms
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ax2 + 2bxy + cy2 where a, b, c are integers. Gauss examined the behaviour of forms under transformations and substitutions. He partitions forms into classes and then defines a composition on the classes. Gauss proves that the order of composition of three forms is immaterial so, in modern language, the associative law holds. In fact Gauss has a finite abelian group and later (in 1869) Schering, who edited Gauss's works, found a basis for this abelian group. (3) Permutations were first studied by Lagrange in his 1770 paper on the theory of algebraic equations. Lagrange's main object was to find out why cubic and quartic equations could be solved algebraically. In studying the cubic, for example, Lagrange assumes the roots of a given cubic equation are x', x'' and x'''. Then, taking 1, w, w2 as the cube roots of unity, he examines the expression R = x' + wx'' + w2x''' and notes that it takes just two different values under the six permutations of the roots x', x'', x'''. Although the beginnings of permutation group theory can be seen in this work, Lagrange never composes his permutations so in some sense never discusses groups at all. The first person to claim that equations of degree 5 could not be solved algebraically was Ruffini. In 1799 he published a work whose purpose was to demonstrate the insolubility of the general quintic equation. Ruffini's work is based on that of Lagrange but Ruffini introduces groups of permutations. These he calls permutazione and explicitly uses the closure property (the associative law always holds for permutations). Ruffini divides his permutazione into types, namely permutazione semplice which are cyclic groups in modern notation, and permutazione composta which are non-cyclic groups. The permutazione composta Ruffini divides into three types which in today's notation are intransitive groups, transitive imprimitive groups and transitive primitive groups. Ruffini's proof of the insolubility of the quintic has some gaps and, disappointed with the lack of reaction to his paper Ruffini published further proofs. In a paper of 1802 he shows that the group of permutations associated with an irreducible equation is transitive taking his understanding well beyond that of Lagrange. Cauchy played a major role in developing the theory of permutations. His first paper on the subject was in 1815 but at this stage Cauchy is motivated by permutations of roots of equations. However, in 1844, Cauchy published a major work which sets up the theory of permutations as a subject in its own right. He introduces the notation of powers, positive and negative, of permutations (with the power 0 giving the identity permutation), defines the order of a permutation, introduces cycle notation and used the term systme des substitutions conjugues for a group. Cauchy calls two permutations similar if they have the same cycle structure and proves that this is the same as the permutations being conjugate. Abel, in 1824, gave the first accepted proof of the insolubility of the quintic, and he used the existing ideas on permutations of roots but little new in the development of group theory. Galois in 1831 was the first to really understand that the algebraic solution of an equation was related to the structure of a group le groupe of permutations related to the equation. By 1832 Galois had discovered that special subgroups (now called normal subgroups) are fundamental. He calls the decomposition of a group into cosets of a subgroup a proper decomposition if the right and left coset decompositions coincide. Galois then shows that the non-abelian simple group of smallest order has order 60. Galois' work was not known until Liouville published Galois' papers in 1846. Liouville saw clearly the connection between Cauchy's theory of permutations and Galois' work. However Liouville failed to grasp that the importance of Galois' work lay in the group concept. Betti began in 1851 publishing work relating permutation theory and the theory of equations. In fact Betti was the first to prove that Galois' group associated with an equation was in fact a group of permutations in the modern sense. Serret published an important work discussing Galois' work, still without seeing the significance of the group concept.
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Jordan, however, in papers of 1865, 1869 and 1870 shows that he realises the significance of groups of permutations. He defines isomorphism of permutation groups and proves the Jordan-Hlder theorem for permutation groups. Hlder was to prove it in the context of abstract groups in 1889. Klein proposed the Erlangen Program in 1872 which was the group theoretic classification of geometry. Groups were certainly becoming centre stage in mathematics. Perhaps the most remarkable development had come even before Betti's work. It was due to the English mathematician Cayley. As early as 1849 Cayley published a paper linking his ideas on permutations with Cauchy's. In 1854 Cayley wrote two papers which are remarkable for the insight they have of abstract groups. At that time the only known groups were groups of permutations and even this was a radically new area, yet Cayley defines an abstract group and gives a table to display the group multiplication. He gives the 'Cayley tables' of some special permutation groups but, much more significantly for the introduction of the abstract group concept, he realised that matrices and quaternions were groups. Cayley's papers of 1854 were so far ahead of their time that they had little impact. However when Cayley returned to the topic in 1878 with four papers on groups, one of them called The theory of groups, the time was right for the abstract group concept to move towards the centre of mathematical investigation. Cayley proved, among many other results, that every finite group can be represented as a group of permutations. Cayley's work prompted Hlder, in 1893, to investigate groups of order p3, pq2, pqr and p4. Frobenius and Netto (a student of Kronecker) carried the theory of groups forward. As far as the abstract concept is concerned, the next major contributor was von Dyck. von Dyck, who had obtained his doctorate under Klein's supervision then became Klein's assistant. Von Dyck, with fundamental papers in 1882 and 1883, constructed free groups and the definition of abstract groups in terms of generators and relations. Group theory really came of age with the book by Burnside Theory of groups of finite order published in 1897. The two volume algebra book by Heinrich Weber (a student of Dedekind) Lehrbuch der Algebra published in 1895 and 1896 became a standard text. These books influenced the next generation of mathematicians to bring group theory into perhaps the most major theory of 20th Century mathematics. Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson

Matrices and determinants

Algebra index History Topics Index The beginnings of matrices and determinants goes back to the second century BC although traces can be seen back to the fourth century BC. However it was not until near the end of the 17th Century that the ideas reappeared and development really got underway. It is not surprising that the beginnings of matrices and determinants should arise through the study of systems of linear equations. The Babylonians studied problems which lead to simultaneous linear equations and some of these are preserved in clay tablets which survive. For example a tablet dating from around 300 BC contains the following problem:There are two fields whose total area is 1800 square yards. One produces grain at the rate of 2/3 of a bushel per square yard while the other produces grain at the rate of 1/2 a bushel per square yard. If the total yield is 1100 bushels, what is the size of each field. The Chinese, between 200 BC and 100 BC, came much closer to matrices than the Babylonians. Indeed it is fair to say that the text Nine Chapters of the Mathematical Art written during the Han
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Dynasty gives the first known example of matrix methods. First a problem is set up which is similar to the Babylonian example given above:There are three types of corn, of which three bundles of the first, two of the second, and one of the third make 39 measures. Two of the first, three of the second and one of the third make 34 measures. And one of the first, two of the second and three of the third make 26 measures. How many measures of corn are contained of one bundle of each type? Now the author does something quite remarkable. He sets up the coefficients of the system of three linear equations in three unknowns as a table on a 'counting board'.
1 2 3 2 3 2 3 1 1 26 34 39

Our late 20th Century methods would have us write the linear equations as the rows of the matrix rather than the columns but of course the method is identical. Most remarkably the author, writing in 200 BC, instructs the reader to multiply the middle column by 3 and subtract the right column as many times as possible, the same is then done subtracting the right column as many times as possible from 3 times the first column. This gives
0 0 3 4 5 2 8 1 1 39 24 39

Next the left most column is multiplied by 5 and then the middle column is subtracted as many times as possible. This gives
0 0 3 0 5 2 36 1 1 99 24 39

from which the solution can be found for the third type of corn, then for the second, then the first by back substitution. This method, now known as Gaussian elimination, would not become well known until the early 19th Century. Cardan, in Ars Magna (1545), gives a rule for solving a system of two linear equations which he calls regula de modo and which [7] calls mother of rules ! This rule gives what essentially is Cramer's rule for solving a 2 2 system although Cardan does not make the final step. Cardan therefore does not reach the definition of a determinant but, with the advantage of hindsight, we can see that his method does lead to the definition. Many standard results of elementary matrix theory first appeared long before matrices were the object of mathematical investigation. For example de Witt in Elements of curves, published as a part of the
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commentaries on the 1660 Latin version of Descartes' Gomtrie , showed how a transformation of the axes reduces a given equation for a conic to canonical form. This amounts to diagonalising a symmetric matrix but de Witt never thought in these terms. The idea of a determinant appeared in Japan and Europe at almost exactly the same time although Seki in Japan certainly published first. In 1683 Seki wrote Method of solving the dissimulated problems which contains matrix methods written as tables in exactly the way the Chinese methods described above were constructed. Without having any word which corresponds to 'determinant' Seki still introduced determinants and gave general methods for calculating them based on examples. Using his 'determinants' Seki was able to find determinants of 2 2, 3 3, 4 4 and 5 5 matrices and applied them to solving equations but not systems of linear equations. Rather remarkably the first appearance of a determinant in Europe appeared in exactly the same year 1683. In that year Leibniz wrote to de l'Hpital. He explained that the system of equations
10 + 11x + 12y = 0 20 + 21x + 22y = 0 30 + 31x + 32y = 0

had a solution because 10.21.32 + 11.22.30 + 12.20.31 = 10.22.31 + 11.20.32 + 12.21.30 which is exactly the condition that the coefficient matrix has determinant 0. Notice that here Leibniz is not using numerical coefficients but two characters, the first marking in which equation it occurs, the second marking which letter it belongs to. Hence 21 denotes what we might write as a21. Leibniz was convinced that good mathematical notation was the key to progress so he experimented with different notation for coefficient systems. His unpublished manuscripts contain more than 50 different ways of writing coefficient systems which he worked on during a period of 50 years beginning in 1678. Only two publications (1700 and 1710) contain results on coefficient systems and these use the same notation as in his letter to de l'Hpital mentioned above. Leibniz used the word 'resultant' for certain combinatorial sums of terms of a determinant. He proved various results on resultants including what is essentially Cramer's rule. He also knew that a determinant could be expanded using any column - what is now called the Laplace expansion. As well as studying coefficient systems of equations which led him to determinants, Leibniz also studied coefficient systems of quadratic forms which led naturally towards matrix theory. In the 1730's Maclaurin wrote Treatise of algebra although it was not published until 1748, two years after his death. It contains the first published results on determinants proving Cramer's rule for 2 2 and 3 3 systems and indicating how the 4 4 case would work. Cramer gave the general rule for n n systems in a paper Introduction to the analysis of algebraic curves (1750). It arose out of a desire to find the equation of a plane curve passing through a number of given points. The rule appears in an Appendix to the paper but no proof is given:One finds the value of each unknown by forming n fractions of which the common denominator has as many terms as there are permutations of n things. Cramer does go on to explain precisely how one calculates these terms as products of certain coefficients in the equations and how one determines the sign. He also says how the n numerators of the fractions can be found by replacing certain coefficients in this calculation by constant terms of the system.
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Work on determinants now began to appear regularly. In 1764 Bezout gave methods of calculating determinants as did Vandermonde in 1771. In 1772 Laplace claimed that the methods introduced by Cramer and Bezout were impractical and, in a paper where he studied the orbits of the inner planets, he discussed the solution of systems of linear equations without actually calculating it, by using determinants. Rather surprisingly Laplace used the word 'resultant' for what we now call the determinant: surprising since it is the same word as used by Leibniz yet Laplace must have been unaware of Leibniz's work. Laplace gave the expansion of a determinant which is now named after him. Lagrange, in a paper of 1773, studied identities for 3 3 functional determinants. However this comment is made with hindsight since Lagrange himself saw no connection between his work and that of Laplace and Vandermonde. This 1773 paper on mechanics, however, contains what we now think of as the volume interpretation of a determinant for the first time. Lagrange showed that the tetrahedron formed by O(0,0,0) and the three points M(x,y,z), M'(x',y',z'), M"(x",y",z") has volume

/6 [z(x'y" - y'x") + z'(yx" - xy") + z"(xy' - yx')].

The term 'determinant' was first introduced by Gauss in Disquisitiones arithmeticae (1801) while discussing quadratic forms. He used the term because the determinant determines the properties of the quadratic form. However the concept is not the same as that of our determinant. In the same work Gauss lays out the coefficients of his quadratic forms in rectangular arrays. He describes matrix multiplication (which he thinks of as composition so he has not yet reached the concept of matrix algebra) and the inverse of a matrix in the particular context of the arrays of coefficients of quadratic forms. Gaussian elimination, which first appeared in the text Nine Chapters of the Mathematical Art written in 200 BC, was used by Gauss in his work which studied the orbit of the asteroid Pallas. Using observations of Pallas taken between 1803 and 1809, Gauss obtained a system of six linear equations in six unknowns. Gauss gave a systematic method for solving such equations which is precisely Gaussian elimination on the coefficient matrix. It was Cauchy in 1812 who used 'determinant' in its modern sense. Cauchy's work is the most complete of the early works on determinants. He reproved the earlier results and gave new results of his own on minors and adjoints. In the 1812 paper the multiplication theorem for determinants is proved for the first time although, at the same meeting of the Institut de France, Binet also read a paper which contained a proof of the multiplication theorem but it was less satisfactory than that given by Cauchy. In 1826 Cauchy, in the context of quadratic forms in n variables, used the term 'tableau' for the matrix of coefficients. He found the eigenvalues and gave results on diagonalisation of a matrix in the context of converting a form to the sum of squares. Cauchy also introduced the idea of similar matrices (but not the term) and showed that if two matrices are similar they have the same characteristic equation. He also, again in the context of quadratic forms, proved that every real symmetric matrix is diagonalisable. Jacques Sturm gave a generalisation of the eigenvalue problem in the context of solving systems of ordinary differential equations. In fact the concept of an eigenvalue appeared 80 years earlier, again in work on systems of linear differential equations, by D'Alembert studying the motion of a string with masses attached to it at various points. It should be stressed that neither Cauchy nor Jacques Sturm realised the generality of the ideas they were introducing and saw them only in the specific contexts in which they were working. Jacobi from around 1830 and then Kronecker and Weierstrass in the 1850's and 1860's also looked at matrix results but again in a special context, this time the notion of a linear transformation. Jacobi published three treatises on determinants in 1841. These were important in that for the first time the definition of the determinant was made in an algorithmic way and the entries in the determinant were not specified so his results applied equally well to cases were the entries were numbers or to where they were functions. These three papers by Jacobi made the idea of a determinant widely known.
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Cayley, also writing in 1841, published the first English contribution to the theory of determinants. In this paper he used two vertical lines on either side of the array to denote the determinant, a notation which has now become standard. Eisenstein in 1844 denoted linear substitutions by a single letter and showed how to add and multiply them like ordinary numbers except for the lack of commutativity. It is fair to say that Eisenstein was the first to think of linear substitutions as forming an algebra as can be seen in this quote from his 1844 paper:An algorithm for calculation can be based on this, it consists of applying the usual rules for the operations of multiplication, division, and exponentiation to symbolic equations between linear systems, correct symbolic equations are always obtained, the sole consideration being that the order of the factors may not be altered. The first to use the term 'matrix' was Sylvester in 1850. Sylvester defined a matrix to be an oblong arrangement of terms and saw it as something which led to various determinants from square arrays contained within it. After leaving America and returning to England in 1851, Sylvester became a lawyer and met Cayley, a fellow lawyer who shared his interest in mathematics. Cayley quickly saw the significance of the matrix concept and by 1853 Cayley had published a note giving, for the first time, the inverse of a matrix. Cayley in 1858 published Memoir on the theory of matrices which is remarkable for containing the first abstract definition of a matrix. He shows that the coefficient arrays studied earlier for quadratic forms and for linear transformations are special cases of his general concept. Cayley gave a matrix algebra defining addition, multiplication, scalar multiplication and inverses. He gave an explicit construction of the inverse of a matrix in terms of the determinant of the matrix. Cayley also proved that, in the case of 2 2 matrices, that a matrix satisfies its own characteristic equation. He stated that he had checked the result for 3 3 matrices, indicating its proof, but says:I have not thought it necessary to undertake the labour of a formal proof of the theorem in the general case of a matrix of any degree. That a matrix satisfies its own characteristic equation is called the Cayley-Hamilton theorem so its reasonable to ask what it has to do with Hamilton. In fact he also proved a special case of the theorem, the 4 4 case, in the course of his investigations into quaternions. In 1870 the Jordan canonical form appeared in Treatise on substitutions and algebraic equations by Jordan. It appears in the context of a canonical form for linear substitutions over the finite field of order a prime. Frobenius, in 1878, wrote an important work on matrices On linear substitutions and bilinear forms although he seemed unaware of Cayley's work. Frobenius in this paper deals with coefficients of forms and does not use the term matrix. However he proved important results on canonical matrices as representatives of equivalence classes of matrices. He cites Kronecker and Weierstrass as having considered special cases of his results in 1874 and 1868 respectively. Frobenius also proved the general result that a matrix satisfies its characteristic equation. This 1878 paper by Frobenius also contains the definition of the rank of a matrix which he used in his work on canonical forms and the definition of orthogonal matrices. The nullity of a square matrix was defined by Sylvester in 1884. He defined the nullity of A, n(A), to be the largest i such that every minor of A of order n-i+1 is zero. Sylvester was interested in invariants of matrices, that is properties which are not changed by certain transformations. Sylvester proved that max{n(A), n(B)} n(AB) n(A) + n(B). In 1896 Frobenius became aware of Cayley's 1858 Memoir on the theory of matrices and after this started to use the term matrix. Despite the fact that Cayley only proved the Cayley-Hamilton theorem
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for 2 2 and 3 3 matrices, Frobenius generously attributed the result to Cayley despite the fact that Frobenius had been the first to prove the general theorem. An axiomatic definition of a determinant was used by Weierstrass in his lectures and, after his death, it was published in 1903 in the note On determinant theory. In the same year Kronecker's lectures on determinants were also published, again after his death. With these two publications the modern theory of determinants was in place but matrix theory took slightly longer to become a fully accepted theory. An important early text which brought matrices into their proper place within mathematics was Introduction to higher algebra by Bcher in 1907. Turnbull and Aitken wrote influential texts in the 1930's and Mirsky's An introduction to linear algebra in 1955 saw matrix theory reach its present major role in as one of the most important undergraduate mathematics topic. Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson

Quadratic, cubic and quartic equations

Algebra index History Topics Index It is often claimed that the Babylonians (about 400 BC) were the first to solve quadratic equations. This is an over simplification, for the Babylonians had no notion of 'equation'. What they did develop was an algorithmic approach to solving problems which, in our terminology, would give rise to a quadratic equation. The method is essentially one of completing the square. However all Babylonian problems had answers which were positive (more accurately unsigned) quantities since the usual answer was a length. In about 300 BC Euclid developed a geometrical approach which, although later mathematicians used it to solve quadratic equations, amounted to finding a length which in our notation was the root of a quadratic equation. Euclid had no notion of equation, coefficients etc. but worked with purely geometrical quantities. Hindu mathematicians took the Babylonian methods further so that Brahmagupta (598-665 AD) gives an, almost modern, method which admits negative quantities. He also used abbreviations for the unknown, usually the initial letter of a colour was used, and sometimes several different unknowns occur in a single problem. The Arabs did not know about the advances of the Hindus so they had neither negative quantities nor abbreviations for their unknowns. However al-Khwarizmi (c 800) gave a classification of different types of quadratics (although only numerical examples of each). The different types arise since alKhwarizmi had no zero or negatives. He has six chapters each devoted to a different type of equation, the equations being made up of three types of quantities namely: roots, squares of roots and numbers i.e. x, x2 and numbers. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Squares equal to roots. Squares equal to numbers. Roots equal to numbers. Squares and roots equal to numbers, e.g. x2 + 10x = 39. Squares and numbers equal to roots, e.g. x2 + 21 = 10x. Roots and numbers equal to squares, e.g. 3x + 4 = x2.

Al-Khwarizmi gives the rule for solving each type of equation, essentially the familiar quadratic formula given for a numerical example in each case, and then a proof for each example which is a geometrical completing the square. Abraham bar Hiyya Ha-Nasi, often known by the Latin name Savasorda, is famed for his book Liber embadorum published in 1145 which is the first book published in Europe to give the complete solution of the quadratic equation. A new phase of mathematics began in Italy around 1500. In 1494 the first edition of Summa de arithmetica, geometrica, proportioni et proportionalita, now known as the Suma, appeared. It was F;ile: /var/www/apps/conversion/tmp/scratch_5/176675770.doc 91

written by Luca Pacioli although it is quite hard to find the author's name on the book, Fra Luca appearing in small print but not on the title page. In many ways the book is more a summary of knowledge at the time and makes no major advances. The notation and setting out of calculations is almost modern in style:
6.p.R.10 18.m.R.90 ____________________________ 108.m.R.3240.p.R.3240.m.R.90

hoc est 78. In our notation (6 + 10) (18 - 90) = (108- 3240 + 3240 - 900) which is 78. The last term in the answer 90 is an early misprint and should be 900 but the margin was too narrow so the printer missed out the final 0! Pacioli does not discuss cubic equations but does discuss quartics. He says that, in our notation, x4 = a + bx2 can be solved by quadratic methods but x4 + ax2 = b and x4 + a = bx2 are impossible at the present state of science. Scipione dal Ferro (1465-1526) held the Chair of Arithmetic and Geometry at the University of Bologna and certainly must have met Pacioli who lectured at Bologna in 1501-2. dal Ferro is credited with solving cubic equations algebraically but the picture is somewhat more complicated. The problem was to find the roots by adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing and taking roots of expressions in the coefficients. We believe that dal Ferro could only solve cubic equation of the form x3 + mx = n. In fact this is all that is required. For, given the general cubic y3 - by2 + cy - d = 0, put y = x + b/3 to get x3 + mx = n where m = c - b2/3, n = d - bc/3 + 2b3/27. However, without the Hindu's knowledge of negative numbers, dal Ferro would not have been able to use his solution of the one case to solve all cubic equations. Remarkably, dal Ferro solved this cubic equation around 1515 but kept his work a complete secret until just before his death, in 1526, when he revealed his method to his student Antonio Fior. Fior was a mediocre mathematician and far less good at keeping secrets than dal Ferro. Soon rumours started to circulate in Bologna that the cubic equation had been solved. Nicolo of Brescia, known as Tartaglia meaning 'the stammerer', prompted by the rumours managed to solve equations of the form x3 + mx2 = n and made no secret of his discovery. Fior challenged Tartaglia to a public contest: the rules being that each gave the other 30 problems with 40 or 50 days in which to solve them, the winner being the one to solve most but a small prize was also offered for each problem. Tartaglia solved all Fior's problems in the space of 2 hours, for all the problems Fior had set were of the form x3 + mx = n as he believed Tartaglia would be unable to solve this type. However only 8 days before the problems were to be collected, Tartaglia had found the general method for all types of cubics. News of Tartaglia's victory reached Girolamo Cardan in Milan where he was preparing to publish Practica Arithmeticae (1539). Cardan invited Tartaglia to visit him and, after much persuasion, made him divulge the secret of his solution of the cubic equation. This Tartaglia did, having made Cardan
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promise to keep it secret until Tartaglia had published it himself. Cardan did not keep his promise. In 1545 he published Ars Magna the first Latin treatise on algebra. Here, in modern notation, is Cardan's solution of x3 + mx = n. Notice that (a - b)3 + 3ab(a - b) = a3 - b3 so if a and b satisfy 3ab = m and a3 - b3 = n then a - b is a solution of x3 + mx = n. But now b = m/3a so a3 - m3/27a3 = n, i.e. a6 - na3 - m3/27 = 0. This is a quadratic equation in a3, so solve for a3 using the usual formula for a quadratic. Now a is found by taking cube roots and b can be found in a similar way (or using b=m/3a). Then x = a - b is the solution to the cubic. Cardan noticed something strange when he applied his formula to certain cubics. When solving x3 = 15x + 4 he obtained an expression involving -121. Cardan knew that you could not take the square root of a negative number yet he also knew that x = 4 was a solution to the equation. He wrote to Tartaglia on 4 August 1539 in an attempt to clear up the difficulty. Tartaglia certainly did not understand. In Ars Magna Cardan gives a calculation with 'complex numbers' to solve a similar problem but he really did not understand his own calculation which he says is as subtle as it is useless. After Tartaglia had shown Cardan how to solve cubics, Cardan encouraged his own student, Lodovico Ferrari, to examine quartic equations. Ferrari managed to solve the quartic with perhaps the most elegant of all the methods that were found to solve this type of problem. Cardan published all 20 cases of quartic equations in Ars Magna. Here, again in modern notation, is Ferrari's solution of the case: x4 + px2 + qx + r = 0. First complete the square to obtain x4 + 2px2 + p2 = px2 - qx - r + p2 i.e. (x2 + p)2 = px2 - qx - r + p2 Now the clever bit. For any y we have (x2 + p + y)2 = px2 - qx - r + p2 + 2y(x2 + p) + y2 = (p + 2y)x2 - qx + (p2 - r + 2py + y2) (*) Now the right hand side is a quadratic in x and we can choose y so that it is a perfect square. This is done by making the discriminant zero, in this case (-q)2 -4(p + 2y)(p2 - r + 2py + y2) = 0. Rewrite this last equation as (q2 - 4p3 + 4 pr) + (-16p2 + 8r)y - 20 py2 - 8y3 = 0 to see that it is a cubic in y. Now we know how to solve cubics, so solve for y. With this value of y the right hand side of (*) is a perfect square so, taking the square root of both sides, we obtain a quadratic in x. Solve this quadratic and we have the required solution to the quartic equation. The irreducible case of the cubic, namely the case where Cardan's formula leads to the square root of negative numbers, was studied in detail by Rafael Bombelli in 1572 in his work Algebra. In the years after Cardan's Ars Magna many mathematicians contributed to the solution of cubic and quartic equations. Vite, Harriot, Tschirnhaus, Euler, Bezout and Descartes all devised methods.
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Tschirnhaus's methods were extended by the Swedish mathematician E S Bring near the end of the 18th Century. Thomas Harriot made several contributions. One of the most elementary to us, yet showing a marked improvement in understanding, was the observation that if x = b, x = c, x = d are solutions of a cubic then the cubic is (x - b)(x - c)(x - d) = 0. Harriot also had a nice method for solving cubics. Consider the cubic x3 + 3b2x = 2c3 Put x = (e2 - b2)/e. Then e6 - 2c3e3 = b6 which is a quadratic in e3, and so can be solved for e3 to get e3 = c3 + (b6 + c6). However e3(e3 - 2c3) = b6 so that b6/e3 = -c3 + (b6 + c6). Now x = e - b2/e and both e and b2/e are cube roots of expressions given above. Leibniz wrote a letter to Huygens in March 1673. In it he made many contributions to the understanding of cubic equations. Perhaps the most striking is a direct verification of the CardanTartaglia formula. This Leibniz did by reconstructing the cubic from its three roots (as given by the formula) as Harriot claimed in general. Nobody before Leibniz seems to have thought of this direct method of verification. It was the first true algebraic proof of the formula, all previous proofs being geometrical in nature. Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson

A history of set theory

Algebra index History Topics Index The history of set theory is rather different from the history of most other areas of mathematics. For most areas a long process can usually be traced in which ideas evolve until an ultimate flash of inspiration, often by a number of mathematicians almost simultaneously, produces a discovery of major importance. Set theory however is rather different. It is the creation of one person, Georg Cantor. Before we take up the main story of Cantor's development of the theory, we first examine some early contributions. The idea of infinity had been the subject of deep thought from the time of the Greeks. Zeno of Elea, in around 450 BC, with his problems on the infinite, made an early major contribution. By the Middle Ages discussion of the infinite had led to comparison of infinite sets. For example Albert of Saxony, in Questiones subtilissime in libros de celo et mundi, proves that a beam of infinite length has the same volume as 3-space. He proves this by sawing the beam into imaginary pieces which he then assembles into successive concentric shells which fill space. Bolzano was a philosopher and mathematician of great depth of thought. In 1847 he considered sets with the following definition

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an embodiment of the idea or concept which we conceive when we regard the arrangement of its parts as a matter of indifference. Bolzano defended the concept of an infinite set. At this time many believed that infinite sets could not exist. Bolzano gave examples to show that, unlike for finite sets, the elements of an infinite set could be put in 1-1 correspondence with elements of one of its proper subsets. This idea eventually came to be used in the definition of a finite set. It was with Cantor's work however that set theory came to be put on a proper mathematical basis. Cantor's early work was in number theory and he published a number of articles on this topic between 1867 and 1871. These, although of high quality, give no indication that they were written by a man about to change the whole course of mathematics. An event of major importance occurred in 1872 when Cantor made a trip to Switzerland. There Cantor met Richard Dedekind and a friendship grew up that was to last for many years. Numerous letters between the two in the years 1873-1879 are preserved and although these discuss relatively little mathematics it is clear that Dedekind's deep abstract logical way of thinking was a major influence on Cantor as his ideas developed. Cantor moved from number theory to papers on trigonometric series. These papers contain Cantor's first ideas on set theory and also important results on irrational numbers. Dedekind was working independently on irrational numbers and Dedekind published Continuity and irrational numbers. In 1874 Cantor published an article in Crelle's Journal which marks the birth of set theory. A followup paper was submitted by Cantor to Crelle's Journal in 1878 but already set theory was becoming the centre of controversy. Kronecker, who was on the editorial staff of Crelle's Journal, was unhappy about the revolutionary new ideas contained in Cantor's paper. Cantor was tempted to withdraw the paper but Dedekind persuaded Cantor not to withdraw it and Weierstrass supported publication. The paper was published but Cantor never submitted any further work to Crelle's Journal. In his 1874 paper Cantor considers at least two different kinds of infinity. Before this orders of infinity did not exist but all infinite collections were considered 'the same size'. However Cantor examines the set of algebraic real numbers, that is the set of all real roots of equations of the form an xn + an-1 xn-1 + an-2 xn-2 + . . . + a1 x + a0 = 0, where ai is an integer. Cantor proves that the algebraic real numbers are in one-one correspondence with the natural numbers in the following way. For an equation of the above form define its index to be |an| + |an-1| + |an-2| + ... + |a1| + |a0| + n. There is only one equation of index 2, namely x = 0. There are 3 equations of index 3, namely 2x = 0, x + 1 = 0, x - 1 = 0 and x2 = 0. These give roots 0, 1, -1. For each index there are only finitely many equations and so only finitely many roots. Putting them in 1-1 correspondence with the natural numbers is now clear but ordering them in order of index and increasing magnitude within each index. In the same paper Cantor shows that the real numbers cannot be put into one-one correspondence with the natural numbers using an argument with nested intervals which is more complex than that used today (which is in fact due to Cantor in a later paper of 1891). Cantor now remarks that this proves a theorem due to Liouville, namely that there are infinitely many transcendental (i.e. not algebraic) numbers in each interval. In his next paper, the one that Cantor had problems publishing in Crelle's Journal, Cantor introduces the idea of equivalence of sets and says two sets are equivalent or have the same power if they can be put in 1-1 correspondence. The word 'power' Cantor took from Steiner. He proves that the rational numbers have the smallest infinite power and also shows that Rn has the same power as R. He shows
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further that countably many copies of R still has the same power as R. At this stage Cantor does not use the word countable, but he was to introduce the word in a paper of 1883. Cantor published a six part treatise on set theory from the years 1879 to 1884. This work appears in Mathematische Annalen and it was a brave move by the editor to publish the work despite a growing opposition to Cantor's ideas. The leading figure in the opposition was Kronecker who was an extremely influential figure in the world of mathematics. Kronecker's criticism was built on the fact that he believed only in constructive mathematics. He only accepted mathematical objects that could be constructed finitely from the intuitively given set of natural numbers. When Lindemann proved that is transcendental in 1882 Kronecker said Of what use is your beautiful investigation of irrational numbers do not exist. . Why study such problems when

Certainly Cantor's array of different infinities were impossible under this way of thinking. Cantor however continued with his work. His fifth work in the six part treatise was published in 1883 and discusses well-ordered sets. Ordinal numbers are introduced as the order types of well-ordered sets. Multiplication and addition of transfinite numbers are also defined in this work although Cantor was to give a fuller account of transfinite arithmetic in later work. Cantor takes quite a portion of this article justifying his work. Cantor claimed that mathematics is quite free and any concepts may be introduced subject only to the condition that they are free of contradiction and defined in terms of previously accepted concepts. He also cites many previous authors who had given opinions on the concept of infinity including Aristotle, Descartes, Berkeley, Leibniz and Bolzano. The year 1884 was one of crisis for Cantor. He was unhappy with his position at Halle and would have liked to move to Berlin. However this move was blocked by Schwarz and Kronecker. In 1884 Cantor wrote 52 letters to Mittag-Leffler each one of which attacked Kronecker. In this year of mental crisis Cantor seemed to lose confidence in his own work and applied to lecture on philosophy rather than on mathematics. The crisis did not last too long and by early 1885 Cantor was recovered and his faith in his own work had returned. However, despite a wealth of important work in the years after 1884, there is some indication that he never quite reached the heights of genius that his remarkable papers showed over the 10 year period from 1874 to 1884. Although not of major importance in the development of set theory it is worth noting that Peano introduced the symbol for 'is an element of' in 1889. It comes from the first letter if the Greek word meaning 'is'. In 1885 Cantor continued to extend his theory of cardinal numbers and of order types. He extended his theory of order types so that now his previously defined ordinal numbers became a special case. In 1895 and 1897 Cantor published his final double treatise on sets theory. It contains an introduction that looks like a modern book on set theory, defining set, subset, etc. Cantor proves that if A and B are sets with A equivalent to a subset of B and B equivalent to a subset of A then A and B are equivalent. This theorem was also proved by Felix Bernstein and independently by E Schrder. The dates 1895 and 1897 are important for set theory in another way. In 1897 the first published paradox appeared, published by Cesare Burali-Forti. Some of the impact of this paradox was lost since Burali-Forti got the definition of a well-ordered set wrong! However, even if the definition was corrected, the paradox remained. It basically revolves round the set of all ordinal numbers. The ordinal number of the set of all ordinals must be an ordinal and this leads to a contradiction. It is believed that Cantor discovered this paradox himself in 1885 and wrote to Hilbert about it in 1886. This is slightly surprising since Cantor was highly critical of the Burali-Forti paper when it appeared. The year 1897 was important for Cantor in another way, for in that year the first International Congress of Mathematicians was held in Zurich and at that conference Cantor's work was held in the highest esteem being praised by many including Hurwitz and Hadamard. In 1899 Cantor discovered another paradox which arises from the set of all sets. What is the cardinal number of the set of all sets? Clearly it must be the greatest possible cardinal yet the cardinal of the set of all subsets of a set always has a greater cardinal than the set itself. It began to look as if the criticism of Kronecker might be at least partially right since extension of the set concept too far seemed to be
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producing the paradoxes. The 'ultimate' paradox was found by Russell in 1902 (and found independently by Zermelo). It simplify defined a set A = { X | X is not a member of X }. Russell then asked :- Is A an element of A? Both the assumption that A is a member of A and A is not a member of A lead to a contradiction. The set construction itself appears to give a paradox. Russell wrote to Frege telling him about the paradox. Frege had been near completion of his major treatise on the foundations of arithmetic. Frege added an acknowledgement to his treatise. A scientist can hardly meet with anything more undesirable than to have the foundation give way just as the work is finished. In this position I was put by a letter from Mr Bertrand Russell as the work was nearly through the press. By this stage, however, set theory was beginning to have a major impact on other areas of mathematics. Lebesgue defined 'measure' in 1901 and in 1902 defined the Lebesgue integral using set theoretic concepts. Analysis needed the set theory of Cantor, it could not afford to limit itself to intuitionist style mathematics in the spirit of Kronecker. Rather than dismiss set theory because of the paradoxes, ways were sought to keep the main features of set theory yet eliminate the paradoxes. Did the paradoxes come from the 'Axiom of choice'? Cantor had used the 'Axiom of choice' without feeling that it was necessary to single it out for any special treatment. The first person to explicitly note that he was using such an axiom seems to have been Peano in 1890 in dealing with an existence proof for solutions to a system of differential equations. Again in 1902 it was mentioned by Beppo Levi but the first to formally introduce the axiom was Zermelo when he proved, in 1904, that every set can be well-ordered. This theorem had been conjectured by Cantor. mile Borel pointed out that the Axiom of Choice is in fact equivalent to Zermelo's Theorem. Gdel showed, in 1940, that the Axiom of Choice cannot be disproved using the other axioms of set theory. It was not until 1963 that Paul Cohen proved that the Axiom of Choice is independent of the other axioms of set theory. Russell's paradox had undermined the whole of mathematics in Frege's words. Russell, trying to repair the damage, made an attempt to put mathematics back onto an logical basis in his major work Principia Mathematica written with Whitehead. This work attempts to reduce the foundations of mathematics to logic and was extremely influential. However the method of avoiding the paradoxes by introducing a 'theory of types' made it impossible to say that a class was or was not a member of itself. It did not seem a very satisfactory way around the problems and others sought different ways. Zermelo in 1908 was the first to attempt an axiomatisation of set theory. Many other mathematicians attempted to axiomatise set theory. Fraenkel, von Neumann, Bernays and Gdel are all important figures in this development. Gdel showed the limitations of any axiomatic theory and the aims of many mathematicians such as Frege and Hilbert could never be achieved. Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson

A history of the Burnside problem

Algebra Index History Topics Index Some definitions 1. A Group G is said to be periodic if for all g G there exists n N with gn = 1. (Note that the number n may depend on the element g.) 2. A Group G is said to be periodic of bounded exponent if there exists n N with gn = 1 for all g G. The minimal such n is called the exponent of G.

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It is clear that any finite group is periodic. In his 1902 paper, Burnside [1] introduced what he termed "a still undetermined point" in the theory of groups: General Burnside Problem: Is a finitely generated periodic group necessarily finite? Burnside immediately suggested the "easier" question: Burnside Problem: Is a finitely generated periodic group of bounded exponent necessarily finite? Definition Let Fm denote the free group of rank m. For a fixed n let Fmn denote the subgroup of Fm generated by gn for g G. Then Fmn is a normal subgroup of Fm(it is even an invariant subgroup), and we define the Burnside Group B(m, n) to be the factor group Fm/ Fmn . Burnside showed a number of results in his 1902 paper; 1. B(1, n) Cn 2. B(m, 2) is an elementary abelian group of order 2n (a direct product of n copies of C2) 3. B(m, 3) is finite of order 32m-1 4. B(2, 4) is finite of order 212. (in fact Burnside claimed equality) Burnside and Schur made early progress on the problems in two papers, which confirmed that the problem would certainly not be straightforward: Theorem (Burnside, 1905 [2]) A finitely generated linear group which is finite dimensional and has finite exponent is finite i.e. any subgroup of GL(n,C) with bounded exponent is finite. Theorem (Schur, 1911 [3]) Every finitely generated periodic subgroup of GL(n,C) is finite. These results imply that any counterexample to the Burnside Problems will have to be difficult, i.e. not expressible in terms of the well-known linear groups. After this initial flurry of results, no more progress was made on the Problems until the early 1930's, when the topic was resurrected by the suggestion of a variant on the original problem: Restricted Burnside Problem: Are there only finitely many finite m-generator groups of exponent n? If the Restricted Burnside Problem has a positive solution for some m, n then we may factor B(m, n) by the intersection of all subgroups of finite index to obtain B0(m,n), the universal finite m-generator group of exponent n having all other finite m-generator groups of exponent n as homomorphic images. Note that if B(m,n) is finite then B0(m,n) = B(m,n). Despite this formulation having been present on the seminar circuit in the 1930's, it was not until 1940 that the first paper, by Grn [6], appeared specifically addressing the RBP, and not until 1950 that the term "Restricted Burnside Problem" was coined by Magnus [7]. Levi, Van der Waerden [4] (independently) showed that B(m, 3) has order 3c, c = m + mC2 + mC3 1933 and is a metabelian group of nilpotency class 3. 1940 Sanov [5] proved that B(m, 4) is finite. 1954 Tobin [8] showed that B(2, 4) has order 212, and gave a presentation. 1955 Kostrikin[9] established that B0(2, 5) exists. 1956 Higman[10] proved that B0(m, 5) exists. P Hall and G Higman [11] showed that B0(m, 6) exists and has order 2a3b where a = 1 + (m 1)3c , b = 1 + (m - 1)2m , c = m + mC2 + mC3 and is hence soluble of derived length 3. 1958 Marshall Hall Jr. [12] proved that B(m, 6) is finite, a contribution which was described as a "heroic piece of calculation" by one reviewer.
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Kostrikin[13] showed that B0(m, p) exists for all p prime. The 1956 Hall-Higman paper contains a remarkable reduction theorem for the Restricted Burnside Problem: Theorem (Hall-Higman, 1956 [11]) Suppose that n = p1k1. ... .prkr with p1, ... , pr distinct primes. Assume i. ii. iii. The RBP holds for groups of exponent piki, There are finitely many finite simple groups of exponent n, The outer automorphism group Out(G) = Aut(G)/Inn(G) is soluble for any finite simple group of exponent n.

Then the RBP holds for groups of exponent n. (Note that iii. above is the so-called Schreier Conjecture) Now (moving ahead), the classification of finite simple groups in the 1980's shows that ii. and iii. hold. Even earlier it was known for n odd by Feit-Thompson (the "odd-order paper" of 1962), and at the time of publication must have been a reasonable conjecture. Consequently, to prove that B0(m,n) exists for all m, n we need only (!) show that B0(m, pk) exists for all m and prime powers pk. Kostrikin had "shown" that B0(m, p) exists. 1959 Turning back to the original Burnside Problems, Novikov announced that B(m, n) is infinite for n odd, n > 71. Novikov published a collection of ideas and theorems [14], but no definitive proof was forthcoming. John Britton suspected Novikov's proof was wrong and he began to work on the problem. 1964 Golod and Shafarevich [15] provided a counter-example to the General Burnside Problem -- an infinite, finitely generated, periodic group. 1968 S I Adian, P S Novikov [16] proved that B(m, n) is infinite for n odd, n 4381 with an epic combinatorial proof based upon Novikov's earlier efforts. This saddened Britton since he was close to publishing himself, but he continued and finished in 1970. His paper was published in 1973, but Adian discovered that it was wrong. There was not a single error in any lemma. However in order to apply them simultaneously the inequalities needed to make their hypotheses valid were inconsistent. Britton never really recovered, and this was to be the last major research paper he published. 1975 S I Adian [17] proved that B(m, n) is infinite if n odd, n > 665, improving the Adian-Novikov result of 1968. 1982 Ol'shanskii showed that given p a prime, p > 1075, then there is an infinite group , every proper subgroup of which is cyclic of order p. (This is called the Tarski Monster) 1992 S I Ivanov proved that B(m, n) is infinite for m > 2 and n 13. 1994 Zelmanov was awarded a Fields medal for his positive solution of the Restricted Burnside Problem. It is still an open question whether B(2, 5) is finite or not. Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson. Thanks to Andrew Isherwood.

History Topics: Analysis Index

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1. Elliptic functions 2. History of calculus 3. Trigonometric functions

Elliptic functions and integrals

Analysis index History Topics Index The terminology for elliptic integrals and functions has changed during their investigation. What were originally called elliptic functions are now called elliptic integrals and the term elliptic functions reserved for a different idea. We will therefore use modern terminology throughout this article to avoid confusion. It is important to understand how mathematicians thought differently at different periods. Early algebraists had to prove their formulas by geometry. Similarly early workers with integration considered their problems solved if they could relate an integral to a geometric object. Many integrals arose from attempts to solve mechanical problems. For example the period of a simple pendulum was found to be related to an integral which expressed arc length but no form could be found in terms of 'simple' functions. The same was true for the deflection of a thin elastic bar. The study of elliptical integrals can be said to start in 1655 when Wallis began to study the arc length of an ellipse. In fact he considered the arc lengths of various cycloids and related these arc lengths to that of the ellipse. Both Wallis and Newton published an infinite series expansion for the arc length of the ellipse. At this point we should give a definition of an elliptic integral. It is one of the form r(x, p(x) )dx where r(x,y) is a rational function in two variables and p(x) is a polynomial of degree 3 or 4 with no repeated roots. In 1679 Jacob Bernoulli attempted to find the arc length of a spiral and encountered an example of an elliptic integral. Jacob Bernoulli, in 1694, made an important step in the theory of elliptic integrals. He examined the shape the an elastic rod will take if compressed at the ends. He showed that the curve satisfied ds/dt = 1/ (1 - t4) then introduced the lemniscate curve (x2+y2)2 = (x2-y2) whose arc length is given by the integral from 0 to x of dt/ (1 - t4) This integral, which is clearly satisfies the above definition so is an elliptic integral, became known as the lemniscate integral. This is a particularly simple case of an elliptic integral. Notice for example that it is similar in form to the function sin-1(x) which is given by the integral from 0 to x of dt/ (1 - t2)

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The other good features of the lemniscate integral are the fact that it is general enough for many of its properties to be generalised to more general elliptic functions, yet the geometric intuition from the arc length of the lemniscate curve aids understanding. In the year 1694 Jacob Bernoulli considered another elliptic integral t2 dt/ (1 - t2) and conjectured that it could not be expressed in terms of 'known' functions, sin, exp, sin-1. Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson

A history of the calculus

Analysis index History Topics Index The main ideas which underpin the calculus developed over a very long period of time indeed. The first steps were taken by Greek mathematicians. To the Greeks numbers were ratios of integers so the number line had "holes" in it. They got round this difficulty by using lengths, areas and volumes in addition to numbers for, to the Greeks, not all lengths were numbers. Zeno of Elea, about 450 BC, gave a number of problems which were based on the infinite. For example he argued that motion is impossible:If a body moves from A to B then before it reaches B it passes through the mid-point, say B1 of AB. Now to move to B1 it must first reach the mid-point B2 of AB1. Continue this argument to see that A must move through an infinite number of distances and so cannot move. Leucippus, Democritus and Antiphon all made contributions to the Greek method of exhaustion which was put on a scientific basis by Eudoxus about 370 BC. The method of exhaustion is so called because one thinks of the areas measured expanding so that they account for more and more of the required area. However Archimedes, around 225 BC, made one of the most significant of the Greek contributions. His first important advance was to show that the area of a segment of a parabola is 4/3 the area of a triangle with the same base and vertex and 2/3 of the area of the circumscribed parallelogram. Archimedes constructed an infinite sequence of triangles starting with one of area A and continually adding further triangles between the existing ones and the parabola to get areas A, A + A/4 , A + A/4 + A/16 , A + A/4 + A/16 + A/64 , ... The area of the segment of the parabola is therefore A(1 + 1/4 + 1/42 + 1/43 + ....) = (4/3)A. This is the first known example of the summation of an infinite series. Archimedes used the method of exhaustion to find an approximation to the area of a circle. This, of course, is an early example of integration which led to approximate values of . Here is Archimedes' diagram
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Among other 'integrations' by Archimedes were the volume and surface area of a sphere, the volume and area of a cone, the surface area of an ellipse, the volume of any segment of a paraboloid of revolution and a segment of an hyperboloid of revolution. No further progress was made until the 16th Century when mechanics began to drive mathematicians to examine problems such as centres of gravity. Luca Valerio (1552-1618) published De quadratura parabolae in Rome (1606) which continued the Greek methods of attacking these type of area problems. Kepler, in his work on planetary motion, had to find the area of sectors of an ellipse. His method consisted of thinking of areas as sums of lines, another crude form of integration, but Kepler had little time for Greek rigour and was rather lucky to obtain the correct answer after making two cancelling errors in this work. Three mathematicians, born within three years of each other, were the next to make major contributions. They were Fermat, Roberval and Cavalieri. Cavalieri was led to his 'method of indivisibles' by Kepler's attempts at integration. He was not rigorous in his approach and it is hard to see clearly how he thought about his method. It appears that Cavalieri thought of an area as being made up of components which were lines and then summed his infinite number of 'indivisibles'. He showed, using these methods, that the integral of xn from 0 to a was an+1/(n + 1) by showing the result for a number of values of n and inferring the general result. Roberval considered problems of the same type but was much more rigorous than Cavalieri. Roberval looked at the area between a curve and a line as being made up of an infinite number of infinitely narrow rectangular strips. He applied this to the integral of xm from 0 to 1 which he showed had approximate value (0m + 1m + 2m + ... + (n-1)m)/nm+1. Roberval then asserted that this tended to 1/(m + 1) as n tends to infinity, so calculating the area. Fermat was also more rigorous in his approach but gave no proofs. He generalised the parabola and hyperbola:Parabola: y/a = (x/b)2 to (y/a)n = (x/b)m Hyperbola: y/a = b/x to (y/a)n = (b/x)m. In the course of examining y/a = (x/b)p, Fermat computed the sum of rp from r=1 to r=n. Fermat also investigated maxima and minima by considering when the tangent to the curve was parallel to the x-axis. He wrote to Descartes giving the method essentially as used today, namely finding maxima and minima by calculating when the derivative of the function was 0. In fact, because of this work, Lagrange stated clearly that he considers Fermat to be the inventor of the calculus. Descartes produced an important method of determining normals in La Gomtrie in 1637 based on double intersection. De Beaune extended his methods and applied it to tangents where double intersection translates into double roots. Hudde discovered a simpler method, known as Hudde's Rule, which basically involves the derivative. Descartes' method and Hudde's Rule were important in influencing Newton. Huygens was critical of Cavalieri's proofs saying that what one needs is a proof which at least convinces one that a rigorous proof could be constructed. Huygens was a major influence on Leibniz and so played a considerable part in producing a more satisfactory approach to the calculus. The next major step was provided by Torricelli and Barrow. Barrow gave a method of tangents to a curve where the tangent is given as the limit of a chord as the points approach each other known as Barrow's differential triangle. Here is Barrow's differential triangle
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Both Torricelli and Barrow considered the problem of motion with variable speed. The derivative of the distance is velocity and the inverse operation takes one from the velocity to the distance. Hence an awareness of the inverse of differentiation began to evolve naturally and the idea that integral and derivative were inverses to each other were familiar to Barrow. In fact, although Barrow never explicitly stated the fundamental theorem of the calculus, he was working towards the result and Newton was to continue with this direction and state the Fundamental Theorem of the Calculus explicitly. Torricelli's work was continued in Italy by Mengoli and Angeli. Newton wrote a tract on fluxions in October 1666. This was a work which was not published at the time but seen by many mathematicians and had a major influence on the direction the calculus was to take. Newton thought of a particle tracing out a curve with two moving lines which were the coordinates. The horizontal velocity x' and the vertical velocity y' were the fluxions of x and y associated with the flux of time. The fluents or flowing quantities were x and y themselves. With this fluxion notation y'/x' was the tangent to f(x, y) = 0. In his 1666 tract Newton discusses the converse problem, given the relationship between x and y'/x' find y. Hence the slope of the tangent was given for each x and when y'/x' = f(x) then Newton solves the problem by antidifferentiation. He also calculated areas by antidifferentiation and this work contains the first clear statement of the Fundamental Theorem of the Calculus. Newton had problems publishing his mathematical work. Barrow was in some way to blame for this since the publisher of Barrow's work had gone bankrupt and publishers were, after this, wary of publishing mathematical works! Newton's work on Analysis with infinite series was written in 1669 and circulated in manuscript. It was not published until 1711. Similarly his Method of fluxions and infinite series was written in 1671 and published in English translation in 1736. The Latin original was not published until much later. In these two works Newton calculated the series expansion for sin x and cos x and the expansion for what was actually the exponential function, although this function was not established until Euler introduced the present notation ex. You can see the series expansions for sine and for cosine. They are now called Taylor or Maclaurin series. Newton's next mathematical work was Tractatus de Quadratura Curvarum which he wrote in 1693 but it was not published until 1704 when he published it as an Appendix to his Optiks. This work contains another approach which involves taking limits. Newton says In the time in which x by flowing becomes x+o, the quantity xn becomes (x+o)n i.e. by the method of infinite series, xn + noxn-1 + (nn-n)/2 ooxn-2 + . . . At the end he lets the increment o vanish by 'taking limits'. Leibniz learnt much on a European tour which led him to meet Huygens in Paris in 1672. He also met Hooke and Boyle in London in 1673 where he bought several mathematics books, including Barrow's works. Leibniz was to have a lengthy correspondence with Barrow. On returning to Paris Leibniz did some very fine work on the calculus, thinking of the foundations very differently from Newton. Newton considered variables changing with time. Leibniz thought of variables x, y as ranging over sequences of infinitely close values. He introduced dx and dy as differences between successive values of these sequences. Leibniz knew that dy/dx gives the tangent but he did not use it as a defining property. For Newton integration consisted of finding fluents for a given fluxion so the fact that integration and differentiation were inverses was implied. Leibniz used integration as a sum, in a rather similar way to Cavalieri. He was also happy to use 'infinitesimals' dx and dy where Newton used x' and y' which were finite velocities. Of course neither Leibniz nor Newton thought in terms of functions, however, but
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both always thought in terms of graphs. For Newton the calculus was geometrical while Leibniz took it towards analysis. Leibniz was very conscious that finding a good notation was of fundamental importance and thought a lot about it. Newton, on the other hand, wrote more for himself and, as a consequence, tended to use whatever notation he thought of on the day. Leibniz's notation of d and highlighted the operator aspect which proved important in later developments. By 1675 Leibniz had settled on the notation y dy = y2/2 written exactly as it would be today. His results on the integral calculus were published in 1684 and 1686 under the name 'calculus summatorius', the name integral calculus was suggested by Jacob Bernoulli in 1690. After Newton and Leibniz the development of the calculus was continued by Jacob Bernoulli and Johann Bernoulli. However when Berkeley published his Analyst in 1734 attacking the lack of rigour in the calculus and disputing the logic on which it was based much effort was made to tighten the reasoning. Maclaurin attempted to put the calculus on a rigorous geometrical basis but the really satisfactory basis for the calculus had to wait for the work of Cauchy in the 19th Century. Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson

The trigonometric functions

Analysis index History Topics Index The use of trigonometric functions arises from the early connection between mathematics and astronomy. Early work with spherical triangles was as important as plane triangles. The first work on trigonometric functions related to chords of a circle. Given a circle of fixed radius, 60 units were often used in early calculations, then the problem was to find the length of the chord subtended by a given angle. For a circle of unit radius the length of the chord subtended by the angle x was 2sin (x/2). The first known table of chords was produced by the Greek mathematician Hipparchus in about 140 BC. Although these tables have not survived, it is claimed that twelve books of tables of chords were written by Hipparchus. This makes Hipparchus the founder of trigonometry. The next Greek mathematician to produce a table of chords was Menelaus in about 100 AD. Menelaus worked in Rome producing six books of tables of chords which have been lost but his work on spherics has survived and is the earliest known work on spherical trigonometry. Menelaus proved a property of plane triangles and the corresponding spherical triangle property known the regula sex quantitatum.

Ptolemy was the next author of a book of chords, showing the same Babylonian influence as Hipparchus, dividing the circle into 360 and the diameter into 120 parts. The suggestion here is that
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he was following earlier practice when the approximation 3 for was used. Ptolemy, together with the earlier writers, used a form of the relation sin2 x + cos2 x = 1, although of course they did not actually use sines and cosines but chords. Similarly, in terms of chords rather than sin and cos, Ptolemy knew the formulas sin(x + y) = sinx cos y + cosx sin y a/sin A = b/sin B = c/sin C. Ptolemy calculated chords by first inscribing regular polygons of 3, 4, 5, 6 and 10 sides in a circle. This allowed him to calculate the chord subtended by angles of 36 , 72 , 60 , 90 and 120 . He then found a method of finding the cord subtended by half the arc of a known chord and this, together with interpolation allowed him to calculate chords with a good degree of accuracy. Using these methods Ptolemy found that sin 30' (30' = half of 1 ) which is the chord of 1 was, as a number to base 60, 0 31' 25". Converted to decimals this is 0.0087268 which is correct to 6 decimal places, the answer to 7 decimal places being 0.0087265. The first actual appearance of the sine of an angle appears in the work of the Hindus. Aryabhata, in about 500, gave tables of half chords which now really are sine tables and used jya for our sin. This same table was reproduced in the work of Brahmagupta (in 628) and detailed method for constructing a table of sines for any angle were give by Bhaskara in 1150. The Arabs worked with sines and cosines and by 980 Abu'l-Wafa knew that sin 2x = 2 sin x cos x although it could have easily have been deduced from Ptolemy's formula sin(x + y) = sin x cos y + cos x sin y with x = y. The Hindu word jya for the sine was adopted by the Arabs who called the sine jiba, a meaningless word with the same sound as jya. Now jiba became jaib in later Arab writings and this word does have a meaning, namely a 'fold'. When European authors translated the Arabic mathematical works into Latin they translated jaib into the word sinus meaning fold in Latin. In particular Fibonacci's use of the term sinus rectus arcus soon encouraged the universal use of sine. Chapters of Copernicus's book giving all the trigonometry relevant to astronomy was published in 1542 by Rheticus. Rheticus also produced substantial tables of sines and cosines which were published after his death. In 1533 Regiomontanus's work De triangulis omnimodis was published. This contained work on planar and spherical trigonometry originally done much earlier in about 1464. The book is particularly strong on the sine and its inverse. The term sine certainly was not accepted straight away as the standard notation by all authors. In times when mathematical notation was in itself a new idea many used their own notation. Edmund Gunter was the first to use the abbreviation sin in 1624 in a drawing. The first use of sin in a book was in 1634 by the French mathematician Hrigone while Cavalieri used Si and Oughtred S. It is perhaps surprising that the second most important trigonometrical function during the period we have discussed was the versed sine, a function now hardly used at all. The versine is related to the sine by the formula versin x = 1 - cos x. It is just the sine turned (versed) through 90 . The cosine follows a similar course of development in notation as the sine. Vite used the term sinus residuae for the cosine, Gunter (1620) suggested co-sinus. The notation Si.2 was used by Cavalieri, s co arc by Oughtred and S by Wallis. Vite knew formulas for sin nx in terms of sin x and cos x. He gave explicitly the formulas (due to Pitiscus)
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sin 3x = 3 cos 2x sin x - sin 3 x cos 3x = cos 3x - 3 sin 2x cos x. The tangent and cotangent came via a different route from the chord approach of the sine. These developed together and were not at first associated with angles. They became important for calculating heights from the length of the shadow that the object cast. The length of shadows was also of importance in the sundial. Thales used the lengths of shadows to calculate the heights of pyramids. The first known tables of shadows were produced by the Arabs around 860 and used two measures translated into Latin as umbra recta and umbra versa. Vite used the terms amsinus and prosinus. The name tangent was first used by Thomas Fincke in 1583. The term cotangens was first used by Edmund Gunter in 1620. Abbreviations for the tan and cot followed a similar development to those of the sin and cos. Cavalieri used Ta and Ta.2, Oughtred used t arc and t co arc while Wallis used T and t. The common abbreviation used today is tan by we write tan whereas the first occurrence of this abbreviation was used by Albert Girard in 1626, but tan was written over the angle
tan A

cot was first used by Jonas Moore in 1674. The secant and cosecant were not used by the early astronomers or surveyors. These came into their own when navigators around the 15th Century started to prepare tables. Copernicus knew of the secant which he called the hypotenusa. Vite knew the results cosec x/sec x = cot x = 1/tan x 1/cosec x = cos x/cot x = sin x. The abbreviations used by various authors were similar to the trigonometric functions already discussed. Cavalieri used Se and Se.2, Oughtred used se arc and sec co arc while Wallis used s and . Albert Girard used sec, written above the angle as he did for the tan. The term 'trigonometry' first appears as the title of a book Trigonometria by B Pitiscus, published in 1595. Pitiscus also discovered the formulas for sin 2x, sin 3x, cos 2x, cos 3x. The 18th Century saw trigonometric functions of a complex variable being studied. Johann Bernoulli found the relation between sin-1z and log z in 1702 while Cotes, in a work published in 1722 after his death, showed that ix = log(cos x + i sin x ). De Moivre published his famous theorem (cos x + i sin x )n = cos nx + i sin nx in 1722 while Euler, in 1748, gave the formula (equivalent to that of Cotes) exp(ix) = cos x + i sin x . The hyperbolic trigonometric functions were introduced by Lambert. Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson
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History Topics: Numbers and Number Theory Index

Number systems in ancient civilisations 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Arabic number systems Babylonian number systems Egyptian number systems Greek number systems Inca number systems Indian number systems Other number theory 1. Fermat's last theorem 2. Perfect numbers 3. Prime numbers 4. History of Zero 5. History of Pi 6. Chronology of Pi 7. The Golden ratio 8. The number e 9. Pell's equation 10. Infinity

7. Mayan number systems

The Arabic numeral system

Arabic index History Topics Index The Indian numerals discussed in our article Indian numerals form the basis of the European number systems which are now widely used. However they were not transmitted directly from India to Europe but rather came first to the Arabic/Islamic peoples and from them to Europe. The story of this transmission is not, however, a simple one. The eastern and western parts of the Arabic world both saw separate developments of Indian numerals with relatively little interaction between the two. By the western part of the Arabic world we mean the regions comprising mainly North Africa and Spain. Transmission to Europe came through this western Arabic route, coming into Europe first through Spain. There are other complications in the story, however, for it was not simply that the Arabs took over the Indian number system. Rather different number systems were used simultaneously in the Arabic world over a long period of time. For example there were at least three different types of arithmetic used in Arab countries in the eleventh century: a system derived from counting on the fingers with the numerals written entirely in words, this finger-reckoning arithmetic was the system used for by the business community; the sexagesimal system with numerals denoted by letters of the Arabic alphabet; and the arithmetic of the Indian numerals and fractions with the decimal place-value system. The first sign that the Indian numerals were moving west comes from a source which predates the rise of the Arab nations. In 662 AD Severus Sebokht, a Nestorian bishop who lived in Keneshra on the Euphrates river, wrote:I will omit all discussion of the science of the Indians, ... , of their subtle discoveries in astronomy, discoveries that are more ingenious than those of the Greeks and the Babylonians, and of their valuable methods of calculation which surpass description. I wish only to say that this computation is done by means of nine signs. If those who believe, because they speak Greek, that they have arrived at the limits of science, would read the Indian texts, they would be convinced, even if a little late in the day, that there are others who know something of value. This passage clearly indicates that knowledge of the Indian number system was known in lands soon to become part of the Arab world as early as the seventh century. The passage itself, of course, would certainly suggest that few people in that part of the world knew anything of the system. Severus Sebokht as a Christian bishop would have been interested in calculating the date of Easter (a problem F;ile: /var/www/apps/conversion/tmp/scratch_5/176675770.doc 107

to Christian churches for many hundreds of years). This may have encouraged him to find out about the astronomy works of the Indians and in these, of course, he would find the arithmetic of the nine symbols. By 776 AD the Arab empire was beginning to take shape and we have another reference to the transmission of Indian numerals. We quote from a work of al-Qifti Chronology of the scholars written around the end the 12th century but quoting much earlier sources:... a person from India presented himself before the Caliph al-Mansur in the year [776 AD] who was well versed in the siddhanta method of calculation related to the movment of the heavenly bodies, and having ways of calculating equations based on the half-chord [essentially the sine] calculated in half-degrees ... This is all contained in a work ... from which he claimed to have taken the half-chord calculated for one minute. Al-Mansur ordered this book to be translated into Arabic, and a work to be written, based on the translation, to give the Arabs a solid base for calculating the movements of the planets ... Now in [1] (where a longer quote is given) Ifrah tries to determine which Indian work is referred to. He concludes that the work was most likely to have been Brahmagupta's Brahmasphutasiddhanta (The Opening of the Universe) which was written in 628. Irrespective of whether Ifrah is right, since all Indian texts after Aryabhata I's Aryabhatiya used the Indian number system of the nine signs, certainly from this time the Arabs had a translation into Arabic of a text written in the Indian number system. It is often claimed that the first Arabic text written to explain the Indian number system was written by al-Khwarizmi. However there are difficulties here which many authors tend to ignore. The Arabic text is lost but a twelfth century Latin translation, Algoritmi de numero Indorum (in English Al-Khwarizmi on the Hindu Art of Reckoning) gave rise to the word algorithm deriving from his name in the title. Unfortunately the Latin translation is known to be much changed from al-Khwarizmi's original text (of which even the title is unknown). The Latin text certainly describes the Indian place-value system of numerals based on 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 0. The first use of zero as a place holder in positional base notation is considered by some to be due to al-Khwarizmi in this work. The difficulty which arises is that al-Baghdadi refers to the Arabic original which, contrary to what was originally thought, seems not to be a work on Indian numerals but rather a work on finger counting methods. This becomes clear from the references by al-Baghdadi to the lost work. However the numerous references to al-Khwarizmi's book on the Indian nine symbols must mean that he did write such a work. Some degree of mystery still remains. At first the Indian methods were used by the Arabs with a dust board. In fact in the western part of the Arabic world the Indian numerals came to be known as Guba (or Gubar or Ghubar) numerals from the Arabic word meaning "dust". A dust board was used because the arithmetical methods required the moving of numbers around in the calculation and rubbing some out some of them as the calculation proceeded. The dust board allowed this in the same sort of way that one can use a blackboard, chalk and a blackboard eraser. Any student who has attended lectures where the lecturer continually changes and replaces parts of the mathematics as the demonstration progresses will understand the disadvantage of the dust board! Around the middle of the tenth century al-Uqlidisi wrote Kitab al-fusul fi al-hisab al-Hindi which is the earliest surviving book that presents the Indian system. In it al-Uqlidisi argues that the system is of practical value:Most arithmeticians are obliged to use it in their work: since it is easy and immediate, requires little memorisation, provides quick answers, demands little thought ... Therefore, we say that it is a science and practice that requires a tool, such as a writer, an artisan, a knight needs to conduct their affairs; since if the artisan has difficulty in finding what he needs for his trade, he will never succeed; to grasp it there is no difficulty, impossibility or preparation.
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In the fourth part of this book al-Uqlidisi showed how to modify the methods of calculating with Indian symbols, which had required a dust board, to methods which could be carried out with pen and paper. Certainly the fact that the Indian system required a dust board had been one of the main obstacles to its acceptance. For example As-Suli, after praising the Indian system for its great simplicity, wrote in the first half of the tenth century:Official scribes nevertheless avoid using [the Indian system] because it requires equipment [like a dust board] and they consider that a system that requires nothing but the members of the body is more secure and more fitting to the dignity of a leader. Al-Uqlidisi's work is therefore important in attempting to remove one of the obstacles to acceptance of the Indian nine symbols. It is also historically important as it is the earliest known text offering a direct treatment of decimal fractions. Despite many scholars finding calculating with Indian symbols helpful in their work, the business community continued to use their finger arithmetic throughout the tenth century. Abu'l-Wafa, who was himself an expert in the use of Indian numerals, nevertheless wrote a text on how to use fingerreckoning arithmetic since this was the system used by the business community and teaching material aimed at these people had to be written using the appropriate system. Let us give a little information about the Arab letter numerals which are contained in Abu'l-Wafa's work. The numbers were represented by letters but not in the dictionary order. The system was known as huruf al jumal which meant "letters for calculating" and also sometimes as abjad which is just the first four numbers (1 = a, 2 = b, j = 3, d = 4). The numbers from 1 to 9 were represented by letters, then the numbers 10, 20, 30, ..., 90 by the next nine letters (10 = y, 20 = k, 30 = l, 40 = m, ...), then 100, 200, 300, ... , 900 by the next letters (100 = q, 200 = r, 300 = sh, 400 = ta, ...). There were 28 Arabic letters and so one was left over which was used to represent 1000. Arabic astronomers used a base 60 version of Arabic letter system. Although Arabic is written from right to left, we shall give an example writing in the left to right style that we use in writing English. A number, say 43 21' 14", would have been written as "mj ka yd" in this base 60 version of the "abjad" letters for calculating. A contemporary of al-Baghdadi, writing near the beginning of the eleventh century, was ibn Sina (better known in the West as Avicenna). We know many details of his life for he wrote an autobiography. Certainly ibn Sina was a remarkable child, with a memory and an ability to learn which amazed the scholars who met in his father's home. A group of scholars from Egypt came to his father's house in about 997 when ibn Sina was ten years old and they taught him Indian arithmetic. He also tells of being taught Indian calculation and algebra by a seller of vegetables. All this shows that by the beginning of the eleventh century calculation with the Indian symbols was fairly widespread and, quite significantly, was know to a vegetable trader. What of the numerals themselves. We have seen in the article Indian numerals that the form of the numerals themselves varied in different regions and changed over time. Exactly the same happened in the Arabic world. Here is an example of an early form of Indian numerals being used in the eastern part of the Arabic empire. It comes from a work of al-Sijzi, not an original work by him but rather the work of another mathematician which al-Sijzi copied at Shiraz and dated his copy 969. The numerals from al-Sizji's treatise of 969

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The numerals had changed their form somewhat 100 years later when this copy of one of al-Biruni's astronomical texts was made. Here are the numerals as they appear in a 1082 copy. The numerals from al-Biruni's treatise copied in 1082

In fact a closer look will show that between 969 and 1082 the biggest change in the numerals was the fact that the 2 and the 3 have been rotated through 90 . There is a reason for this change which came about due to the way that scribes wrote, for they wrote on a scroll which they wound from right to left across their bodies as they sat cross-legged. The scribes therefore, instead of writing from right to left (the standard way that Arabic was written) wrote in lines from top to bottom. The script was rotated when the scroll was read and the characters when then in the correct orientation. Here is an example of how the text was written Perhaps because scribes did not have much writing Indian numerals, they wrote 2 and 3 the round instead of writing them rotated by 90 so that appear correctly when the scroll was rotated to be experience at correct way they would read.

Here is an example of what the scribe should write

and here is what the scribe actually wrote

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The form of the numerals in the west of the Arabic empire look more familiar to those using European numerals today which is not surprising since it is from these numerals that the Indian number system reach Europe. al-Banna al-Marrakushi's form of the numerals He gave this form of the numerals in his practical arithmetic book written around the beginning of the fourteenth century. He lived most of his life in Morocco which was in close contact with al-Andalus, or Andalusia, which was the Arab controlled region in the south of Spain. The first surviving example of the Indian numerals in a document in Europe was, however, long before the time of al-Banna. The numerals appear in the Codex Vigilanus copied by a monk in Spain in 976. However the main part of Europe was not ready at this time to accept new ideas of any kind. Acceptance was slow, even as late as the fifteenth century when European mathematics began its rapid development which continues today. We will not examine the many contributions to bringing the Indian number system to Europe in this article but we will end with just one example which, however, is a very important one. Fibonacci writes in his famous book Liber abaci published in Pisa in 1202:When my father, who had been appointed by his country as public notary in the customs at Bugia acting for the Pisan merchants going there, was in charge, he summoned me to him while I was still a child, and having an eye to usefulness and future convenience, desired me to stay there and receive instruction in the school of accounting. There, when I had been introduced to the art of the Indians' nine symbols through remarkable teaching, knowledge of the art very soon pleased me above all else and I came to understand it, for whatever was studied by the art in Egypt, Syria, Greece, Sicily and Provence, in all its various forms. Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson

Babylonian numerals
Babylonian index History Topics Index The Babylonian civilisation in Mesopotamia replaced the Sumerian civilisation and the Akkadian civilisation. We give a little historical background to these events in our article Babylonian mathematics. Certainly in terms of their number system the Babylonians inherited ideas from the Sumerians and from the Akkadians. From the number systems of these earlier peoples came the base of 60, that is the sexagesimal system. Yet neither the Sumerian nor the Akkadian system was a positional system and this advance by the Babylonians was undoubtedly their greatest achievement in
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terms of developing the number system. Some would argue that it was their biggest achievement in mathematics. Often when told that the Babylonian number system was base 60 people's first reaction is: what a lot of special number symbols they must have had to learn. Now of course this comment is based on knowledge of our own decimal system which is a positional system with nine special symbols and a zero symbol to denote an empty place. However, rather than have to learn 10 symbols as we do to use our decimal numbers, the Babylonians only had to learn two symbols to produce their base 60 positional system. Now although the Babylonian system was a positional base 60 system, it had some vestiges of a base 10 system within it. This is because the 59 numbers, which go into one of the places of the system, were built from a 'unit' symbol and a 'ten' symbol.

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Here are the 59 symbols built from these two symbols

Now given a positional system one needs a convention concerning which end of the number represents the units. For example the decimal 12345 represents 1 104 + 2 103 + 3 102 + 4 10 + 5.

If one thinks about it this is perhaps illogical for we read from left to right so when we read the first digit we do not know its value until we have read the complete number to find out how many powers of 10 are associated with this first place. The Babylonian sexagesimal positional system places numbers with the same convention, so the right most position is for the units up to 59, the position one to the left is for 60 n where 1 n 59, etc. Now we adopt a notation where we separate the numerals by commas so, for example, 1,57,46,40 represents the sexagesimal number 1 603 + 57 602 + 46 60 + 40

which, in decimal notation is 424000.

Here is 1,57,46,40 in Babylonian numerals

Now there is a potential problem with the system. Since two is represented by two characters each
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representing one unit, and 61 is represented by the one character for a unit in the first place and a second identical character for a unit in the second place then the Babylonian sexagesimal numbers 1,1 and 2 have essentially the same representation. However, this was not really a problem since the spacing of the characters allowed one to tell the difference. In the symbol for 2 the two characters representing the unit touch each other and become a single symbol. In the number 1,1 there is a space between them. A much more serious problem was the fact that there was no zero to put into an empty position. The numbers sexagesimal numbers 1 and 1,0, namely 1 and 60 in decimals, had exactly the same representation and now there was no way that spacing could help. The context made it clear, and in fact despite this appearing very unsatisfactory, it could not have been found so by the Babylonians. How do we know this? Well if they had really found that the system presented them with real ambiguities they would have solved the problem - there is little doubt that they had the skills to come up with a solution had the system been unworkable. Perhaps we should mention here that later Babylonian civilisations did invent a symbol to indicate an empty place so the lack of a zero could not have been totally satisfactory to them. An empty place in the middle of a number likewise gave them problems. Although not a very serious comment, perhaps it is worth remarking that if we assume that all our decimal digits are equally likely in a number then there is a one in ten chance of an empty place while for the Babylonians with their sexagesimal system there was a one in sixty chance. Returning to empty places in the middle of numbers we can look at actual examples where this happens. Here is an example from a cuneiform tablet (actually AO 17264 in the Louvre collection in Paris) in which the calculation to square 147 is carried out. In sexagesimal 147 = 2,27 and squaring gives the number 21609 = 6,0,9. Here is the Babylonian example of 2,27 squared

Perhaps the scribe left a little more space than usual between the 6 and the 9 than he would have done had he been representing 6,9. Now if the empty space caused a problem with integers then there was an even bigger problem with Babylonian sexagesimal fractions. The Babylonians used a system of sexagesimal fractions similar to our decimal fractions. For example if we write 0.125 then this is 1/10 + 2/100 + 5/1000 = 1/8. Of course a fraction of the form a/b, in its lowest form, can be represented as a finite decimal fraction if and only if b has no prime divisors other than 2 or 5. So 1/3 has no finite decimal fraction. Similarly the Babylonian sexagesimal fraction 0;7,30 represented 7/60 + 30/3600 which again written in our notation is 1 /8. Since 60 is divisible by the primes 2, 3 and 5 then a number of the form a/b, in its lowest form, can be represented as a finite decimal fraction if and only if b has no prime divisors other than 2, 3 or 5. More fractions can therefore be represented as finite sexagesimal fractions than can as finite decimal fractions. Some historians think that this observation has a direct bearing on why the Babylonians developed the sexagesimal system, rather than the decimal system, but this seems a little unlikely. If this were the case why not have 30 as a base? We discuss this problem in some detail below. Now we have already suggested the notation that we will use to denote a sexagesimal number with fractional part. To illustrate 10,12,5;1,52,30 represents the number 10 602 + 12 60 + 5 + 1/60 + 52/602 + 30/603 114

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which in our notation is 36725 1/32. This is fine but we have introduced the notation of the semicolon to show where the integer part ends and the fractional part begins. It is the "sexagesimal point" and plays an analogous role to a decimal point. However, the Babylonians has no notation to indicate where the integer part ended and the fractional part began. Hence there was a great deal of ambiguity introduced and "the context makes it clear" philosophy now seems pretty stretched. If I write 10,12,5,1,52,30 without having a notation for the "sexagesimal point" then it could mean any of:

0;10,12, 5, 1,52,30 10;12, 5, 1,52,30 10,12; 5, 1,52,30 10,12, 5; 1,52,30 10,12, 5, 1;52,30 10,12, 5, 1,52;30 10,12, 5, 1,52,30

in addition, of course, to 10, 12, 5, 1, 52, 30, 0 or 0 ; 0, 10, 12, 5, 1, 52, 30 etc. Finally we should look at the question of why the Babylonians had a number system with a base of 60. The easy answer is that they inherited the base of 60 from the Sumerians but that is no answer at all. It only leads us to ask why the Sumerians used base 60. The first comment would be that we do not have to go back further for we can be fairly certain that the sexagesimal system originated with the Sumerians. The second point to make is that modern mathematicians were not the first to ask such questions. Theon of Alexandria tried to answer this question in the fourth century AD and many historians of mathematics have offered an opinion since then without any coming up with a really convincing answer. Theon's answer was that 60 was the smallest number divisible by 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 so the number of divisors was maximised. Although this is true it appears too scholarly a reason. A base of 12 would seem a more likely candidate if this were the reason, yet no major civilisation seems to have come up with that base. On the other hand many measures do involve 12, for example it occurs frequently in weights, money and length subdivisions. For example in old British measures there were twelve inches in a foot, twelve pennies in a shilling etc. Neugebauer proposed a theory based on the weights and measures that the Sumerians used. His idea basically is that a decimal counting system was modified to base 60 to allow for dividing weights and measures into thirds. Certainly we know that the system of weights and measures of the Sumerians do use 1/3 and 2/3 as basic fractions. However although Neugebauer may be correct, the counter argument would be that the system of weights and measures was a consequence of the number system rather than visa versa. Several theories have been based on astronomical events. The suggestion that 60 is the product of the number of months in the year (moons per year) with the number of planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn) again seems far fetched as a reason for base 60. That the year was thought to have 360 days was suggested as a reason for the number base of 60 by the historian of mathematics Moritz Cantor. Again the idea is not that convincing since the Sumerians certainly knew that the year was longer than 360 days. Another hypothesis concerns the fact that the sun moves through its diameter 720 times during a day and, with 12 Sumerian hours in a day, one can come up with 60. Some theories are based on geometry. For example one theory is that an equilateral triangle was considered the fundamental geometrical building block by the Sumerians. Now an angle of an equilateral triangle is 60 so if this were divided into 10, an angle of 6 would become the basic angular unit. Now there are sixty of these basic units in a circle so again we have the proposed reason for choosing 60 as a base. Notice this argument almost contradicts itself since it assumes 10 as the basic unit for division!
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I [EFR] feel that all of these reasons are really not worth considering seriously. Perhaps I've set up my own argument a little, but the phrase "choosing 60 as a base" which I just used is highly significant. I just do not believe that anyone ever chose a number base for any civilisation. Can you imagine the Sumerians setting set up a committee to decide on their number base - no things just did not happen in that way. The reason has to involve the way that counting arose in the Sumerian civilisation, just as 10 became a base in other civilisations who began counting on their fingers, and twenty became a base for those who counted on both their fingers and toes. Here is one way that it could have happened. One can count up to 60 using your two hands. On your left hand there are three parts on each of four fingers (excluding the thumb). The parts are divided from each other by the joints in the fingers. Now one can count up to 60 by pointing at one of the twelve parts of the fingers of the left hand with one of the five fingers of the right hand. This gives a way of finger counting up to 60 rather than to 10. Anyone convinced? A variant of this proposal has been made by others. Perhaps the most widely accepted theory proposes that the Sumerian civilisation must have come about through the joining of two peoples, one of whom had base 12 for their counting and the other having base 5. Although 5 is nothing like as common as 10 as a number base among ancient peoples, it is not uncommon and is clearly used by people who counted on the fingers of one hand and then started again. This theory then supposes that as the two peoples mixed and the two systems of counting were used by different members of the society trading with each other then base 60 would arise naturally as the system everyone understood. I have heard the same theory proposed but with the two peoples who mixed to produce the Sumerians having 10 and 6 as their number bases. This version has the advantage that there is a natural unit for 10 in the Babylonian system which one could argue was a remnant of the earlier decimal system. One of the nicest things about these theories is that it may be possible to find written evidence of the two mixing systems and thereby give what would essentially amount to a proof of the conjecture. Do not think of history as a dead subject. On the contrary our views are constantly changing as the latest research brings new evidence and new interpretations to light. Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson

Egyptian numerals
Egyptian index History Topics Index The Egyptians had a writing system based on hieroglyphs from around 3000 BC. Hieroglyphs are little pictures representing words. It is easy to see how they would denote the word "bird" by a little picture of a bird but clearly without further development this system of writing cannot represent many words. The way round this problem adopted by the ancient Egyptians was to use the spoken sounds of words. For example, to illustrate the idea with an English sentence, we can see how "I hear a barking dog" might be represented by: "an eye", "an ear", "bark of tree" + "head with crown", "a dog". Of course the same symbols might mean something different in a different context, so "an eye" might mean "see" while "an ear" might signify "sound". The Egyptians had a bases 10 system of hieroglyphs for numerals. By this we mean that they has separate symbols for one unit, one ten, one hundred, one thousand, one ten thousand, one hundred thousand, and one million.

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Here are the numeral hieroglyphs.

To seven "ten" symbols, and six "unit"

make up the number 276, for example, fifteen symbols were required: two "hundred" symbols, symbols. The numbers appeared thus:

276 in hieroglyphs.

Here is another example: 4622 in hieroglyphs.

Note that the examples of 276 and 4622 in hieroglyphs are seen on a stone carving from Karnak, dating from around 1500 BC, and now displayed in the Louvre in Paris. As can easily be seen, adding numeral hieroglyphs is easy. One just adds the individual symbols, but replacing ten copies of a symbol by a single symbol of the next higher value. Fractions to the ancient Egyptians were limited to unit fractions (with the exception of the frequently used 2/3 and less frequently used 3/4). A unit fraction is of the form 1/n where n is an integer and these were represented in numeral hieroglyphs by placing the symbol representing a "mouth", which meant "part", above the number. Here are some examples:

Notice that when the number contained too many symbols for the "part" sign to be placed over the whole number, as in 1/249, then the "part" symbol was just placed over the "first part" of the number. [It was the first part for here the number is read from right to left.] We should point out that the hieroglyphs did not remain the same throughout the two thousand or so years of the ancient Egyptian civilisation. This civilisation is often broken down into three distinct periods: Old Kingdom - around 2700 BC to 2200 BC Middle Kingdom - around 2100 BC to 1700 BC New Kingdom - around 1600 BC to 1000 BC
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Numeral hieroglyphs were somewhat different in these different periods, yet retained a broadly similar style. Another number system, which the Egyptians used after the invention of writing on papyrus, was composed of hieratic numerals. These numerals allowed numbers to be written in a far more compact form yet using the system required many more symbols to be memorised. There were separate symbols for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, 900, 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, 6000, 7000, 8000, 9000 Here are versions of the hieratic numerals

With this system symbols. The symbols instead of difference our own number did not form a numerals could be Here is one way hieratic

numbers could be formed of a few number 9999 had just 4 hieratic 36 hieroglyphs. One major between the hieratic numerals and system was the hieratic numerals positional system so the particular written in any order. the Egyptians wrote 2765 in numerals

Here is a second way reversed

of writing 2765 in hieratic numerals with the order

Like the hieroglyphs, the hieratic symbols changed over time but they underwent more changes with six distinct periods. Initially the symbols that were used were quite close to the corresponding hieroglyph but their form diverged over time. The versions we give of the hieratic numerals date from around 1800 BC. The two systems ran in parallel for around 2000 years with the hieratic symbols F;ile: /var/www/apps/conversion/tmp/scratch_5/176675770.doc 118

being used in writing on papyrus, as for example in the Rhind papyrus and the Moscow papyrus, while the hieroglyphs continued to be used when carved on stone. Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson

Greek number systems

Greek index History Topics Index There were no single Greek national standards in the first millennium BC. since the various island states prided themselves on their independence. This meant that they each had their own currency, weights and measures etc. These in turn led to small differences in the number system between different states since a major function of a number system in ancient times was to handle business transactions. However we will not go into sufficient detail in this article to examine the small differences between the system in separate states but rather we will look at its general structure. We should say immediately that the ancient Greeks had different systems for cardinal numbers and ordinal numbers so we must look carefully at what we mean by Greek number systems. Also we shall look briefly at some systems proposed by various Greek mathematicians but not widely adopted. The first Greek number system we examine is their acrophonic system which was use in the first millennium BC. 'Acrophonic' means that the symbols for the numerals come from the first letter of the number name, so the symbol has come from an abreviation of the word which is used for the number. Here are the symbols for the numbers 5, 10, 100, 1000, 10000. Acrophonic 5, 10, 100, 1000, 10000. We have omitted the symbol for 'one', a simple '|', which was an obvious notation not coming from the initial letter of a number. For 5, 10, 100, 1000, 10000 there will be only one puzzle for the reader and that is the symbol for 5 which should by P if it was the first letter of Pente. However this is simply a consequence of changes to the Greek alphabet after the numerals coming from these letters had been fixed. By that time the symbols were probably not thought of as coming from the letters so there was no move to change them with changes to the symbols for the letters. The original form of was G and so Pente was originally Gente. Now the system was based on the additive principle in a similar way to Roman numerals. This means that 8 is simply V|||, the symbol for five followed by three symbols for one. Here is 1-10 in Greek acrophonic numbers. 1-10 in Greek acrophonic numbers. If base 10 is used with an additive system without intermediate symbols then many characters are required to express certain numbers. The number 9999 would require 36 symbols in such a system and this is very cumbersome. We have already seen that that Greek acrophonic numbers had a special symbol for 5. This is not surprising for it cuts down the characters required and also presumably arises from counting on fingers. We have 10 fingers but there is 5 on each hand. What is slightly more surprising is that the system had intermediate symbols for 50, 500, 5000, and 50000 but they were not new characters, rather they were composite symbols made from 5 and the symbols for 10, 100, 1000, 10000 respectively. Here is how the composites were formed. F;ile: /var/www/apps/conversion/tmp/scratch_5/176675770.doc 119

Combining acrophonic numerals

Notice that since there was no positional aspect of the system, there was no need for zero as an empty place holder. The symbol H represented 100 as no problem is created in the representation by the number having no tens or units. Now this is not the only way in which such composite symbols were created. We have already mentioned that different states used variants of the number system and, although we are not going to examine these in detail, let us at least give some indication by showing some forms of 50 that have been found. Most of these forms are older than the main form of the numerals we have considered being more typical of the period 1500 BC to 1000 BC. Different forms of 50 in different Greek States.

The next point worth noting is that this number system did not really consist of abstract numbers in the way we think of numbers today. Today the number 2 is applied to any collection of two objects and 2 is thought of as an abstract property that all such collections of two objects have in common. We know that the ancient Greeks had a somewhat different idea because the numbers were used in slightly different forms depending to what the number referred. The most frequent use of this particular number system was for sums of money. The basic unit of money was the drachma with a larger unit being the talent worth 6000 drachmas. The drachma was subdivided into smaller units, namely the obol which was 1/6 of a drachma, and the chalkos which was 1/8 of an obol. Half and quarter obols were also used. Notice that this system of currency was not based on the decimal system although the number system had 10 as a base and 5 as a secondary base. The different units of currency were denoted by modifying the notation for the units in the number. 5678 drachmas would be written in this way: The form of the units would denote 3807 talents would be written as: drachmas.

The units would now appear as T (T for talent). A sum of money involving both drachmas and obols would be written as:
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3807 drachmas and 3 obols:

This acrophonic system was used for more than money. A very similar system was also used in dealing with weights and measures which is not surprising since the value of money would certainly have evolved from a system of weights. This is confirmed by the fact that the drachma was also the name of the unit of weight. We now look at a second ancient Greek number system, the alphabetical numerals ot as it is sometimes called, the 'learned' system. As the name 'alphabetical' suggests the numerals are based on giving values to the letters of the alphabet. It is worth noting that the Greeks were one of the first to adopt a system of writing based on an alphabet. They were not the inventors of this form of writing, for the Phoenicians had such a system in place first. The Greek alphabet used to write words was taken over from the Phoenician system and was quite close to it. We will not examine the forms of the Greek letters themselves, but it is certainly worth stressing how important this form of writing was to be in advancing knowledge. It is fundamental to our ways of communicating in most countries today, although some peoples do prefer to use other forms of writing. There are 24 letters in the classical Greek alphabet and these were used together with 3 older letters which have fallen out of use. These 27 letters are

Of these we have given both the upper case and lower case versions of the 24 classical letters. The letters digamma, koppa, and san are the obsolete ones. Although we have not given their symbols in the above table their symbols appear in the numeral tables below. The first nine of these letters were taken as the symbols for 1, 2, ... , 9. alphabetical 1-9.

Notice that 6 is represented by the symbol for the obsolete letter digamma. The next nine letters were taken as the symbols for 10, 20, ... , 90. alphabetical 10-90.
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Notice that 90 is represented by the symbol for the obsolete letter koppa. The remaining nine letters were taken as the symbols for 100, 200, ... , 900. alphabetical 100-900.

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Notice that 900 is represented by the symbol for the obsolete letter san. Sometimes when these letters are written to represent numbers, a bar was put over the symbol to distinguish it from the corresponding letter. Now numbers were formed by the additive principle. For example 11, 12, ... , 19 were written: alphabetical 11-19. Larger numbers were sort of way. For alphabetical 269. Now this number system is compact but without modification is has the major drawback of not allowing numbers larger than 999 to be expressed. Composite symbols were created to overcome this problem. The numbers between 1000 and 9000 were formed by adding a subscript or superscript iota to the symbols for 1 to 9. First form of 1000, ..., 9000. constructed in the same example here is 269.

Second form of 1000, ..., 9000.

How did the Greeks represent numbers greater than 9999? Well they based their numbers larger than this on the myriad which was 10000. The symbol M with small numerals for a number up to 9999 written above it meant that the number in small numerals was multiplied by 10000. Hence writing above the M represented 20000: The number 20000.


written above the M represented 1230000:

The number 1230000.

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Of course writing a large number above the M was rather difficult so often in such cases the small numeral number was written in front of the M rather than above it. An example from Aristarchus: For most purposes this number system could represent all the numbers which might arise in normal day to day life. In fact numbers as large as 71755875 would be unlikely to arise very often. On the other hand mathematicians did see the need to extend the number system and we now look at two such proposals, first one by Apollonius and then briefly one by Archimedes (although in fact historically Archimedes made his proposal nearly 500 years before Apollonius). Although we do not have first hand knowledge of the proposal by Apollonius we do know of it through a report by Pappus. The system we have described above works with products by a myriad. The idea which Apollonius used to extend the system to larger numbers was to work with powers of the myriad. An M with an above it represented 10000, M with above it represented M2, namely 100000000, etc. The number to be multiplied by 10000, 10000000, etc is written after the M symbol and is written between the parts of the number, a word which is best interpreted as 'plus'. As an example here is the way that Apollonius would have written 587571750269. Apollonius's representation of 587571750269.

Archimedes designed a similar system but rather than use 10000 = 104 as the basic number which was raised to various powers he used 100000000 = 108 raised to powers. The first octet for Archimedes consisted of numbers up to 108 while the second octet was the numbers from 108 up to 1016. Using this system Archimedes calculated that the number of grains of sand which could be fitted into the universe was of the order of the eighth octet, that is of the order of 1064. Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson

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Mathematics of the Incas

American index History Topics Index It is often thought that mathematics can only develop after a civilisation has developed some form of writing. Although not easy for us to understand today, many civilisations reached highly advanced states without ever developing written records. Now of course it is difficult for us to know much about such civilisations since there is no written record to be studied today. This article looks at the mathematical achievements of one such civilisation. The civilisation we discuss, which does not appear to have found a need to develop writing, is that of the Incas. The Inca empire which existed in 1532, before the Spanish conquest, was vast. It spread over an area which stretched from what is now the northern border of Ecuador to Mendoza in westcentral Argentina and to the Maule River in central Chile. The Inca people numbered around 12 million but they were from many different ethnic groups and spoke about 20 different languages. The civilisation had reached a high level of sophistication with a remarkable system of roads, agriculture, textile design, and administration. Of course even if writing is not required to achieve this level, counting and recording of numerical information is necessary. The Incas had developed a method of recording numerical information which did not require writing. It involved knots in strings called quipu. The quipu was not a calculator, rather it was a storage device. Remember that the Incas had no written records and so the quipu played a major role in the administration of the Inca empire since it allowed numerical information to be kept. Let us first describe the basic quipu, with its positional number system, and then look at the ways that it was used in Inca society. The quipu consists of strings which were knotted to represent numbers. A number was represented by knots in the string, using a positional base 10 representation. If the number 586 was to be recorded on the string then six touching knots were placed near the free end of the string, a space was left, then eight touching knots for the 10s, another space, and finally 5 touching knots for the 100s. 586 on a quipu. For larger numbers more knot groups were used, one for each power of 10, in the same way as the digits of the number system we use here are occur in different positions to indicate the number of the corresponding power of 10 in that position. Now it is not quite true that the same knots were used irrespective of the position as would be the case in a true positional system. There seems only one exception, namely the unit position, where different styles of knots were used from those in the other positions. In fact two different styles were used in the units position, one style if the unit were a 1 and a second style if the unit were greater than one. Both these styles differed from the standard knot used for all other positions. The system had a zero position, for this would be represented as no knots in that position. This meant that the spacing had to be highly regular so that zero positions would be clear. There are many drawings and descriptions of quipus made by the Spanish invaders. Garcilaso de la Vega, whose mother was an Inca and whose father was Spanish, wrote (see for example [5]):-

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According to their position, the knots signified units, tens, hundreds, thousands, ten thousands and, exceptionally, hundred thousands, and they are all well aligned on their different cords as the figures that an accountant sets down, column by column, in his ledger. Now of course recording a number on a string would, in itself, not be that useful. A quipu had many strings and there had to be some way that the string carrying the record of a particular number could be identified. The primary way this was done was by the use of colour. Numbers were recorded on strings of a particular colour to identify what that number was recording. For example numbers of cattle might be recorded on green strings while numbers of sheep might be recorded on white strings. The colours each had several meanings, some of which were abstract ideas, some concrete as in the cattle and sheep example. White strings had the abstract meaning of "peace" while red strings had the abstract meaning of "war". As well as the colour coding, another way of distinguishing the strings was to make some strings subsidiary ones, tied to the middle of a main string rather than being tied to the main horizontal cord. Quipu with subsidiary cords. We quote Garcilaso de la Vega again [5]:The ordinary judges gave a monthly account of the sentences they imposed to their superiors, and they in turn reported to their immediate superiors, and so on finally to the Inca or those of his Supreme Council. The method of making these reports was by means of knots, made of various colours, where knots of such and such colours denote that such and such crimes had been punished. Smaller threads attached to thicker cords were of different colours to signify the precise nature of the punishment that had been inflicted. It was not only judges who sent quipus to be kept in a central record. The Inca king appointed quipucamayocs, or keepers of the knots, to each town. Larger towns might have had up to thirty quipucamayocs who were essentially government statisticians, keeping official census records of the population, records of the produce of the town, its animals and weapons. This and other information was sent annually to the capital Cuzco. There was even an official delivery service to take to quipus to Cuzco which consisted of relay runners who passed the quipus on to the next runner at specially
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constructed staging posts. The terrain was extremely difficult yet the Incas had constructed roads to make the passing of information by quipus surprisingly rapid. Much information on the quipus comes from a letter of the Peruvian Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala to the King of Spain, written about eighty years after the Spanish conquest of the Incas. This remarkable letter contains 1179 pages and there are several drawings which show quipus. A fascinating aspect of one of these drawing is a picture of a counting board in the bottom left hand corner of one of them. This is called the yupana and is presumed to be the counting board of the Incas. This is what the yupana looked like.

Interpretations of how this counting board, or Peruvian abacus, might have been used have been given by several authors, see for example [9] and [11]. However some historians are less certain that this really is a Peruvian abacus. For example [2] in which the authors write:It is unclear from Poma's commentary whether it is his version of a device associated with Spanish activities analogous to those of the person depicted or whether he is implying its association with the Incas. In either case, his commentary makes interpretation of the configuration and the meaning of the unfilled and filled holes highly speculative. It is a difficult task to gain further insights into the mathematical understanding of the Incas. The book [6] by Urton is interesting for it examines the concept of number as understood by the Inca people. As one might expect, their concept of number was a very concrete one, unlike our concept of number which is a highly abstract one (although this is not really understood by many people). The concrete way of conceiving numbers is illustrated by different words used when describing properties of numbers. One example given in [6] is that of even and odd numbers. Now the ideas of an even number, say, relies on having an abstract concept of number which is independent of the objects being counted. However, the Peruvian languages had different words which applied to different types of objects. For example separate words occur for the idea of [6]:... the two together that make a pair ... ... the one together with its mate ... ... two - in reference to one thing that is divided into two parts ...

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... a pair of two separate things bound intimately together, such as two bulls yoked together for ploughing ... etc. This is a fascinating topic and one which deserves much further research. One wonders whether the Incas applied their number system to solve mathematical problems. Was it merely for recording? If the yupana really was an abacus then it must have been used to solve problems and this prompts the intriguing question of what these problems were. A tantalising glimpse may be contained in the writings of the Spanish priest Jos de Acosta who lived among the Incas from 1571 to 1586. He writes in his book Historia Natural Moral de las Indias which was published in Madrid in 1596:To see them use another kind of calculator, with maize kernels, is a perfect joy. In order to carry out a very difficult computation for which an able computer would require pen and paper, these Indians make use of their kernels. They place one here, three somewhere else and eight, I know not where. They move one kernel here and there and the fact is that they are able to complete their computation without making the smallest mistake. as a matter of fact, they are better at practical arithmetic than we are with pen and ink. Whether this is not ingenious and whether these people are wild animals let those judge who will! What I consider as certain is that in what they undertake to do they are superior to us. What a pity that de Acosta did not have the mathematical skills to give a precise description which would have allowed us to understand this method of calculation by the Incas. Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson

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Indian numerals
Ancient Indian Mathematics index History Topics Index It is worth beginning this article with the same quote from Laplace which we give in the article Overview of Indian mathematics. Laplace wrote:The ingenious method of expressing every possible number using a set of ten symbols (each symbol having a place value and an absolute value) emerged in India. The idea seems so simple nowadays that its significance and profound importance is no longer appreciated. Its simplicity lies in the way it facilitated calculation and placed arithmetic foremost amongst useful inventions. the importance of this invention is more readily appreciated when one considers that it was beyond the two greatest men of Antiquity, Archimedes and Apollonius. The purpose of this article is to attempt the difficult task of trying to describe how the Indians developed this ingenious system. We will examine two different aspects of the Indian number systems in this article. First we will examine the way that the numerals 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 evolved into the form which we recognise today. Of course it is important to realise that there is still no standard way of writing these numerals. The different fonts on this computer can produce many forms of these numerals which, although recognisable, differ markedly from each other. Many hand-written versions are even hard to recognise. The second aspect of the Indian number system which we want to investigate here is the place value system which, as Laplace comments in the quote which we gave at the beginning of this article, seems "so simple that its significance and profound importance is no longer appreciated." We should also note the fact, which is important to both aspects, that the Indian number systems are almost exclusively base 10, as opposed to the Babylonian base 60 systems. Beginning with the numerals themselves, we certainly know that today's symbols took on forms close to that which they presently have in Europe in the 15th century. It was the advent of printing which motivated the standardisation of the symbols. However we must not forget that many countries use symbols today which are quite different from 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and unless one learns these symbols they are totally unrecognisable as for example the Greek alphabet is to someone unfamiliar with it. One of the important sources of information which we have about Indian numerals comes from alBiruni. During the 1020s al-Biruni made several visits to India. Before he went there al-Biruni already knew of Indian astronomy and mathematics from Arabic translations of some Sanskrit texts. In India he made a detailed study of Hindu philosophy and he also studied several branches of Indian science and mathematics. Al-Biruni wrote 27 works on India and on different areas of the Indian sciences. In particular his account of Indian astronomy and mathematics is a valuable contribution to the study of the history of Indian science. Referring to the Indian numerals in a famous book written about 1030 he wrote:Whilst we use letters for calculation according to their numerical value, the Indians do not use letters at all for arithmetic. And just as the shape of the letters that they use for writing is different in different regions of their country, so the numerical symbols vary.

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It is reasonable to ask where the various symbols for numerals which al-Biruni saw originated. Historians trace them all back to the Brahmi numerals which came into being around the middle of the third century BC. Now these Brahmi numerals were not just symbols for the numbers between 1 and 9. The situation is much more complicated for it was not a place-value system so there were symbols for many more numbers. Also there were no special symbols for 2 and 3, both numbers being constructed from the symbol for 1. Here is the Brahmi one, two, three.

There were separate Brahmi symbols for 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 but there were also symbols for 10, 100, 1000, ... as well as 20, 30, 40, ... , 90 and 200, 300, 400, ..., 900. The Brahmi numerals have been found in inscriptions in caves and on coins in regions near Poona, Bombay, and Uttar Pradesh. Dating these numerals tells us that they were in use over quite a long time span up to the 4th century AD. Of course different inscriptions differ somewhat in the style of the symbols. Here is one style of the Brahmi numerals.

We should now look both forward and backward from the appearance of the Brahmi numerals. Moving forward leads to many different forms of numerals but we shall choose to examine only the path which has led to our present day symbols. First, however, we look at a number of different theories concerning the origin of the Brahmi numerals. There is no problem in understanding the symbols for 1, 2, and 3. However the symbols for 4, ... , 9 appear to us to have no obvious link to the numbers they represent. There have been quite a number of theories put forward by historians over many years as to the origin of these numerals. In [1] Ifrah lists a number of the hypotheses which have been put forward. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. The Brahmi numerals came from the Indus valley culture of around 2000 BC. The Brahmi numerals came from Aramaean numerals. The Brahmi numerals came from the Karoshthi alphabet. The Brahmi numerals came from the Brahmi alphabet. The Brahmi numerals came from an earlier alphabetic numeral system, possibly due to Panini. The Brahmi numerals came from Egypt. Basically these hypotheses are of two types. One is that the numerals came from an
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alphabet in a similar way to the Greek numerals which were the initial letters of the names of the numbers. The second type of hypothesis is that they derive from an earlier number system of the same broad type as Roman numerals. For example the Aramaean numerals of hypothesis 2 are based on I (one) and X (four): I, II, III, X, IX, IIX, IIIX, XX. Ifrah examines each of the six hypotheses in turn and rejects them, although one would have to say that in some cases it is more due to lack of positive evidence rather than to negative evidence. Ifrah proposes a theory of his own in [1], namely that:... the first nine Brahmi numerals constituted the vestiges of an old indigenous numerical notation, where the nine numerals were represented by the corresponding number of vertical lines ... To enable the numerals to be written rapidly, in order to save time, these groups of lines evolved in much the same manner as those of old Egyptian Pharonic numerals. Taking into account the kind of material that was written on in India over the centuries (tree bark or palm leaves) and the limitations of the tools used for writing (calamus or brush), the shape of the numerals became more and more complicated with the numerous ligatures, until the numerals no longer bore any resemblance to the original prototypes. It is a nice theory, and indeed could be true, but there seems to be absolutely no positive evidence in its favour. The idea is that they evolved from: One might hope for evidence such as discovering numerals somewhere on this evolutionary path. However, it would appear that we will never find convincing proof for the origin of the Brahmi numerals. If we examine the route which led from the Brahmi numerals to our present symbols (and ignore the many other systems which evolved from the Brahmi numerals) then we next come to the Gupta symbols. The Gupta period is that during which the Gupta dynasty ruled over the Magadha state in northeastern India, and this was from the early 4th century AD to the late 6th century AD. The Gupta numerals developed from the Brahmi numerals and were spread over large areas by the Gupta empire as they conquered territory. The Gupta numerals evolved into the Nagari numerals, sometimes called the Devanagari numerals. This form evolved from the Gupta numerals beginning around the 7th century AD and continued to develop from the 11th century onward. The name literally means the "writing of the gods" and it was the considered the most beautiful of all the forms which evolved. For example al-Biruni writes:What we [the Arabs] use for numerals is a selection of the best and most regular figures in India.

These "most regular figures" which al-Biruni refers to are the Nagari numerals which had, by his time, been transmitted into the Arab world. The way in which the Indian numerals were spread to the rest of the world between the 7th to the 16th centuries in examined in detail in [7]. In this paper, however,
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Gupta claims that Indian numerals had reached Southern Europe by the end of the 5th century but his argument is based on the Geometry of Boethius which is now known to be a forgery dating from the first half of the 11th century. It would appear extremely unlikely that the Indian numerals reach Europe as early as Gupta suggests. We now turn to the second aspect of the Indian number system which we want to examine in this article, namely the fact that it was a place-value system with the numerals standing for different values depending on their position relative to the other numerals. Although our place-value system is a direct descendant of the Indian system, we should note straight away that the Indians were not the first to develop such a system. The Babylonians had a place-value system as early as the 19th century BC but the Babylonian systems were to base 60. The Indians were the first to develop a base 10 positional system and, considering the date of the Babylonian system, it came very late indeed. The oldest dated Indian document which contains a number written in the place-value form used today is a legal document dated 346 in the Chhedi calendar which translates to a date in our calendar of 594 AD. This document is a donation charter of Dadda III of Sankheda in the Bharukachcha region. The only problem with it is that some historians claim that the date has been added as a later forgery. Although it was not unusual for such charters to be modified at a later date so that the property to which they referred could be claimed by someone who was not the rightful owner, there seems no conceivable reason to forge the date on this document. Therefore, despite the doubts, we can be fairly sure that this document provides evidence that a place-value system was in use in India by the end of the 6th century. Many other charters have been found which are dated and use of the place-value system for either the date or some other numbers within the text. These include: 1. a donation charter of Dhiniki dated 794 in the Vikrama calendar which translates to a date in our calendar of 737 AD. 2. an inscription of Devendravarman dated 675 in the Shaka calendar which translates to a date in our calendar of 753 AD. 3. a donation charter of Danidurga dated 675 in the Shaka calendar which translates to a date in our calendar of 737 AD. 4. a donation charter of Shankaragana dated 715 in the Shaka calendar which translates to a date in our calendar of 793 AD. 5. a donation charter of Nagbhata dated 872 in the Vikrama calendar which translates to a date in our calendar of 815 AD. 6. an inscription of Bauka dated 894 in the Vikrama calendar which translates to a date in our calendar of 837 AD. All of these are claimed to be forgeries by some historians but some, or all, may well be genuine. The first inscription which is dated and is not disputed is the inscription at Gwalior dated 933 in the Vikrama calendar which translates to a date in our calendar of 876 AD. Further details of this inscription is given in the article on zero. There is indirect evidence that the Indians developed a positional number system as early as the first century AD. The evidence is found from inscriptions which, although not in India, have been found in countries which were assimilating Indian culture. Another source is the Bakhshali manuscript which contains numbers written in place-value notation. The problem here is the dating of this manuscript, a topic which is examined in detail in our article on the Bakhshali manuscript. We are left, of course, with asking the question of why the Indians developed such an ingenious number system when the ancient Greeks, for example, did not. A number of theories have been put forward concerning this question. Some historians believe that the Babylonian base 60 place-value
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system was transmitted to the Indians via the Greeks. We have commented in the article on zero about Greek astronomers using the Babylonian base 60 place-value system with a symbol o similar to our zero. The theory here is that these ideas were transmitted to the Indians who then combined this with their own base 10 number systems which had existed in India for a very long time. A second hypothesis is that the idea for place-value in Indian number systems came from the Chinese. In particular the Chinese had pseudo-positional number rods which, it is claimed by some, became the basis of the Indian positional system. This view is put forward by, for example, Lay Yong Lam; see for example [8]. Lam argues that the Chinese system already contained what he calls the:... three essential features of our numeral notation system: (i) nine signs and the concept of zero, (ii) a place value system and (iii) a decimal base. A third hypothesis is put forward by Joseph in [2]. His idea is that the place-value in Indian number systems is something which was developed entirely by the Indians. He has an interesting theory as to why the Indians might be pushed into such an idea. The reason, Joseph believes, is due to the Indian fascination with large numbers. Freudenthal is another historian of mathematics who supports the theory that the idea came entirely from within India. To see clearly this early Indian fascination with large numbers, we can take a look at the Lalitavistara which is an account of the life of Gautama Buddha. It is hard to date this work since it underwent continuous development over a long period but dating it to around the first or second century AD is reasonable. In Lalitavistara Gautama, when he is a young man, is examined on mathematics. He is asked to name all the numerical ranks beyond a koti which is 107. He lists the powers of 10 up to 1053. Taking this as a first level he then carries on to a second level and gets eventually to 10421. Gautama's examiner says:You, not I, are the master mathematician. It is stories such as this, and many similar ones, which convince Joseph that the fascination of the Indians with large numbers must have driven them to invent a system in which such numbers are easily expressed, namely a place-valued notation. He writes in [2]:The early use of such large numbers eventually led to the adoption of a series of names for successive powers of ten. The importance of these number names cannot be exaggerated. The word-numeral system, later replaced by an alphabetic notation, was the logical outcome of proceeding by multiples of ten. ... The decimal place-value system developed when a decimal scale came to be associated with the value of the places of the numbers arranged left to right or right to left. and this was precisely what happened in India ... However, the same story in Lalitavistara convinces Kaplan (see [3]) that the Indians' ideas of numbers came from the Greeks, for to him the story is an Indian version of Archimedes' Sand-reckoner. All that we know is that the place-value system of the Indians, however it arose, was transmitted to the Arabs and later into Europe to have, in the words of Laplace, profound importance on the development of mathematics. Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson

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Mayan mathematics
American index History Topics Index

Hernn Corts, excited by stories of the lands which Columbus had recently discovered, sailed from Spain in 1505 landing in Hispaniola which is now Santo Domingo. After farming there for some years he sailed with Velzquez to conquer Cuba in 1511. He was twice elected major of Santiago then, on 18 February 1519, he sailed for the coast of Yucatn with a force of 11 ships, 508 soldiers, 100 sailors, and 16 horses. He landed at Tabasco on the northern coast of the Yucatn peninsular. He met with little resistance from the local population and they presented him with presents including twenty girls. He married Malinche, one of these girls. The people of the Yucatn peninsular were descendants of the ancient Mayan civilisation which had been in decline from about 900 AD. It is the mathematical achievements of this civilisation which we are concerned with in this article. However, before describing these, we should note that Corts went on to conquer the Aztec peoples of Mexico. He captured Tenochtitln before the end of 1519 (the city was rebuilt as Mexico City in 1521) and the Aztec empire fell to Corts before the end of 1521. Malinche, who acted as interpreter for Corts, played an important role in his ventures. In order to understand how knowledge of the Mayan people has reached us we must consider another Spanish character in this story, namely Diego de Landa. He joined the Franciscan Order in 1541 when about 17 years old and requested that he be sent to the New World as a missionary. Landa helped the Mayan peoples in the Yucatn peninsular and generally tried his best to protect them from their new
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Spanish masters. He visited the ruins of the great cities of the Mayan civilisation and learnt from the people about their customs and history. However, despite being sympathetic to the Mayan people, Landa abhorred their religious practices. To the devote Christian that Landa was, the Mayan religion with its icons and the Mayan texts written in hieroglyphics appeared like the work of the devil. He ordered all Mayan idols be destroyed and all Mayan books be burned. Landa seems to have been surprised at the distress this caused the Mayans. Nobody can quite understand Landa's feelings but perhaps he regretted his actions or perhaps he tried to justify them. Certainly what he then did was to write a book Relacin de las cosas de Yucatn (1566) which describes the hieroglyphics, customs, temples, religious practices and history of the Mayans which his own actions had done so much to eradicate. The book was lost for many years but rediscovered in Madrid three hundred years later in 1869. A small number of Mayan documents survived destruction by Landa. The most important are: the Dresden Codex now kept in the Schsische Landesbibliothek Dresden; the Madrid Codex now kept in the American Museum in Madrid; and the Paris Codex now in the Bibliothque nationale in Paris. The Dresden Codex is a treatise on astronomy, thought to have been copied in the eleventh century AD from an original document dating from the seventh or eighth centuries AD. The Dresden codex: Knowledge of the Mayan civilisation has been greatly increased in the last thirty years (see for example [3] and [8]). Modern techniques such as high resolution radar images, aerial photography and satellite images have changed conceptions of the Maya civilisation. We are interested in the Classic Period of the Maya which spans the period 250 AD to 900 AD, but this classic period was built on top of a civilisation which had lived in the region from about 2000 BC. The Maya of the Classic Period built large cities, around fifteen have been identified in the Yucatn peninsular, with recent estimates of the population of the city of Tikal in the Southern Lowlands being around 50000 at its peak. Tikal is probably the largest of the cities and recent studies have identified about 3000 separate constructions including temples, palaces, shrines, wood and thatch houses, terraces, causeways, plazas and huge reservoirs for storing rainwater. The rulers were astronomer priests who lived in the cities who controlled the people with their religious instructions. Farming with sophisticated raised fields and irrigation systems provided the food to support the population. A common culture, calendar, and mythology held the civilisation together and astronomy played an important part in the religion which underlay the whole life of the people. Of course astronomy and calendar calculations require mathematics and indeed the Maya constructed a very sophisticated number system. We do not know the date of these mathematical achievements but it seems certain that when the system was devised it contained features which were more advanced than any other in the world at the time. The Maya number system was a base twenty system. Here are the Mayan numerals.

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Almost certainly the reason for base 20 arose from ancient people who counted on both their fingers and their toes. Although it was a base 20 system, called a vigesimal system, one can see how five plays a major role, again clearly relating to five fingers and toes. In fact it is worth noting that although the system is base 20 it only has three number symbols (perhaps the unit symbol arising from a pebble and the line symbol from a stick used in counting). Often people say how impossible it would be to have a number system to a large base since it would involve remembering so many special symbols. This shows how people are conditioned by the system they use and can only see variants of the number system in close analogy with the one with which they are familiar. Surprising and advanced features of the Mayan number system are the zero, denoted by a shell for reasons we cannot explain, and the positional nature of the system. However, the system was not a truly positional system as we shall now explain. In a true base twenty system the first number would denote the number of units up to 19, the next would denote the number of 20's up to 19, the next the number of 400's up to 19, etc. However although the Maya number system starts this way with the units up to 19 and the 20's up to 19, it changes in the third place and this denotes the number of 360's up to 19 instead of the number of 400's. After this the system reverts to multiples of 20 so the fourth place is the number of 18 202, the next the number of 18 203 and so on. For example [8;14;3;1;12] represents 12 + 1 20 + 3 18 20 + 14 18 202 + 8 18 203 = 1253912.

As a second example [9;8;9;13;0] represents 0 + 13 20 + 9 18 20 + 8 18 202 + 9 18 203 =1357100.

Both these examples are found in the ruins of Mayan towns and we shall explain their significance below. Now the system we have just described is used in the Dresden Codex and it is the only system for which we have any written evidence. In [4] Ifrah argues that the number system we have just introduced was the system of the Mayan priests and astronomers which they used for astronomical and calendar calculations. This is undoubtedly the case and that it was used in this way explains some of the irregularities in the system as we shall see below. It was the system used for calendars. However Ifrah also argues for a second truly base 20 system which would have been used by the merchants and F;ile: /var/www/apps/conversion/tmp/scratch_5/176675770.doc 136

was the number system which would also have been used in speech. This, he claims had a circle or dot (coming from a cocoa bean currency according to some, or a pebble used for counting according to others) as its unity, a horizontal bar for 5 and special symbols for 20, 400, 8000 etc. Ifrah writes [4]:Even though no trace of it remains, we can reasonably assume that the Maya had a number system of this kind, and that intermediate numbers were figured by repeating the signs as many times as was needed. Let us say a little about the Maya calendar before returning to their number systems, for the calendar was behind the structure of the number system. Of course, there was also an influence in the other direction, and the base of the number system 20 played a major role in the structure of the calendar. The Maya had two calendars. One of these was a ritual calendar, known as the Tzolkin, composed of 260 days. It contained 13 "months" of 20 days each, the months being named after 13 gods while the twenty days were numbered from 0 to 19. The second calendar was a 365-day civil calendar called the Haab. This calendar consisted of 18 months, named after agricultural or religious events, each with 20 days (again numbered 0 to 19) and a short "month" of only 5 days that was called the Wayeb. The Wayeb was considered an unlucky period and Landa wrote in his classic text that the Maya did not wash, comb their hair or do any hard work during these five days. Anyone born during these days would have bad luck and remain poor and unhappy all their lives. Why then was the ritual calendar based on 260 days? This is a question to which we have no satisfactory answer. One suggestion is that since the Maya lived in the tropics the sun was directly overhead twice every year. Perhaps they measured 260 days and 105 days as the successive periods between the sun being directly overhead (the fact that this is true for the Yucatn peninsular cannot be taken to prove this theory). A second theory is that the Maya had 13 gods of the "upper world", and 20 was the number of a man, so giving each god a 20 day month gave a ritual calendar of 260 days. At any rate having two calendars, one with 260 days and the other with 365 days, meant that the two would calendars would return to the same cycle after lcm(260, 365) = 18980 days. Now this is after 52 civil years (or 73 ritual years) and indeed the Maya had a sacred cycle consisting of 52 years. Another major player in the calendar was the planet Venus. The Mayan astronomers calculated its synodic period (after which it has returned to the same position) as 584 days. Now after only two of the 52 years cycles Venus will have made 65 revolutions and also be back to the same position. This remarkable coincidence would have meant great celebrations by the Maya every 104 years. Now there was a third way that the Mayan people had of measuring time which was not strictly a calendar. It was an absolute timescale which was based on a creation date and time was measured forward from this. What date was the Mayan creation date? The date most often taken is 12 August 3113 BC but we should say straightaway that not all historians agree that this was the zero of this socalled "Long Count". Now one might expect that this measurement of time would either give the number of ritual calendar years since creation or the number of civil calendar years since creation. However it does neither. The Long Count is based on a year of 360 days, or perhaps it is more accurate to say that it is just a count of days with then numbers represented in the Mayan number system. Now we see the probable reason for the departure of the number system from a true base 20 system. It was so that the system approximately represented years. Many inscriptions are found in the Mayan towns which give the date of erection in terms of this long count. Consider the two examples of Mayan numbers given above. The first [8;14;3;1;12] is the date given on a plate which came from the town of Tikal. It translates to 12 + 1 20 + 3 18 20 + 14 18 202 + 8 18 203

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which is 1253912 days from the creation date of 12 August 3113 BC so the plate was carved in 320 AD. The second example [9;8;9;13;0] is the completion date on a building in Palenque in Tabasco, near the landing site of Corts. It translates to 0 + 13 20 + 9 18 20 + 8 18 202 + 9 18 203

which is 1357100 days from the creation date of 12 August 3113 BC so the building was completed in 603 AD. We should note some properties (or more strictly non-properties) of the Mayan number system. The Mayans appear to have had no concept of a fraction but, as we shall see below, they were still able to make remarkably accurate astronomical measurements. Also since the Mayan numbers were not a true positional base 20 system, it fails to have the nice mathematical properties that we expect of a positional system. For example [9;8;9;13;0] = 0 + 13 yet [9;8;9;13] = 13 + 9 20 + 8 18 20 + 9 18 202 = 67873. 20 + 9 18 20 + 8 18 202 + 9 18 203 = 1357100

Moving all the numbers one place left would multiply the number by 20 in a true base 20 positional system yet 20 67873 = 1357460 which is not equal to 1357100. For when we multiple [9;8;9;13] by 20 we get 9 400 where in [9;8;9;13;0] we have 9 360. We should also note that the Mayans almost certainly did not have methods of multiplication for their numbers and definitely did not use division of numbers. Yet the Mayan number system is certainly capable of being used for the operations of multiplication and division as the authors of [15] demonstrate. Finally we should say a little about the Mayan advances in astronomy. Rodriguez writes in [19]:The Mayan concern for understanding the cycles of celestial bodies, particularly the Sun, the Moon and Venus, led them to accumulate a large set of highly accurate observations. An important aspect of their cosmology was the search for major cycles, in which the position of several objects repeated. The Mayans carried out astronomical measurements with remarkable accuracy yet they had no instruments other than sticks. They used two sticks in the form of a cross, viewing astronomical objects through the right angle formed by the sticks. The Caracol building in Chichn Itza is thought by many to be a Mayan observatory. Many of the windows of the building are positioned to line up with significant lines of sight such as that of the setting sun on the spring equinox of 21 March and also certain lines of sight relating to the moon.

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The Caracol building in Chichn Itza:

With such crude instruments the Maya were able to calculate the length of the year to be 365.242 days (the modern value is 365.242198 days). Two further remarkable calculations are of the length of the lunar month. At Copn (now on the border between Honduras and Guatemala) the Mayan astronomers found that 149 lunar months lasted 4400 days. This gives 29.5302 days as the length of the lunar month. At Palenque in Tabasco they calculated that 81 lunar months lasted 2392 days. This gives 29.5308 days as the length of the lunar month. The modern value is 29.53059 days. Was this not a remarkable achievement? There are, however, very few other mathematical achievements of the Maya. Groemer [14] describes seven types of frieze ornaments occurring on Mayan buildings from the period 600 AD to 900 AD in the Puuc region of the Yucatn. This area includes the ruins at Kabah and Labna. Groemer gives twenty-five illustrations of friezes which show Mayan inventiveness and geometric intuition in such architectural decorations. Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson

Other number theory

1. Fermat's last theorem 2. Perfect numbers 3. Prime numbers 4. History of Zero 5. History of Pi 6. Chronology of Pi 7. The Golden ratio 8. The number e 9. Pell's equation 10.Infinity

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Fermat's last theorem

Number theory index History Topics Index Pierre de Fermat died in 1665. Today we think of Fermat as a number theorist, in fact as perhaps the most famous number theorist who ever lived. It is therefore surprising to find that Fermat was in fact a lawyer and only an amateur mathematician. Also surprising is the fact that he published only one mathematical paper in his life, and that was an anonymous article written as an appendix to a colleague's book. There is a statue of Fermat and his muse in his home town of Toulouse: (Click it to see a larger version) Because Fermat refused to publish his work, his friends feared that it would soon be forgotten unless something was done about it. His son, Samuel undertook the task of collecting Fermat's letters and other mathematical papers, comments written in books, etc. with the object of publishing his father's mathematical ideas. In this way the famous 'Last theorem' came to be published. It was found by Samuel written as a marginal note in his father's copy of Diophantus's Arithmetica. Fermat's Last Theorem states that x n + y n = zn has no non-zero integer solutions for x, y and z when n > 2. Fermat wrote I have discovered a truly remarkable proof which this margin is too small to contain. Fermat almost certainly wrote the marginal note around 1630, when he first studied Diophantus's Arithmetica. It may well be that Fermat realised that his remarkable proof was wrong, however, since all his other theorems were stated and restated in challenge problems that Fermat sent to other mathematicians. Although the special cases of n = 3 and n = 4 were issued as challenges (and Fermat did know how to prove these) the general theorem was never mentioned again by Fermat. In fact in all the mathematical work left by Fermat there is only one proof. Fermat proves that the area of a right triangle cannot be a square. Clearly this means that a rational triangle cannot be a rational square. In symbols, there do not exist integers x, y, z with x2 + y2 = z2 such that xy/2 is a square. From this it is easy to deduce the n = 4 case of Fermat's theorem. It is worth noting that at this stage it remained to prove Fermat's Last Theorem for odd primes n only. For if there were integers x, y, z with xn + yn = zn then if n = pq, (xq)p + (yq)p = (zq)p. Euler wrote to Goldbach on 4 August 1753 claiming he had a proof of Fermat's Theorem when n = 3. However his proof in Algebra (1770) contains a fallacy and it is far from easy to give an alternative proof of the statement which has the fallacious proof. There is an indirect way of mending the whole proof using arguments which appear in other proofs of Euler so perhaps it is not too unreasonable to attribute the n = 3 case to Euler. Euler's mistake is an interesting one, one which was to have a bearing on later developments. He needed to find cubes of the form p2 + 3q2 and Euler shows that, for any a, b if we put
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p = a3 - 9ab2, q = 3(a2b - b3) then p2 + 3q2 = (a2 + 3b2)3. This is true but he then tries to show that, if p2 + 3q2 is a cube then an a and b exist such that p and q are as above. His method is imaginative, calculating with numbers of the form a + b -3. However numbers of this form do not behave in the same way as the integers, which Euler did not seem to appreciate. The next major step forward was due to Sophie Germain. A special case says that if n and 2n+1 are primes then xn + yn = zn implies that one of x, y, z is divisible by n. Hence Fermat's Last Theorem splits into two cases. Case 1: None of x, y, z is divisible by n. Case 2: One and only one of x, y, z is divisible by n. Sophie Germain proved Case 1 of Fermat's Last Theorem for all n less than 100 and Legendre extended her methods to all numbers less than 197. At this stage Case 2 had not been proved for even n = 5 so it became clear that Case 2 was the one on which to concentrate. Now Case 2 for n = 5 itself splits into two. One of x, y, z is even and one is divisible by 5. Case 2(i) is when the number divisible by 5 is even, Case 2(ii) is when the even number and the one divisible by 5 are distinct. Case 2(i) was proved by Dirichlet and presented to the Paris Academy in July 1825. Legendre was able to prove Case 2(ii) and the complete proof for n = 5 was published in September 1825. In fact Dirichlet was able to complete his own proof of the n = 5 case with an argument for Case 2(ii) which was an extension of his own argument for Case 2(i). In 1832 Dirichlet published a proof of Fermat's Last Theorem for n = 14. Of course he had been attempting to prove the n = 7 case but had proved a weaker result. The n = 7 case was finally solved by Lam in 1839. It showed why Dirichlet had so much difficulty, for although Dirichlet's n = 14 proof used similar (but computationally much harder) arguments to the earlier cases, Lam had to introduce some completely new methods. Lam's proof is exceedingly hard and makes it look as though progress with Fermat's Last Theorem to larger n would be almost impossible without some radically new thinking. The year 1847 is of major significance in the study of Fermat's Last Theorem. On 1 March of that year Lam announced to the Paris Academy that he had proved Fermat's Last Theorem. He sketched a proof which involved factorizing xn + yn = zn into linear factors over the complex numbers. Lam acknowledged that the idea was suggested to him by Liouville. However Liouville addressed the meeting after Lam and suggested that the problem of this approach was that uniqueness of factorisation into primes was needed for these complex numbers and he doubted if it were true. Cauchy supported Lam but, in rather typical fashion, pointed out that he had reported to the October 1847 meeting of the Academy an idea which he believed might prove Fermat's Last Theorem. Much work was done in the following weeks in attempting to prove the uniqueness of factorization. Wantzel claimed to have proved it on 15 March but his argument: it is true for n = 2, n = 3 and n = 4 and one easily sees that the same argument applies for n > 4, was somewhat hopeful. [Wantzel is correct about n = 2 (ordinary integers), n = 3 (the argument Euler got wrong) and n = 4 (which was proved by Gauss).] On 24 May Liouville read a letter to the Academy which settled the arguments. The letter was from Kummer, enclosing an off-print of a 1844 paper which proved that uniqueness of factorization failed but could be 'recovered' by the introduction of ideal complex numbers which he had done in 1846. Kummer had used his new theory to find conditions under which a prime is regular and had proved Fermat's Last Theorem for regular primes. Kummer also said in his letter that he believed 37 failed his conditions. By September 1847 Kummer sent to Dirichlet and the Berlin Academy a paper proving that a prime p is regular (and so Fermat's Last Theorem is true for that prime) if p does not divide the numerators of any of the Bernoulli numbers B2, B4, ..., Bp-3. The Bernoulli number Bn is defined by x/(ex - 1) = Bn xn /n!
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Kummer shows that all primes up to 37 are regular but 37 is not regular as 37 divides the numerator of B32. The only primes less than 100 which are not regular are 37, 59 and 67. More powerful techniques were used to prove Fermat's Last Theorem for these numbers. This work was done and continued to larger numbers by Kummer, Mirimanoff, Wieferich, Furtwngler, Vandiver and others. Although it was expected that the number of regular primes would be infinite even this defied proof. In 1915 Jensen proved that the number of irregular primes is infinite. Despite large prizes being offered for a solution, Fermat's Last Theorem remained unsolved. It has the dubious distinction of being the theorem with the largest number of published false proofs. For example over 1000 false proofs were published between 1908 and 1912. The only positive progress seemed to be computing results which merely showed that any counter-example would be very large. Using techniques based on Kummer's work, Fermat's Last Theorem was proved true, with the help of computers, for n up to 4 000 000 by 1993. In 1983 a major contribution was made by Gerd Faltings who proved that for every n > 2 there are at most a finite number of coprime integers x, y, z with xn + yn = zn. This was a major step but a proof that the finite number was 0 in all cases did not seem likely to follow by extending Faltings' arguments. The final chapter in the story began in 1955, although at this stage the work was not thought of as connected with Fermat's Last Theorem. Yutaka Taniyama asked some questions about elliptic curves, i.e. curves of the form y2 = x3 +ax + b for constants a and b. Further work by Weil and Shimura produced a conjecture, now known as the Shimura-Taniyama-Weil Conjecture. In 1986 the connection was made between the Shimura-Taniyama- Weil Conjecture and Fermat's Last Theorem by Frey at Saarbrcken showing that Fermat's Last Theorem was far from being some unimportant curiosity in number theory but was in fact related to fundamental properties of space. Further work by other mathematicians showed that a counter-example to Fermat's Last Theorem would provide a counter -example to the Shimura-Taniyama-Weil Conjecture. The proof of Fermat's Last Theorem was completed in 1993 by Andrew Wiles, a British mathematician working at Princeton in the USA. Wiles gave a series of three lectures at the Isaac Newton Institute in Cambridge, England the first on Monday 21 June, the second on Tuesday 22 June. In the final lecture on Wednesday 23 June 1993 at around 10.30 in the morning Wiles announced his proof of Fermat's Last Theorem as a corollary to his main results. Having written the theorem on the blackboard he said I will stop here and sat down. In fact Wiles had proved the Shimura-Taniyama-Weil Conjecture for a class of examples, including those necessary to prove Fermat's Last Theorem. This, however, is not the end of the story. On 4 December 1993 Andrew Wiles made a statement in view of the speculation. He said that during the reviewing process a number of problems had emerged, most of which had been resolved. However one problem remains and Wiles essentially withdrew his claim to have a proof. He states The key reduction of (most cases of) the Taniyama-Shimura conjecture to the calculation of the Selmer group is correct. However the final calculation of a precise upper bound for the Selmer group in the semisquare case (of the symmetric square representation associated to a modular form) is not yet complete as it stands. I believe that I will be able to finish this in the near future using the ideas explained in my Cambridge lectures. In March 1994 Faltings, writing in Scientific American, said If it were easy, he would have solved it by now. Strictly speaking, it was not a proof when it was announced. Weil, also in Scientific American, wrote

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I believe he has had some good ideas in trying to construct the proof but the proof is not there. To some extent, proving Fermat's Theorem is like climbing Everest. If a man wants to climb Everest and falls short of it by 100 yards, he has not climbed Everest. In fact, from the beginning of 1994, Wiles began to collaborate with Richard Taylor in an attempt to fill the holes in the proof. However they decided that one of the key steps in the proof, using methods due to Flach, could not be made to work. They tried a new approach with a similar lack of success. In August 1994 Wiles addressed the International Congress of Mathematicians but was no nearer to solving the difficulties. Taylor suggested a last attempt to extend Flach's method in the way necessary and Wiles, although convinced it would not work, agreed mainly to enable him to convince Taylor that it could never work. Wiles worked on it for about two weeks, then suddenly inspiration struck. In a flash I saw that the thing that stopped it [the extension of Flach's method] working was something that would make another method I had tried previously work. On 6 October Wiles sent the new proof to three colleagues including Faltings. All liked the new proof which was essentially simpler than the earlier one. Faltings sent a simplification of part of the proof. No proof of the complexity of this can easily be guaranteed to be correct, so a very small doubt will remain for some time. However when Taylor lectured at the British Mathematical Colloquium in Edinburgh in April 1995 he gave the impression that no real doubts remained over Fermat's Last Theorem. Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson

Perfect numbers
Number theory index History Topics Index It is not known when perfect numbers were first studied and indeed the first studies may go back to the earliest times when numbers first aroused curiosity. It is quite likely, although not certain, that the Egyptians would have come across such numbers naturally given the way their methods of calculation worked, see for example [17] where detailed justification for this idea is given. Perfect numbers were studied by Pythagoras and his followers, more for their mystical properties than for their number theoretic properties. Before we begin to look at the history of the study of perfect numbers, we define the concepts which are involved. Today the usual definition of a perfect number is in terms of its divisors, but early definitions were in terms of the 'aliquot parts' of a number. An aliquot part of a number is a proper quotient of the number. So for example the aliquot parts of 10 are 1, 2 and 5. These occur since 1 = 10/10, 2 = 10/5, and 5 = 10/2. Note that 10 is not an aliquot part of 10 since it is not a proper quotient, i.e. a quotient different from the number itself. A perfect number is defined to be one which is equal to the sum of its aliquot parts. The four perfect numbers 6, 28, 496 and 8128 seem to have been known from ancient times and there is no record of these discoveries. 6 = 1 + 2 + 3, 28 = 1 + 2 + 4 + 7 + 14, 496 = 1 + 2 + 4 + 8 + 16 + 31 + 62 + 124 + 248 8128 = 1 + 2 + 4 + 8 + 16 + 32 + 64 + 127 + 254 + 508 + 1016 + 2032 + 4064 The first recorded mathematical result concerning perfect numbers which is known occurs in Euclid's Elements written around 300BC. It may come as a surprise to many people to learn that there are number theory results in Euclid's Elements since it is thought of as a geometry book. However, F;ile: /var/www/apps/conversion/tmp/scratch_5/176675770.doc 143

although numbers are represented by line segments and so have a geometrical appearance, there are significant number theory results in the Elements. The result which is if interest to us here is Proposition 36 of Book IX of the Elements which states [2]:If as many numbers as we please beginning from a unit be set out continuously in double proportion, until the sum of all becomes a prime, and if the sum multiplied into the last make some number, the product will be perfect. Here 'double proportion' means that each number of the sequence is twice the preceding number. To illustrate this Proposition consider 1 + 2 + 4 = 7 which is prime. Then (the sum) (the last) = 7 4 = 28,

which is a perfect number. As a second example, 1 + 2 + 4 + 8 + 16 = 31 which is prime. Then 31 16 = 496 which is a perfect number. Now Euclid gives a rigorous proof of the Proposition and we have the first significant result on perfect numbers. We can restate the Proposition in a slightly more modern form by using the fact, known to the Pythagoreans, that 1 + 2 + 4 + ... + 2k-1 = 2k - 1. The Proposition now reads:If, for some k > 1, 2k - 1 is prime then 2k-1(2k - 1) is a perfect number. The next significant study of perfect numbers was made by Nicomachus of Gerasa. Around 100 AD Nicomachus wrote his famous text Introductio Arithmetica which gives a classification of numbers based on the concept of perfect numbers. Nicomachus divides numbers into three classes, the superabundant numbers which have the property that the sum of their aliquot parts is greater than the number, deficient numbers which have the property that the sum of their aliquot parts is less than the number, and perfect numbers which have the property that the sum of their aliquot parts is equal to the number (see [8], or [1] for a different translation):Among simple even numbers, some are superabundant, others are deficient: these two classes are as two extremes opposed to one another; as for those that occupy the middle position between the two, they are said to be perfect. And those which are said to be opposite to each other, the superabundant and the deficient, are divided in their condition, which is inequality, into the too much and the too little. However Nicomachus has more than number theory in mind for he goes on to show that he is thinking in moral terms in a way that might seem extraordinary to mathematicians today (see [8], or [1] for a different translation):In the case of the too much, is produced excess, superfluity, exaggerations and abuse; in the case of too little, is produced wanting, defaults, privations and insufficiencies. And in the case of those that are found between the too much and the too little, that is in equality, is produced virtue, just measure, propriety, beauty and things of that sort of which the most exemplary form is that type of number which is called perfect. Now satisfied with the moral considerations of numbers, Nicomachus goes on to provide biological analogies in which he describes superabundant numbers as being like an animal with (see [8], or [1]):-

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... ten mouths, or nine lips, and provided with three lines of teeth; or with a hundred arms, or having too many fingers on one of its hands.... Deficient numbers are compared to animals with:a single eye, ... one armed or one of his hands has less than five fingers, or if he does not have a tongue... Nicomachus goes on to describe certain results concerning perfect numbers. All of these are given without any attempt at a proof. Let us state them in modern notation. (1) The nth perfect number has n digits. (2) All perfect numbers are even. (3) All perfect numbers end in 6 and 8 alternately. (4) Euclid's algorithm to generate perfect numbers will give all perfect numbers i.e. every perfect number is of the form 2k-1(2k - 1), for some k > 1, where 2k - 1 is prime. (5) There are infinitely many perfect numbers. We will see how these assertions have stood the test of time as we carry on with our discussions, but let us say at this point that assertions (1) and (3) are false while, as stated, (2), (4) and (5) are still open questions. However, since the time of Nicomachus we do know a lot more about his five assertions than the simplistic statement we have just made. Let us look in more detail at Nicomachus's description of the algorithm to generate perfect numbers which is assertion (4) above (see [8], or [1]):There exists an elegant and sure method of generating these numbers, which does not leave out any perfect numbers and which does not include any that are not; and which is done in the following way. First set out in order the powers of two in a line, starting from unity, and proceeding as far as you wish: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024, 2048, 4096; and then they must be totalled each time there is a new term, and at each totalling examine the result, if you find that it is prime and non-composite, you must multiply it by the quantity of the last term that you added to the line, and the product will always be perfect. If, otherwise, it is composite and not prime, do not multiply it, but add on the next term, and again examine the result, and if it is composite leave it aside, without multiplying it, and add on the next term. If, on the other hand, it is prime, and non-composite, you must multiply it by the last term taken for its composition, and the number that results will be perfect, and so on as far as infinity. As we have seen this algorithm is precisely that given by Euclid in the Elements. However, it is probable that this methods of generating perfect numbers was part of the general mathematical tradition handed down from before Euclid's time and continuing till Nicomachus wrote his treatise. Whether the five assertions of Nicomachus were based on any more than this algorithm and the fact the there were four perfect numbers known to him 6, 28, 496 and 8128, it is impossible to say, but it does seem unlikely that anything more lies behind the unproved assertions. Some of the assertions are made in this quote about perfect numbers which follows the description of the algorithm [1]:... only one is found among the units, 6, only one other among the tens, 28, and a third in the rank of the hundreds, 496 alone, and a fourth within the limits of the thousands, that is, below ten thousand, 8128. And it is their accompanying characteristic to end alternately in 6 or 8, and always to be even.

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When these have been discovered, 6 among the units and 28 in the tens, you must do the same to fashion the next. ... the result is 496, in the hundreds; and then comes 8128 in the thousands, and so on, as far as it is convenient for one to follow. Despite the fact that Nicomachus offered no justification of his assertions, they were taken as fact for many years. Of course there was the religious significance that we have not mentioned yet, namely that 6 is the number of days taken by God to create the world, and it was believed that the number was chosen by him because it was perfect. Again God chose the next perfect number 28 for the number of days it takes the Moon to travel round the Earth. Saint Augustine (354-430) writes in his famous text The City of God :Six is a number perfect in itself, and not because God created all things in six days; rather, the converse is true. God created all things in six days because the number is perfect... The Arab mathematicians were also fascinated by perfect numbers and Thabit ibn Qurra wrote the Treatise on amicable numbers in which he examined when numbers of the form 2np, where p is prime, can be perfect. Ibn al-Haytham proved a partial converse to Euclid's proposition in the unpublished work Treatise on analysis and synthesis when he showed that perfect numbers satisfying certain conditions had to be of the form 2k-1(2k - 1) where 2k - 1 is prime. Among the many Arab mathematicians to take up the Greek investigation of perfect numbers with great enthusiasm was Ismail ibn Ibrahim ibn Fallus (1194-1239) who wrote a treatise based on the Introduction to arithmetic by Nicomachus. He accepted Nicomachus's classification of numbers but the work is purely mathematical, not containing the moral comments of Nicomachus. Ibn Fallus gave, in his treatise, a table of ten numbers which were claimed to be perfect, the first seven are correct and are in fact the first seven perfect numbers, the remaining three numbers are incorrect. For more details of this impressive work see [6] and [7]. At the beginning of the renaissance of mathematics in Europe around 1500 the assertions of Nicomachus were taken as truths, nothing further being known concerning perfect numbers not even the work of the Arabs. Some even believed the further unjustified and incorrect result that 2k-1(2k - 1) is a perfect number for every odd k. Pacioli certainly seems to have believed in this fallacy. Charles de Bovelles, a theologian and philosopher, published a book on perfect numbers in 1509. In it he claimed that Euclid's formula 2k-1(2k - 1) gives a perfect number for all odd integers k, see [10]. Yet, rather remarkably, although unknown until comparatively recently, progress had been made. The fifth perfect number has been discovered again (after the unknown results of the Arabs) and written down in a manuscript dated 1461. It is also in a manuscript which was written by Regiomontanus during his stay at the University of Vienna, which he left in 1461, see [14]. It has also been found in a manuscript written around 1458, while both the fifth and sixth perfect numbers have been found in another manuscript written by the same author probably shortly after 1460. All that is known of this author is that he lived in Florence and was a student of Domenico d'Agostino Vaiaio. In 1536, Hudalrichus Regius made the first breakthrough which was to become common knowledge to later mathematicians, when he published Utriusque Arithmetices in which he gave the factorisation 211 - 1 = 2047 = 23 . 89. With this he had found the first prime p such that 2p-1(2p - 1) is not a perfect number. He also showed that 213 - 1 = 8191 is prime so he had discovered (and made his discovery known) the fifth perfect number 212(213 - 1) = 33550336. This showed that Nicomachus's first assertion is false since the fifth perfect number has 8 digits. Nicomachus's claim that perfect numbers ended in 6 and 8 alternately still stood however. It is perhaps surprising that Regius, who must have thought he had made one of the major breakthroughs in mathematics, is virtually unheard of today. J Scheybl gave the sixth perfect number in 1555 in his commentary to a translation of Euclid's Elements. This was not noticed until 1977 and therefore did not influence progress on perfect numbers. The next step forward came in 1603 when Cataldi found the factors of all numbers up to 800 and also a table of all primes up to 750 (there are 132 such primes). Cataldi was able use his list of primes to show that 217- 1 = 131071 is prime (since 7502 = 562500 > 131071 he could check with a tedious
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calculation that 131071 had no prime divisors). From this Cataldi now knew the sixth perfect number, namely 216(217 - 1) = 8589869056. This result by Cataldi showed that Nicomachus's assertion that perfect numbers ended in 6 and 8 alternately was false since the fifth and sixth perfect numbers both ended in 6. Cataldi also used his list of primes to check that 219 - 1 = 524287 was prime (again since 7502 = 562500 > 524287) and so he had also found the seventh perfect number, namely 218(219 - 1) = 137438691328. As the reader will have already realised, the history of perfect numbers is littered with errors and Cataldi, despite having made the major advance of finding two new perfect numbers, also made some false claims. He writes in Utriusque Arithmetices that the exponents p = 2, 3, 5, 7, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29, 31, 37 give perfect numbers 2p-1(2p - 1). He is, of course, right for p = 2, 3, 5, 7, 13, 17, 19 for which he had a proof from his table of primes, but only one of his further four claims 23, 29, 31, 37 is correct. Many mathematicians were interested in perfect numbers and tried to contribute to the theory. For example Descartes, in a letter to Mersenne in 1638, wrote [8]:... I think I am able to prove that there are no even numbers which are perfect apart from those of Euclid; and that there are no odd perfect numbers, unless they are composed of a single prime number, multiplied by a square whose root is composed of several other prime number. But I can see nothing which would prevent one from finding numbers of this sort. For example, if 22021 were prime, in multiplying it by 9018009 which is a square whose root is composed of the prime numbers 3, 7, 11, 13, one would have 198585576189, which would be a perfect number. But, whatever method one might use, it would require a great deal of time to look for these numbers... The next major contribution was made by Fermat. He told Roberval in 1636 that he was working on the topic and, although the problems were very difficult, he intended to publish a treatise on the topic. The treatise would never be written, partly because Fermat never got round to writing his results up properly, but also because he did not achieve the substantial results on perfect numbers he had hoped. In June 1640 Fermat wrote to Mersenne telling him about his discoveries concerning perfect numbers. He wrote:... here are three propositions I have discovered, upon which I hope to erect a great structure. The numbers less by one than the double progression, like
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

1 3 7 15 31 63 127 255 511 1023 2047 4095 8191

let them be called the radicals of perfect numbers, since whenever they are prime, they produce them. Put above these numbers in natural progression 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc., which are called their exponents. This done, I say 1. When the exponent of a radical number is composite, its radical is also composite. Just as 6, the exponent of 63, is composite, I say that 63 will be composite. 2. When the exponent is a prime number, I say that its radical less one is divisible by twice the exponent. Just as 7, the exponent of 127, is prime, I say that 126 is a multiple of 14. 3. When the exponent is a prime number, I say that its radical cannot be divisible by any other prime except those that are greater by one than a multiple of double the exponent...

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Here are three beautiful propositions which I have found and proved without difficulty, I shall call them the foundations of the invention of perfect numbers. I don't doubt that Frenicle de Bessy got there earlier, but I have only begun and without doubt these propositions will pass as very lovely in the minds of those who have not become sufficiently hypocritical of these matters, and I would be very happy to have the opinion of M Roberval. Shortly after writing this letter to Mersenne, Fermat wrote to Frenicle de Bessy on 18 October 1640. In this letter he gave a generalisation of results in the earlier letter stating the result now known as Fermat's Little Theorem which shows that for any prime p and an integer a not divisible by p, ap-1- 1 is divisible by p. Certainly Fermat found his Little Theorem as a consequence of his investigations into perfect numbers. Using special cases of his Little Theorem, Fermat was able to disprove two of Cataldi's claims in his June 1640 letter to Mersenne. He showed that 223 - 1 was composite (in fact 223 - 1 = 47 178481) and that 237 - 1 was composite (in fact 237 - 1 = 223 616318177). Frenicle de Bessy had, earlier in that year, asked Fermat (in correspondence through Mersenne) if there was a perfect number between 1020 and 1022. In fact assuming that perfect numbers are of the form 2p-1(2p - 1) where p is prime, the question readily translates into asking whether 237 - 1 is prime. Fermat not only states that 237 - 1 is composite in his June 1640 letter, but he tells Mersenne how he factorised it. Fermat used three theorems:(i) If n is composite, then 2n - 1 is composite. (ii) If n is prime, then 2n - 2 is a multiple of 2n. (iii) If n is prime, p a prime divisor of 2n- 1, then p - 1 is a multiple of n. Note that (i) is trivial while (ii) and (iii) are special cases of Fermat's Little Theorem. Fermat proceeds as follows: If p is a prime divisor of 237 - 1, then 37 divides p - 1. As p is odd, it is a prime of the form 2 37m+1, for some m. The first case to try is p = 149 and this fails (a test division is carried out). The next case to try is 223 (the case m = 3) which succeeds and 237 - 1 = 223 616318177. Mersenne was very interested in the results that Fermat sent him on perfect numbers and soon produced a claim of his own which was to fascinate mathematicians for a great many years. In 1644 he published Cogitata physica mathematica in which he claimed that 2p - 1 is prime (and so 2p-1(2p - 1) is a perfect number) for p = 2, 3, 5, 7, 13, 17, 19, 31, 67, 127, 257 and for no other value of p up to 257. Now certainly Mersenne could not have checked these results and he admitted this himself saying:... to tell if a given number of 15 or 20 digits is prime, or not, all time would not suffice for the test. The remarkable fact is that Mersenne did very well if this was no more than a guess. There are 47 primes p greater than 19 yet less than 258 for which 2p - 1 might have been either prime or composite. Mersenne got 42 right and made 5 mistakes. A suggestion as to the rule he used in giving his list is made in [9]. Primes of the form 2p- 1 are called Mersenne primes.
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The next person to make a major contribution to the question of perfect numbers was Euler. In 1732 he proved that the eighth perfect number was 230(231 - 1) = 2305843008139952128. It was the first new perfect number discovered for 125 years. Then in 1738 Euler settled the last of Cataldi's claims when he proved that 229 - 1 was not prime (so Cataldi's guesses had not been very good). Now it should be noticed (as it was at the time) that Mersenne had been right on both counts, since p = 31 appears in his list but p = 29 does not. In two manuscripts which were unpublished during his life, Euler proved the converse of Euclid's result by showing that every even perfect number had to be of the form 2p-1(2p - 1). This verifies the fourth assertion of Nicomachus at least in the case of even numbers. It also leads to an easy proof that all even perfect numbers end in either a 6 or 8 (but not alternately). Euler also tried to make some headway on the problem of whether odd perfect numbers existed. He was able to prove the assertion made by Descartes in his letter to Mersenne in 1638 from which we quoted above. He went a little further and proved that any odd perfect number had to have the form (4n+1)4k+1 b2 where 4n+1 is prime. However, as with most others whose contribution we have examined, Euler made predictions about perfect numbers which turned out to be wrong. He claimed that 2p-1(2p - 1) was perfect for p = 41 and p = 47 but Euler does have the distinction of finding his own error, which he corrected in 1753. The search for perfect numbers had now become an attempt to check whether Mersenne was right with his claims in Cogitata physica mathematica. In fact Euler's results had made many people believe that Mersenne had some undisclosed method which would tell him the correct answer. In fact Euler's perfect number 230(231 - 1) remained the largest known for over 150 years. Mathematicians such as Peter Barlow wrote in his book Theory of Numbers published in 1811, that the perfect number 230(231 1):... is the greatest that ever will be discovered; for as they are merely curious, without being useful, it is not likely that any person will ever attempt to find one beyond it. This, of course, turned out to be yet one more false assertion about perfect numbers! The first error in Mersenne's list was discovered in 1876 by Lucas. He was able to show that 267 - 1 is not a prime although his methods did not allow him to find any factors of it. Lucas was also able to verify that one of the numbers in Mersenne's list was correct when he showed that 2127 - 1 is a Mersenne prime and so 2126(2127- 1) is indeed a perfect number. Lucas made another important advance which, as modified by Lehmer in 1930, is the basis of computer searches used today to find Mersenne primes, and so to find perfect numbers. Following the announcement by Lucas that p = 127 gave the Mersenne prime 2p - 1, Catalan conjectured that, if m = 2p - 1 is prime then 2m - 1 is also prime. This Catalan sequence is 2p - 1 where p = 3, 7, 127, 170141183460469231731687303715884105727, ... Of course if this conjecture were true it would solve the still open question of whether there are an infinite number of Mersenne primes (and also solve the still open question of whether there are infinitely many perfect numbers). However checking whether the fourth term of this sequence, namely 2p - 1 for p = 170141183460469231731687303715884105727, is prime is well beyond what is possible. In 1883 Pervusin showed that 260(261- 1) is a perfect number. This was shown independently three years later by Seelhoff. Many mathematicians leapt to defend Mersenne saying that the number 67 in his list was a misprint for 61. In 1903 Cole managed to factorise 267 - 1, the number shown to be composite by Lucas, but for which no factors were known up to that time. In October 1903 Cole presented a paper On the factorisation of
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large numbers to a meeting of the American Mathematical Society. In one of the strangest 'talks' ever given, Cole wrote on the blackboard 267 - 1 = 147573952589676412927. Then he wrote 761838257287 and underneath it 193707721. Without speaking a work he multiplied the two numbers together to get 147573952589676412927 and sat down to applause from the audience. [It is worth remarking that the computer into which I [EFR] am typing this article gave this factorisation of 267 - 1 in about a second - times have changed!] Further mistakes made by Mersenne were found. In 1911 Powers showed that 288 (289 - 1) was a perfect number, then a few years later he showed that 2101- 1 is a prime and so 2100(21011) is a perfect number. In 1922 Kraitchik showed that Mersenne was wrong in his claims for his largest prime of 257 when he showed that 2257- 1 is not prime. We have followed the progress of finding even perfect numbers but there was also attempts to show that an odd perfect number could not exist. The main thrust of progress here has been to show the minimum number of distinct prime factors that an odd perfect number must have. Sylvester worked on this problem and wrote (see [20]):... the existence of [an odd perfect number] - its escape, so to say, from the complex web of conditions which hem it in on all sides - would be little short of a miracle. In fact Sylvester proved in 1888 that any odd perfect number must have at least 4 distinct prime factors. Later in the same year he improved his result to five factors and, over the years, this has been steadily improved until today we know that an odd perfect number would have to have at least eight distinct prime factors, and at least 29 prime factors which are not necessarily distinct. It is also known that such a number would have more than 300 digits and a prime divisor greater than 106. The problem of whether an odd perfect number exists, however, remains unsolved. Today 39 perfect numbers are known, 288(289- 1) being the last to be discovered by hand calculations in 1911 (although not the largest found by hand calculations), all others being found using a computer. In fact computers have led to a revival of interest in the discovery of Mersenne primes, and therefore of perfect numbers. At the moment the largest known Mersenne prime is 213466917 - 1 (which is also the largest known prime) and the corresponding largest known perfect number is 213466916(213466917 - 1). It was discovered in December 2001 and this, the 39th such prime to be discovered, contains more than 4 million digits. If you wonder why we haven't included the number in decimal form, then let me say that it contains about 150 times as many characters as this whole article on perfect numbers. Also worth noting is the fact that although this is the 39th to be discovered, it may not be the 39th perfect number as not all smaller cases have been ruled out. Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson References (20 books/articles) Other Web sites: You can find out about primes at University of Tennessee, USA Some more information about Perfect numbers etc More about perfect numbers at Singapore A printout of the first 22 perfect numbers is at Math Forum

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List of Perfect Numbers

Date: 24 Mar 1995 03:37:47 -0500 From: Jirachai Chuchat Subject: Perfect Numbers Do you know any Perfect Numbers besides, 6, 28, and 496. Do you know where I can get a list of Perfect Numbers Thanks. Chris Date: 24 Mar 1995 21:13:05 -0500 From: Dr. Sydney Subject: Re: Perfect Numbers Thanks for writing Dr. Math! Perfect numbers are pretty interesting! It turns out that perfect numbers are involved in several unsolved problems of mathematics. Euclid showed that the number (*) n = [2^(m-1)](2^m - 1) is perfect if 2^m - 1 is a prime number. Prime numbers of the form 2^m - 1 are called Mersenne primes, and it is not known whether there are a finite or infinite number of Mersenne primes. We also don't know if there are any odd perfect numbers. It has been shown that there are no odd perfect numbers in the interval from 1 to 10^50. We do know that all even perfect numbers end in 6 or 8. You wanted a list of perfect numbers. Well, as of 1990 (that is the date of my source), there were 30 known perfect numbers, beginning with 6, 28, 496, 8128, 33550336, and so on. The numbers get huge, so it is easier to write them in the notation (*) above. The 30 known perfect numbers correspond to the following values of m: 2, 3, 5, 7, 13, 17, 19, 31, 61, 89, 107, 127, 521, 607, 1279, 2203, 2281, 3217, 4253, 4423, 9689, 9941, 11213, 19937, 21701, 23209, 44497, 86243, 132049, and 216091. Some books you might want to look up on perfect numbers are: Dickson, L.E.: _History of the Theory of Numbers_, 1, Chelsea, reprint, 1952. Nankar, M.L.: "History of perfect numbers," Ganita Bharati 1, no. 1-2 (1979), 7-8. Hagis, P.: "A Lower Bound for the set of odd Perfect Prime Numbers", Math. Comp. 27, (1973), 951-953. Riele, H.J.J. "Perfect Numbers and Aliquot Sequences" in H.W. Lenstra and R. Tijdeman (eds.): _Computational Methods in Number Theory_, Vol. 154, Amsterdam, 1982, pp. 141-157. Riesel, H. _Prime Numbers and Computer Methods for Factorisation_, Birkhauser, 1985. Hope this helps! Write back with any more problems. F;ile: /var/www/apps/conversion/tmp/scratch_5/176675770.doc

151 --Sydney "Dr. Math" Date: 24 Mar 1995 21:24:49 -0500 From: Christopher Yeung Subject: Re: Perfect Numbers What are the perfect numbers "so on"? I found that 8192 is not a Perfect Number. Thanks. Date: 24 Mar 1995 22:52:46 -0500 From: Dr. Ken Subject: Re: Perfect Numbers Yup, you're right, 8192 is not a perfect number. But I don't think we ever said it was. If you plug in m=7 to the formula n = 2^(m-1) * (2^m - 1), you don't get 8192, you get 8128. Is this what happened? You asked for the numbers "and so on." Here are the first few perfect numbers: 6, 28, 496, 8128, 33550336, 8589869056, 137438691328, 2305843008139952128, 2658455991569831744654692615953842176, 191561942608236107294793378084303638130997321548169216, 131640364585696483372397534604587229102234723183869431 17783728128, 144740111546645244279463731260859884815736774914748358 89066354349131199152128, 2356272345726734706578954899670990498847754785839260071014302 7597506337283178622239730365539602600561360255566462503270175 0528925780432155433824984287771524270103944969186640286445341 2803383143979023683862403317143592235664321970310172071316352 7487298747400647801939587165936401087419375649057918549492160 555646976, 1410537837067120690632079580860631898814867435147156678388386 7599995486774265238011410419332903769025156195056870982932716 4087724366370087116731268159313652487450652439805877296207297 4467232951666582288469268077866528701889208678794514783645693 1392206037069506473607357237869517647305526682625328488638371 5072974324463835300053138429460296575143368065570759537328128, 5416252628436584741265446537439131614085649053903169578460392 0818387206994158534859198999921056719921919057390080263646159 2800138276054397462627889030573034455058270283951394752077690 4492443149486172943511312628083790493046274068171796046586734 8720992572190569465545299629919823431031092624244463547789635 4414813917198164416055867880921478866773213987566616247145517 2696430221755428178425481731961195165985555357393778892340514 6222324506715979193757372820860878214322052227584537552897476 2561793951766244263144803134469350852036575847982475360211728 F;ile: /var/www/apps/conversion/tmp/scratch_5/176675770.doc

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163 143055503950422712401468722273943010722743470173829210 489365706192936575013291888002434341513106481428084410 218067776302464583926173850859700677942426264959992011 707421213388034181456663546921703516072765792240543247 119554578018326667051711735868531938994194235254484252 101997594564032802761609063853910556063300517135898889 778303004801040383499255602035711676712409123070651307 968216379263517679580731162201116943266951391489405905 466126440918380191449595583338132162026012052564867744 233464653772653383861392634753585741688801525302207514 716521501132103389833566878611447566787092048482471271 030493737888238127054515332372608243140383344255126027 921230462140200034876362987089465269431051533003585074 124058613217593018664914883439502592893720931662651946 350727983573191101710254076422054078660592193264714148 948752944517154861642074033834860228570396665501570205 083724872812398796201094386773670614901176864646233356 987469041857789295767653848581870463515295024728954405 255715515568044393547046567373353698121277710594358244 434790271942656 -Ken "Dr." Math

References for Perfect numbers

Books: 1. D'Ooge (tr.), Nicomachus, Introduction to arithmetic (New York, 1926). 2. T L Heath, The thirteen books of Euclid's Elements (New York, 1956). 3. O V Kuzhel, Development of the concept of number : Divisibility criteria : Perfect numbers (Ukrainian), Vidavnice Obednannja "Visca Skola" (Kiev, 1974). 4. R Shoemaker, Perfect numbers (Washington, 1973). 5. A Weil, Number theory : An approach through history (Boston-Basel-Stuttgart, 1984). Articles: 6. S Brentjes, Die ersten sieben vollkommenen Zahlen und drei Arten befreundeter Zahlen in einem Werk zur elementaren Zahlentheorie von Ismail b. Ibrahim ibn Fallus, NTM Schr. Geschichte Natur. Tech. Medizin 24 (1) (1987), 21-30. 7. S Brentjes, Eine Tabelle mit vollkommenen Zahlen in einer arabischen Handschrift aus dem 13. Jahrhundert, Nieuw Arch. Wisk. (4) 8 (2) (1990), 239-241. 8. M Crubellier and J Sip, Looking for perfect numbers, History of Mathematics : History of Problems (Paris, 1997), 389-410. 9. S Drake, The rule behind "Mersenne's numbers", Physis-Riv. Internaz. Storia Sci. 13 (4) (1971), 421-424. 10. N Miura, Charles de Bovelles and perfect numbers, Historia Sci. No. 34 (1988), 1-10. 11. K P Moesgaard, Tychonian observations, perfect numbers, and the date of creation : Longomontanus's solar and precessional theories, J. Hist. Astronom. 6 (1975), 84-99. 12. M L Nankar, History of perfect numbers, Ganita Bharati 1 (1-2) (1979), 7-8. 13. Perfect numbers and imperfect mathematicians (Persian), Bull. Iranian Math. Soc. 9 (1) (1981/82), 84-79. 14. E Picutti, Pour l'histoire des sept premiers nombres parfaits, Historia Math. 16 (2) (1989), 123136. 15. R Rashed, Ibn al-Haytham et les nombres parfaits, Historia Math. 16 (4) (1989), 343-352. 16. T N Sinha, Perfect numbers as a source of fundamentals of number theory, Math. Ed. 5 (2) (1989), 82-89. 17. C M Taisbak, Perfect numbers : A mathematical pun? An analysis of the last theorem in the ninth book of Euclid's Elements, Centaurus 20 (4) (1976), 269-275.
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18. H S Uhler, A brief history of the investigations on Mersenne numbers and the latest immense primes, Scripta Math. 18 (1952), 122-131. 19. A M Vaidya, Comment on : "History of perfect numbers", Ganita Bharati 1 (3-4) (1979), 22.
S Wagon, Perfect numbers, Math. Intelligencer 7 (2) (1985), 66-68.

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Prime numbers
Number theory index History Topics Index Prime numbers and their properties were first studied extensively by the ancient Greek mathematicians. The mathematicians of Pythagoras's school (500 BC to 300 BC) were interested in numbers for their mystical and numerological properties. They understood the idea of primality and were interested in perfect and amicable numbers. A perfect number is one whose proper divisors sum to the number itself. e.g. The number 6 has proper divisors 1, 2 and 3 and 1 + 2 + 3 = 6, 28 has divisors 1, 2, 4, 7 and 14 and 1 + 2 + 4 + 7 + 14 = 28. A pair of amicable numbers is a pair like 220 and 284 such that the proper divisors of one number sum to the other and vice versa. You can see more about these numbers in the History topics article Perfect numbers. By the time Euclid's Elements appeared in about 300 BC, several important results about primes had been proved. In Book IX of the Elements, Euclid proves that there are infinitely many prime numbers. This is one of the first proofs known which uses the method of contradiction to establish a result. Euclid also gives a proof of the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic: Every integer can be written as a product of primes in an essentially unique way. Euclid also showed that if the number 2n - 1 is prime then the number 2n-1(2n - 1) is a perfect number. The mathematician Euler (much later in 1747) was able to show that all even perfect numbers are of this form. It is not known to this day whether there are any odd perfect numbers. In about 200 BC the Greek Eratosthenes devised an algorithm for calculating primes called the Sieve of Eratosthenes. There is then a long gap in the history of prime numbers during what is usually called the Dark Ages. The next important developments were made by Fermat at the beginning of the 17th Century. He proved a speculation of Albert Girard that every prime number of the form 4 n + 1 can be written in a unique way as the sum of two squares and was able to show how any number could be written as a sum of four squares. He devised a new method of factorising large numbers which he demonstrated by factorising the number 2027651281 = 44021 46061. He proved what has come to be known as Fermat's Little Theorem (to distinguish it from his so-called Last Theorem). This states that if p is a prime then for any integer a we have ap = a modulo p. This proves one half of what has been called the Chinese hypothesis which dates from about 2000 years earlier, that an integer n is prime if and only if the number 2n - 2 is divisible by n. The other half of this is false, since, for example, 2341 - 2 is divisible by 341 even though 341 = 31 11 is composite. Fermat's Little Theorem is the basis for many other results in Number Theory and is the basis for methods of checking whether numbers are prime which are still in use on today's electronic computers. Fermat corresponded with other mathematicians of his day and in particular with the monk Marin Mersenne. In one of his letters to Mersenne he conjectured that the numbers 2n + 1 were always prime if n is a power of 2. He had verified this for n = 1, 2, 4, 8 and 16 and he knew that if n were not a power of 2, the result failed. Numbers of this form are called Fermat numbers and it was not until more than 100 years later that Euler showed that the next case 232 + 1 = 4294967297 is divisible by 641 and so is not prime. Number of the form 2n - 1 also attracted attention because it is easy to show that if unless n is prime these number must be composite. These are often called Mersenne numbers Mn because Mersenne studied them. Not all numbers of the form 2n - 1 with n prime are prime. For example 211 - 1 = 2047 = 23 89 is composite, though this was first noted as late as 1536. For many years numbers of this form provided the largest known primes. The number M19 was proved to be prime by Cataldi in 1588 and this was the largest known prime for about 200 years until Euler F;ile: /var/www/apps/conversion/tmp/scratch_5/176675770.doc 166

proved that M31 is prime. This established the record for another century and when Lucas showed that M127 (which is a 39 digit number) is prime that took the record as far as the age of the electronic computer. In 1952 the Mersenne numbers M521, M607, M1279, M2203 and M2281 were proved to be prime by Robinson using an early computer and the electronic age had begun. By 2001 a total of 39 Mersenne primes have been found. The largest is M13466917 which has 4053946 decimal digits. Euler's work had a great impact on number theory in general and on primes in particular. He extended Fermat's Little Theorem and introduced the Euler -function. As mentioned above he factorised the 5th Fermat Number 232 + 1, he found 60 pairs of the amicable numbers referred to above, and he stated (but was unable to prove) what became known as the Law of Quadratic Reciprocity. He was the first to realise that number theory could be studied using the tools of analysis and in sodoing founded the subject of Analytic Number Theory. He was able to show that not only is the socalled Harmonic series (1/n) divergent, but the series

/2 + 1/3 + 1/5 + 1/7 + 1/11 + ...

formed by summing the reciprocals of the prime numbers, is also divergent. The sum to n terms of the Harmonic series grows roughly like log(n), while the latter series diverges even more slowly like log[ log(n) ]. This means, for example, that summing the reciprocals of all the primes that have been listed, even by the most powerful computers, only gives a sum of about 4, but the series still diverges to . At first sight the primes seem to be distributed among the integers in rather a haphazard way. For example in the 100 numbers immediately before 10 000 000 there are 9 primes, while in the 100 numbers after there are only 2 primes. However, on a large scale, the way in which the primes are distributed is very regular. Legendre and Gauss both did extensive calculations of the density of primes. Gauss (who was a prodigious calculator) told a friend that whenever he had a spare 15 minutes he would spend it in counting the primes in a 'chiliad' (a range of 1000 numbers). By the end of his life it is estimated that he had counted all the primes up to about 3 million. Both Legendre and Gauss came to the conclusion that for large n the density of primes near n is about 1/log(n). Legendre gave an estimate for p(n) the number of primes n of p(n) = n/(log(n) - 1.08366) while Gauss's estimate is in terms of the logarithmic integral p(n) = (1/log(t) dt where the range of integration is 2 to n. You can see the Legendre estimate and the Gauss estimate and can compare them. The statement that the density of primes is 1/log(n) is known as the Prime Number Theorem. Attempts to prove it continued throughout the 19th Century with notable progress being made by Chebyshev and Riemann who was able to relate the problem to something called the Riemann Hypothesis: a still unproved result about the zeros in the Complex plane of something called the Riemann zeta-function. The result was eventually proved (using powerful methods in Complex analysis) by Hadamard and de la Valle Poussin in 1896. There are still many open questions (some of them dating back hundreds of years) relating to prime numbers. Some unsolved problems 1. The Twin Primes Conjecture that there are infinitely many pairs of primes only 2 apart. 2. Goldbach's Conjecture (made in a letter by C Goldbach to Euler in 1742) that every even integer greater than 2 can be written as the sum of two primes.
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3. Are there infinitely many primes of the form n2 + 1 ? (Dirichlet proved that every arithmetic progression : {a + bn | n N} with a, b coprime contains infinitely many primes.) 4. Is there always a prime between n2 and (n + 1)2 ? (The fact that there is always a prime between n and 2n was called Bertrand's conjecture and was proved by Chebyshev.) 5. Are there infinitely many prime Fermat numbers? Indeed, are there any prime Fermat numbers after the fourth one? 6. Is there an arithmetic progression of consecutive primes for any given (finite) length? e.g. 251, 257, 263, 269 has length 4. The largest example known has length 10. 7. Are there infinitely many sets of 3 consecutive primes in arithmetic progression. (True if we omit the word consecutive.) 8. n2 - n + 41 is prime for 0 n 40. Are there infinitely many primes of this form? The same question applies to n2 - 79 n + 1601 which is prime for 0 n 79. 9. Are there infinitely many primes of the form n# + 1? (where n# is the product of all primes n.) 10. Are there infinitely many primes of the form n# - 1? 11. Are there infinitely many primes of the form n! + 1? 12. Are there infinitely many primes of the form n! - 1? 13. If p is a prime, is 2p - 1 always square free? i.e. not divisible by the square of a prime. 14. Does the Fibonacci sequence contain an infinite number of primes? Here are the latest prime records that we know. The largest known prime (found by GIMPS [Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search] in December 2001) is the 39th Mersenne prime: M13466917 which has 4053946 decimal digits. The largest known twin primes are 242206083 238880 1. They have 11713 digits and were announced by Indlekofer and Ja'rai in November, 1995. The largest known factorial prime (prime of the form n! 1) is 3610! - 1. It is a number of 11277 digits and was announced by Caldwell in 1993. The largest known primorial prime (prime of the form n# 1 where n# is the product of all primes n) is 24029# + 1. It is a number of 10387 digits and was announced by Caldwell in 1993. Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson

References for Prime numbers

1. B C Berndt, Ramanujan and the theory of prime numbers, Number theory Madras 1987 (Berlin, 1989), 122-139. 2. V N Chubarikov, Problems in prime number theory that are related to classical theorems of P L Chebyshev, Moscow Univ. Math. Bull. 46 (5) (1991), 15-19. 3. H Cohen, Les nombres premiers, La recherche 26 (278) (1995.), 760-765. 4. L E Dickson, History of the Theory of Numbers (3 volumes) (New York, 1919-23, reprinted 1966). 5. U Dudley, Formulas for primes, Math. Mag. 56 (1) (1983), 17-22. 6. U Dudley, History of a formula for primes, Amer. Math. Monthly 76 (1969), 23-28. 7. J Echeverria, Observations, problems and conjectures in number theory-the history of the prime number theorem, in The space of mathematics (Berlin, 1992), 230-252. 8. L J Goldstein, A history of the prime number theorem, Amer. Math. Monthly 80 (1973), 599615.
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9. A Granville, Harald Cramr and the distribution of prime numbers, Harald Cramr Symposium, Scand. Actuar. J. (1) (1995), 12-28. 10. S Das Gupta, The story of prime number, Ganita Bharati 16 (1-4) (1994), 37-52. 11. F Ischebeck, Primzahlfragen und ihre Geschichte, Math. Semesterber. 40 (2) (1993), 121-132. 12. F Manna, The Pentathlos of ancient science, Eratosthenes, first and only one of the 'primes' (Italian), Atti Accad. Pontaniana (N.S.) 35 (1986), 37-44. 13. L E Mauistrov, Prime values of the polynomial x2+x+41 (Russian), Istor.-Mat. Issled. 27 (1983), 63-67. 14. O Ore, Number Theory and Its History (1948, reprinted 1988). 15. J Pintz, On Legendre's prime number formula, Amer. Math. Monthly 87 (9) (1980), 733-735. 16. P Ribenboim, The little book of big primes (New York, 1991). 17. P Ribenboim, The book of prime number records (New York-Berlin, 1989). 18. W Schwarz, Some remarks on the history of the prime number theorem from 1896 to 1960, in Development of mathematics 1900-1950 (Basel, 1994), 565-616. 19. R de La Taille, Nombres premiers : 2000 ans de recherche, Science et vie 838 (1987), 16-20, 146. 20. H S Uhler, A brief history of the investigations on Mersenne numbers and the latest immense primes, Scripta Math. 18 (1952), 122-131. 21. A Weil, Number Theory: An Approach Through History from Hammurapi to Legendre (1984).

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A history of Zero
Ancient Indian Mathematics index History Topics Index One of the commonest questions which the readers of this archive ask is: Who discovered zero? Why then have we not written an article on zero as one of the first in the archive? The reason is basically because of the difficulty of answering the question in a satisfactory form. If someone had come up with the concept of zero which everyone then saw as a brilliant innovation to enter mathematics from that time on, the question would have a satisfactory answer even if we did not know which genius invented it. The historical record, however, shows quite a different path towards the concept. Zero makes shadowy appearances only to vanish again almost as if mathematicians were searching for it yet did not recognise its fundamental significance even when they saw it. The first thing to say about zero is that there are two uses of zero which are both extremely important but are somewhat different. One use is as an empty place indicator in our place-value number system. Hence in a number like 2106 the zero is used so that the positions of the 2 and 1 are correct. Clearly 216 means something quite different. The second use of zero is as a number itself in the form we use it as 0. There are also different aspects of zero within these two uses, namely the concept, the notation, and the name. Neither of these uses has an easily described history. It just did not happen that someone invented the ideas, and then everyone started to use them. Also it is fair to say that the number zero is far from an intuitive concept. Mathematical problems started as 'real' problems rather than abstract problems. Numbers in early historical times were thought of much more concretely than the abstract concepts which are our numbers today. There are giant mental leaps from 5 horses to 5 "things" and then to the abstract idea of "five". If ancient peoples solved a problem about how many horses a farmer needed then the problem was not going to have 0 or -23 as an answer. One might think that once a place-value number system came into existence then the 0 as a empty place indicator is a necessary idea, yet the Babylonians had a place-value number system without this feature for over 1000 years. Moreover there is absolutely no evidence that the Babylonians felt that there was any problem with the ambiguity which existed. Remarkably, original texts survive from the era of Babylonian mathematics. The Babylonians wrote on tablets of unbaked clay, using cuneiform writing. The symbols were pressed into soft clay tablets with the slanted edge of a stylus and so had a wedge-shaped appearance (and hence the name cuneiform). Many tablets from around 1700 BC survive and we can read the original texts. Of course their notation for numbers was quite different from ours (and not based on 10 but on 60) but to translate into our notation they would not distinguish between 2106 and 216 (the context would have to show which was intended). It was not until around 400 BC that the Babylonians put two wedge symbols into the place where we would put zero to indicate which was meant, 216 or 21 '' 6. The two wedges were not the only notation used, however, and on a tablet found at Kish, an ancient Mesopotamian city located east of Babylon in what is today south-central Iraq, a different notation is used. This tablet, thought to date from around 700 BC, uses three hooks to denote an empty place in the positional notation. Other tablets dated from around the same time use a single hook for an empty place. There is one common feature to this use of different marks to denote an empty position. This is the fact that it never occured at the end of the digits but always between two digits. So although we find 21 '' 6 we never find 216 ''. One has to assume that the older feeling that the context was sufficient to indicate which was intended still applied in these cases. If this reference to context appears silly then it is worth noting that we still use context to interpret numbers today. If I take a bus to a nearby town and ask what the fare is then I know that the answer "It's three fifty" means three pounds fifty pence. Yet if the same answer is given to the question about the cost of a flight from Edinburgh to New York then I know that three hundred and fifty pounds is what is intended.

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We can see from this that the early use of zero to denote an empty place is not really the use of zero as a number at all, merely the use of some type of punctuation mark so that the numbers had the correct interpretation. Now the ancient Greeks began their contributions to mathematics around the time that zero as a empty place indicator was coming into use in Babylonian mathematics. The Greeks however did not adopt a positional number system. It is worth thinking just how significant this fact is. How could the brilliant mathematical advances of the Greeks not see them adopt a number system with all the advantages that the Babylonian place-value system possessed? The real answer to this question is more subtle than the simple answer that we are about to give, but basically the Greek mathematical achievements were based on geometry. Although Euclid's Elements contains a book on number theory, it is based on geometry. In other words Greek mathematicians did not need to name their numbers since they worked with numbers as lengths of lines. Numbers which required to be named for records were used by merchants, not mathematicians, and hence no clever notation was needed. Now there were exceptions to what we have just stated. The exceptions were the mathematicians who were involved in recording astronomical data. Here we find the first use of the symbol which we recognise today as the notation for zero, for Greek astronomers began to use the symbol O. There are many theories why this particular notation was used. Some historians favour the explanation that it is omicron, the first letter of the Greek word for nothing namely "ouden". Neugebauer, however, dismisses this explanation since the Greeks already used omicron as a number - it represented 70 (the Greek number system was based on their alphabet). Other explanations offered include the fact that it stands for "obol", a coin of almost no value, and that it arises when counters were used for counting on a sand board. The suggestion here is that when a counter was removed to leave an empty column it left a depression in the sand which looked like O. Ptolemy in the Almagest written around 130 AD uses the Babylonian sexagesimal system together with the empty place holder O. By this time Ptolemy is using the symbol both between digits and at the end of a number and one might be tempted to believe that at least zero as an empty place holder had firmly arrived. This, however, is far from what happened. Only a few exceptional astronomers used the notation and it would fall out of use several more times before finally establishing itself. The idea of the zero place (certainly not thought of as a number by Ptolemy who still considered as a sort of punctuation mark) makes its next appearance in Indian mathematics. The scene now moves to India where it is fair to say the numerals and number system was born which have evolved into the highly sophisticated ones we use today. Of course that is not to say that the Indian system did not owe something to earlier systems and many historians of mathematics believe that the Indian use of zero evolved from its use by Greek astronomers. As well as some historians who seem to want to play down the contribution of the Indians in a most unreasonable way, there are also those who make claims about the Indian invention of zero which seem to go far too far. For example Mukherjee in [6] claims:... the mathematical conception of zero ... was also present in the spiritual form from 17 000 years back in India. What is certain is that by around 650AD the use of zero as a number came into Indian mathematics. The Indians also used a place-value system and zero was used to denote an empty place. In fact there is evidence of an empty place holder in positional numbers from as early as 200AD in India but some historians dismiss these as later forgeries. Let us examine this latter use first since it continues the development described above. In around 500AD Aryabhata devised a number system which has no zero yet was a positional system. He used the word "kha" for position and it would be used later as the name for zero. There is evidence that a dot had been used in earlier Indian manuscripts to denote an empty place in positional notation. It is interesting that the same documents sometimes also used a dot to denote an unknown where we might use x. Later Indian mathematicians had names for zero in positional numbers yet had no symbol for it. The first record of the Indian use of zero which is dated and agreed by all to be genuine was written in 876.
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We have an inscription on a stone tablet which contains a date which translates to 876. The inscription concerns the town of Gwalior, 400 km south of Delhi, where they planted a garden 187 by 270 hastas which would produce enough flowers to allow 50 garlands per day to be given to the local temple. Both of the numbers 270 and 50 are denoted almost as they appear today although the 0 is smaller and slightly raised. We now come to considering the first appearance of zero as a number. Let us first note that it is not in any sense a natural candidate for a number. From early times numbers are words which refer to collections of objects. Certainly the idea of number became more and more abstract and this abstraction then makes possible the consideration of zero and negative numbers which do not arise as properties of collections of objects. Of course the problem which arises when one tries to consider zero and negatives as numbers is how they interact in regard to the operations of arithmetic, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. In three important books the Indian mathematicians Brahmagupta, Mahavira and Bhaskara tried to answer these questions. Brahmagupta attempted to give the rules for arithmetic involving zero and negative numbers in the seventh century. He explained that given a number then if you subtract it from itself you obtain zero. He gave the following rules for addition which involve zero:The sum of zero and a negative number is negative, the sum of a positive number and zero is positive, the sum of zero and zero is zero. Subtraction is a little harder:A negative number subtracted from zero is positive, a positive number subtracted from zero is negative, zero subtracted from a negative number is negative, zero subtracted from a positive number is positive, zero subtracted from zero is zero. Brahmagupta then says that any number when multiplied by zero is zero but struggles when it comes to division:Positive or negative numbers when divided by zero is a fraction the zero as denominator. Zero divided by negative or positive numbers is either zero or is expressed as a fraction with zero as numerator and the finite quantity as denominator. Zero divided by zero is zero. Really Brahmagupta is saying very little when he suggests that n divided by zero is n/0. Clearly he is struggling here. He is certainly wrong when he then claims that zero divided by zero is zero. However it is a brilliant attempt from the first person that we know to try to extend arithmetic to negative numbers and zero. In 830, around 200 years after Brahmagupta wrote his masterpiece, Mahavira wrote Ganita Sara Samgraha which was designed as an updating of Brahmagupta's book. He correctly states that:... a number multiplied by zero is zero, and a number remains the same when zero is subtracted from it. However his attempts to improve on Brahmagupta's statements on dividing by zero seem to lead him into error. He writes:A number remains unchanged when divided by zero. Since this is clearly incorrect my use of the words "seem to lead him into error" might be seen as confusing. The reason for this phrase is that some commentators on Mahavira have tried to find excuses for his incorrect statement.
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Bhaskara wrote over 500 years after Brahmagupta. Despite the passage of time he is still struggling to explain division by zero. He writes:A quantity divided by zero becomes a fraction the denominator of which is zero. This fraction is termed an infinite quantity. In this quantity consisting of that which has zero for its divisor, there is no alteration, though many may be inserted or extracted; as no change takes place in the infinite and immutable God when worlds are created or destroyed, though numerous orders of beings are absorbed or put forth. So Bhaskara tried to solve the problem by writing n/0 = . At first sight we might be tempted to believe that Bhaskara has it correct, but of course he does not. If this were true then 0 times must be equal to every number n, so all numbers are equal. The Indian mathematicians could not bring themselves to the point of admitting that one could not divide by zero. Bhaskara did correctly state other properties of zero, however, such as 02 = 0, and 0 = 0. Perhaps we should note at this point that there was another civilisation which developed a place-value number system with a zero. This was the Maya people who lived in central America, occupying the area which today is southern Mexico, Guatemala, and northern Belize. This was an old civilisation but flourished particularly between 250 and 900. We know that by 665 they used a place-value number system to base 20 with a symbol for zero. However their use of zero goes back further than this and was in use before they introduced the place-valued number system. This is a remarkable achievement but sadly did not influence other peoples. You can see a separate article about Mayan mathematics. The brilliant work of the Indian mathematicians was transmitted to the Islamic and Arabic mathematicians further west. It came at an early stage for al-Khwarizmi wrote Al'Khwarizmi on the Hindu Art of Reckoning which describes the Indian place-value system of numerals based on 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 0. This work was the first in what is now Iraq to use zero as a place holder in positional base notation. Ibn Ezra, in the 12th century, wrote three treatises on numbers which helped to bring the Indian symbols and ideas of decimal fractions to the attention of some of the learned people in Europe. The Book of the Number describes the decimal system for integers with place values from left to right. In this work ibn Ezra uses zero which he calls galgal (meaning wheel or circle). Slightly later in the 12th century al-Samawal was writing:If we subtract a positive number from zero the same negative number remains. ... if we subtract a negative number from zero the same positive number remains. The Indian ideas spread east to China as well as west to the Islamic countries. In 1247 the Chinese mathematician Ch'in Chiu-Shao wrote Mathematical treatise in nine sections which uses the symbol O for zero. A little later, in 1303, Chu Shih-Chieh wrote Jade mirror of the four elements which again uses the symbol O for zero. Fibonacci was one of the main people to bring these new ideas about the number system to Europe. As the authors of [12] write:An important link between the Hindu-Arabic number system and the European mathematics is the Italian mathematician Fibonacci. In Liber Abaci he described the nine Indian symbols together with the sign 0 for Europeans in around 1200 but it was not widely used for a long time after that. It is significant that Fibonacci is not bold enough to treat 0 in the same way as the other numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 since he speaks of the "sign" zero while the other symbols he speaks of as numbers. Although clearly bringing the Indian numerals to Europe was of major importance we can see that in his treatment of zero he did not reach the sophistication of the Indians Brahmagupta, Mahavira and Bhaskara nor of the Arabic and Islamic mathematicians such as al-Samawal.
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One might have thought that the progress of the number systems in general, and zero in particular, would have been steady from this time on. However, this was far from the case. Cardan solved cubic and quartic equations without using zero. He would have found his work in the 1500's so much easier if he had had a zero but it was not part of his mathematics. By the 1600's zero began to come into widespread use but still only after encountering a lot of resistance. Of course there are still signs of the problems caused by zero. Recently many people throughout the world celebrated the new millennium on 1 January 2000. Of course they celebrated the passing of only 1999 years since when the calendar was set up no year zero was specified. Although one might forgive the original error, it is a little surprising that most people seemed unable to understand why the third millennium and the 21st century begin on 1 January 2001. Zero is still causing problems! Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson

References for A history of Zero

Books 1. R Calinger, A conceptual history of mathematics (Upper Straddle River, N. J., 1999). 2. G Ifrah, From one to zero : A universal history of numbers (New York, 1987). 3. G Ifrah, A universal history of numbers : From prehistory to the invention of the computer (London, 1998). 4. G G Joseph, The crest of the peacock (London, 1991). 5. R Kaplan, The nothing that is : a natural history of zero (London, 1999). 6. R Mukherjee, Discovery of zero and its impact on Indian mathematics (Calcutta, 1991). Articles: 7. S Giuntini, A discussion concerning the nature of zero and the relation between imaginary and real numbers (Italian), Boll. Storia Sci. Mat. 4 (1) (1984), 25-63. 8. R C Gupta, Who invented the zero?, Ganita-Bharati 17 (1-4) (1995), 45-61. 9. P Mder, "Wie die Puppe ein Adler sein wollte, der Esel ein Lwe, die ffin eine Knigin - so wollte die Null eine Ziffer sein!" Ein berblick zur Geschichte der Zahl Null, in Jahrbuch berblicke Mathematik, 1995 (Braunschweig, 1995), 39-64. 10. R N Mukherjee, Background to the discovery of the symbol for zero, in Proceedings of the Symposium on the 1500th Birth Anniversary of Aryabhata I, New Delhi, 1976, Indian J. Hist. Sci. 12 (2) (1977), 225-231. 11. K Muroi, The expressions of zero and of squaring in the Babylonian mathematical text VAT 7537, Historia Sci. (2) 1 (1) (1991), 59-62. 12. L Pogliani, M Randic and N Trinajstic, Much ado about nothing - an introductive inquiry about zero, Internat. J. Math. Ed. Sci. Tech. 29 (5) (1998),729--744. 13. S Ursini Legovich, The origin of the zero in Central American civilization. Comparative analysis with the Hindu case (Spanish), Mat. Ense nanza No. 13 (1980), 7-20. 14. M Ja Vygodskii, L'origine du signe de zro dans la numration babylonienne (Russian), Istor.Mat. Issled. 12 (1959), 393-420.

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A history of Pi
A chronology of Pi History Topics Index A little known verse of the Bible reads And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it about. (I Kings 7, 23) The same verse can be found in II Chronicles 4, 2. It occurs in a list of specifications for the great temple of Solomon, built around 950 BC and its interest here is that it gives p = 3. Not a very accurate value of course and not even very accurate in its day, for the Egyptian and Mesopotamian values of 25/8 = 3.125 and 10 = 3.162 have been traced to much earlier dates: though in defence of Solomon's craftsmen it should be noted that the item being described seems to have been a very large brass casting, where a high degree of geometrical precision is neither possible nor necessary. There are some interpretations of this which lead to a much better value. The fact that the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle is constant has been known for so long that it is quite untraceable. The earliest values of p including the 'Biblical' value of 3, were almost certainly found by measurement. In the Egyptian Rhind Papyrus, which is dated about 1650 BC, there is good evidence for 4(8/9)2 = 3.16 as a value for p. The first theoretical calculation seems to have been carried out by Archimedes of Syracuse (287-212 BC). He obtained the approximation

/71 < p < 22/7.

Before giving an indication of his proof, notice that very considerable sophistication involved in the use of inequalities here. Archimedes knew, what so many people to this day do not, that p does not equal 22/7, and made no claim to have discovered the exact value. If we take his best estimate as the average of his two bounds we obtain 3.1418, an error of about 0.0002.p Here is Archimedes' argument. Consider a circle of radius 1, in which we inscribe a regular polygon of 3 2n-1 sides, with semiperimeter bn, and ascribe a regular polygon of 3 2n-1 sides, with semiperimeter an. The diagram for the case n = 2 is on the right. The effect of this procedure is to define an increasing sequence b1, b2, b3, ... and a decreasing sequence a1, a2, a3, ... such that both sequences have limit p. Using trigonometrical notation, we see that the two semiperimeters are given by an = K tan(p/K), bn = K sin(p/K), where K = 3 2n-1. Equally, we have 175

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an+1 = 2K tan(p/2K), bn+1 = 2K sin(p/2K), and it is not a difficult exercise in trigonometry to show that (1) . . . (1/an + 1/bn) = 2/an+1 (2) . . . an+1bn = (bn+1)2. Archimedes, starting from a1 = 3 tan(p/3) = 3 3 and b1 = 3 sin(p/3) = 3 3/2, calculated a2 using (1), then b2 using (2), then a3 using (1), then b3 using (2), and so on until he had calculated a6 and b6. His conclusion was that b6 < p < a6. It is important to realise that the use of trigonometry here is unhistorical: Archimedes did not have the advantage of an algebraic and trigonometrical notation and had to derive (1) and (2) by purely geometrical means. Moreover he did not even have the advantage of our decimal notation for numbers, so that the calculation of a6 and b6 from (1) and (2) was by no means a trivial task. So it was a pretty stupendous feat both of imagination and of calculation and the wonder is not that he stopped with polygons of 96 sides, but that he went so far. For of course there is no reason in principle why one should not go on. Various people did, including: (c. 150 AD) 3.1416 Ptolemy Tsu Ch'ung Chi (430-501 AD) 355/113 al-Khwarizmi (c. 800 ) 3.1416 al-Kashi (c. 1430) 14 places Vite (1540-1603) 9 places Roomen (1561-1615) 17 places Van Ceulen (c. 1600) 35 places Except for Tsu Ch'ung Chi, about whom next to nothing is known and who is very unlikely to have known about Archimedes' work, there was no theoretical progress involved in these improvements, only greater stamina in calculation. Notice how the lead, in this as in all scientific matters, passed from Europe to the East for the millennium 400 to 1400 AD. Al-Khwarizmi lived in Baghdad, and incidentally gave his name to 'algorithm', while the words al jabr in the title of one of his books gave us the word 'algebra'. Al-Kashi lived still further east, in Samarkand, while Tsu Ch'ung Chi, one need hardly add, lived in China. The European Renaissance brought about in due course a whole new mathematical world. Among the first effects of this reawakening was the emergence of mathematical formulae for p. One of the earliest was that of Wallis (1616-1703) 2/p = ( ...)/( ...) and one of the best-known is p/4 = 1 - 1/3 + 1/5 - 1/7 + .... This formula is sometimes attributed to Leibniz (1646-1716) but is seems to have been first discovered by James Gregory (1638- 1675). These are both dramatic and astonishing formulae, for the expressions on the right are completely arithmetical in character, while p arises in the first instance from geometry. They show the surprising results that infinite processes can achieve and point the way to the wonderful richness of modern mathematics.
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From the point of view of the calculation of p, however, neither is of any use at all. In Gregory's series, for example, to get 4 decimal places correct we require the error to be less than 0.00005 = 1/20000, and so we need about 10000 terms of the series. However, Gregory also showed the more general result (3) . . . tan-1 x = x - x3/3 + x5/5 - ... (-1 x 1) from which the first series results if we put x = 1. So using the fact that tan-1(1/ 3) = p/6 we get p/6 = (1/ 3)(1 - 1/(3.3) + 1/(5.3.3) - 1/( + ... which converges much more quickly. The 10th term is 1/19 we have at least 4 places correct after just 9 terms. An even better idea is to take the formula (4) . . . p/4 = tan-1(1/2) + tan-1(1/3) and then calculate the two series obtained by putting first 1/2 and the 1/3 into (3). Clearly we shall get very rapid convergence indeed if we can find a formula something like p/4 = tan-1(1/a) + tan-1(1/b) with a and b large. In 1706 Machin found such a formula: (5) . . . p/4 = 4 tan-1(1/5) - tan-1(1/239) Actually this is not at all hard to prove, if you know how to prove (4) then there is no real extra difficulty about (5), except that the arithmetic is worse. Thinking it up in the first place is, of course, quite another matter. With a formula like this available the only difficulty in computing p is the sheer boredom of continuing the calculation. Needless to say, a few people were silly enough to devote vast amounts of time and effort to this tedious and wholly useless pursuit. One of them. an Englishman named Shanks, used Machin's formula to calculate p to 707 places, publishing the results of many years of labour in 1873. Shanks has achieved immortality for a very curious reason which we shall explain in a moment. Here is a summary of how the improvement went: 1699: Sharp used Gregory's result to get 71 correct digits 1701: Machin used an improvement to get 100 digits and the following used his methods: 1719: de Lagny found 112 correct digits 1789: Vega got 126 places and in 1794 got 136 1841: Rutherford calculated 152 digits and in 1853 got 440 1873: Shanks calculated 707 places of which 527 were correct A more detailed Chronology is available. Shanks knew that p was irrational since this had been proved in 1761 by Lambert. Shortly after Shanks' calculation it was shown by Lindemann that p is transcendental, that is, p is not the solution of any polynomial equation with integer coefficients. In fact this result of Lindemann showed that 'squaring the circle' is impossible. The transcendentality of p implies that there is no ruler and compass construction to construct a square equal in area to a given circle. Very soon after Shanks' calculation a curious statistical freak was noticed by De Morgan, who found that in the last of 707 digits there was a suspicious shortage of 7's. He mentions this in his Budget of Paradoxes of 1872 and a curiosity it remained until 1945 when Ferguson discovered that Shanks had made an error in the 528th place, after which all his digits were wrong. In 1949 a computer was used to calculate p to 2000 places. In this and all subsequent computer expansions the number of 7's does not F;ile: /var/www/apps/conversion/tmp/scratch_5/176675770.doc 177 39 3, which is less than 0.00005, and so

differ significantly from its expectation, and indeed the sequence of digits has so far passed all statistical tests for randomness. You can see 2000 places of p. We should say a little of how the notation p arose. Oughtred in 1647 used the symbol d/p for the ratio of the diameter of a circle to its circumference. David Gregory (1697) used p/r for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its radius. The first to use p with its present meaning was an Welsh mathematician William Jones in 1706 when he states 3.14159 andc. = p. Euler adopted the symbol in 1737 and it quickly became a standard notation. We conclude with one further statistical curiosity about the calculation of p, namely Buffon's needle experiment. If we have a uniform grid of parallel lines, unit distance apart and if we drop a needle of length k < 1 on the grid, the probability that the needle falls across a line is 2k/p. Various people have tried to calculate p by throwing needles. The most remarkable result was that of Lazzerini (1901), who made 34080 tosses and got p = 355/113 = 3.1415929 which, incidentally, is the value found by Tsu Ch'ung Chi. This outcome is suspiciously good, and the game is given away by the strange number 34080 of tosses. Kendall and Moran comment that a good value can be obtained by stopping the experiment at an optimal moment. If you set in advance how many throws there are to be then this is a very inaccurate way of computing p. Kendall and Moran comment that you would do better to cut out a large circle of wood and use a tape measure to find its circumference and diameter. Still on the theme of phoney experiments, Gridgeman, in a paper which pours scorn on Lazzerini and others, created some amusement by using a needle of carefully chosen length k = 0.7857, throwing it twice, and hitting a line once. His estimate for p was thus given by 2 0.7857 / p = 1/2

from which he got the highly creditable value of p = 3.1428. He was not being serious! It is almost unbelievable that a definition of p was used, at least as an excuse, for a racial attack on the eminent mathematician Edmund Landau in 1934. Landau had defined p in this textbook published in Gttingen in that year by the, now fairly usual, method of saying that p/2 is the value of x between 1 and 2 for which cos x vanishes. This unleashed an academic dispute which was to end in Landau's dismissal from his chair at Gttingen. Bieberbach, an eminent number theorist who disgraced himself by his racist views, explains the reasons for Landau's dismissal:Thus the valiant rejection by the Gttingen student body which a great mathematician, Edmund Landau, has experienced is due in the final analysis to the fact that the unGerman style of this man in his research and teaching is unbearable to German feelings. A people who have perceived how members of another race are working to impose ideas foreign to its own must refuse teachers of an alien culture. G H Hardy replied immediately to Bieberbach in a published note about the consequences of this unGerman definition of p There are many of us, many Englishmen and many Germans, who said things during the War which we scarcely meant and are sorry to remember now. Anxiety for one's own position, dread of falling behind the rising torrent of folly, determination at all cost not to be outdone, may be natural if not particularly heroic excuses. Professor Bieberbach's reputation excludes such explanations of his utterances, and I find myself driven to the more uncharitable conclusion that he really believes them true.

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Not only in Germany did p present problems. In the USA the value of p gave rise to heated political debate. In the State of Indiana in 1897 the House of Representatives unanimously passed a Bill introducing a new mathematical truth. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana: It has been found that a circular area is to the square on a line equal to the quadrant of the circumference, as the area of an equilateral rectangle is to the square of one side. (Section I, House Bill No. 246, 1897) The Senate of Indiana showed a little more sense and postponed indefinitely the adoption of the Act! Open questions about the number p 1. Does each of the digits 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 each occur infinitely often in p? 2. Brouwer's question: In the decimal expansion of p, is there a place where a thousand consecutive digits are all zero? 3. Is p simply normal to base 10? That is does every digit appear equally often in its decimal expansion in an asymptotic sense? 4. Is p normal to base 10? That is does every block of digits of a given length appear equally often in its decimal expansion in an asymptotic sense? 5. Is p normal ? That is does every block of digits of a given length appear equally often in the expansion in every base in an asymptotic sense? The concept was introduced by Borel in 1909. 6. Another normal question! We know that p is not rational so there is no point from which the digits will repeat. However, if p is normal then the first million digits 314159265358979... will occur from some point. Even if p is not normal this might hold! Does it? If so from what point? Note: Up to 200 million the longest to appear is 31415926 and this appears twice. As a postscript, here is a mnemonic for the decimal expansion of p. Each successive digit is the number of letters in the corresponding word. How I want a drink, alcoholic of course, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics. All of thy geometry, Herr Planck, is fairly hard...: 3.14159265358979323846264... You can see more about the history of p in the History topic: Squaring the circle and you can see a Chronology of how calculations of p have developed over the years. Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson References (30 books/articles)

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Pi and the Fibonacci Numbers

Surprisingly, there are several formulae that use the Fibonacci numbers to compute Pi ( ). Here's a brief introduction from scratch to all that you need to know to appreciate these formulae.

Contents of this page


icon means there is a Things to do investigation at the end of the section. How Pi is calculated Measuring the steepness of a hill The tangent of an angle The arctan function Gregory's Formula for arctan(t) Radian measure Gregory's series and pi o Using Gregory's Series to calculate pi/4 o Using Gregory's series to calculate Pi/6 Machin's Formula Another two-angle arctan formula for pi Pi and the Fibonacci Numbers The General Formulae Wetherfield's notation More formulae for two angles Lucas Numbers and a Formula for Pi Some Experimental Maths for you to try More links and References

How Pi is calculated
Until very recently there were just two methods used to compute pi, one invented by the Greek mathematician Archimedes, and the other by the Scottish mathematician James Gregory. We'll just look at Gregory's method here.

Measuring the steepness of a hill

The steepness of a hill can be measured in different ways. It is shown on road signs which indicate a hill and the measure of the steepness is indicated in differing ways from country to country. Some countries measure the steepness by a ratio (eg 1 in 3) and others by a percentage. The ratio is converted to a decimal to get its percentage, so a slope of "1 in 5" means 1/5 or 20%. The picture on the road-sign tells us if we are going up a hill or down. We could say that a 20% rise is a steepness measured as +20% and a 20% fall as a steepness of -20% too.

But what does "a slope of 1 in 5" mean?

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There are two interpretations. Some people take "1 in 5" to mean the drop (or rise) of 1 (metres, miles or kilometers) for every 5 (metres, miles, kilometers) travelled along the road. In the diagram, the distances are shown in orange. Others measure it as the drop or rise per unit distance travelled horizontally. A "1 in 5" slope means that I would rise 1 metre for every 5 metres travelled horizontally. The same numbers apply if I measure distance in miles or centimeters or any other unit. In the second interpretation it is easier to calculate the steepness from a map. On the map, take two points where contour lines cross the road. The contour lines give the rise or fall in height vertically between the two points. Using a ruler and the scale of the map you can find the horizontal distance between the points but make sure it is in the same units as the horizontal distance! Dividing one by the other gives the ratio measuring the steepness of the road between the two points. But they look the same slope? Yes, they do when the slope is "1 in 5" because the difference very small - about 023 in fact. Here is a slope of 101. The green line is 101 times as long as the blue height and the red line is too. You can see that they "measure" very different slopes (the green line and the black line are clearly different slopes now). What do you think a slope of "1 in 1" means in the two interpretations? Only one interpretation will mean a slope of 45 - which one? So we had better be clear about what we mean by slope of a line in mathematics!! The first interpretation is called the sine of the angle of the slope where we divide the change in height by the distance along the road (hypotenuse). The second interpretation is called the tangent of the angle of the slope where we divide the change in height by the horizontal distance. The slope of a line in mathematics is ALWAYS taken to mean the tangent of the angle of slope. So in mathematics, as on road-signs, we measure the slope by a a ratio which is just a number. The higher the number, the steeper the slope. A perfectly "flat" road will have slope 0 in both interpretations. Uphill roads will have a positive steepness and downhill roads will be negative in both interpretations. In mathematics, a small incline upwards will have slope 01 (i.e.10% or 1/10 or a rise of 1 in 10) a road going slightly downhill had slope -02 (i.e. 20% or 1/5 or a fall of 1 in 5); a fairly steep road uphill will have slope 04 (ie 40% or 2/5) and the same road travelled in the other direction (downhill) has the same number, but negative: -04 In mathematics, a "1 in 1 " slope will means a metre rise for every metre travelled "along", so the slope is 1:1 = 1/1 = 1 or 45 degrees (upward). Note that with the other interpretation (using the sine of the angle) of 1 in 1 is a rise of 1 metre for every metre along the road. This would mean a vertical road (a cliff-face) which is not at all the same thing as a tangent of 1!


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Similarly, in mathematics, a slope of -1 would be a hill going downwards at 45 degrees. In maths, lines can have slopes much steeper than roads designed for vehicles, so our slopes can be anything up to vertical both upwards and downwards. Such a line would have a slope of "infinity".

The tangent of an angle

So we can relate the angle of the slope to the ratio of the two sides of the (rightangled) triangle. This ratio is called the tangent of the angle. In the diagram here, the tangent of angle x is a/b, written: tan(x) = a/b A their ratio is 1, tan(45) = a/a = 45 right-angled triangle has the two sides by the right-angle of equal size, so which we write as 1

If we split an equilateral triangle (ie all sides and all angles are the same) in half, we get a 60-30-90 triangle as shown: We can use Pythagoras' Theorem to find the length of the vertical red line. Pythagoras' Theorem says that, in any right-angled triangle with sides a, b and h (h being the hypotenuse which is the longest side - see the first triangle here) then a2 + b2 = h2 So, in our split-equilateral triangle with sides of length 2, its height squared must be 22-12=3, ie its height is 3. So we have tan(60) = 3 and tan(30) = 1/ 3

The arctan function

If we are given a slope as the tangent of an angle, we may want to find the angle itself. This would mean using the tangent function "backwards" which in mathematics is called finding the inverse function of the tangent. The inverse function is called the arctangent function, denoted atan or arctan. So arctan(t) takes a slope t (a tangent number) and returns the angle of a straight line with that slope.

Gregory's Formula for arctan(t)

In 1672, James Gregory (1638-1675) wrote about a formula for calculating the angle given the tangent t for angles up to 45 (i.e for tangents or slopes t of size up to 1): t3 t5 t7 t9 arctan( t ) = t + + ... 7 3 5 9 Actually, it is not so much a formula as a series, since it goes on for ever. So we could ask if it will it ever compute an actual value (an angle) if there are always terms to come? Provided that t is less than 1 in size then the terms will get smaller and smaller as the powers of t get higher and higher. So we can stop after some point confident that the terms missed out contribute an amount too small to alter the amount we have already computed to a certain degree of accuracy. [The question now becomes: "How many terms do I need for a given degree of accuracy?"]
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Why must the value of t not exceed 1? Look at what happens when t is 2, say. t3 is then 8, the fifth power is 32, the seventh power 128 and so on. Even when we divide by 3,5,7 etc, the values of each term get bigger and bigger (called divergence). The only way that powers can get smaller and smaller (and so the series settles down to a single sum or the series converges) is when t<1. For this series, it also gives a sum if t=1, but as soon as t>1, the series diverges. Of course t may be negative too. The same applies: the series converges if t is greater than -1 (its size is less than 1 if we ignore the sign) and diverges if t is less than -1 (its size is greater than 1 if we ignore the sign). The neatest way to sum this up is to say that Gregory's series converges if t does not exceed 1 in size (ignoring any minus sign) i.e. -1 < t < 1. The error between what we compute for an arctan and what we leave out will be small if we take lots of terms. The limiting angle that Gregory's Series can be used on has a tangent that is just 1, ie 45 degrees.

Radian measure
First, we note that the angle in Gregory's series is not returned in degrees, but in radians which turns out to be the "natural" measure of angles since formulae are much simpler if we use this rather than degrees. we draw the angle at the center of a circle of unit radius, then the radian is the length of the arc cut off by the angle (hence the "arc" in "arctan": "the arc of an angle whose tangent is..."). So 360 degrees is the whole circumference, that is 360 = 2 Pi radians = 2 Pir and halving this gives 180 = Pi radians = Pir and 90 = Pi/2 radians = (Pi/2)r. Since 60 is a sixth of a full turn (360) then 60 = 2 Pi/ 6 = Pi/3 radians = (Pi/3)r and so 30 = Pi/6 radians = (Pi/6)r. Note that, when it does not cause confusion with "raising to the power r" then ar means "a radians". A single degree is 1/360 of a full turn of 2 Pi radians so


1 = 2 Pi/360 radians = pi/180 radians

Similarly, 1 radian is 1/(2 Pi) of a full turn of 360 degrees so

1 radian = 360 / (2 Pi) degrees = 180 / Pi degrees.

Using radian measure explains why the inverse-tangent function is also called the ARCtan function it returns the arc angle when given a tangent.

Gregory's series and

We now have several angles whose tangents we know :tan 45 (or /4 radians) =1, therefore arctan(1) = 4 and if we plug this into Gregory's Series: arctan(t) = t - t3/3 + t5/5 - t7/7 + t9/9 - ... we get the following surprisingly simple and beautiful formula for Pi:
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arctan( 1 ) =


1 1 1 1 + + ... 3 5 7 9

Actually, Gregory never explicitly wrote down this formula but another famous mathematician of the time, Gottfried Leibnitz (1646-1716), mentioned it in print first in 1682, and so this special case of Gregory's series is usually called Leibnitz Formula for . We can use other angles whose tangent we know too to get some more formulae for Pi. For instance, earlier we saw that tan 60 (or /3 radians) = 3 therefore arctan( 3 ) = 3 So what formula do we get when we use this in Gregory's Series? But wait!!! 3 is bigger than 1, so Gregory's series cannot be used!! The series we would get is not useful since wherever we stop it, the terms left out will always contribute a much larger amount and swamp what we already have. In mathematics we would say that the sum diverges. Instead let's still use the 30-60-90 triangle, but consider the other angle of 30. Since tan 30 (or /6 radians) = 1/ 3 which is less than 1: 1 arctan = 3 6 The other angle whose tangent we mentioned above gives : 1 1 1 + 1 1 + ... arctan = = 2 7 33 3 3 6 3 3 3 3 5 3 3 We can factor out the 3 and get 1 1 1 1 1 = 1 + ... 2 3 + 3 3 5 3 9 34 6 3 7 3 or 1 1 1 1 = 2 3 1 + ... 2 3 + (**) 3 3 5 3 7 3 9 34 Using Gregory's Series to calculate /4 If we try to work out the value of /4 from the formula marked as (*) above, we find that the formula, although very pretty (or elegant as mathematicians like to say), it is not very useful or practical for calculating pi:
1 = 1000000000000000000 1/3 = 0333333333333333333 + 1/5 = 0200000000000000000 1/7 = 0142857142857142857 + 1/9 = 0111111111111111111 1/11= 0090909090909090909 + 1/13= 0076923076923076923 ...

In fact, the first 5 terms have to be used before we get to 1/11 which is less than 1/10, that is, before we get a term with a 0 in the first decimal place. It takes 50 terms before we get to 1/101 which has 0s in the first two decimal places and 500 terms before we get terms with 3 initial zeros. We would need to compute five million terms just to get /4 to 6 (or 7) decimal places! This is called a slow rate of convergence. Can we improve Gregory's Formula by making it converge more quickly (i.e. use less terms to get a more accurate value of Pi)? Try the following questions to answer this (suggested by Robert H Douglass): Things to do
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1. If we combine the first two terms 1-1/3 we get 2/3. Combining the next two gives 1/5-1/7=2/35. What single fraction results from the next two terms? 2. Can you find a formula for this new series of double-term fractions? Hint: try using
denominators of (4n+1) and (4n+3)

3. Take two of your terms in this new double-term series and combine them into one fraction. Repeat with the next two terms. Can you find a formula fo rthis new series which combines 4 of the Gergory's original terms? 4. Do either of these series "converge faster" to Pi/4? <> Using Gregory's Series to calculate /6 The second formula above that is marked (**) that we derived from arctan(1/ 3) is a lot better
1 = 1000000000000 1/9 = 0111111111111 + 1/45 = 0022222222222 1/189 = 0005291005291 + 1/729 = 0001371742112 1/2673 = 0000374111485 + 1/9477 = 0000105518624 1/32805 = 0000030483158 + 1/111537 = 0000008965634 1/373977 = 0000002673961 + 1/1240029= 0000000806432 ...

and after just 10 terms, we are getting zeros in the first 6 places - remember that would have been after at least half a million terms by Leibnitz Formula! Summing the above and multiplying by 2 3 gives = 314159 to 5 decimal places The only problem with the faster formula above is that we need to use 3 and, before calculators were invented, this was tedious to compute. Can we find some other formulae where there are some nice easy tangent values that we know but which don't involve computing square roots? Yes! The next section shows one method.

Machin's Formula
In 1706, John Machin (1680-1752) found the following formula: 1 1 = 4 arctan arctan 4 5 239 The 239 number is quite large, so we never need very many terms of arctan(1/239) before we've got lots of zeros in the initial decimal places. The other term, arctan(1/5) involves easy computations if you are computing terms by hand, since it involves finding reciprocals of powers of 5. In fact, that was just what Machin did, and computed 100 places by hand! Here are the computations:
All computations to 15 decimal places: arctan(1/5) arctan(1/239): 1/5 = 0200000000000000 1/239 = 0004184100418410 1/375 =-0002666666666666 1/40955757 =-0000000024416591 F;ile: /var/www/apps/conversion/tmp/scratch_5/176675770.doc

185 1/15625 = 0000064000000000 1/3899056325995= 0000000000000256 1/546875 =-0000001828571428 1/17578125 = 0000000056888889 1/537109375 =-0000000001861818 1/15869140625 = 0000000000063015 1/457763671875 =-0000000000002184 1/12969970703125 = 0000000000000077 1/362396240234375=-0000000000000002 SUMMING: arctan(1/5) = 01973955598498807 and arctan(1/239) = 0004184076002074 Putting these in the Machin's formula gives: Pi/4= 4xarctan(1/5 ) - arctan( 1/239 ) or Pi = 16xarctan(1/5 ) - 4xarctan( 1/239 ) = 16x01973955598498807 - 4x0004184076002074 = 31415926535897922

Another two-angle arctan formula for

Here's another beautifully simple formula which Euler (1707-1783) wrote about in 1738: 4 = arctan 1 1 + arctan 2 3 Euler's Formula

It's even more elegant when we write pi/4 as arctan(1): arctan(1) = arctan 1 1 + arctan 2 3

With just a little geometry and the diagram here, you might be able to verify that this formula is indeed correct.

HINTS: 1. What are tan(a), tan(b) and tan(c) from the diagram? 2. The dark blue and light blue triangles are the same shape (why? consider tangents) 3. so which angle in the light-blue triangle is the same as b in the dark blue one? 4. Angles in a triangle add to 180 degrees so what can you say about angle c and a as shown and the new angle equal to b? (ie prove that angle a = angle b + angle c) 5. Express this angle relationship using arctans, since you know their tangents from Hint 1 above. 6. Eh Voila! Here is another diagram which illustrates the relationship even more simply: The green angle has a tangent of 1/2;
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the blue angle has a tangent of 1/3; together they make the corner angle in red whose tangent is 1. NOW we are ready for the formula using the Fibonacci Numbers to compute !

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Pi and the Fibonacci Numbers

Now we return to using the Fibonacci numbers to compute . Euler's formula that we have just proved: 1 1 = arctan + arctan 2 4 3 is good for computing since 1/2 and 1/3 are smaller than 1. (The smaller the value of the tangent in Gregory's formula, the quicker the sum converges and the less work we have to do to find pi!) Things to do

Use this formula to compute to a few decimal places by hand

Are there any more formulae like it, that is, using two angles whose tangents we know and which add up to 45 degrees (ie /4 radians whose tangent is 1)? Yes, here are some (not proved here). Can you spot the pattern?
Pi/4 = arctan(1) and ... arctan(1) = arctan(1/2) + arctan(1/3) arctan(1/3) = arctan(1/5) + arctan(1/8) arctan(1/8) = arctan(1/13) + arctan(1/21) arctan(1/21) = arctan(1/34) + arctan(1/55)

We can combine them by putting the second equation for arctan (1/3) into the first to get:
Pi/4 = arctan(1) = arctan(1/2) + arctan(1/3) = arctan(1/2) + arctan(1/5) + arctan(1/8)

and then combine this with the third equation for arctan(1/8) to get:
Pi/4 = arctan(1/2) + arctan(1/5) + arctan(1/13) + arctan(1/21)

You'll have already noticed the Fibonacci numbers here. However, not all the Fibonacci numbers appear on the left hand sides. For instance, we have no expansion for arctan(1/5) nor for arctan(1/13). Only the even numbered Fibonacci terms seem to be expanded (F2=1, F4=3, F6=8, F8=21, ...): 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610, 987 ..More..

The General Formulae

We have just seen that there are infinitely many formulae for Pi using the Fibonacci numbers! They are: Pi/4 = arctan(1) = arctan(1/2) + arctan(1/3) = arctan(1/2) + arctan(1/5) + arctan(1/8) = arctan(1/2) + arctan(1/5) + arctan(1/13) + arctan(1/21) = arctan(1/2) + arctan(1/5) + arctan(1/13) + arctan(1/34) + arctan(55) =... or, putting these in terms of the Fibonacci numbers: Pi/4 = arctan(1/F1 ) = arctan(1/F3) + arctan(1/(F4)
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= arctan(1/F3) + arctan(1/F5) + arctan(1/F6) = arctan(1/F3) + arctan(1/F5) + arctan(1/F7) + arctan(1/F8) = arctan(1/F3) + arctan(1/F5) + arctan(1/F7) + arctan(1/F9) + arctan(1/F10) = ... What is the general formula? It is arctan

( )
1 F2n

= arctan

( )

+ arctan

( )


What happens if we keep on expanding the last term as we have done above? We get the infinite sum 4= arctan 1 F2k+1

which only uses odd-indexed Fibonacci numbers. or arctan(1) = arctan(1/F3) + arctan(1/F5) + arctan(1/F7) + ... = arctan(1/2) + arctan(1/5) + arctan(1/13)+... which is a special case of the following when k is 1: arctan 1 1 = n=k arctan F2n+1 F2k

Wetherfield's notation
You will ahvenoticed that we have been using the arctan of reciprocals (fractions of the form 1/N) quite a lot above. So, as is common in mathematics, it will be worth finding some notation to save writing (mathematicains are always looking for notations to save space!) and that will make our equations more readable. Michael Wetherfield introduced such a notation in his article on The Enhancement of Machin's Formula by Todd's Process in Mathematical Gazette, Volume 80, No 488 of July 1996, pages 333344. It also has lots of interesting formula like those above. If the tangent of an angle is a/b then the cotangent of that angle is b/a. Tangent is usually abbreviated to tan and cotangent to cot. So the angle whose tangent is a/b i.e. arctan(a/b) is the same as the angle whose cotangent is b/a which we write as arccot(b/a). So we can replace arctan(1/x) by arccot(x). Euler's formula arctan(1)=arctan(1/2)+arctan(1/3) then becomes arccot(1) = arccot(2) + arccot(3) He further abbreviates arccot(A) to just {A} - note the curly brackets: 1 arctan will be written as { T } T In this abbreviated notation, Euler's formula now becomes : {1} = {2} + {3} Euler's Formula

More formulae for two angles

There are many more angles which have tangents of the form 1/X which are the sum of two other angles with tangents of the same kind. Above we looked at such formulae which only involved the Fibonacci numbers. Here are some more examples:
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189 {2} = {3} + {7} which means arctan(1/2) = arctan(1/ 3) + arctan(1/ 7) {3} = {4} + {13} i.e. arctan(1/3) = arctan(1/ 4) + arctan(1/13) {4} = {5} + {21} {5} = {6} + {31} {5} = {7} + {18} {6} = {7} + {43) {7} = {8} + {57} {7} = {9} + {32} {7} = {12} + {17}

Lucas Numbers and a formula for Pi

Shane Findley from Dover NH (USA) emailed me with a formula for pi which uses the Lucas Numbers, a number series that has the same rule as the Fibonacci series (add the last two to get the next) but starts with 2 and 1 instead of 0 and 1: n: 0 1 2 3 4 5 Fn: 0 1 1 2 3 5 6 8 7 8 9 10 ... ... 13 21 34 55

Ln: 2 1 3 4 7 11 18 29 47 76 123 ... Shane only gave a hint at a reason why this is true and I will expand on this to give a full proof and justification here. Using the Collected Formulae page, (in particular, Vajda-5, Vajda 17a and Vajda-23) we can prove the following arctan relationship: arctan 1 F2n+1 = arctan 1 1 + arctan L2n L2n+2 (B)

If we put (B) in the abbreviated form together the with Euler's formula (A), we have { F 2n } = { F2n+1 } + { F2n+2 } { F2n+1 } = { L 2n } + { L2n+2 } (A) (B)

We can use equations (A) and (B) together now to expand Euler's formula in a different way, replacing all the Fibonacci numbers by Lucas numbers. There are two steps: a. When we find an arctan of a reciprocal of an even-indexed Fibonacci number, we can use (A) to replace it by a sum of two terms, one an odd-indexed Fibonacci number and another even-indexed Fibonacci number. b. Now we can use (B) on the odd-indexed Fibonacci number to replace it with two Lucas numbers instead. The other Fibonacci number was even-indexed so we can perform these two steps on it, introducing two more Lucas numbers and yet another even-indexed Fibonacci number. We can keep on repeating this to get an infinite series involving only Lucas numbers. So, starting from { 1 } = { 2 } + { 3 } = { F 3 } + { F4 } we can replace the odd-indexed Fibonacci number F3 with a sum of two Lucas number reciprocals as follows: {1} = {2}+{3} = { F3 } + { F 4 } First we use (A) on {F3}:F;ile: /var/www/apps/conversion/tmp/scratch_5/176675770.doc


= { L2 } + { L4 } + { F4 } Now we keep using steps (a) and (b) to expand { F4 }:= { L2 } + { L4 } + { F5 } + { F6 } by step (a) on {F4} = { L2 } + { L4 } + { L4 } + { L6 } + { F6 } by step (b) on {F5} = { L2 } + { L4 } + { L4 } + { L6 } + { F7 } + { F8 } by step (a) on {F6} = { L2 } + { L4 } + { L4 } + { L6 } + { L6 } + { L8 } + { F8 } by step (b) on {F7} ... = { L2 } + 2{ L4 } + 2{ L6 } + 2{ L8 } + 2{ L10 } + ... What we end up with, when we translate our Wetherfield abbreviated notation back into ordinary mathematical notation is: 1 1 = arctan +2 arctan 4 3 L2k k=2 and we can also replace 3 by L2 and so only use even-indexed Lucas numbers.

More series?
Are there any more Fibonacci-type series that we can use apart from Fibonacci itself and Lucas Numbers? Yes! The reason lies in the formula called Vajda-20a (for the Fibonacci numbers themselves) and its generalization to formula Vajda-18 on the Collected Formulae page at this site.

Some Experimental Maths for you to try

Here are some suggestions to see if we can find some reasons for the above results, and some order in the numbers. You can use a computer to do the hard work, then you have the fun job of looking for patterns in its results! This is called Experimental Mathematics since we are using the computer as a microscope is used in biology or like a telescope for astronomy. We can find some results that we then have to find a theory or explanation for, except that what we look at is the World of Numbers, not plants or stars.

Finding more arctan relations for 1/N

Is there a formula of the kind arctan(1/N) = arctan(1/Y) + arctan(1/Z) for all positive integers N (Y and Z also positive integers)? So if I give you an N can you always find a Y and a Z? How would you go about doing a computer search for numerical values that look as if they might be true (ie searching through some small values of N, Y and Z and seeing where the value of the left hand side is almost equal to the value of the right hand side? [ Remember, it could just be that the numbers are really almost equal but not exactly equal. However, you have to allow for small errors in your computer's tan and arctan functions, so you almost certainly will not get zero exactly even for results which we can prove are true mathematically. This is the central problem of Experimental Maths and show that it never avoids the need for proving your results.] Things to do 1. Can you spot any patterns in the numerical results of your computer search? 2. Can you prove that your patterns are always true? Try a different approach to the proofs. Since we have a proof for the first result (we used
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the dark blue and light blue triangles in the diagram earlier in this page), can we extend or generalize the proof method? 3. Once you have a list of pairs of angles which sum to another, you can use it to generate three angles that sum to another (as we did for 3 then 4 and an infinite number for the arctan(1) series for above). Eg:
5. 6. 4. arctan(1/4) = arctan(1/5) + arctan(1/21) and arctan(1/5) = arctan(1/6) + arctan(1/31) 7. and substituting gives arctan(1/4) = arctan(1/6) + arctan(1/21) + arctan(1/31)

Perhaps there are sums of three angles that are NOT generated in this way (ie where any two of the angles do not sum to one with a tangent of the form 1/N)? It looks like: arctan(1/2) = arctan(1/4) + arctan(1/5) + arctan(1/47) might be one (if, indeed, it is exactly true). If so, how would you go about searching for them numerically?

Arctan relations for M/N

We've only looked at angles whose tangents are of the form 1/N. Perhaps there are some nice formula for expressing angles of the form arctan(M/N) as the sum of angles of the form arctan(1/X)? or even as a sum of other such "rational" tangents, not just reciprocals. What patterns are there here? To start you off: One such pattern looks like having Y=X+1, that is, arctan(1/X) = arctan(1/(X+1)) + arctan(1/Z) Here are some results from a computer search ( - or are they?!? - see below): NB To save space here and also in other mathematical texts, arctan is abbreviated further to atan.
atan(1/2)=atan(1/3)+atan( 1/7) atan(1/3)=atan(1/4)+atan(1/13) atan(1/4)=atan(1/5)+atan(1/21) atan(1/5)=atan(1/6)+atan(1/31) atan(1/6)=atan(1/7)+atan(1/43) atan(1/7)=atan(1/8)+atan(1/57) atan(1/8)=atan(1/9)+atan(1/72) In fact, there IS a mistake in one of these 7 lines because a genuine mathematical pattern is spoilt by one of the results - but which one? Can you find a formula for Z and can you prove that it is always true?

Reducing two arctans to one

Tadaaki Ohno, a mathematics student at the University of Tokyo , Japan, (July 1999) mentioned a nice method of looking for arctangent relations which depends on factoring numbers (although Hwang Chien-lih says that Lewis Carroll (C L Dodgson) knew this method also). Using the following formula for the tangent of the sum of two angles, a and b: tan a + tan b tan(a + b) = 1 tan a tan b He transforms it into the problem of finding integers x, y and z which satisfy: (x z)(y z) = z2 + 1
(You can derive this expression from the tan(a+b) formula as follows: Let tan a = 1/x i.e arctan(1/x) is angle a and let tan b = 1/y so arctan(1/y) is angle b. Then a+b = arctan(1/x) + arctan(1/y) = arctan(1/z) so that tan(a+b) = 1/z. Put these values in the tan(a+b) formula above and then simplify the right hand side by multiplying top F;ile: /var/www/apps/conversion/tmp/scratch_5/176675770.doc

192 and bottom by xy. After rearranging you will then need to add z2 to both sides and then Tadaaki Ohno's formula appears.)

So, for instance, if arctan(1/z)= pi/4 and therefore z is 1 then we can find values x and y by solving (x 1)(y 1) = 12 + 1 = 2 The important thing is that x and y are integers so we only need to look for integer factors of 2 and there are only two factors of 2, namely 1 and 2: x 1 = 1 and y 1 = 2 which gives x = 2 and y = 3 This is the first two-angle formula that we mentioned earlier that Euler found in 1738:

/4 = arctan( 1/2 ) + arctan( 1/3 )

The important other part of Tad's proof is that all two-angle values satisfy this formula. So we now know that there is only one way to write arctan(1) as the sum of two angles of the form arctan(1/x) + arctan(1/y). Things to do 1. Find all the two-angle sums (x and y) for z from 1 to 12. 2. Research Problem Can you find a similar formula for x, y and z when arctan(1/z) = 2 arctan(1/x) + arctan(1/y) What about arctan(1/z) = 3 arctan(1/x) + arctan(1/y) and arctan(1/z) = 4 arctan(1/x) + arctan(1/y) and, in general, arctan(1/z) = k arctan(1/x) + arctan(1/y) Tad says he has proved that Machin's formula (which has z=1, x=239 and y=5) is the only solution for k=4. Research Problems Hwang Chien-lih of Taiwan told me that Stormer proved that there are only four 2-term formulae for arctan(1), that is Euler's and Machin's and only two more: arctan(1) = 4 arctan(1/5) arctan(1/239) discovered Machin in 1706. arctan(1) = arctan(1/2) + arctan(1/3), discovered by Euler in 1738
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arctan(1) = 2 arctan(1/2) arctan(1/7) (discovered by Hermann in 1706?) arctan(1) = 2 arctan(1/3) + arctan(1/7) (discovered by Hutton in 1776?) He also says the same Stormer found 103 three-term formulae, J W Wrench had found 2 more and Hwang Chien-lih has found another. How many are there in total? If you get some results from these problems, please send them to me - I'd be interested to see what you come up with so I can put your name and your results on this page too. Perhaps you can find some results in the Journals in your University library (not so easy!)? Even if the results you discover for yourself are already known (in books and papers), you'll have done some real maths in the meantime. Anyway, perhaps your results really are new and your proofs are much simpler than those known and we need to let the world know so have a go! Leroy Quet of Denver, Colorado, has found a simple proof (here it is) of the real pattern.

More links and References

A brief history of computing pi at the St Andrews site and well worth looking at. Aoki Mitsuru's page of Pi with 400 Million places! You can search the first 10,000,000 places of Pi for any particular string of numbers eg if your birthday is 4th May, 1986, we can write it as a number such as 04051986 (or 040586 or, if you are American, 050486 or perhaps 860504) or for some other sequences. "999999" occurs no less than 17 times in the first ten million places, the first time being at decimal places 763-768! Jeremy's page also points to an actual list of all 10 million digits of Pi which you can download. Before you do, however, be aware that since each digit is stored as one byte, the file is 10 Megabytes in size! So how about... University of Exeter has a page of the first 10,000 digits of Pi!

More Machin-type identities Mathematical Gazette March 1997, pages 120-121. Just after this article in the same issue is ... Machin revisited Mathematical Gazette March 1997, pages 121-123. Some new inverse cotangent identities for pi Mathematical Gazette (1997? or 1998?) pages 459-460. Problem B-218 in the Fib. Q., 10, 1972, pp 335-336 gives the sum of the arctans of the reciprocals of the alternate (odd-indexed) Fibonacci numbers from F2k+1 onwards as the arctan of 1/F2k. The formula for pi/4 then follows when k=1. C W Trigg Geometric Proof of a Result of Lehmer's, Fib. Q., 11, 1973, pp 539-540 again proves the main formula of this page but using geometric arguments. D H Lehmer, Problem 3801, Am Math Month 1936, pp 580 here the problem is posed to prove the main formula on this page that the arctans of reciprocals of alternate Fibonacci numbers sum to pi/4. It's proof was given in... M A Heaslet Solution 3801, Am Math Month, 1938, pg 636-7 D H Lehmer On arcotangent relations for Pi Am Math Month vol 45, 1938, pp 657-664 Here are many formulae involving arctans that sum to pi/4. He gives the originators of two of the Fibonacci formula that we derived earlier on this page as pi/4 = arctan(1/2)+arctan(1/3) as Euler and pi/4 = arctan(1/2)+arctan(1/5)+arctan(1/8) as Daze
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The Joy of Pi D Blatner, 1997, is a fun book which will appeal to school students and upward. Petr Beckmann's A History of Pi, 1976, St Martins Press is a classic, quirky, fun book on Pi and its calculation, with odd and interesting snippets from its history. However, there are errors in one or two of the formulae. Robert Erra of E.S.I-E-A (Ecole Suprieure d'Informatique- Electronique- Automatique), Paris, has contributed the following references: J. Todd, A problem on arc tangent relations, Amer. Math Month. Vol 56, 1940, pp 517-528. S. Stormer, Sur l'application de la thorie des nombres entiers complexes Archiv for Math. og Naturv. Vol 19, 1897, pp 1-96, The rest of the title is la solution en nombres rationnels x1,x2...c1c2... de l'quation: c1 arctan x1+...+ cn arctan xn = k Pi/4. This is a long and very interesting article in French which uses what are now called Gaussian integers. R H Birch, An algorithm for the construction of arctangent relations, 1946, is reprinted in the following book ... Pi: A Source Book , L Berggren, ISBN: 0 387 94924 0, Springer-Verlag, 1997.

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A chronology of pi
A history of Pi History Topics Index

Pre computer calculations of

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8, 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 Mathematician Rhind papyrus Archimedes Vitruvius Chang Hong Ptolemy Wang Fan Liu Hui Tsu Ch'ung Chi Aryabhata Brahmagupta Al-Khwarizmi Fibonacci Madhava Al-Kashi Otho Vite Romanus Van Ceulen Van Ceulen Newton Sharp Seki Kowa Kamata Machin De Lagny Takebe Matsunaga von Vega Rutherford Strassnitzky, Dase Clausen Lehmann Rutherford Shanks Ferguson Date 2000 BC 250 BC 20 BC 130 150 250 263 480 499 640 800 1220 1400 1430 1573 1593 1593 1596 1596 1665 1699 1700 1730 1706 1719 1723 1739 1794 1824 1844 1847 1853 1853 1874 1946 Places 1 3 1 1 3 1 5 7 4 1 4 3 11 14 6 9 15 20 35 16 71 10 25 100 127 41 50 140 208 200 248 261 440 707 620 Comments 3.16045 (= 4(8/9)2) 3.1418 (average of the bounds) 3.125 (= 25/8) 3.1622 (= 10) 3.14166 3.155555 (= 142/45) 3.14159 3.141592920 (= 355/113) 3.1416 (= 62832/2000) 3.1622 (= 10) 3.1416 3.141818 3.14159265359 3.14159265358979 3.1415929 3.1415926536 3.141592653589793 3.14159265358979323846 3.1415926535897932384626433832795029 3.1415926535897932 Notes Click for note 1 Click for note 2 Click for note 3 Click for note 4 Click for note 5 Click for note 6 Click for note 7 Click for note 8 Click for note 9 Click for note 10 Click for note 11 Click for note 12 Click for note 13 Click for note 14 Click for note 15 Click for note 16 Click for note 17 Click for note 18 Click for note 19 Click for note 20 Click for note 21

Only 112 correct

Only 136 correct Only 152 correct

Only 527 correct

Click for note 24 Click for note 25 Click for note 26 Click for note 27 Click for note 28 Click for note 29 Click for note 30 Click for note 31 Click for note 32 Click for note 33 Click for note 34 Click for note 35

General Remarks: A. In early work it was not known that the ratio of the area of a circle to the square of its radius and the ratio of the circumference to the diameter are the same. Some early texts use different approximations
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for these two "different" constants. For example, in the Indian text the Sulba Sutras the ratio for the area is given as 3.088 while the ratio for the circumference is given as 3.2. B. Euclid gives in the Elements XII Proposition 2: Circles are to one another as the squares on their diameters. He makes no attempt to calculate the ratio.

Computer calculations of
Mathematician Ferguson Ferguson, Wrench Smith, Wrench Reitwiesner et al. Nicholson, Jeenel Felton Genuys Felton Guilloud Shanks, Wrench Guilloud, Filliatre Guilloud, Dichampt Guilloud, Bouyer Miyoshi, Kanada Guilloud Tamura Tamura, Kanada Tamura, Kanada Kanada, Yoshino, Tamura Ushiro, Kanada Gosper Bailey Kanada, Tamura Kanada, Tamura Kanada, Tamura, Kubo Kanada, Tamura Chudnovskys Chudnovskys Kanada, Tamura Chudnovskys Kanada, Tamura Chudnovskys Chudnovskys Kanada, Tamura Kanada Kanada Kanada, Takahashi Kanada, Takahashi Date Jan 1947 Sept 1947 1949 1949 1954 1957 Jan 1958 May 1958 1959 1961 1966 1967 1973 1981 1982 1982 1982 1982 1982 Oct 1983 Oct 1985 Jan 1986 Sept 1986 Oct 1986 Jan 1987 Jan 1988 May 1989 June 1989 July 1989 Aug 1989 Nov 1989 Aug 1991 May 1994 June 1995 Aug 1995 Oct 1995 Aug 1997 Sept 1999 Places 710 808 1120 2037 3092 7480 10000 10021 16167 100265 250000 500000 1001250 2000036 2000050 2097144 4194288 8388576 16777206 10013395 17526200 29360111 33554414 67108839 134217700 201326551 480000000 525229270 536870898 1011196691 1073741799 2260000000 4044000000 3221225466 4294967286 6442450938 51539600000 206158430000 Type of computer Desk calculator Desk calculator Desk calculator ENIAC NORAC PEGASUS IBM 704 PEGASUS IBM 704 IBM 7090 IBM 7030 CDC 6600 CDC 7600 FACOM M-200 MELCOM 900II HITACHI M-280H HITACHI M-280H HITACHI M-280H HITACHI S-810/20 SYMBOLICS 3670 CRAY-2 HITACHI S-810/20 HITACHI S-810/20 NEC SX-2 HITACHI S-820/80


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General Remarks: A. Calculating p to many decimal places was used as a test for new computers in the early days. B. There is an algorithm by Bailey, Borwein and Plouffe, published in 1996, which allows the nth hexadecimal digit of p to be computed without the preceeding n- 1 digits. C. Plouffe discovered a new algorithm to compute the nth digit of p in any base in 1997. Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson Reference (One book/article) Other Web sites:

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The Golden ratio

Number theory index History Topics Index Euclid, in The Elements, says ratio by C if AB:AC = that the line AB is divided in extreme and mean AC:CB.

Although Euclid does not use the term, we shall call this the golden ratio. The definition appears in Book VI but there is a construction given in Book II, Theorem 11, concerning areas which is solved by dividing a line in the golden ratio. As well as constructions to divide a line in the golden ratio, Euclid gives applications such as the construction of a regular pentagon, an icosahedron and a dodecahedron. Here is how the golden ratio comes into the construction of a pentagon. First construct an isosceles triangle whose base angles are double the vertex angle. This is done by taking a line AB and marking C on the line in the golden ratio. Then draw a circle with centre A radius AB. Mark D on the circle so that AC = CD = BD. The triangle ABD has the property that its base angles are double its vertex angle. Now starting with such a and D. Then bisect the circle at E. Note that the AB in the draw the triangle ABD draw a circle through A, B angle ADB with the line DE meeting the line passes through C, the point dividing golden ratio. Similarly construct F and pentagon AEBDF.

Of course nobody believes that Euclid's Elements represents original work so there is the question of who studied the golden ratio before Euclid. Now some historians believe that Book II of The Elements covers material originally studied by Theodorus of Cyrene while others attribute the material to Pythagoras, or at least to the Pythagoreans. Proclus, writing in the fifth century AD, claims:Eudoxus ... multiplied the number of propositions concerning the section which had their origin in Plato, employing the method of analysis for their solution. Many believe that by 'section' Proclus means 'golden ratio'. Eudoxus certainly attended lectures by Plato so it is entirely reasonable that he might work on topics suggested during these lectures. Heath writes in his edition of Euclid's Elements:-

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This idea that Plato began the study of [the golden ratio] as a subject in itself is not in the least inconsistent with the supposition that the problem of Euclid II, 11 was solved by the Pythagoreans. Heath claims later in the same work that the construction of a pentagon using the isosceles triangle method referred to above was known to the Pythagoreans so there is a fair amount of evidence to suggest that this is where the study of the golden ratio began. Hypsicles, around 150 BC, wrote on regular polyhedra. He is the author of what has been called Book XIV of Euclid's Elements, a work which deals with inscribing regular solids in a sphere. The golden ratio enters into the constructions. Up to this time the golden ratio seems to have been considered as a geometrical property and there is no obvious sign that any attempt was made to associate a number with the ratio. Of course if AB has length 1 and AC = x where C divides AB in the golden ratio, then we can use simple algebra to find x. 1/x = x/(1-x) gives x2 + x - 1 = 0 so x = ( 5-1)/2. Then the golden ratio is 1/x = ( 5+1)/2 = 1.6180339887498948482... Heron certainly begins to compute approximate ratios, and in his work he gives approximate values for the ratio of the area of the pentagon to the area of the square of one side. With Ptolemy trigonometric tables, at least in terms of chords of circles, begin to be computed. He calculates the side of a regular pentagon in terms of the radius of the circumscribed circle. With the development of algebra by the Arabs one might expect to find the quadratic equation (or a related one) to that which we have given above. Al-Khwarizmi does indeed give several problems on dividing a line of length 10 into two parts and one of these does find a quadratic equation for the length of the smaller part of the line of length 10 divided in the golden ratio. There is no mention of the golden ratio, however, and it is unclear whether al-Khwarizmi is thinking of this particular problem. Abu Kamil gives similar equations which arise from dividing a line of length 10 in various ways. Two of these ways are related to the golden ratio but again it is unclear whether Abu Kamil is aware of this. However, when Fibonacci produced Liber Abaci he used many Arabic sources and one of them was the problems of Abu Kamil. Fibonacci clearly indicates that he is aware of the connection between Abu Kamil's two problems and the golden ratio. In Liber Abaci he gives the lengths of the segments of a line of length 10 divided in the golden ratio as 125 -5 and 15 - 125. Pacioli wrote Divina proportione (Divine proportion) which is his name for the golden ratio. The book contains little new on the topic, collecting results from Euclid and other sources on the golden ratio. He states (without any attempt at a proof or a reference) that the golden ratio cannot be rational. He also states the result given in Liber Abaci on the lengths of the segments of a line of length 10 divided in the golden ratio. There is little new in Pacioli's book which merely restates (usually without proof) results which had been published by other authors. Of course the title is interesting and Pacioli writes: ... it seems to me that the proper title for this treatise must be Divine Proportion. This is because there are very many similar attributes which I find in our proportion - all befitting God himself - which is the subject of our very useful discourse. He gives five such attributes, perhaps the most interesting being:... just like God cannot be properly defined, nor can be understood through words, likewise this proportion of ours cannot ever be designated through intelligible numbers, nor can it be expressed through any rational quantity, but always remains occult and secret, and is called irrational by the mathematicians.

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Cardan, Bombelli and others included problems in their texts on finding the golden ratio using quadratic equations. A surprising piece of information is contained in a copy of the 1509 edition of Pacioli's Euclid's Elements. Someone has written a note which clearly shows that they knew that the ratio of adjacent terms in the Fibonacci sequence tend to the golden number. Handwriting experts date the note as early 16th century so there is the intriguing question as to who wrote it. See [6] for further details. The first known calculation of the golden ratio as a decimal was given in a letter written in 1597 by Michael Maestlin, at the University of Tbingen, to his former student Kepler. He gives "about 0.6180340" for the length of the longer segment of a line of length 1 divided in the golden ratio. The correct value is 0.61803398874989484821... . The mystical feeling for the golden ratio was of course attractive to Kepler, as was its relation to the regular solids. His writings on the topic are a mixture of good mathematics and magic. He, like the annotator of Pacioli's Euclid, knows that the ratio of adjacent terms of the Fibonacci sequence tends to the golden ratio and he states this explicitly in a letter he wrote in 1609. The result that the quotients of adjacent terms of the Fibonacci sequence tend to the golden ratio is usually attributed to Simson who gave the result in 1753. We have just seen that he was not the first give the result and indeed Albert Girard also discovered it independently of Kepler. It appears in a publication of 1634 which appeared two years after Albert Girard's death. In this article we have used the term golden ratio but this term was never used by any of the mathematicians who we have noted above contributed to its development. We commented that "section" was possibly used by Proclus although some historians dispute that his reference to section means the golden ratio. The common term used by early writers was simply "division in extreme and mean ratio". Pacioli certainly introduced the term "divine proportion" and some later writers such as Ramus and Clavius adopted this term. Clavius also used the term "proportionally divided" and similar expressions appear in the works of other mathematicians. The term "continuous proportion" was also used. The names now used are golden ratio, golden number or golden section. These terms are modern in the sense that they were introduced later than any of the work which we have discussed above. The first known use of the term appears in a footnote in Die reine Elementar-Matematik by Martin Ohm (the brother of Georg Simon Ohm):One is also in the habit of calling this division of an arbitrary line in two such parts the golden section; one sometimes also says in this case: the line r is divided in continuous proportion. The first edition of Martin Ohm's book appeared in 1826. The footnote just quoted does not appear and the text uses the term "continuous proportion". Clearly sometime between 1826 and 1835 the term "golden section" began to be used but its origin is a puzzle. It is fairly clear from Ohm's footnote that the term "golden section" is not due to him. Fowler, in [9], examines the evidence and reaches the conclusion that 1835 marks the first appearance of the term. The golden ratio has been famed throughout history for its aesthetic properties and it is claimed that the architecture of Ancient Greece was strongly influenced by its use. The article [11] discusses whether the golden section is a universal natural phenomenon, to what extent it has been used by architects and painters, and whether there is a relationship with aesthetics. Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson References (14 books/articles)

References for The Golden ratio

Books 1. R Herz-Fischler, A mathematical history of division in extreme and mean ratio (Waterloo, Ontario, 1987). 2. R Herz-Fischler, A mathematical history of the golden number ( New York, 1998).
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Articles 3. E Ackermann, The golden section, Amer. Math. Monthly 2 (1895), 260-264. 4. R Archibald, The golden section - Fibonacci series, Amer. Math. Monthly 25 (1918), 232-237. 5. F Campan, The golden section (Romanian), Revista Stiintifica "V. Adamachi" 33 (1947). 225231. 6. L Curchin and R Herz-Fischler, De quand date le premier rapprochement entre la suite de Fibonacci et la division en extrme et moyenne raison?, Centaurus 28 (2) (1985), 129-138. 7. R Fischler, On applications of the golden ratio in the visual arts, Leonardo 14 (1981), 31-32; 262-264; 349-351. 8. R Fischler, How to find the golden number without really trying, Fibonacci Quart. 19 (1981), 406-410. 9. D H Fowler, A generalization of the golden section, Fibonacci Quart. 20 (2) (1982), 146-158. 10. J Kappraff, The relationship between mathematics and mysticism of the golden mean through history, in Fivefold symmetry (River Edge, NJ, 1992), 33-65. 11. J Mawhin, Au carrefour des mathmatiques, de la nature, de l'art et de l'sotrisme: le nombre d'or, Rev. Questions Sci. 169 (2-3) (1998), 145-178. 12. G Sarton, When did the term golden section or its equivalent in other languages originate, Isis 42 (1951), 47. 13. A P Stakhov, The golden section in the measurement theory, in Symmetry 2: unifying human understanding, Part 2, Comput. Math. Appl. 17 (4-6) (1989), 613-638. 14. A J van Zanten, The golden ratio in the arts of painting, building and mathematics, Nieuw Arch. Wisk. (4) 17 (2) (1999), 229-245.

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The number e
Number theory index History Topics Index One of the first articles which we included in the "History Topics" section of our web archive was on the history of p. It is a very popular article and has prompted many to ask for a similar article about the number e. There is a great contrast between the historical developments of these two numbers and in many ways writing a history of e is a much harder task than writing one for p. The number e is, compared to p, a relative newcomer on the mathematics scene. The number e first comes into mathematics in a very minor way. This was in 1618 when, in an appendix to Napier's work on logarithms, a table appeared giving the natural logarithms of various numbers. However, that these were logarithms to base e was not recognised since the base to which logarithms are computed did not arise in the way that logarithms were thought about at this time. Although we now think of logarithms as the exponents to which one must raise the base to get the required number, this is a modern way of thinking. We will come back to this point later in this essay. This table in the appendix, although carrying no author's name, was almost certainly written by Oughtred. A few years later, in 1624, again e almost made it into the mathematical literature, but not quite. In that year Briggs gave a numerical approximation to the base 10 logarithm of e but did not mention e itself in his work. The next possible occurrence of e is again dubious. In 1647 Saint-Vincent computed the area under a rectangular hyperbola. Whether he recognised the connection with logarithms is open to debate, and even if he did there was little reason for him to come across the number e explicitly. Certainly by 1661 Huygens understood the relation between the rectangular hyperbola and the logarithm. He examined explicitly the relation between the area under the rectangular hyperbola yx = 1 and the logarithm. Of course, the number e is such that the area under the rectangular hyperbola from 1 to e is equal to 1. This is the property that makes e the base of natural logarithms, but this was not understood by mathematicians at this time, although they were slowly approaching such an understanding. Huygens made another advance in 1661. He defined a curve which he calls "logarithmic" but in our terminology we would refer to it as an exponential curve, having the form y = kax. Again out of this comes the logarithm to base 10 of e, which Huygens calculated to 17 decimal places. However, it appears as the calculation of a constant in his work and is not recognised as the logarithm of a number (so again it is a close call but e remains unrecognised). Further work on logarithms followed which still does not see the number e appear as such, but the work does contribute to the development of logarithms. In 1668 Nicolaus Mercator published Logarithmotechnia which contains the series expansion of log(1+x). In this work Mercator uses the term "natural logarithm" for the first time for logarithms to base e. The number e itself again fails to appear as such and again remains elusively just round the corner. Perhaps surprisingly, since this work on logarithms had come so close to recognising the number e, when e is first "discovered" it is not through the notion of logarithm at all but rather through a study of compound interest. In 1683 Jacob Bernoulli looked at the problem of compound interest and, in examining continuous compound interest, he tried to find the limit of (1 + 1/n)n as n tends to infinity. He used the binomial theorem to show that the limit had to lie between 2 and 3 so we could consider this to be the first approximation found to e. Also if we accept this as a definition of e, it is the first time that a number was defined by a limiting process. He certainly did not recognise any connection between his work and that on logarithms. We mentioned above that logarithms were not thought of in the early years of their development as having any connection with exponents. Of course from the equation x = at, we deduce that t = log x where the log is to base a, but this involves a much later way of thinking. Here we are really thinking of log as a function, while early workers in logarithms thought purely of the log as a number which aided calculation. It may have been Jacob Bernoulli who first understood the way that the log function is the inverse of the exponential function. On the other hand the first person to make the connection
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between logarithms and exponents may well have been James Gregory. In 1684 he certainly recognised the connection between logarithms and exponents, but he may not have been the first. As far as we know the first time the number e appears in its own right is in 1690. In that year Leibniz wrote a letter to Huygens and in this he used the notation b for what we now call e. At last the number e had a name (even if not its present one) and it was recognised. Now the reader might ask, not unreasonably, why we have not started our article on the history of e at the point where it makes its first appearance. The reason is that although the work we have described previously never quite managed to identify e, once the number was identified then it was slowly realised that this earlier work is relevant. Retrospectively, the early developments on the logarithm became part of an understanding of the number e. We mentioned above the problems arising from the fact that log was not thought of as a function. It would be fair to say that Johann Bernoulli began the study of the calculus of the exponential function in 1697 when he published Principia calculi exponentialum seu percurrentium. The work involves the calculation of various exponential series and many results are achieved with term by term integration. So much of our mathematical notation is due to Euler that it will come as no surprise to find that the notation e for this number is due to him. The claim which has sometimes been made, however, that Euler used the letter e because it was the first letter of his name is ridiculous. It is probably not even the case that the e comes from "exponential", but it may have just be the next vowel after "a" and Euler was already using the notation "a" in his work. Whatever the reason, the notation e made its first appearance in a letter Euler wrote to Goldbach in 1731. He made various discoveries regarding e in the following years, but it was not until 1748 when Euler published Introductio in Analysin infinitorum that he gave a full treatment of the ideas surrounding e. He showed that e = 1 + 1/1! + 1/2! + 1/3! + ... and that e is the limit of (1 + 1/n)n as n tends to infinity. Euler gave an approximation for e to 18 decimal places, e = 2.718281828459045235 without saying where this came from. It is likely that he calculated the value himself, but if so there is no indication of how this was done. In fact taking about 20 terms of 1 + 1/1! + 1/2! + 1/3! + ... will give the accuracy which Euler gave. Among other interesting results in this work is the connection between the sine and cosine functions and the complex exponential function, which Euler deduced using De Moivre's formula. Interestingly Euler also gave the continued fraction expansion of e and noted a pattern in the expansion. In particular he gave

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Euler did not give a proof that the patterns he spotted continue (which they do) but he knew that if such a proof were given it would prove that e is irrational. For, if the continued fraction for (e - 1)/2 were to follow the pattern shown in the first few terms, 6, 10, 14, 18, 22, 26, ... (add 4 each time) then it will never terminate so (e - 1)/2 (and so e) cannot be rational. One could certainly see this as the first attempt to prove that e is not rational. The same passion that drove people to calculate to more and more decimal places of p never seemed to take hold in quite the same way for e. There were those who did calculate its decimal expansion, however, and the first to give e to a large number of decimal places was Shanks in 1854. It is worth noting that Shanks was an even more enthusiastic calculator of the decimal expansion of p. Glaisher showed that the first 137 places of Shanks calculations for e were correct but found an error which, after correction by Shanks, gave e to 205 places. In fact one needs about 120 terms of 1 + 1/1! + 1/2! + 1 /3! + ... to obtain e correct to 200 places. In 1864 Benjamin Peirce had his picture taken standing in front of a blackboard on which he had written the formula i-i = (e<fontface=symbol>p ). In his lectures he would say to his students:Gentlemen, we have not the slightest idea what this equation means, but we may be sure that it means something very important. Most people accept Euler as the first to prove that e is irrational. Certainly it was Hermite who proved that e is not an algebraic number in 1873. It is still an open question whether ee is algebraic, although of course all that is lacking is a proof - no mathematician would seriously believe that ee is algebraic! As far as we are aware, the closest that mathematicians have come to proving this is a recent result that at least one of ee and e to the power e2 is transcendental. Further calculations of decimal expansions followed. In 1884 Boorman calculated e to 346 places and found that his calculation agreed with that of Shanks as far as place 187 but then became different. In 1887 Adams calculated the base 10 log of e to 272 places. Anyone wishing to see e to 10,000 places - look here. Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson

References for The number e

1. E Maor, e : the story of a number (Princeton, 1994). 2. J L Coolidge, The number e, Amer. Math. Monthly 57 (1950), 591-602.
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Pell's equation
Number theory index History Topics Index We will discuss below whether Pell's equation is properly named. By this we mean simply: did Pell contribute at all to the study of Pell's equation? There is no doubt that the equation had been studied in depth for hundreds of years before Pell was born. In fact the first contribution by Brahmagupta was made around 1000 years before Pell's time and it is with Brahmagupta's contribution that we begin our historical study. First let us say what Pell's equation is. We are talking about the indeterminate quadratic equation nx2 + 1 = y2 which we can also write as y2 - nx2 = 1 where n is a given integer and we are looking for integer solutions (x, y). Now, although it is fair to say that Brahmagupta was the first to study this equation, it is equally possible to see that earlier authors had studied problems related to Pell's equation. To mention some briefly: Diophantus examines problems related to Pell's equation and we can reduce Archimedes' "cattle problem" to solving Pell's equation although there is no evidence that Archimedes made this connection. Let us first note that (b2 - na2)(d2 - nc2) = (bd + nac)2 - n(bc + ad)2 and (b2 - na2)(d2 - nc2) = (bd - nac)2 - n(bc - ad)2 From this we see that if b2 - na2 = 1 and d2 - nc2 = 1 then (bd + nac)2 - n(bc + ad)2 = 1 and (bd - nac)2 - n(bc - ad)2 = 1. In other words, if (a, b) and (c, d) are solutions to Pell's equation then so are (bc + ad, bd + nac) and (bc - ad, bd - nac). This fundamentally important fact generalises easily to give Brahmagupta's lemma, namely that if (a, b) and (c, d) are integer solutions of 'Pell type equations' of the form na2 + k = b2 and nc2 + k' = d2
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then (bc + ad, bd + nac) and (bc - ad, bd - nac) are both integer solutions of the 'Pell type equation' nx2 + kk' = y2. The proof that we have given is due to European mathematicians in the 17th Century (and we shall comment further on it later in this article), but Brahmagupta's lemma was discovered by Brahmagupta in 628 AD. The method was called samasa by the Indian mathematicians but we shall call it the 'method of composition'. In fact this method of composition allowed Brahmagupta to make a number of fundamental discoveries regarding Pell's equation. One property that he deduced was that if (a, b) satisfies Pell's equation so does (2ab, b2 + na2). This follows immediately applying the method of composition to (a, b) and (a, b). Now of course the method of composition can be applied again to (a, b) and (2ab, b2+ na2) to get another solution and Brahmagupta immediately saw that from one solution of Pell's equation he could generate many solutions. This was not the only way that Brahmagupta used the method of composition. He also noted that, using a similar argument to what we have just given, if x = a, y = b is a solution of nx2 + k = y2 then applying the method of composition to (a, b) and (a, b) gave (2ab, b2 + na2) as a solution of nx2 + k2 = y2 and so, dividing through by k2, gives x = 2ab/k, y = (b2 + na2)/k as a solution of Pell's equation nx2 + 1 = y2. How does this help? These values of x and y do not look like integers. Well if k = 2 then, since (a, b) is a solution of nx2 + k = y2 we have na2 = b2 - 2. Thus x = 2ab/2 = ab, y = (b2 + na2)/2 = (2b2 - 2)/2 = b2 - 1 and this is an integer solution to Pell's equation. If k = -2 then essentially the same argument works while if k = 4 or k = -4 then a more complicated method, still based on the method of composition, shows that integer solutions to Pell's equation can be found. So Brahmagupta was able to show that if he could find (a, b) which "nearly" satisfied Pell's equation in the sense that na2 + k = b2 where k = 1, -1, 2, -2, 4, or -4 then he could find one, and therefore many, integer solutions to Pell's equation. Often he could find trial solutions which worked for one of these values of k and so in many cases he was able to give solutions. For example, if we attempt to solve 23x2 + 1 = y2 we see that a = 1, b = 5 satisfies 23a2 + 2 = b2 so, by the above argument, x = 5, y = 24 satisfies Pell's equation. Applying the method of composition to the pair (5, 24) gives x = 2 5 24 = 240, y = 242 + 23 52 = 1151 as another solution. Applying the method of composition again yields x = 11515, y = 55224 and yet again gives x = 552480, y = 2649601
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and so on. Among the examples Brahmagupta gives himself is a solution of Pell's equation 83x2 + 1 = y2 where he notes that the pair (1, 9) satisfies 83 12 - 2 = 92 and applies his method to find the solution x = 9, y = 82. We can now generate a sequence of solutions (x,y): (9, 82), (1476, 13447), (242055, 2205226), (39695544, 361643617), (6509827161, 59307347962), (1067571958860, 9726043422151), (175075291425879, 1595011813884802) and so on. One can only marvel at this brilliant work done by Brahmagupta in 628 AD. The next step forward was taken by Bhaskara II in 1150. He discovered the cyclic method, called chakravala by the Indians, which was an algorithm to produce a solution to Pell's equation nx2 + 1 = y2 starting off from any "close" pair (a, b) with na2 + k = b2. We can assume that a and b are coprime, for otherwise we could divide each by their gcd and get a "closer" solution with smaller k. Clearly a, k are then also coprime. The method relies on a simple observation, namely that, for any m, (1, m) satisfies the 'Pell type equation' n.12 + (m2 - n) = m2. Bhaskara II now applies the method of composition to the pairs (a, b) and (1, m) to get n(am + b)2 + (m2 - n)k = (bm + na)2. Dividing by k we note that x = (am + b)/k, y = (bm + na)/k is a solution to nx2 + (m2 - n)/k = y2. Since a, k are coprime we can chose m such that am + b is divisible by k. Bhaskara II now knows (but he gives no proof) that when m is chosen so that am + b is divisible by k then m2 - n and bm + na are also divisible by k. With such a choice of m he therefore has integer solutions x = (am + b)/k, y = (bm + na)/k
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to the 'Pell type equation' nx2 + (m2 - n)/k = y2 where (m2 - n)/k is also an integer. Next Bhaskara II knows that there are infinitely many m such that am + b is divisible by k. He chooses the one which makes m2 - n as small as possible in absolute value. If (m2 - n)/k is one of 1, -1, 2, -2, 4, -4 then we can apply Brahmagupta's method to find a solution to Pell's equation nx2 + 1 = y2. If (m2 n)/k is not one of these values then repeat the process starting this time with the solution x = (am + b)/k, y = (bm + na)/k to the 'Pell type equation' nx2 + (m2 - n)/k = y2 in exactly the same way as we applied the process to na2 + k = b2. Bhaskara II knows (almost certainly by experience rather than by having a proof) that the process will end after a finite number of steps. This happens when an equation of the form nx2 + t = y2 is reached where t is one of 1, -1, 2, -2, 4, -4. Bhaskara II gives examples in Bijaganita and the first we look at is 61x2 + 1 = y2. Using the above method he chooses m so the (m + 8)/3 is an integer, making sure that m2 - 61 is as small as possible. Taking m = 7 he gets x = 5, y = 39 as a solution to the 'Pell type equation' nx2 - 4 = y2. But this is an equation which Brahmagupta's method solves giving x = 226153980, y = 1766319049 as the smallest solution to 61x2 + 1 = y2. Why do we suspect that Bhaskara II had no proof of the method? Well there are at least two reasons. Firstly the proof is long and difficult and would appear to be well beyond 12th Century mathematics. Secondly the algorithm always reaches a solution of Pell's equation after a finite number of steps without stopping when an equation of the type nx2 + k = y2 where k = -1, 2, -2, 4, or -4 is reached and then applying Brahmagupta's method. If experience of the algorithm is only via examples then, knowing how to proceed when k = -1, 2, -2, 4, or -4 is reached, it is natural to switch to Brahmagupta's method at that point. However, when one writes down a proof it should become clear that the algorithm switching to Brahmagupta's method is never necessary (although can reach the solution more quickly). The next contribution to Pell's equation was made by Narayana who, in the 14th Century, wrote a commentary on Bhaskara II's Bijaganita. Narayana gave some new examples of the cyclic method. Here are two of his examples: 103x2 + 1 = y2. Choosing a = 1, b = 10 Narayana obtains 103 12 - 3 = 102. Choose m so that m + 10 is divisible by -3 with m2 - 103 as small as possible leads to m = 11 and we obtain 103 72 - 6 = 712. Next we must choose m so that 7m + 71 is divisible by -6 and m2 - 103 as small as possible. Take m = 7 to get the equation 103 202 + 9 = 2032.
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Continuing, choose m so that 20m+203 is divisible by 9 and m2 - 103 as small as possible. Take m = 11 to get the equation 103 472 + 2 = 4772. Now Narayana applies Brahmagupta's method, in the form we gave above for equations with k = 2, to obtain the solutions x = 22419, y = 227528. His next example is a solution of Pell's equation 97x2 + 1 = y2 which leads successively, by applying the cyclic method, to the equations 97 12 + 3 = 102 97 72 + 8 = 692 97 202 + 9 = 1972 97 532 + 11 = 5222 97 862 - 3 = 8472 97 5692 - 1 = 56042 Finally Narayana applies Brahmagupta's method to this last equation to get the solution x = 6377352, y = 62809633 Now the brilliant ideas of Brahmagupta, Bhaskara II and Narayana were completely unknown to the European mathematicians in the 17th Century. The European interest began in 1657 when Fermat issued a challenge to the mathematicians of Europe and England. Fermat wrote:We await these solutions, which, if England or Belgic or Celtic Gaul do not produce, then Narbonese Gaul will. Narbonese Gaul, of course, was the area around Toulouse where Fermat lived! One of Fermat's challenge problems was the same example of Pell's equation which had been studied by Bhaskara II 500 years earlier, namely to find solutions to 61x2 + 1 = y2. Several mathematicians participated in Fermat's challenge, in particular Frenicle de Bessy, Brouncker and Wallis. There followed an exchange of letters between these mathematicians during 1657-58 which Wallis published in Commercium epistolicum in 1658. Brouncker discovered a method of solution which is essentially the same as the method of continued fractions which was later developed rigorously by Lagrange. Frenicle de Bessy tabulated the solutions of Pell's equation for all n up to 150, although this was never published and his efforts have been lost. He challenged Brouncker who was claiming to be able to solve any example of Pell's equation to solve
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313x2 + 1 = y2. Brouncker found the smallest solutions, using his method, which is x = 1819380158564160, y = 32188120829134849 and he sent these to Frenicle de Bessy claiming that they had only taken him "an hour or two" to find. In Commercium epistolicum Wallis gave two methods of proving Brahmagupta's lemma which are both essentially equivalent to the argument we gave at the beginning of this article based on the result (b2 - na2)(d2 - nc2) = (bd + nac)2 - n(bc + ad)2. In 1658 Rahn published an algebra book which contained an example of Pell's equation. This book was written with help from Pell and it is the only known connection between Pell and the equation which has been named after him. Wallis published Treatise on Algebra in 1685 and Chapter 98 of that work is devoted to giving methods to solve Pell's equation based on the exchange of letters he had published in Commercium epistolicum in 1658. However, in his algebra text Wallis put all the methods into a standard form. We should note that by this time several mathematicians had claimed that Pell's equation nx2 + 1 = y2 had solutions for any n. Wallis, describing Brouncker's method, had made that claim, as had Fermat when commenting on the solutions proposed to his challenge. In fact Fermat claimed, correctly of course, that for any n Pell's equation had infinitely many solutions. Euler gave Brahmagupta's lemma and its proof in a similar form to that which we have given above. He was, of course, aware of the work of Brouncker on Pell's equation as presented by Wallis, but he was totally unaware of the contributions of the Indian mathematicians. He gave the basis for the continued fractions approach to solving Pell's equation which was put into a polished form by Lagrange in 1766. The other major contribution of Euler was in naming the equation "Pell's equation" and it is generally believed that he gave it that name because he confused Brouncker and Pell, thinking that the major contributions which Wallis had reported on as due to Brouncker were in fact the work of Pell. Lagrange published his Additions to Euler's Elements of algebra in 1771 and this contains his rigorous version of Euler's continued fraction approach to Pell's equation. This established rigorously the fact that for every n Pell's equation had infinitely many solutions. The solution depends on the continued fraction expansion of n. In the continued fraction of the square root of an integer the same denominators recur periodically. Moreover, the pattern in most of the recurring sequence is "palindromic". i.e. up to the last element, the second half of the periodic sequence is the first half in reverse. The last number in the repeating sequence is double the integer part of the square root. For example 19 has the continued fraction expansion

which recurs with length 6. The convergent immediately before the point from which it repeats is 170/39 and Lagrange's theory says that x = 39, y = 170 will be the smallest solution to Pell's equation 19x2 + 1 = y2. To find the infinite series of solutions take the powers of 170 + 39 19. For example (170 + 39 19)2 = 57799 + 13260 19
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and x = 13260, y = 57799 will give a second solution to the equation. Again (170 + 39 19)3 = 19651490 + 4508361 19 giving x = 4508361, y = 19651490 as the next solution. Here are the first few powers of (170 + 39 19), starting with its square, which gives the first few solutions to the equation 19x2 + 1 = y2 57799 + 13260 19 19651490 + 4508361 19 6681448801 + 1532829480 19 2271672940850 + 521157514839 19 772362118440199 + 177192022215780 19 262600848596726810 + 60244766395850361 19 89283516160768675201 + 20483043382566906960 19 Although the continued fraction approach to solving Pell's equation is a very nice one for small values on n, the difficulty of the method has been analysed to see if it is the most efficient for large n. A polynomial time method in the length of the input n would be an algorithm which took time bounded by a fixed power of log n (the length of the input). The continued fraction method is not a polynomial time algorithm, and indeed it is now known that no polynomial time algorithm exists for solving Pell's equation. Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson

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Number theory index History Topics Index An article on infinity in a History of Mathematics Archive presents special problems. Does one concentrate purely on the mathematical aspects of the topic or does one consider the philosophical and even religious aspects? In this article we take the view that historically one cannot separate the philosophical and religious aspects from mathematical ones since they play an important role in how ideas developed. This is particularly true in ancient Greek times, as Knorr writes in [26]:The interaction of philosophy and mathematics is seldom revealed so clearly as in the study of the infinite among the ancient Greeks. The dialectical puzzles of the fifthcentury Eleatics, sharpened by Plato and Aristotle in the fourth century, are complemented by the invention of precise methods of limits, as applied by Eudoxus in the fourth century and Euclid and Archimedes in the third. Of course from the time people began to think about the world they lived in, questions about infinity arose. There were questions about time. Did the world come into existence at a particular instant or had it always existed? Would the world go on for ever or was there a finite end? Then there were questions about space. What happened if one kept travelling in a particular direction? Would one reach the end of the world or could one travel for ever? Again above the earth one could see stars, planets, the sun and moon, but was this space finite or do it go on for ever? The questions above are very fundamental and must have troubled thinkers long before recorded history. There were more subtle questions about infinity which were also asked at a stage when people began to think deeply about the world. What happened if one cut a piece of wood into two pieces, then again cut one of the pieces into two and continued to do this. Could one do this for ever? We should begin our account of infinity with the "fifth-century Eleatic" Zeno. The early Greeks had come across the problem of infinity at an early stage in their development of mathematics and science. In their study of matter they realised the fundamental question: can one continue to divide matter into smaller and smaller pieces or will one reach a tiny piece which cannot be divided further. Pythagoras had argued that "all is number" and his universe was made up of finite natural numbers. Then there were Atomists who believed that matter was composed of an infinite number of indivisibles. Parmenides and the Eleatic School, which included Zeno, argued against the atomists. However Zeno's paradoxes show that both the belief that matter is continuously divisible and the belief in an atomic theory both led to apparent contradictions. Of course these paradoxes arise from the infinite. Aristotle did not seem to have fully appreciated the significance of Zeno's arguments but the infinite did worry him nevertheless. He introduced an idea which would dominate thinking for two thousand years and is still a persuasive argument to some people today. Aristotle argued against the actual infinite and, in its place, he considered the potential infinite. His idea was that we can never conceive of the natural numbers as a whole. However they are potentially infinite in the sense that given any finite collection we can always find a larger finite collection. Of relevance to our discussion is the remarkable advance made by the Babylonians who introduced the idea of a positional number system which, for the first time, allowed a concise representation of numbers without limit to their size. Despite positional number systems, Aristotle's argument is quite convincing. Only a finite number of natural numbers has ever been written down or has ever been conceived. If L is the largest number conceived up till now then I will go further and write down L + 1, or L2 but still only finitely many have been conceived. Aristotle discussed this in Chapters 4-8 of Book III of Physics (see [36]) where he claimed that denying that the actual infinite exists and allowing only the potential infinite would be no hardship to mathematicians:-

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Our account does not rob the mathematicians of their science, by disproving the actual existence of the infinite in the direction of increase, in the sense of the untransversable. In point of fact they do not need the infinite and do not use it. They postulate only that the finite straight line may be produced as far as they wish. Cantor, over two thousand years later, argued that Aristotle was making a distinction which was only in his use of words:... in truth the potentially infinite has only a borrowed reality, insofar as a potentially infinite concept always points towards a logically prior actually infinite concept whose existence it depends on. We will come to Cantor's ideas towards the end of this article but for the moment let us consider the effect Aristotle had on later Greek mathematicians by only allowing the potentially infinite, particularly on Euclid; see for example [36]. How then, one may ask, was Euclid able to prove that the set of prime numbers is infinite in 300 BC? Well the answer is that Euclid did not prove this in the Elements. This is merely a modern phrasing of what Euclid actually stated as his theorem which, according to Heath's translation, reads:Prime numbers are more than any assigned magnitude of prime numbers. So in fact what Euclid proved was that the prime numbers are potentially infinite but in practice, of course, this amounts to the same thing. His proof shows that given any finite collection of prime numbers there must be a prime number not in the collection. We should discuss other aspects of the infinite which play a crucial role in the Elements. There Euclid explains the method of exhaustion due to Eudoxus of Cnidus. Often now this method is thought of as considering the circle as the limit of regular polygons as the number of sides increases to infinity. We should strongly emphasise, however, that this is not the way that the ancient Greeks looked at the method. Rather it was a reductio ad absurdum argument which avoided the use of the infinite. For example, to prove two areas A and B equal, the method would assume that the area A was less than B and then derive a contradiction after a finite number of steps. Again assuming the area B was less than A also led to a contradiction in a finite number of steps. Recently, however, evidence has come to light which suggests that not all ancient Greek mathematicians felt constrained to deal only with the potentially infinite. The authors of [32] have noticed a remarkable way that Archimedes investigates infinite numbers of objects in The Method in the Archimedes palimpsest:... Archimedes takes three pairs of magnitudes infinite in number and asserts that they are, respectively, "equal in number". ... We suspect there may be no other known places in Greek mathematics - or, indeed, in ancient Greek writing - where objects infinite in number are said to be "equal in magnitude". ... The very suggestion that certain objects, infinite in number, are "equal in magnitude" to others implies that not all such objects, infinite in number, are so equal. ... We have here infinitely many objects - having definite, and different magnitudes (i.e. they nearly have number); such magnitudes are manipulated in a concrete way, apparently by something rather like a one-one correspondence. ... ... in this case Archimedes discusses actual infinities almost as if they possessed numbers in the usual sense ... Even if most mathematicians accepted Archimedes' potentially infinite arguments, others argued for cases of actual infinity. In the first century BC Lucretius wrote his poem De Rerum Natura in which he argued against a universe bounded in space. His argument is a simple one. Suppose the universe were finite so there had to be a boundary. Now if one approached that boundary and threw an object at
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it there could be nothing to stop it since anything which stopped it would lie beyond the boundary and nothing lies outside the universe by definition. We now know, of course, that Lucretius's argument is false since space could be finite without having a boundary. However for many centuries the boundary argument dominated debate over whether space was finite. It became largely theologians who argued in favour of the actual infinite. For example St Augustine, the Christian philosopher who built much of Plato's philosophy into Christianity in the early years of the 5th century AD, argued in favour of an infinite God and also a God capable of infinite thoughts. He wrote in his most famous work City of God:Such as say that things infinite are past God's knowledge may just as well leap headlong into this pit of impiety, and say that God knows not all numbers. ... What madman would say so? ... What are we mean wretches that dare presume to limit his knowledge. Indian mathematicians worked on introducing zero into their number system over a period of 500 years beginning with Brahmagupta in the 7th Century. The problem they struggled with was how to make zero respect the usual operations of arithmetic. Bhaskara II wrote in Bijaganita:A quantity divided by zero becomes a fraction the denominator of which is zero. This fraction is termed an infinite quantity. In this quantity consisting of that which has zero for its divisor, there is no alteration, though many may be inserted or extracted; as no change takes place in the infinite and immutable God when worlds are created or destroyed, though numerous orders of beings are absorbed or put forth. It was an attempt to bring infinity, as well as zero, into the number system. Of course it does not work since if it were introduced as Bhaskara II suggests then 0 times infinity must be equal to every number n, so all numbers are equal. Thomas Aquinas, the Christian theologian and philosopher, used the fact that there was not a number to represent infinity as an argument against the existence of the actual infinite. In Summa theologia, written in the 13th Century, Thomas Aquinas wrote:The existence of an actual infinite multitude is impossible. For any set of things one considers must be a specific set. And sets of things are specified by the number of things in them. Now no number is infinite, for number results from counting through a set of units. So no set of things can actually be inherently unlimited, nor can it happen to be unlimited. This objection is indeed a reasonable one and in the time of Aquinas had no satisfactory reply. An actual infinite set requires a measure, and no such measure seemed possible to Aquinas. We have to move forward to Cantor near the end of the 19th Century before a satisfactory measure for infinite sets was found. The article [15] examines:... mathematical arguments used by two thirteenth-century theologians, Alexander Nequam and Richard Fishacre, to defend the consistency of divine infinity. In connection with their arguments, the following question is raised: Why did theologians judge it appropriate to appeal to mathematical examples in addressing a purely theological issue? Mathematical induction began to be used hundreds of years before any rigorous formulation of the method was made. It did provide a technique for proving propositions were true for an infinite number of integer values. For example al-Karaji around 1000 AD used a non-rigorous form of mathematical induction in his arguments. Basically what al-Karaji did was to demonstrate an argument for n = 1, then prove the case n = 2 based on his result for n =1, then prove the case n = 3 based on his result for
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n = 2, and carry on to around n = 5 before remarking that one could continue the process indefinitely. By these methods he gave a beautiful description of generating the binomial coefficients using Pascal's triangle. Pascal did not know about al-Karaji's work on Pascal's triangle but he did know that Maurolico had used a type of mathematical induction argument in the middle of the 17th Century. Pascal, setting out his version of Pascal's triangle writes:Even though this proposition may have an infinite number of cases, I shall give a very short proof of it assuming two lemmas. The first, which is self evident, is that the proposition is valid for the second row. The second is that if the proposition is valid for any row then it must necessarily be valid for the following row. From this it can be seen that it is necessarily valid for all rows; for it is valid for the second row by the first lemma; then by the second lemma it must be true for the third row, and hence for the fourth, and so on to infinity. Having moved forward in time following the progress of induction, let us go back a little to see arguments which were being made about an infinite universe. Aristotle's finite universe model with nine celestial spheres centred on the Earth had been the accepted view over a long period. It was not unopposed, however, and we have already seen Lucretius's argument in favour of an infinite universe. Nicholas of Cusa in the middle of the 15th Century was a brilliant scientist who argued that the universe was infinite and that the stars were distant suns. By the 16th Century, the Catholic Church in Europe began to try to stamp out such heresies. Giordano Bruno was not a mathematician or scientist, but he argued vigorously the case for an infinite universe in On the infinite universe and worlds (1584). Brought before the Inquisition, he was tortured for nine years in an attempt to make him agree that the universe was finite. He refused to change his views and he was burned at the stake in 1600. Galileo was acutely aware of Bruno's fate at the hands of the Inquisition and he became very cautious in putting forward his views. He tackled the topic of infinity in Discorsi e dimostrazioni matematiche intorno a due nuove scienze (1638) where he studied the problem of two concentric circles with centre O, the larger circle A with diameter twice that of the smaller one B. The familiar formula gives the circumference of A to be twice that of B. But taking any point P on the circle A, then PA cuts circle B in one point. Similarly if Q is a point on B then OQ produced cuts circle A in exactly one point. Although the circumference of A is twice the length of the circumference of B they have the same number of points. Galileo proposed adding an infinite number of infinitely small gaps to the smaller length to make it equal to the larger yet allow them to have the same number of points. He wrote:These difficulties are real; and they are not the only ones. But let us remember that we are dealing with infinities and indivisibles, both of which transcend our finite understanding, the former on account of their magnitude, the latter because of their smallness. In spite of this, men cannot refrain from discussing them, even though it must be done in a roundabout way. However, Galileo argued that the difficulties came about because:... we attempt, with our finite minds, to discuss the infinite, assigning to it properties which we give to the finite and limited; but I think this is wrong, for we cannot speak of infinite quantities as being the one greater or less than or equal to another. He then gave another paradox similar to the circle paradox yet this time with numbers so no infinite indivisibles could be inserted to correct the situation. He produced the standard one-to-one correspondence between the positive integers and their squares. On the one hand this showed that there were the same number of squares as there were whole numbers. However most numbers were not perfect squares. Galileo says this means only that:F;ile: /var/www/apps/conversion/tmp/scratch_5/176675770.doc


... the totality of all numbers is infinite, and that the number of squares is infinite.; neither is the number of squares less than the totality of all numbers, nor the latter greater than the former; and, finally, the attributes "equal", "greater", and "less" are not applicable to the infinite, but only to finite quantities. In [25] Knobloch takes a new look at this work by Galileo. In the same paper Leibniz's careful definitions of the infinitesimal and the infinite in terms of limit procedures are examined. Leibniz's development of the calculus was built on ideas of the infinitely small which has been studied for a long time. Cavalieri wrote Geometria indivisibilibus continuorum (1635) in which he thought of lines as comprising of infinitely many points and areas to be composed of infinitely many lines. He gave quite rigorous methods of comparing areas, known as the "Principle of Cavalieri". If a line is moved parallel to itself across two areas and if the ratio of the lengths of the line within each area is always a : b then the ratio of the areas is a : b. Roberval went further down the road of thinking of lines as being the sum of an infinite number of small indivisible parts. He introduced methods to compare the sizes of the indivisibles so even if they did not have a magnitude themselves one could define ratios of their magnitudes. It was a real step forward in dealing with infinite processes since for the first time he was able to ignore magnitudes which were small compared to others. However there was a difference between being able to use the method correctly and writing down rigorously precise conditions when it would work. Consequently paradoxes arose which led some to want the method of indivisibles to be rejected. The Roman College rejected indivisibles and banned their teaching in Jesuit Colleges in 1649. The Church had failed to silence Bruno despite putting him to death, it had failed to silence Galileo despite putting him under house arrest and it would not stop progress towards the differential and integral calculus by banning the teaching of indivisibles. Rather the Church would only force mathematicians to strive for greater rigour in the face of criticism. The symbol which we use for infinity today, was first used by John Wallis who used it in De sectionibus conicis in 1655 and again in Arithmetica infinitorum in 1656. He chose it to represent the fact that one could traverse the curve infinitely often. Three years later Fermat identified an important property of the positive integers, namely that it did not contain an infinite descending sequence. He did this in introducing the method of infinite descent 1659:... in the cases where ordinary methods given in books prove insufficient for handling such difficult propositions, I have at last found an entirely singular way of dealing with them. I call this method of proving infinite descent ... The method was based on showing that if a proposition was true for some positive integer value n, then it was also true for some positive integer value less than n. Since no infinite descending chain existed in the positive integers such a proof would yield a contradiction. Fermat used his method to prove that there were no positive integer solutions to x4 + y4 = z4. Newton rejected indivisibles in favour of his fluxion which was a measure of the instantaneous variation of a quantity. Of course, the infinite was not avoided since he still had to consider infinitely small increments. This was, in a sense, Newton's answer to Zeno's arrow problem:If, says Zeno, everything is either at rest or moving when it occupies a space equal to itself, while the object moved is in the instant, the moving arrow is unmoved.

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Newton's fluxions produced wonderful mathematical results but many were wary of his use of infinitely small increments. George Berkeley's famous quote summed up the objections in a succinct way:And what are these fluxions? The velocities of evanescent increments. And what are these same evanescent increments? They are neither finite quantities, nor quantities infinitely small, nor yet nothing. May we not call them ghosts of departed quantities? Newton believed that space is in fact infinite and not merely indefinitely large. He claimed that such an infinity could be understood, particularly using geometrical arguments, but it could not be conceived. This is interesting for, as we shall see below, others argued against actual infinity using the fact that it could not be conceived. The problem of whether space and time are infinitely divisible continued to trouble people. The philosopher David Hume argued that there was a minimum perceptible size in Treatise of human nature (1739):Put a spot of ink upon paper, fix your eye upon the spot, and retire to such a distance that at last you lose sight of it; 'tis plain that the moment before it vanished the image or impression was perfectly indivisible. Immanuel Kant argued in The critique of pure reason (1781) that the actual infinite cannot exist because it cannot be perceived:... in order to conceive the world, which fills all space, as a whole, the successive synthesis of the parts of an infinite world would have to be looked upon as completed; that is, an infinite time would have to be looked upon as elapsed, during the enumeration of all coexisting things. This comes to the question often asked by philosophers: would the world exist if there were no intelligence capable of conceiving its existence? Kant says no; so we come back to the point made near the beginning of this article namely that the collection of integers is not infinite since we can never enumerate more than a finite number. Little progress was being made on the question of the actual infinite. The same arguments kept on appearing without any definite progress towards a better understanding. Gauss, in a letter to Schumacher in 1831, argued against the actual infinite:I protest against the use of infinite magnitude as something completed, which in mathematics is never permissible. Infinity is merely a facon de parler, the real meaning being a limit which certain ratios approach indefinitely near, while others are permitted to increase without restriction. Perhaps one of the most significant events in the development of the concept of infinity was Bernard Bolzano's Paradoxes of the infinite which was published in 1840. He argues that the infinite does exist and his argument involves the idea of a set which he defined for the first time:I call a set a collection where the order of its parts is irrelevant and where nothing essential is changed if only the order is changed. Why does defining a set make the actual infinite a reality? The answer is simple. Once one thinks of the integers as a set then there is a single entity which must be actually infinite. Aristotle would look at the integers from the point of view that one can find arbitrarily large finite subsets. But once one has the set concept then these are seen as subsets of the set of integers which must itself be actually
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infinite. Perhaps surprisingly Bolzano does not use this example of an infinite set but rather looks at all true propositions:The class of all true propositions is easily seen to be infinite. For if we fix our attention upon any truth taken at random and label it A, we find that the proposition conveyed by the words "A is true" is distinct from the proposition A itself... At this stage the mathematical study of infinity moves into set theory and we refer the reader to the article Beginnings of set theory for more information about Bolzano's contribution and also the treatment of infinity by Cantor who built a theory of different sizes of infinity with his definitions of cardinal and ordinal numbers. The problem of infinitesimals was put on a rigorous mathematical basis by Robinson with his famous 1966 text on nonstandard analysis. Kreisel wrote:This book, which appeared just 250 years after Leibniz' death, presents a rigorous and efficient theory of infinitesimals obeying, as Leibniz wanted, the same laws as the ordinary numbers. Fenstad, in [17], looks at infinity and nonstandard analysis. He also examines its use in modelling natural phenomena. Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson References (39 books/articles)

References for Infinity

Books 1. J Benardete, Infinity (Oxford, 1964). 2. I N Burova, The development of the problem of infinity in the history of science (Russian), Nauka (Moscow, 1987). 3. E Maor, To infinity and beyond : A cultural history of the infinite (Boston, MA, 1987). 4. E Maor, To infinity and beyond : A cultural history of the infinite (Princeton, NJ, 1991). 5. F Monnoyeur, Infini des mathmaticiens, infini des philosophes, (Paris, 1997). 6. A Moretto, Hegel e la "matematica dell'infinito" (Trento, 1984). 7. R Rucker, Infinity and the mind (Prinveton, N.J., 1995). 8. N Ya Vilenkin, In search of infinity (Boston, MA, 1995). 9. N Ya Vilenkin, In search of infinity (Russian) Nauka (Moscow, 1983). Articles 10. D A Anapolitanos and A K Demis, Incommensurability and infinity according to Proclus, Neusis No. 5 (1996), 55-73, 170. 11. F C M Bosinelli, I quattro infiniti di Leibniz, Ann. Discipl. Filos. Univ. Bologna 10 (1988/89), 117-134. 12. F C M Bosinelli, Uber Leibniz' Unendlichkeitstheorie, Studia Leibnitiana 23 (2) (1991), 151169. 13. H Burkhardt and C Dufour, Infinity in Leibniz's metaphysics, in The Leibniz renaissance, Firenze, 1986 (Florence, 1989), 43-54. 14. P Costabel, Descartes et la mathmatique de l'infini, Historia Sci. No. 29 (1985), 37-49. 15. A A Davenport, The Catholics, the Cathars, and the concept of infinity in the thirteenth century, Isis 88 (2) (1997), 263-295. 16. P Dugac, La thorie des fonctions analytiques de Lagrange et la notion d'infini, in Konzepte des mathematisch Unendlichen im 19. Jahrhundert (Gttingen, 1990), 34-46. 17. J E Fenstad, Infinities in mathematics and the natural sciences, in Methods and applications of mathematical logic, Campinas, 1985, Contemp. Math. 69 (Providence, RI, 1988), 79-92. F;ile: /var/www/apps/conversion/tmp/scratch_5/176675770.doc 219

18. H Grauert, Die Unendlichkeit in der Mathematik, Math. Semesterber. 37 (2) (1990), 153-156. 19. M Guillemot and D Daumas, En route for infinity, History of mathematics : History of problems (Paris,1997), 7-32. 20. J Holtsmark, The concept of infinity from Aristotle to the scholastics, Phys. Norveg. 5 (3-4) (1971), 311-318. 21. W S Horng, How did Liu Hui perceive the concept of infinity : a revisit, Historia Sci. (2) 4 (3) (1995), 207-222. 22. J Hrubes, The genesis of the philosophical-mathematical concept of infinity (Czech), Sb. Prac Ped. Fak. v Ostrave Mat. Fyz. Ser. A No. 22 (1987), 3-23. 23. C G Huang, The notion of infinity for 2500 years (Chinese), Tianjin Jiaoyu Xueyuan Xuebao Ziran Ban (1) (1993), 3-7. 24. G S Jha, Concept of infinity in Hindu mathematics, Math. Ed. (Siwan) 15 (1) (1981), B13-B19. 25. E Knobloch, Galileo and Leibniz : different approaches to infinity, Arch. Hist. Exact Sci. 54 (2) (1999), 87-99. 26. W R Knorr, Infinity and continuity in ancient and medieval thought (Ithaca, N.Y., 1982), 112145. 27. T Krischer, Mathematische Unendlichkeit und Induktion bei Platon und Aristoteles, in Aristoteles. Werk und Wirkung 1 (Berlin, 1985), 518-542. 28. J E McGuire, Space, geometrical objects and infinity : Newton and Descartes on extension, in Nature mathematized I, Montreal, Que., 1980 (Dordrecht-Boston, Mass., 1983), 69-112. 29. H Meyer, Unendlichkeitsbegriff und Infinitesimalrechnung im Denken Lazare Carnots, 200 Jahre Grosse Franzsische Revolution, Wiss. Z. Tech. Univ. Magdeburg 33 (2) (1989), 61-62. 30. A W Moore, A brief history of infinity, Sci. Amer. 272 (4) (1995), 112-116. 31. E Naert, Double infinit chez Pascal et Monade, Studia Leibnitiana 17 (1) (1985), 44-51. 32. R Netz, K Saito and N Tchernetska, A new reading of Method Proposition 14 : preliminary evidence from the Archimedes palimpsest. I, SCIAMVS 2 (2001), 9-29. 33. S Probst, Infinity and creation : the origin of the controversy between Thomas Hobbes and the Savilian professors Seth Ward and John Wallis, British J. Hist. Sci. 26 (90-3) (1993), 271-279. 34. R Rucker, The actual infinite, Speculations in Science and Technology 3 (1980), 197-208. 35. J Seppnen, Infinity - an outline of conceptions in mythology, cosmology and natural philosophy. Finite versus infinite, Discrete Math. Theoret. Comput. Sci. (2000), 257-283. 36. D D Spalt, Die Unendlichkeiten bei Bernard Bolzano, in Konzepte des mathematisch Unendlichen im 19. Jahrhundert (Gttingen, 1990), 189-218. 37. V Vita, Mathematical infinity in Aristotle and his time (Italian), Boll. Storia Sci. Mat. 6 (2) (1986), 109-132. 38. P Vopenka, Infinity, sets and possibility in the sense of B Bolzano (Polish), Wiadom. Mat. 26 (2) (1985), 171-204. 39. W C Waterhouse, Gauss on infinity, Historia Math. 6 (4) (1979), 430-436.

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Earliest Uses of Symbols from Geometry

Last revision: August 26, 2001 Lettering of geometric figures. The designation of points, lines, and planes by a letter or letters was in vogue among the ancient Greeks and has been traced back to Hippocrates of Chios (about 440 B. C.) (Cajori vol. 1, page 420, attributed to Moritz Cantor). Lettering of triangles. Richard Rawlinson in a pamphlet prepared at Oxford sometime between 1655 and 1668 used A, B, C for the sides of a triangle and a, b, c for the opposite angles. In his notation, A was the largest side and C the smallest (Cajori vol. 2, page 162). Leonhard Euler and Thomas Simpson reintroduced this scheme many years later, Euler using it in 1753 in Histoire de l'acadmie de Berlin (Cajori vol 2., page 162). Euler used capital letters for the angles. In 1866, Karl Theodor Reye (1838-1919) proposed the plan of using capital letters for points, lower case letters for lines, and lower case Greek letters for planes in a remarkable two-volume work on geometry, Die Geometrie der Lage (Cajori vol. 1, page 423). As early as 1618, an anonymous writer of the "Appendix" in the 1618 edition of Edward Wright's translation of John Napier's "Mirifici logarithmorum canonis descriptio" labeled the right angle of a triangle with the letter A: It will bee conuenient in euery calculation, to haue in your view a triangle, described according to the present occasion: and if it bee a right angled triangle, to note it with Letters A.B.C: so that A may bee alwayes the right angle; B the angle at the Base B.A and C the angle at the Cathetus CA [sic]. Cf. page 3 of "An Appendix to the Logarithmes of the Calculation of Triangles, and also a new and ready way for the exact finding out of such lines and logarithmes as are not precisely to be found in the Canons", in John Napier's "A description of the Admirable Table of Logarithmes ...", London, Printed for Simon Waterson, 1618 James W. L. Glaisher (1848-1928) has remarked that the letter A is taken to be the right angle in the right-angled triangle ABC in order that BA may represent the BAse, and CA the CAthetus, the first two initials indicating the words. The fact that this lettering was also employed by William Oughtred (1574-1660) in his books is one of the many arguments in support that Oughtred might be the author of the "Appendix" (Cajori vol. 2, p. 154). Angle. Pierre Hrigone (1580-1643) used both and < in Cursus mathematicus. This work was published in 1634 and in a second edition in 1644. Cajori lists the symbols from the 1644 edition, which shows both angle symbols (Cajori vol. 1, page 202). Arc. The arc symbol appears in the middle of the twelfth century in Plato of Tivoli's translation of the Liber embadorum by Savasorda (Cajori vol. 1, page 402). Circle. Heron used a modified circle with a dot in the center to represent a circle around A. D. 150 (Cajori vol. 1, page 401). Pappus used a circle with and without a dot in the center to represent a circle in the fourth century A. D. (Cajori vol. 1, page 401). Triangle. Heron about A. D. 150 used a triangle as a symbol for triangle (Cajori). Congruence. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) introduced for congruence in an unpublished manuscript of 1679 (Cajori vol. 1, page 414). The first appearance in print of Leibniz' sign for congruence was in 1710 in the Miscellanea Berolinensia in the anonymous article "Monitum," which is attributed to Leibniz (Cajori vol. 2, page 195). In 1777, Johann Friedrich Hseler (1732-1797) used (with the tilde reversed) in Anfangsgrnde der Arith., Alg., Geom. und Trig. (Lemgo), Elementar-Geometrie (Cajori vol. 1, page 415).
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In 1824 Carl Brandan Mollweide (1774-1825) used the modern congruent symbol in Euklid's Elemente (Cajori vol. 1, page 415). Radius. Leonhard Euler introduced the use of R for the radius of the circumscribed circle and r for the radius of the inscribed circle (Boyer, page 495). Degrees. The symbols for degrees, minutes, and seconds were used by Claudius Ptolemy (c. 85-c. 165) in the Almagest. However, the notation differed somewhat from the modern notation, and according to Cajori (vol. 2, page 143), "it is difficult to uphold" the view that our signs for degrees, minutes, and seconds are of Greek origin. The first modern appearance of the degree symbol Cajori found is in the revised 1569 edition of Gemma Frisius, Arithmeticae practicae moethodus facilis by Gemma Frisius (1508-1555), although the symbol appears in the Appendix on astronomical fractions due to Jacques Peletier (1517-1582) and dated 1558. Cajori writes: This is the first modern appearance that I have found of for integra or "degrees." It is explained that the denomination of the product of two such denominate numbers is obtained by combining the denominations of the factors; minutes times seconds give thirds, because 1+2=3. The denomination for integers or degrees is necessary to impart generality to this mode or procedure. "Integers when multiplied by seconds make seconds, when multiplied by thirds make thirds" (fol. 62, 76). It is possible that Peletier is the originator of the for degrees. But nowhere in this book have I been able to find the modern angular notation ' " used in writing angles. The is used only in multiplication. Erasmus Reinhold (1511-1553) used ' " in Prvtenicae tabulae coelestium motuum published in 1571 (Cajori). Line segment. A bar above AB to indicate line segment AB was used in 1647 by Bonaventura Cavalieri (1598-1647) in Geometria indivisibilibae and Exercitationes geometriae sex, according to Cajori. Slope. The earliest known use of m for slope appears in Vincenzo Riccatis memoir De methodo Hermanni ad locos geometricos resolvendos, which is chapter XII of the first part of his book Vincentii Riccati Opusculorum ad res Physica, & Mathematicas pertinentium (1757): Propositio prima. Aequationes primi gradus construere. Ut Hermanni methodo utamor, danda est aequationi hujusmodi forma y = mx + n, quod semper fieri posse certum est. (p. 151) The reference is to the Swiss mathematician Jacob Hermann (1678-1733). This use of m was found by Dr. Sandro Caparrini of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Torino. In 1830, Traite Elementaire D'Arithmetique, Al'Usage De L'Ecole Centrale des Quatre-Nations: Par S.F. LaCroix, Dix-Huitieme Edition has y = ax + b [Karen Dee Michalowicz]. Another use of m occurs in 1842 in An Elementary Treatise on the Differential Calculus by Rev. Matthew O'Brien, from the bottom of page 1: "Thus in the general equation to a right line, namely y = mx + c, if we suppose the line..." [Dave Cohen]. O'Brien used m for slope again in 1844 in A Treatise on Plane Co-Ordinate Geometry [V. Frederick Rickey]. George Salmon (1819-1904), an Irish mathematician, used y = mx + b in his A Treatise on Conic Sections, which was published in several editions beginning in 1848. Salmon referred in several places to O'Brien's Conic Sections and it may be that he adopted O'Brien's notation. Salmon used a to denote the x-intercept, and gave the equation (x/a) + (y/b) = 1 [David Wilkins]. Karen Dee Michalowicz has found an 1848 British analytic geometry text which has y = mx + h. The 1855 edition of Isaac Todhunter's Treatise on Plane Co-Ordinate Geometry has y = mx + c [Dave Cohen]. In 1891, Differential and Integral Calculus by George A. Osborne has y - y' = m(x - x').
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In Webster's New International Dictionary (1909), the "slope form" is y = sx + b. In 1921, in An Introduction to Mathematical Analysis by Frank Loxley Griffin, the equation is written y = lx + k. In Analytic Geometry (1924) by Arthur M. Harding and George W. Mullins, the "slope-intercept form" is y = mx + b. In A Brief Course in Advanced Algebra by Buchanan and others (1937), the "slope form" is y = mx + k. According to Erland Gadde, in Swedish textbooks the equation is usually written as y = kx + m. He writes that the technical Swedish word for "slope" is "riktningskoefficient", which literally means "direction coefficient," and he supposes k comes from "koefficient." According to Dick Klingens, in the Netherlands the equation is usually written as y = ax + b or px + q or mx + n. He writes that the Dutch word for slope is "richtingscofficint", which literally means "direction coefficient." In Austria k is used for the slope, and d for the y-intercept. According to Julio Gonzlez Cabilln, in Uruguay the equation is usually written as y = ax + b or y = mx + n, and slope is called "pendiente," "coeficiente angular," or "parametro de direccion." According to George Zeliger, "in Russian textbooks the equation was frequently written as y = kx + b, especially when plotting was involved. Since in Russian the slope is called 'the angle coefficient' and the word coefficient is spelled with k in the Cyrillic alphabet, usually nobody questioned the use of k. The use of b is less clear." It is not known why the letter m was chosen for slope; the choice may have been arbitrary. John Conway has suggested m could stand for "modulus of slope." One high school algebra textbook says the reason for m is unknown, but remarks that it is interesting that the French word for "to climb" is monter. However, there is no evidence to make any such connection. Descartes, who was French, did not use m. In Mathematical Circles Revisited (1971) mathematics historian Howard W. Eves suggests "it just happened." Parallelism. Two vertical bars, written horizontally and resembling the modern equal sign, were used by Heron about A. D. 150 and by Pappus (Cajori). Thee parallel symbol written vertically was first used by William Oughtred (1574-1660) in Opuscula Mathematica Hactenus Inedita, which was published posthumously in 1677 (Cajori vol. 1, page 193). John Kersey (1616-1677) also used the vertical parallel symbol. He used it after Oughtred, but in a work which was published before Oughtred. He used the symbol in Algebra, which was published in 1673. Kersey switched the lines from horizontal to vertical because of the adoption of the equal symbol (Cajori vol. 1, page 411). Perpendicularity. was first used by Pierre Hrigone (1580-1643) in 1634 in Cursus mathematicus, which was published in five volumes from 1634 to 1637 (Cajori vol. 1, page 408). Johnson (page 149) says, "Herigone introduced so many new symbols in this six-volume work that some suggest that the introduction of these symbols, rather than an effective mathematics text, was his goal." Right angle. was used by Pappus (Cajori vol. 1, page 401). Semi-perimeter. A capital S was first used by Leonhard Euler (1707-1783) in 1750 (Cajori 1919, page 235). Similarity. ~ was introduced by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) in a manuscripts of 1679 which were not published by him. The symbol was an S for similis, written sideways. The original manuscripts do not survive and it is uncertain whether the symbol Leibniz first used resembled the tilde or the tilde inverted (Cajori vol. 1, page 414). In the manuscript of his Characteristica Geometrica he wrote: "similitudinem ita notabimus: a ~ b" (Cajor vol. 1, page 414). The first appearance in print of Leibniz' sign for similarity was in 1710 in the Miscellanea Berolinensia in the anonymous article "Monitum," which is attributed to Leibniz (Cajori vol. 2, page 195). S.S.S., S.W.S., and W.S.W. for the triangle congruence theorems and axioms were invented by Julius Worpitzky (1835-1895), professor at the Friedrich Werder Gymnasium in Berlin (Cajori vol. 1, page 424). (W for Winkel=angle)
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An article in The Mathematics Teacher in March 1938 uses a.s.a. = a.s.a. and s.s.s. = s.s.s. and s.a.a. = s.a.a. as reasons in a proof. An article in the same journal in 1940 uses C.p.c.t.e., which is written out as "Corresponding parts of congruent triangles are equal." An article in The Mathematics Teacher in April 1948 has: "The three common theorems on congruence of triangles (SAS = SAS; ASA = ASA; SSS = SSS) are 'proved' by superposition."

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Famous Curves Index Click on the name of a curve below to see its history and some of its associated curves. Astroid Fermat's Spiral Pearls of de Sluze Bicorn Folium Pear-shaped Quartic Cardioid Folium of Descartes Plateau Curves Cartesian Oval Freeth's Nephroid Pursuit Curve Cassinian Ovals Frequency Curve Quadratrix of Hippias Catenary Hyperbola Rhodonea Curves Cayley's Sextic Hyperbolic Spiral Right Strophoid Circle Hypocycloid Serpentine Cissoid of Diocles Hypotrochoid Sinusoidal Spirals Cochleoid Involute of a Circle Spiral of Archimedes Conchoid Kampyle of Eudoxus Spiric Sections Conchoid of de Sluze Kappa Curve Straight Line Cycloid Lam Curves Talbot's Curve Devil's Curve Lemniscate of Bernoulli Tractrix Double Folium Limacon of Pascal Tricuspoid Drer's Shell Curves Lissajous Curves Trident of Newton Eight Curve Lituus Trifolium Ellipse Neile's Parabola Trisectrix of Maclaurin Epicycloid Nephroid Tschirnhaus' Cubic Epitrochoid Newton's Parabolas Watt's Curve Equiangular Spiral Parabola Witch of Agnesi

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Cartesian equation: x2/3 + y2/3 = a2/3 or parametrically: x = a cos3(t), y = a sin3(t) Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Evolute Involute 2

Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. The astroid was first discussed by Johann Bernoulli in 1691-92. It also appears in Leibniz's correspondence of 1715. It is sometimes called the tetracuspid for the obvious reason that it has four cusps. The astroid only acquired its present name in 1836 in a book published in Vienna. It has been known by various names in the literature, even after 1836, including cubocycloid and paracycle. The length of the astroid is 6a and its area is 3 a2/8. The gradient of the tangent T from the point with parameter p is -tan(p). The equation of this tangent T is x sin(p) + y cos(p) = a sin(2p)/2 Let T cut the x-axis and the y-axis at X and Y respectively. Then the length XY is a constant and is equal to a. It can be formed by rolling a circle of radius a/4 on the inside of a circle of radius a.
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It can also be formed as the envelope produced when a line segment is moved with each end on one of a pair of perpendicular axes. It is therefore a glissette.


Cartesian equation: y2(a2 - x2) = (x2 + 2ay - a)2 The bicorn (also called the cocked-hat) is the name of a collection of quartic curves studied by Sylvester in 1864. The same curves were the studied by Cayley in 1867. The particular bicorn given by Sylvester and Cayley is a different quartic from the one given here but this one, with a simpler formula, has essentially the same shape.


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Cartesian equation: (x2 + y2 - 2ax)2 = 4a2(x2 + y2) Polar equation: r = 2a(1 + cos( )) Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Evolute Involute 2

Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. The cardioid, a name first used by de Castillon in a paper in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Societyin 1741, is a curve that is the locus of a point on the circumference of circle rolling round the circumference of a circle of equal radius. Of course the name means 'heart-shaped'. Its length had been found by La Hire in 1708, and he therefore has some claim to be the discoverer of the curve. In the notation given above the length is 16a. It is a special case of the Limacon of Pascal (Etienne Pascal) and so, in a sense, its study goes back long before Castillon or La Hire. There are exactly three parallel tangents to the cardioid with any given gradient. Also the tangents at the ends of any chord through the cusp point are at right angles. The length of any chord through the cusp point is 4a and the area of the cardioid is 6 a2. We can easily give parametric equations for the cardioid, namely x = a(2cos(t) - cos(2t)), y = a(2sin(t) - sin(2t)). The pedal curve of the cardioid, where the cusp point is the pedal point, is Cayley's Sextic. If the cusp of the cardioid is taken as the centre of inversion, the cardioid inverts to a parabola. The caustic of a cardioid, where the radiant point is taken to be the cusp, is a nephroid. There are some other heart-shaped curves, sent to us by Kurt Eisemann (San Diego State University, USA): (i) The curve with Cartesian equation: y = 0.75 x2/3 (1 - x2). Show the picture (ii) The curve with Polar equation: r = sin2( /8 - /4). Show the picture

Cartesian Oval

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Cartesian equation: ((1 - m2)(x2 + y2) + 2m2cx + a2 - m2c2)2 = 4a2(x2 + y2) This curve C consists of two ovals so it should really be called Cartesian Ovals. It is the locus of a point P whose distances s and t from two fixed points S and T satisfy s + mt = a. When c is the distance between S and T then the curve can be expressed in the form given above. The curves were first studied by Descartes in 1637 and are sometimes called the 'Ovals of Descartes'. The curve was also studied by Newton in his classification of cubic curves. The Cartesian Oval has bipolar equation r + mr' =a. If m = 1 then the Cartesian Oval C is a central conic while if m = a/c then the curve is a Limacon of Pascal (tienne Pascal). In this case the inside oval touches the outside one. Cartesian Ovals are anallagmatic curves.

Cassinian Ovals

Cartesian equation: (x2 + y2)2 - 2a2(x2 - y2) + a4 - c4 = 0

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The Cassinian ovals are the locus of a point P that moves so that the product of its distances from two fixed points S and T [in this case the points ( a, 0)] is a constant c2. The shape of the curve depends on c/a. If c > a then the curve consists of two loops. If c < a then the curve consists of a single loop. The case where c = a produces a Lemniscate of Bernoulli (a figure of eight type curve introduced by Jacob Bernoulli ). The curve was first investigated by Cassini in 1680 when he was studying the relative motions of the Earth and the Sun. Cassini believed that the Sun travelled round the Earth on one of these ovals, with the Earth at one focus of the oval. Cassini actually introduced his curves 14 years before Jacob Bernoulli described his lemniscate. Cassinian Ovals are anallagmatic curves. They are defined by the bipolar equation rr' = k2. Even more incredible curves are produced by the locus of a point the product of whose distances from 3 or more fixed points is a constant.


Cartesian equation: y = a cosh(x/a) Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Evolute Involute 2

Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. The catenary is the shape of a perfectly flexible chain suspended by its ends and acted on by gravity. Its equation was obtained by Leibniz, Huygens and Johann Bernoulli in 1691. They were responding to a challenge put out by Jacob Bernoulli to find the equation of the 'chain-curve'.

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Huygens was the first to use the term catenary in a letter to Leibniz in 1690 and David Gregory wrote a treatise on the catenary in 1690. Jungius (1669) disproved Galileo's claim that the curve of a chain hanging under gravity would be a parabola. The catenary is the locus of the focus of a parabola rolling along a straight line. The catenary is the evolute of the tractrix. It is the locus of the mid-point of the vertical line segment between the curves ex and e-x. Euler showed in 1744 that a catenary revolved about its asymptote generates the only minimal surface of revolution.

Cayley's Sextic

Cartesian equation: 4(x2 + y2 - ax)3 = 27a2(x2 + y2)2 Polar equation: r = 4a cos3( /3) Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Evolute Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays Involute 2 Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. This was first discovered by Maclaurin but studied in detail by Cayley. The name Cayley's sextic is due to R C Archibald who attempted to classify curves in a paper published in Strasbourg in 1900. The evolute of Cayley's Sextic is a nephroid curve.

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Cartesian equation: x2 + y2 = a2 or parametrically: x = a cos(t), y = a sin(t) Polar equation: r = a Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Evolute Involute 2

Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. The study of the circle goes back beyond recorded history. The invention of the wheel is a fundamental discovery of properties of a circle. The greeks considered the Egyptians as the inventors of geometry. The scribe Ahmes, the author of the Rhind papyrus, gives a rule for determining the area of a circle which corresponds to = 256/81 or approximately 3.16. The first theorems relating to circles are attributed to Thales around 650 BC. Book III of Euclid's Elementsdeals with properties of circles and problems of inscribing and escribing polygons. One of the problems of Greek mathematics was the problem of finding a square with the same area as a given circle. Several of the 'famous curves' in this stack were first studied in an attempt to solve this problem. Anaxagoras in 450 BC is the first recored mathematician to study this problem. The problem of finding the area of a circle led to integration. For the circle with formula given above the area is a2 and the length of the curve is 2 a. The pedal of a circle is a cardioid if the pedal point is taken on the circumference and is a limacon if the pedal point is not on the circumference. The caustic of a circle with radiant point on the circumference is a cardioid, while if the rays are parallel then the caustic is a nephroid. F;ile: /var/www/apps/conversion/tmp/scratch_5/176675770.doc 232

Apollonius, in about 240 BC, showed effectively that the bipolar equation r = kr' represents a system of coaxial circles as k varies. In terms of bipolar equations mr2 + nr'2 = c2 represents a circle whose centre divides the line segment between the two fixed points of the system in the ratio n to m.

Cissoid of Diocles

Cartesian equation: y2 = x3/(2a - x) Polar equation: r = 2a tan( )sin( ) Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Evolute Involute 2

Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. This curve (meaning 'ivy-shaped') was invented by Diocles in about 180 BC in connection with his attempt to duplicate the cube by geometrical methods. The name first appears in the work of Geminus about 100 years later. Fermat and Roberval constructed the tangent in 1634. Huygens and Wallis found, in 1658, that the area between the curve and its asymptote was 3 a2. From a given point there are either one or three tangents to the cissoid. The Cissoid of Diocles is the roulette of the vertex of a parabola rolling on an equal parabola. Newton gave a method of drawing the Cissoid of Diocles using two line segments of equal length at right angles. If they are moved so that one line always passes through a fixed point and the end of the other line segment slides along a straight line then the mid-point of the sliding line segment traces out a Cissoid of Diocles. Diocles was a contemporary of Nicomedes. He studied the cissoid in his attempt to solve the problem of finding the length of the side of a cube having volume twice that of a given cube. He also studied F;ile: /var/www/apps/conversion/tmp/scratch_5/176675770.doc 233

the problem of Archimedes to cut a sphere by a plane in such a way that the volumes of the segments shall have a given ratio. It is in commentaries on Archimedes' On the sphere and the cylinder that the cissoid appears and is attributed to Diocles. The pedal curve of the cissoid, when the pedal point is on the axis beyond the asymptote, at distance from the cusp four times that of the asymptote, is a cardioid. If the cusp of the cissoid is taken as the centre of inversion, the cissoid inverts to a parabola. The caustic of the cissoid where the radiant point is taken as (8a, 0) is a cardioid. If points P and Q are on the cissoid so that PQ subtends a right angle at O then the locus of intersection of the tangents at P and Q lies on the circle with diameter (a/2, 0), (2a, 0).


Polar equation: r = a sin( )/ Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Evolute Involute 2

Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. The name means the snail-form curve. It was discussed by J Peck in 1700. The form given here is due to a Belgium J. Neuberg. The name originated in 1884 with writers Benthan and Falkenburg. The points of contact of parallel tangents to the cochleoid lie on a strophoid.

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Cartesian equation: (x - b)2(x2 + y2) - a2x2 = 0 Polar equation: r = a + b sec( ) Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Evolute Involute 2

Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. The name means shell form and was studied by the Greek mathematician Nicomedes in about 200 BC in relation to the problem of duplication of the cube. Nicomedes recognised the three distinct forms seen in this family. Nicomedes was a minor geometer who worked around 180 BC. His main invention was the conchoid ascribed to him by Pappus. It was a favourite with 17 Century mathematicians and could be used, as Nicomedes had intended, to solve the problems of duplicating the cube and trisecting an angle. Newton said it should be a 'standard' curve. The conchoid has x = b as an asymptote and the area between either branch and the asymptote is infinite. The area of the loop is b (a2 - b2) - 2ab log((a + a2 - b2)/b) + a2cos-1(b/a). The conchoid was used in the construction of ancient buildings. The vertical section of columns was made in the shape of the loop of the conchoid.

Conchoid of de Sluze
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Cartesian equation: a(x - a)(x2 + y2) = k2x2 Polar equation: a(r cos( ) - a) = k2cos2( ) Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Evolute Involute 2

Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. This curve was first constructed by Ren de Sluze in 1662. Ren Francois Walter- Baron de Sluze was an important man in the church as well as a mathematician. He contributed to the geometry of spirals and the finding of geometric means. He also invented a general method for determining points of inflection of a curve.


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Parametric Cartesian equation: x = at - h sin(t), y = a - h cos(t) Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Evolute Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays Involute 2 Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. The cycloid is the locus of a point at distance h from the centre of a circle of radius a that rolls along a straight line. If h < a it is a curtate cycloid while if h > a it is a prolate cycloid. The curve drawn above has a = h. The cycloid was first studied by Cusa when he was attempting to find the area of a circle by integration. Mersenne gave the first proper definition of the cycloid and stated the obvious properties such as the length of the base equals the circumference of the rolling circle. Mersenne attempted to find the area under the curve by integration but failed. He posed the question to other mathematicians. The curve was named by Galileo in 1599. In 1639 he wrote to Torricelli about the cycloid, saying that he had been studying its properties for 40 years. Galileo attempted to find the area by comparing its area to that of the generating circle. After he failed to find a mathematical method he resorted to weighing pieces of metal cut into the shape of the cycloid. He found that the ratio of the weights was approximately 3 to 1 but decided that it was not exactly 3, in fact he guessed (wrongly) that the ratio was not rational. Mersenne proposed the problem of the area to Roberval in 1628 and, although he failed at first, it was solved by Roberval in 1634. If a = h then the area under an arch is 3 a2. Roberval, proud of his result, wrote to Descartes telling him of it. Descartes replied that the result was a pretty one which I had not noticed before but which would cause no difficulty to any moderately skilled geometer.
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Descartes challenged Roberval to find a method of drawing a tangent to the cycloid having discovered himself how to construct one. Roberval failed but Fermat, who was included in the challenge, succeeded. It is worth noting that Torricelli independently discovered the area of the cycloid and Viviani independently found a method for constructing a tangent. In 1658 Pascal, after a long spell devoted to religion when he ignored mathematics, started to think about mathematical problems again as he lay awake at night unable to sleep for pain. He solved the problem of the area of any segment of the cycloid and the centre of gravity of any segment. He also solved the problems of the volume and surface area of the solid of revolution formed by rotating the cycloid about the x-axis. Pascal published a challenge (not under his own name but under the name of Dettonville) offering two prizes for solutions to these problems. Wallis and Laloure entered but Laloure's solution was wrong and Wallis was also not successful. Sluze, Ricci, Huygens, Wren and Fermat all communicated their discoveries to Pascal without entering the competition. Wren's contribution was the most remarkable as he found the arc length, the length of the arch being 8a. Pascal published his own solutions to his challenge problems together with an extension of Wren's result which he was able to find. The cycloid has the property that a particle P sliding on a cycloid will exhibit simple harmonic motion and the period will be independent of the starting point. This is the tautochrone property and was discovered by Huygens in 1673 (Horologium oscillatorium). He constructed the first pendulum clock with a device to ensure that the pendulum was isochronous by forcing the pendulum to swing in a cycloid arc. However this presents too many mechanical problems to make it practical. Desargues proposed cycloidal teeth for gear wheels in the 1630's. In 1696 Johann Bernoulli, in Acta eruditorum, asked which curve satisfies the brachistochrone property. He already knew the brachistochrone property of the cycloid and published his solution in 1697. It was also shown by Leibniz, Newton, Jacob Bernoulli and de l'Hpital. It was one of the earliest variational problems and its investigation was the starting point for the development of the calculus of variations. The cycloid is the catacaustic of a circle when the light rays come from a point on the circumference. This was shown by Jacob Bernoulli and Johann Bernoulli in 1692. The caustic of the cycloid, where the rays are parallel to the y-axis is a cycloid with twice as many arches. Both the evolute and involute of a cycloid is an identical cycloid. In fact the evolute was studied by Huygens and because of his work on the cycloid Huygens developed a general theory of evolutes of curves.

Devil's Curve

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Cartesian equation: y4 - x4 + a y2 + b x2 = 0 Polar equation (Special case): r = [(25 - 24tan2( ))/(1 - tan2( ))] Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Evolute Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays Involute 2 Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. The Devil's Curve was studied by G. Cramer in 1750 and Lacroix in 1810. It appears in Nouvelles Annalesin 1858. Gabriel Cramer (1704-1752) was a Swiss mathematician. He became professor of mathematics at Geneva and wrote on work related to physics; also on geometry and the history of mathematics. He is best known for his work on determinants (1750) but also made contributions to the study of algebraic curves (1750).

Double Folium

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Cartesian equation: (x2 + y2)2 = 4axy2 Polar equation: r = 4a cos sin2 Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Evolute Involute 2

Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. The general form of the folium is given by the formula (x2+y2)(y2+x(x+b)) = 4axy2 or, in polar coordinates r = -b cos + 4a cos sin2 .

The word folium means leaf-shaped. There are three special forms of the folium, the simple folium, the double folium and the trifolium. These correspond to the cases b = 4a, b = 0, b = a respectively in the formula for the general form. The graph plotted above is the double folium. There are separate entries for the simple folium and the trifolium. The double folium is the pedal curve of the tricuspoid where the pedal point is mid-point of one of the three curved sides.
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Durer's Shell Curves

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Cartesian equation: (x2 + xy + ax - b2)2 = (b2 - x2)(x - y + a)2 These curves appear in Drer's work Instruction in measurement with compasses and straight edge(1525). Drer calls the curve 'ein muschellini' which means a conchoid, but since it is not a true conchoid we have called it Drer's shell curve (muschellini = conchoid = shell). This curve arose from Drer's work on perspective. He constructed the curve in the following way. He drew lines QRP and P'QR of length 16 units through Q (q, 0) and R (0, r) where q + r = 13. The locus of P and P' as Q and R move on the axes is the curve. Drer only found one of the two branches of the curve. The envelope of the line P'QRP is a parabola and the curve is therefore a glissette of a point on a line segment sliding between a parabola and one of its tangents. There are a number of interesting special cases: In the above formula we have: b = 0 : Curve becomes two coincident straight lines x2 = 0. a = 0 : Curve becomes the line pair x = b/ 2, x = -b/ 2 together with the circle x2 + y2 = b2. a = b/2 : The curve has a cusp at (-2a, a).

Figure Eight Curve

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Cartesian equation: x4 = a2(x2-y2) Polar equation: r2 = a2cos(2 )sec4( ) Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Evolute Involute 2

Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves.

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Cartesian equation: x2/a2 + y2/b2 = 1 or parametrically: x = a cos(t), y = b sin(t) Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Evolute Involute 2

Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. The ellipse was first studied by Menaechmus. Euclid wrote about the ellipse and it was given its present name by Apollonius. The focus and directrix of an ellipse were considered by Pappus. Kepler, in 1602, said he believed that the orbit of Mars was oval, then he later discovered that it was an ellipse with the sun at one focus. In fact Kepler introduced the word "focus" and published his discovery in 1609. The eccentricity of the planetary orbits is small (i.e. they are close to circles). The eccentricity of Mars is 1/11 and of the Earth is 1/60. In 1705 Halley showed that the comet, which is now called after him, moved in an elliptical orbit round the sun. The eccentricity of Halley's comet is 0.9675 so it is close to a parabola (eccentricity 1). The area of the ellipse is ab. There is no exact formula for the length of an ellipse in elementary functions and this led to the study of elliptic functions. Ramanujan, in 1914, gave the approximate length (3(a + b) - [(a + 3b)(3a + b))]. The pedal curve of an ellipse, with its focus as pedal point, is a circle. The evolute of the ellipse with equation given above is the Lam curve.
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(ax)2/3 + (by)2/3 = (a - b)2/3. From a point inside the evolute (it is a closed curve) four normals can be drawn to the ellipse but from a point outside only two normals can be drawn.


Family of ellipses with eccentricities {0.25, 0.36, 0.46, 0.57, 0.67, 0.78, 0.88, 0.99} in order of light to dark shade. The left family share vertexes, the right are confocal. Mathematica Notebook for Ellipse History Description Formulas Properties Related Web Sites

See the History section of Conic Sections page.

Ellipse describe a family of curves. Together with hyperbola and parabola, they make up the conic sections. Ellipse is also a special case of hypotrochoid. Ellipse is commonly defined as the locus of points P such that the sum of the distances from P to two fixed points F1, F2 (called foci) are constant. That is, distance[P,F1] + distance[P,F2] == 2 a, where a is a positive constant. The eccentricity e of an ellipse is defined as e := c/a, where c is half the distance between foci. Eccentricity is a number that describe the degree of roundness of the ellipse. For any ellipse, 0 < e < 1. The smaller the eccentricy, the rounder the ellipse. If e == 0, it is a circle and F1, F2 are coincident Vertexes of the ellipse are defined as the intersections of the ellipse and a line passing through foci. The distance between the vertexes are called major axis or focal axis. A line passing the center and perpendicular to the major axis is the minor axis.

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Tracing an Ellipse Ellipse Tracing 1; 2; Ellipse Family


Parametric: {Cos[t], Sqrt[1-e^2] Sin[t]}. 0 < t < 2 Pi. Cartesian: x^2 + y^2/(1 - e^2) == 1

Vertexes: {1,0}, {-1,0}. Foci: {e, 0}, {-e, 0}.

Ellipse as Hypotrochoid
Ellipse can be generated as a hypotrochoid. Let the parameters of the hypotrochoid be {A,B,H}, where A is the radius of the fixed circle, B is the radius of the rolling circle, and H is the distance from the tracing point to the center of the rolling circle. If A/2 == B AND H != B, then it's an ellipse with semimajor axis a==B+H and semiminor axis b==Abs[B-H]. Eccentricity is then e:=c/a == Sqrt[a^2b^2]/a == Sqrt[(B+H)^2-(B-H)^2]/(B+H) Given A, B:=1/2 A, and e, we may want to find H such that the hypotrochoid {A,B,H} generate an ellipse with eccentricity e. This is easily solved with the above information. The solution is If we let A:=1, B:=1/2, e:=8/10, we get h==1/8 or 2. Two ellipses of eccentricity 8/10 as hypotrochoids with parameters {1,1/2,1/8} and {1,1/2,2} are shown below.

Ellipse Tracing

Ellipse Tracing

Ellipse as a Hypotrochoid

Point-wise Construction

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This method is obvious from the paramteric formula for ellipses {a Cos[t], b Sin[t]}, where a and b are the radii of the circles. Figure below showing an ellipse with a:=5, b:=3, and e==8/10.

Point-wise Construction Ellipse Construction; Ellipse Family

Trammel of Archimedes
Ellipse is the glissette of a line of constant length with endpoints on other two mutually orthogonal lines. That is, the trace of fixed point on a line of constant length with its endpoints freely glides on two mutually orthogonal lines. This mechanism is called Trammel of Archimedes. The trace of the line itself will generate an astroid.

Trammel in Motion Trammel of Archemedes 1; 2; Ellipse Family

Optical Property
Lightrays from one focus will reflect to the ther focus. If the radiant point is not at a focus, a caustic curve forms.

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Ellipse's Caustic

The pedal of an ellipse with respect to a focus is a circle, conversely, the negative pedal of a circle with respect to a point inside the circle is an ellipse. This fact can be used to draw ellipses by envelope of lines. 1. Start with a circle and a point O inside the circle. 2. Draw a line L from a point P on the circle to O. 3. Draw a line M perpendicular to L and passing P. 4. Repeat step 2 and 3 for other points P on the cricle. 5. The envelope of lines M is an ellipse with a focus O.

Ellipse Tracing by Negative Pedal of a Circle

Ellipse's inversion with respect to a focus is a dimpled limacon of Pascal.

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Ellipse Inversion at Focus

Cylinder Slice
The intersection of a right circular cylinder and a plane is an ellipse. One can see this by tilting a cup or a cone shaped paper cup filled with liquid. Let r be the radius of the base circle of the cylinder, alpha be the angle formed by the cutting plane and the plane of the base circle of the right circular cylinder. The intersection will be an ellipse with semi-major axis r/Cos[alpha] and semi-minor axis r. Slicing a Cylinder


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Parametric Cartesian equation: x = (a + b) cos(t) - b cos((a/b + 1)t), y = (a + b) sin(t) - b sin((a/b + 1)t) Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Evolute Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays Involute 2 Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. There are four curves which are closely related. These are the epicycloid, the epitrochoid, the hypocycloid and the hypotrochoid and they are traced by a point P on a circle of radius b which rolls round a fixed circle of radius a. For the epicycloid, an example of which is shown above, the circle of radius b rolls on the outside of the circle of radius a. The point P is on the circumference of the circle of radius b. For the example drawn here a = 8 and b = 5. These curves were studied by Drer (1525), Desargues (1640), Huygens (1679), Leibniz, Newton (1686), de L'Hpital (1690), Jacob Bernoulli (1690), la Hire (1694), Johann Bernoulli (1695), Daniel Bernoulli (1725), Euler (1745, 1781). Special cases are a = b when a cardioid is obtained and a = 2b when a nephroid is obtained. If a = (m - 1)b where m is an integer, then the length of the epicycloid is 8mb and its area is b2(m2 + m). The pedal curve, when the pedal point is the centre, is a rhodonea curve. The evolute of an epicycloid is a similar epicycloid - look at the evolute of the epicycloid above to see it is a similar epicycloid but smaller in size. Other Web site:


Parametric Cartesian equation: x = (a + b) cos(t) - c cos((a/b + 1)t), y = (a + b) sin(t) - c sin((a/b + 1)t) Click below to see one of the Associated curves.
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Definitions of the Associated curves Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Evolute Involute 2 Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. There are four curves which are closely related. These are the epicycloid, the epitrochoid, the hypocycloid and the hypotrochoid and they are traced by a point P on a circle of radius b which rolls round a fixed circle of radius a. For the epitrochoid, an example of which is shown above, the circle of radius b rolls on the outside of the circle of radius a. The point P is at distance c from the centre of the circle of radius b. For the example a = 5, b = 3 and c = 5 (so P goes inside the circle of radius a). An example of an epitrochoid appears in Drer's work Instruction in measurement with compasses and straight edge(1525). He called them spider lines because the lines he used to construct the curves looked like a spider. These curves were studied by la Hire, Desargues, Leibniz, Newton and many others.

Equiangular Spiral

Polar equation: r = a exp( cot b) Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin
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Evolute Involute 2

Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point 250

Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. The equiangular spiral was invented by Descartes in 1638. Torricelli worked on it independently and found the length of the curve. If P is any point on the spiral then the length of the spiral from P to the origin is finite. In fact, from the point P which is at distance d from the origin measured along a radius vector, the distance from P to the pole is d sec b. Jacob Bernoulli in 1692 called it spira mirabilis and it is carved on his tomb in Basel. It occurs naturally in many places like sea-shells where the growth of an organism is proportional to the size of the organism. In his book Growth and Form, D'Arcy Thompson devoted a whole chapter to this curve and describes its occurence in Nature as the result of coiling a cone upon itself, contrasting it with the Spiral of Archimedes which is formed by coiling a cylinder as a sailor coils a rope upon the deck. You can see this shell of the many-chambered Nautilus or the shell with the curve super-imposed. The spiral make a constant angle b with any radius vector. Of course in the special case where b = /2 one obtains a circle. For the curve displayed above b = 7 /16. Therefore the length of the curve from a point at distance d from the origin along a radius vector is about 5.126 d. Any radius from the origin meets the spiral at distances which are in geometric progression. The pedal of an equiangular spiral, when the pedal point is the pole, is an identical equiangular spiral. The evolute and the involute of an equiangular spiral is an identical equiangular spiral. This was shown by Johann Bernoulli. The caustic of the equiangular spiral, where the pole is taken as the radiant, is an equal equiangular spiral.

Fermat's Spiral

Polar equation: r2 = a2 Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves
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Evolute 251

Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Involute 2 Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. This spiral was discussed by Fermat in 1636. For any given positive value of there are two corresponding values of r, one being the negative of the other. The resulting spiral will therefore be symmetrical about the line y = -x as can be seen from the curve displayed above. The inverse of Fermat's Spiral, when the pole is taken as the centre of inversion, is the spiral r2 = a2/ . For technical reasons with the plotting routines, when evolutes, involutes, inverses and pedals are drawn only one of the two branches of the spiral are drawn.


Cartesian equation: (x2 + y2)(y2 + x(x + b)) = 4axy2 Polar equation: r = -b cos + 4a cos sin2 Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Evolute Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays
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Involute 2 Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point 252

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. The general form of the folium is given by the formula above. The word folium means leaf-shaped. There are three special forms of the folium, the simple folium, the double folium and the trifolium. These correspond to the cases b = 4a, b = 0, b = a respectively in the formula above. The graph plotted above is the simple folium. There are separate entries for the double folium and the trifolium. The simple folium is the pedal curve of the tricuspoid where the pedal point is one of the cusps.

Folium of Descartes

Cartesian equation: x3 + y3 = 3axy or parametrically: x = 3at/(1 + t3), y = 3at2/(1 + t3) Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Evolute Involute 2

Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. This folium was first discussed by Descartes in 1638 but, although he found the correct shape of the curve in the positive quadrant, he believed that this leaf shape was repeated in each quadrant like the four petals of a flower.
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The problem to determine the tangent to the curve was proposed to Roberval who also wrongly believed the curve had the form of a jasmine flower. His name of fleur de jasminwas later changed. The curve is sometimes known as the noeud de ruban. The folium has an asymptote x + y + a = 0. The equation of the tangent at the point with t = p is p(p3 - 2)x + (1 - 2p3)y + 3ap2 = 0. The curve passes through the origin at t = 0 and approaches the origin a second time as t goes to infinity.

Freeth's Nephroid

Polar equation: r = a(1 + 2sin( /2)) Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Evolute Involute 2

Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. This is a strophoid of a circle with the pole O at the centre of the circle and the fixed point P on the circumference of the circle. In the picture above, O is the origin and P is the node where the curve crosses itself three times. If the line through P parallel to the y-axis cuts the nephroid at A then angle AOP is 3 /7. This can be used to construct a regular 7 sided figure.
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T J Freeth (1819-1904) was an English mathematician. In a paper published by the London Mathematical Society in 1879 he described various strophoids, including the strophoid of a trisectrix.

Frequency Curve

Cartesian equation: y = (2 ) exp(-x2/2) Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Evolute Involute 2

Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. This curve, the normal curve of error, originated with de Moivre in 1733. It was also studied with Laplace and Gauss. The name frequency curve also applies to a great variety of other curves.

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Cartesian equation: x2/a2 - y2/b2 = 1 or parametrically: x = a sec(t), y = b tan(t) Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Evolute Involute 2

Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. A special case of the hyperbola was first studied by Menaechmus. This special case was xy = ab where the asymptotes are at right angles and this particular form of the hyperbola is called a rectangular hyperbola. Euclid and Aristaeus wrote about the general hyperbola but only studied one branch of it while the hyperbola was given its present name by Apollonius who was the first to study the two branches of the hyperbola. The focus and directrix of a hyperbola were considered by Pappus. The pedal curve of a hyperbola with its focus as pedal point is a circle. The pedal of a rectangular hyperbola with its centre as pedal point is a lemniscate. The evolute of the hyperbola with equation given above is the Lam curve (ax)2/3 - (by)2/3 = (a + b)2/3. From a point between the two branches of the evolute two normals can be drawn to the hyperbola but from a point beyond the evolute four normals can be drawn. If the centre of a rectangular hyperbola is taken as the centre of inversion, the rectangular hyperbola inverts to a lemniscate. If the vertex of a rectangular hyperbola is taken as the centre of inversion, the rectangular hyperbola inverts to a right strophoid. If the focus of a hyperbola is taken as the centre of inversion, the hyperbola inverts to a limacon. In this last case if the asymptotes of the hyperbola make an angle of /3 with the axis which cuts the hyperbola then it inverts to a Trisectrix of Maclaurin. F;ile: /var/www/apps/conversion/tmp/scratch_5/176675770.doc 256


Family of hyperbolas with eccentricities {4., 2.81, 2.17, 1.76, 1.49, 1.28, 1.13, 1.01} in order of light to dark shade. The left family share vertexes, the right are confocal. Mathematica Notebook for This Page. History Description Formulas Properties Related Web Sites

See the History section of Conic Sections page.

Hyperbola describe a family of curves. Together with ellipse and parabola, they make up the conic sections. Hyperbola is commonly defined as the locus of points P such that the difference of the distances from P to two fixed points F1, F2 (called foci) are constant. That is, Abs[ distance[P,F1] - distance[P,F2] ] == 2 a, where a is a constant. The eccentricity is a number that describe the "flatness" of the hyperbola. Let the distance between foci be 2 c, then eccentricity e is defined by e := c/a. 1 < e. The larger the eccentricity, the more it resembles two parallel lines. As e approaches 1, the hyperbola around the focus gets shaper. The line passing through foci is the axis of the hyperbola. A line passing through center and perpendicular to the axis is the transverse axis. The vertexes are the intersections of the hyperbola and its axis. A rectangular hyperbola is a hyperbola with eccentricity Sqrt[2]. Its asymptotes are mutually perpendicular. A simple Cartesian equation for rectangular hyperbola is x y == 1. Rectangular hyperbola have the property that when streched along one or both of its asymptotes, the curve remains the same. That is, the curve {t, 1/t n}, {t n, 1/t}, and {t, 1/t} Sqrt[n] are the same curve with various degrees of magnification.

Parametric: {-Sec[t], Sqrt[e^2-1] Tan[t]} F;ile: /var/www/apps/conversion/tmp/scratch_5/176675770.doc

257 Cartesian: x^2 - y^2/(e^2-1)

== 1

Vertexes: {1,0}, {-1,0}. Foci: {e, 0}, {-e, 0}.

Point-wise construction
This method is derived from the paramteric formula for hyperbola {a Sec[t], b Tan[t]}, where a and b are the radii of the concentric circles. If a == b, then the curve traced is rectangular hyperbola.

a:=1, b:=2 (28 k) a:=b:=1 (21 k) a:=2, b:=1 (21 k)

Optical Property
Light rays coming from one focus of a hyperbola will refract to the other focus. Figures showing the catacaustic and diacaustic of a hyperbola with eccentricity 2.5.


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The pedal of a hyperbola with respect to a focus is a circle. The pedal of a rectangular hyperbola with respect to its center is a lemniscate of Bernoulli.

The inversion of a rectangular hyperbola with respect to its center is again a lemniscate of Bernoulli. If the inversion point is at a vertex, the inversion curve is a right strophoid.

The inversion of any hyperbola with respect to a focus is a limacon of Pascal.

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The silhouette of a rotating dice is a hyperbola. (computer image courtesy of Sandor Kabai. $5 goes to those who can supply a professional photo of rotating dice that clearly shows the hyperbola profile. Photo of regular polyhedron dices)

Ruled Surface
A hyperbola revolving around its transverse axis forms a surface called hyperboloid. A hyperboloid is a ruled surface. Ruled surfaces are surfaces that for every point on the surface, there is a line on the surface passing it. Or, in other words, a surface generated by a line. If for each point on the surface
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there are two lines on the surface passing it, then it's called doubly-ruled surface. Hyperboloid is a doubly-ruled surface. The photo shows a byperboloid basket from Meseum of Modern Art online store.

The huge chimney for nuclear plants are also hyperboloid. (* I think it is because ease of construction and structural integrity. If you know the real reason please email me. *) There are many famous archetures that uses ruled surfaces as their design. Ruled surfaces also include cylinder and helicoid. There are only 3 doubly ruled surfaces: The hyperboloid, hyperbolic paraboloid, and plane.

The Bayswater Power Station (New South Wales, Australia). (Note: This is not a Nuclear power plant. Electricity is generated by producing steam in coal-fired boilers and using it under high pressure to drive turbo-generators.)

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Left: A hyperboloid tower in Kobe Japan. This tower is still around as of 2003. Right: St Louis Science Center's James S. McDonnell Planetarium building. The roof is a hyperboloid. (url:

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Hyperboloid can be used for gear surface. (image from Penrose Tiles to Trapdoor Ciphers by Martin Gardner, chapter 15)

Hyperbolic Spiral

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Polar equation: r = a/ Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Evolute Involute 2

Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. The hyperbolic spiral originated with Pierre Varignon in 1704. It was studied by Johann Bernoulli between 1710 and 1713 and it was also studied by Cotes in 1722. The roulette of the pole of a hyperbolic spiral rolling on a straight line is a tractrix. Pierre Varignon (1654-1722) was professor of mathematics at Collge Mazarin and later at Collge Royal. Led into mathematics by reading Euclid he also read Descartes' Gomtrieand thereafter devoted himself to the mathematical sciences. He was one of the first French scholars to recognise the value of the calculus. His chief contributions were to mechanics. Taking the pole as the centre of inversion, the hyperbolic spiral r = a/ inverts to the spiral of Archimedes r = a .


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Parametric Cartesian equation: x = (a - b) cos(t) + b cos((a/b - 1)t), y = (a - b) sin(t) - b sin((a/b 1)t) Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Evolute Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays Involute 2 Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. There are four curves which are closely related. These are the epicycloid, the epitrochoid, the hypocycloid and the hypotrochoid and they are traced by a point P on a circle of radius b which rolls round a fixed circle of radius a. For the hypocycloid, an example of which is shown above, the circle of radius b rolls on the inside of the circle of radius a. The point P is on the circumference of the circle of radius b. For the example a = 5 and b = 3. These curves were studied by Drer (1525), Desargues (1640), Huygens (1679), Leibniz, Newton (1686), de L'Hpital (1690), Jacob Bernoulli (1690), la Hire (1694), Johann Bernoulli (1695), Daniel Bernoulli (1725), Euler (1745, 1781). Special cases are a = 3b when a tricuspoid is obtained and a = 4b when an astroid is obtained. If a = (n + 1)b where n is an integer, then the length of the epicycloid is 8nb and its area is b2(n2 - n). The pedal curve, when the pedal point is the centre, is a rhodonea curve. The evolute of a hypocycloid is a similar hypocycloid - look at the evolute of the hypocycloid above to see it is a similar hypocycloid but smaller in size.

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Parametric Cartesian equation: x = (a - b) cos(t) + c cos((a/b -1)t), y = (a - b) sin(t) - c sin((a/b -1)t) Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Evolute Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays Involute 2 Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. There are four curves which are closely related. These are the epicycloid, the epitrochoid, the hypocycloid and the hypotrochoid and they are traced by a point P on a circle of radius b which rolls round a fixed circle of radius a. For the hypotrochoid, an example of which is shown above, the circle of radius b rolls on the inside of the circle of radius a. The point P is at distance c from the centre of the circle of radius b. For this example a = 5, b = 7 and c = 2.2. These curves were studied by la Hire, Desargues, Leibniz, Newton and many others.

Involute of a Circle

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Parametric Cartesian equation: x = a(cos(t) + t sin(t)), y = a(sin(t) - t cos(t)) Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Evolute Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays Involute 2 Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. The involute of a circle is the path traced out by a point on a straight line that rolls around a circle. It was studied by Huygens when he was considering clocks without pendulums that might be used on ships at sea. He used the involute of a circle in his first pendulum clock in an attempt to force the pendulum to swing in the path of a cycloid. Finding a clock which would keep accurate time at sea was a major problem and many years were spent looking for a solution. The problem was of vital importance since if GMT was known from a clock then, since local time could be easily computed from the Sun, longitude could be easily computed. The pedal of the involute of a circle, with the centre as pedal point, is a Spiral of Archimedes. Of course the evolute of an involute of a circle is a circle. JOC/EFR/BS January 1997
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Kampyle of Eudoxus

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Cartesian equation: a2x4 = b4(x2 + y2) Polar equation: r = b2/(a cos2( )) Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Evolute Involute 2

Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. A curve studied by Eudoxus also in relation to the classical problem of duplication of the cube. Eudoxus was a pupil of Plato. His main work was in astronomy. He was the first to describe the constellations and invented the astrolabe. He introduced the study of mathematical astronomy into Greece. Eudoxus found formulas for measuring pyramids cones and cylinders. His work contains elements of the calculus with a rigorous study of the method of exhaustion.

Kappa Curve

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Cartesian equation: y2(x2 + y2) = a2x2 Polar equation: r = a cot( ) Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Evolute Involute 2

Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. The kappa curve is also called Gutschoven's curve. It was first studied by G. van Gutschoven around 1662. The curve was studied by Newton and, some years later, by Johann Bernoulli. JOC/EFR/BS January 1997 The URL of this page is:

Lame Curves

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Cartesian equation: (x/a)n + (y/b)n = 1 Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Evolute Involute 2

Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. In 1818 Lam discussed the curves with equation given above. He considered more general curves than just those where n is an integer. If n is a rational then the curve is algebraic but, for irrational n, the curve is transcendental. The curve drawn above is the case n = 4. For even integers n the curve becomes closer to a rectangle as n increases. For odd integer values of n the curve looks like the even case in the positive quadrant but goes to infinity in both the second and fourth quadrants. The case n = 2/3 is the Astroid, while the case n = 3 is the (so-called) Witch of Agnesi. The case n = 5/2 has been associated with the Danish architect and poet Piet Hein (inventor of the Soma Cube) under the name of superellipse and have been used for a variety of purposes, including motorway bridges and other architectural applications.

Lemniscate of Bernoulli

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Cartesian equation: (x2 + y2)2 = a2(x2 - y2) Polar equation: r2 = a2cos(2 ) Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Evolute Involute 2

Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. In 1694 Jacob Bernoulli published an article in Acta Eruditorumon a curve shaped like a figure 8, or a knot, or the bow of a ribbon which he called by the Latin word lemniscus ('a pendant ribbon'). Jacob Bernoulli was not aware that the curve he was describing was a special case of a Cassinian Oval which had been described by Cassini in 1680. The general properties of the lemniscate were discovered by Giovanni Fagnano in 1750. Euler's investigations of the length of arc of the curve (1751) led to later work on elliptic functions. Inverting the lemniscate in a circle centred at the origin and touching the lemniscate where it crosses the x-axis produces a rectangular hyperbola. The bipolar equation of the lemniscate is rr' = a2/2.

Lemniscate of Bernoulli

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Conchoids of Lemniscate of Bernoulli, colored with varing levels of gray Conchoids of Lemniscate Mathematica Notebook for This Page. History Description Formulas Properties Related Web Sites

History Description
Lemniscate of Bernoulli is a special case of Cassinian oval. That is, the locus of points P, such that distance[P,F1] * distance[P,F2] == (distance[F1,F2]/2)^2, where F1, F2 are fixed points called foci. It is analogous to the definition of ellipse, where sum of two distances is replace by product.

Tracing Lemniscate


Parametric: Cos[t]/(1+Sin[t]^2) {1, Sin[t]}, 0 < t <= 2 Pi. Polar: r^2 == Cos[2 theta]. Cartesian: (x^2 + y^2)^2 == (x^2-y^2).

Foci are at {-1/Sqrt[2],0}, {1/Sqrt[2],0}

Lemniscate as a Cissoid
Lemniscate of Bernoulli can be generated as a cissoid of two circles.
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Step by step description: 1. Let there be a circle with radius r. 2. Let there be a point O, r*Sqrt[2] distant from the center of the circle. 3. Draw a line passing through O and the circle. Let the intersections be Q1, Q2. 4. Let there be a vector with origin at O whose length is distance[Q1,Q2]. 5. The locus of the vector is one loop of the lemniscate of Bernoulli. The other loop is symmetric with respect to O.

Lemniscate as a Cissoid

Relation to Rectangular Hyperbola

Its inversion and negative pedal with respect to its center is the rectangular hyperbola. It is also the envelope of circles with centers on a rectangular hyperbola and each circle passing the hyperbola's center.

Slicing a Torus

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Lemniscate of Bernoulli is the intersection of a plane tangent to the inner ring of a torus whose inner radius equals to its radius of generating circle. (See Cassinian oval).

Construction of Tangent and Normal

The normal of any point P on the curve makes an angle 2 theta with the radius vector and 3 theta with the polar axis. The tangent of inclination is 2 theta + Pi/2.

Construction of Normal

Generation by Linkage
Lemniscate of Bernoulli can be generated by these linkages. On the left: AB == ND == OD == c, AO == AN == BD == c/Sqrt[2]. P and Q are midpoints of line OD and ND respectively. The point P traces half a lemniscate and half a cicle. Same with Q. On the right: AB == AC == a, CE == BE == EF == a/Sqrt[2]

Lemniscate Linkage 1

Lemniscate Linkage 2

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The shape of the curve is used in math as the symbol for infinity. It was first used by John Wallis in 1655 in his De Sectionibus conicis. (See Florian Cajori's _A history of mathematical notations_, 1929.)

Sum[1/x^2, {x,1,Infinity}]==Pi^2/6. One of Leonhard Euler's great discovery in 1734. (see William Dunham's _Journey Through Genius_, 1990)

The ad logo of the Time Machine movie (2002), features a clock twisted in the shape of infinity symbol.

Limacon of Pascal

Cartesian equation: (x2 + y2 - 2ax)2 = b2(x2 + y2) Polar equation: r = b + 2a cos( ) Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin
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Evolute Involute 2

Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point 275

Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. Limacon of Pascal was discovered by tienne Pascal (father of Blaise Pascal) and named by another Frenchman Gilles-Personne Roberval in 1650 when he used it as an example of his methods of drawing tangents i.e. differentiation. The name 'limacon' comes from the Latin limax meaning 'a snail'. tienne Pascal corresponded with Mersenne whose house was a meeting place for famous geometers including Roberval. Drer should really be given the credit for discovering the curve since he gave a method for drawing the limacon, although he did not call it a limacon, in Underweysung der Messungpublished in 1525. When b = 2a then the limacon becomes a cardioid while if b = a then it becomes a trisectrix. Notice that this trisectrix is not the Trisectrix of Maclaurin. If b 2a then the area of the limacon is (2a2 + k2) . If b = a (the case drawn above with a = b = 1) then the area of the inner loop is a2( - 3 3/2) and the area between the loops is a2( + 3 3). The limacon is an anallagmatic curve. The limacon is also the catacaustic of a circle when the light rays come from a point a finite (non-zero) distance from the circumference. This was shown by Thomas de St Laurent in 1826.

Limacon of Pascal

Limacon of Pascal(s) and an artistic reflection Mathematica Notebook for This Page. History Description Formulas Properties Related Web Sites

Discovered and named after Etienne Pascal, father of Blaise Pascal. Also discussed by Roberval in 1650.

Limacon of Pascal describe a family of curves. It is a special case of epitrochoid. (see Curve Family Index) It can also be defined as a conchoid of a circle. Cardioid and trisectrix are special cases of Limacon of Pascal. Limacon of Pascal as a conchoid
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1. Let there be a fixed point O on a circle. 2. Draw a line passing O and P, where P is any point on the circle. 3. On this line, mark points Q1 and Q2 such that distance[P,Q1] == distance[P,Q2] == k, where k is a constant. 4. Repeat step 2, 3 for different choice of P. The locus of Q is the Limacon of Pascal.

r = 1, k = 1 (42 k); r = 1, k = 2 (42 k) ; r = 1, k = 3 (42 k) Limacon as a Conchoid; Limacon Family


Parametric: (k + 2 r Cos[t]) {Cos[t], Sin[t]}. Polar: R == (k + 2 r Cos[t]). Cartesian: (x^2 + y^2 -2 r x)^2 == k^2 (x^2 + y^2).

Special Cases

if 2 r > k, there is an inner loop. if 2 r == k, there is a cusp. (it is a cardioid) If 2 r <= k, it is a dimpled limacon. If r == k, it is the trisectrix

Limacon of Pascal is a special case of epitrochoid, when the rolling and fixed circles has equal radius. i.e., it is the trace of a point Q fixed to a circle that rolls around another circle of the same size.

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Epitrochoid {1,1,2} (82 k) Limacon as Epitrochoid Let radius of circle B and A be r, and Let the distance from the tracing point Q to the center of circle B be h. The parametric formula is then {2 r Cos[t] + h Cos[2 t], 2 r Sin[t] + h Sin[2 t]} with a period of 2 Pi.

Limacon of Pascal is the pedal of a circle with respect to any point in the plane. It is also the envelope of circles with centers on a given circle C and each circle passing through a fixed point P in the plane. (see limacon of Pascal graphics gallery)

Moving Pedal Point (88 k) Curve Tracing

Moving Point P (147 k) Curve Tracing

Relation to Conic Sections

Limacon of Pascal is the inversion of conic sections with respect to a focus.

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Inversion of Limacons (46 k)

Lissajous Curves

Parametric Cartesian equation: x = a sin(nt + c), y = b sin(t) Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Evolute Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays Involute 2 Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. Lissajous curves or Lissajous figures are sometimes called Bowditch curves after Nathaniel Bowditch who considered them in 1815. They were studied in more detail (independently) by Jules-Antoine Lissajous in 1857.
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Lissajous curves have applications in physics, astronomy and other sciences. Nathaniel Bowditch (1773-1838) was an American. He learnt Latin to study Newton's Principiaand later other languages to study mathematics in these languages. His New American Practical Navigator(1802) and his translation of Laplace's Mcanique clestegave him an international reputation.


Polar equation: r2 = a2/ Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Evolute Involute 2

Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. The lituus curve originated with Cotes in 1722. Lituus means a crook, for example a bishop's crosier. Maclaurin used the term in his book Harmonia Mensurarumin 1722. The lituus is the locus of the point P moving in such a manner that the area of a circular sector remains constant. Roger Cotes (1682-1716) died at the age of 34 having only published two memoirs during his lifetime. Appointed professor at Cambridge at the age of 24 his work was published only after his death. Cotes discovered an important theorem on the nth roots of unity; anticipated the method of least squares and discovered a method of integrating rational fractions with binomial denominators.

Neile's Semi-cubical Parabola

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Cartesian equation: y3 = a x2 Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Evolute Involute 2

Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. This curve, sometimes called the semi-cubical parabola, was discovered by William Neile in 1657. It was the first algebraic curve to have its arc length computed. Wallis published the method in 1659 giving Neile the credit. The Dutch writer Van Heuraet used the curve for a more general construction. William Neile was born at Bishopsthrope in 1637. He was a pupil of Wallis and showed great promise. Neile's parabola was the first algebraic curve to have its arc length calculated; only the arc lengths of transcendental curves such as the cycloid and the logarithmic spiral had been calculated before this. Unfortunately Neile died at a young age in 1670 before he had achieved many further results. In 1687 Leibniz asked for the curve along which a particle may descend under gravity so that it moves equal vertical distances in equal times. Huygens showed that the semi-cubical parabola x3 = ay2 satisfied this property. Because of this it is an isochronous curve. The semi-cubical parabola is the evolute of a parabola.

Semicubic Parabola

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The V-shaped boundary is the semicubic parabola. The droplet-shaped boundaries are parallels of a pedal of the semicubic parabola {t^3,t^2}, with respect to the point {0,-20} Mathematica Notebook for This Page. History Description Formulas Properties Related Web Sites

a*y^2==x^3 was the first algebraic curve rectified (Neil 1659). Leibnitz in 1687 proposed the problem of finding the curve down which a particle may descend under the force of gravity, falling equal vertical distances in equal time intervals with initial velocity different from zero. Huygens announced the solution as a semi-cubic parabola with a vertical cusp tangent.

Semicubic parabola is defined as the evolute of parabola. In the figure, normals (light blue) of a parabola (purple) are drawn. The envelope of these lines is the semicubic parabola.

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Parametric: Parametric: {t^3, t^2}. -Infinity < t < Infinity. Polar: r == Tan[t]^2 Sec[t] Cartesian: x^2 == y^3

{t^3, t^2} is the evolute of the parabola {(-4 t)/9, -8/27 + t^2/3}.

The parabola {(-4 t)/9, -8/27 +t^2/3} is the parabola {t,1/4 t^2} scaled by a factor of 4/27 and translated by {0, -8/27}. Semicubic parabola inherets the property from parabola that when streched horizontally or vertically, the curve remain unchanged. That is, the curve {a t^3, b t^2} is equivalent to {t^3, t^2}*(b^3/a^2). This is why sometimes you'll see different equations like {2 t^3, 3 t^2} for it. The pedal of a semicubic parabola with respect to the focus of a parabola the semicubic parabola is derived from is another parabola. In the figure below, the pink curve is the original parabola, blue dot is its focus. The evolute of it is the semicubic parabola (bluish-white). Its pedal is rendered as red dots, which is another parabola.


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Parametric Cartesian equation: x = a(3cos(t) - cos(3t)), y = a(3sin(t) - sin(3t)) Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Evolute Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays Involute 2 Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. The name nephroid (meaning 'kidney shaped') was used for the two-cusped epicycloid by Proctor in 1878. The nephroid is the epicycloid formed by a circle of radius a rolling externally on a fixed circle of radius 2a. The nephroid has length 24a and area 12 2. Huygens, in 1678, showed that the nephroid is the catacaustic of a circle when the light source is at infinity. He published this in Trait de la lumirein 1690. An explanation of why this should be was not discovered until the wave theory of light was used. Airy produced the theoretical proof in 1838. R A Proctor was an English mathematician. He was born in 1837 and died in 1888. In 1878 he published The geometry of cycloidsin London. The involute of the nephroid is Cayley's sextic or another nephroid since they are parallel curves. To see the nephroid as an involute of itself see Involute 2 above constructing the involute through the point where the nephroid cuts the y-axis.


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A Pedal of Nephroid. Nephroid's Pedal Family Mathematica Notebook for This Page. History Description Formulas Properties Related Web Sites

Studied by Huygens and Tschirnhausen about 1679 in connection with the theory of caustics. Jacques Bernoulli in 1692 showed that the nephroid is the catacaustic of a cardioid for a luminous cusp. Double generation was first discovered by Daniel Bernoulli in 1725. [Robert C. Yates] The name nephroid ("kidney-shaped") was used for the two-cusped epicycloid by Proctor in 1878; a year later, Freeth used the same name for another curve (Freeth's Nephroid). [E.W.Lockwood]

Nephroid is a special case of epi/hypocycloid. (see Curve Family Index) Nephroid can be defined as the trace of a point fixed on a circle of radius 1/2 r that rolls around a fixed circle with radius r. Or, it is the trace of a point fixed on a circle of radius 3/2 r that rolls inside a fixed circle of radius r. The latter is known as double generation. Figure on the right shows the coordination of both methods. A is the center of the fixed circle with radius r. B is the center of the rolling circle with radius r/2. P is the tracing point. D is the point of contact. PDH are colinear. HACJ are colinear, where C is r/2 from A, and J is the reflection of H through C. C forms the center of the larger rolling circle with radius CH = 3/2 r. JPI is colinear and is the tangent at P. PD is the normal at P. Let Q (not shown) be the point formed by rotating P around B by 180 degrees. The intersection of AQ, PD forms the center of osculating circle at P. We call the line from cusp to cusp the diameter of the nephroid.

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Tracing Nephroid (49 k) Nephroid as an Epicycloid; Osculating Circle Construction

These formulas describe a nephroid with distance from cusp to cusp 4*a, where a is a scaling factor. Parametric: {3*Cos[t]-Cos[3*t],3*Sin[t]-Sin[3*t]}*a. 0 < t <= 2*Pi. Cartesian: (x^2+y^2-4*a^2)^3 == 108*a^4*y^2. Not verified. s == 6*a*Sin[1/2*phi]. s == 6*a*(1-Cos[1/2*psi]), 0 < psi < 2*Pi. Pedal: 4*r^2-3*p^2==16*a^2. Length: 24*a. Area: 12*Pi*a^2. Surface of revolution: 128/5*Pi*a^2.

Catacaustic of a Circle or Cardioid
Nephroid is the catacaustic of a circle with parallel rays. (Left figure: half of nephroid is generated by rays coming from above.) Nephroid is the catacaustic of a cardioid with lightsource at the cusp.

Nephroid as Caustic of a Circle; 2 Caustic of Cardioid

Envelope of Circles and Tangent Construction

Nephroid is the envelope of a set of circles with centers on a base circle B and tangent to a fixed diameter of B. Proof. (See left figure. Base circle are not shown) Nephroid is the envelope of a diameter of the circle that generates a cardioid as an epicycloid. (center figure) The normal of a nephroid is the line from the tracing point P on the rolling circle to the point of contact D.

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Envelope of Circles

Envelope of a Diameter

Normal Construction

Nephroid's evolute is equal to itself. (. rotated Pi/2 radians and scaled by 1/2) (all epi/hypocycloids' evolute is equal to themselves) The left figure connects points on the curve to their centers of osculating circles. Only half are shown for clarity. The right figure uses envelope of normals to illustrate.

Osculating Circle Construction

Reconcile Properties
Here are all above mentioned properties in a single setting. We have a nephroid centered on D and diameter CE. Let A,B be points such that A,B,C,D,E are colinear and equally spaced. Construct three circles centred on D and passing A, B, C, and call them circle A, B, C. Let Q be any point on the nephroid. The tangent at Q intersect the circle B in two points H, R. Let F:=intersection[DH,circle A], I:=intersection[DH, circle C], S:=midpoint[H,I]. Let G be A reflected through DF (G:=reflect[A,DF]), and L:=reflect[F,DG], J:=intersection[DG,circle C], M:=intersection[DL,circle C], P:=intersection[QH,EJ], T:=reflected[Q,S] (T not shown). The reflection of HQ through DF is parallel to the diameter CE. This makes a nephroid being the catacaustic of a circle with parallel rays. Cardioid relation: P is a point on a cardioid with diameter AE. P is fixed on a circle centered on H and diameter HF, rolling on a fixed circle[D,DC]. The nephroid has half the area of the cardioid. Catacaustic of Cardioid: PI bisects angle QPE. Envelope of circle: circle[I,IQ] (not shown) is tangent to CE. F;ile: /var/www/apps/conversion/tmp/scratch_5/176675770.doc 287 QI is the normal at Q. QIM are colinear. Osculating circle: The midpoint of TD is Other properties can be easily related.

the center of osculating circle at Q. (not shown)

All Properties

Pedal, Radial, and Rose

The pedal of a nephroid with respect to its center is the a two-petalled rose r==Cos[1/2*theta]. The radial of a nephroid is the same rose. (The pedal and radial of epi/hypocycloids are roses. See each page for the general theorem.) In the following figure, the red curve is the rose.

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Newton's Diverging Parabolas

Cartesian equation: ay2 = x(x2 - 2bx + c), a > 0 Newton's classification of cubic curves appears in Curves by Sir Isaac Newton in Lexicon Technicum by John Harris published in London in 1710. In this classification of cubics, Newton gives four classes of equation. The third class of equations is the one given above which Newton divides into five species. Of this third case Newton says: In the third Case the Equation was yy = ax3 + bxx + cx + d and defines a Parabola whose Legs diverge from one another, and run out infinitely contrary ways. The case divides into five species and Newton gives a typical graph for each species. The five types depend on the roots of the cubic in x on the right hand side of the equation. (i) All the roots are real and unequal : then the Figure is a diverging Parabola of the Form of a Bell, with an Oval at its vertex . This is the case for the graph drawn above. (ii) Two of the roots are equal : a Parabola will be formed, either Nodated by touching an Oval, or Punctate, by having the Oval infinitely small . (iii) The three roots are equal : this is the Neilian Parabola, commonly called Semi-cubical . (iv) Only one real root : If two of the roots are impossible, there will be a Pure Parabola of a Bell-like Form .

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Cartesian equation: y = ax2 + bx + c Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Evolute Involute 2

Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. The parabola was studied by Menaechmus who was a pupil of Plato and Eudoxus. He attempted to duplicate the cube, namely to find side of a cube that has area double that of a given cube. Hence he attempted to solve x3 = 2 by geometrical methods. In fact the geometrical methods of ruler and compass constructions cannot solve this (but Menaechmus did not know this). Menaechmus solved it by finding the intersection of the two parabolas x2 = y and y2 = 2x. Euclid wrote about the parabola and it was given its present name by Apollonius. The focus and directrix of a parabola were considered by Pappus. Pascal considered the parabola as a projection of a circle and Galileo showed that projectiles follow parabolic paths. Gregory and Newton considered the properties of a parabola which bring parallel rays of light to a focus. The pedal of the parabola with its vertex as pedal point is a cissoid. The pedal of the parabola with its focus as pedal point is a straight line. With the foot of the directrix as pedal point it is a right strophoid (an oblique strophoid for any other point of the directrix). The pedal curve when the pedal point is the image of the focus in the directrix is a Trisectrix of Maclaurin. F;ile: /var/www/apps/conversion/tmp/scratch_5/176675770.doc 290

The evolute of the parabola is Neile's parabola. From a point above the evolute three normals can be drawn to the parabola, while only one normal can be drawn to the parabola from a point below the evolute. If the focus of the parabola is taken as the centre of inversion, the parabola inverts to a cardioid. If the vertex of the parabola is taken as the centre of inversion, the parabola inverts to a Cissoid of Diocles. The caustic of the parabola with the rays perpendicular to the axis of the parabola is Tschirnhaus's Cubic.


Two negative pedals of the parabola {t,1/4 t^2} Mathematica Notebook for This Page. History Description Formulas Properties Related Web Sites

See the History section of Conic Sections page.

Parabola is a member of conic sections, along with hyperbola and ellipse. Parabola can be thought of as a limiting case of ellipse or hyperbola. Note that parabola is not a family of curves. The impression that some parabola are more curved is because we are looking at different scale of the curve. Similarly, part of a large circle appears to be a line may induce us to conclude that there are different shapes of circles. Like ellipse and hyperbola, there are many ways to define parabola. A common definition defines it as the locus of points P such that the distance from a line (called the directrix) to P is equal to the distance from P to a fixed point F (called the focus). Parabola has eccentricity e:=1. (see conic sections) The axis of a parabola is a line perpendicular to its directrix and passing its focus. Vertex of the parabola is the intersection of the parabola and its axis.
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Tracing a Parabola


Parametric: {t, 1/4 t^2}, -Infinity < t < Infinity Cartesian: y == 1/4 x^2.

For the given formulas, vertexes is at {0,0}, focus is at {0,1}.

Invariant under certain Dilation
Parabola have the property that when scaled (streching/shrinking) along a direction parallel or perpendicular to its axis, the curve remain unchanged. (For example, line also have this property, but circle do not. A streched line is still a line, but a streched circle is no longer a circle) When a parabola is streched along the directrix a units and along the axis by b units, the resulting curve is the original parabola scaled in both direction by a^2/b. Given a parametrization of a parabola {xf[t], yf[t]} with vertex at Origin and focus along the y-axis, it's focus is {0, xf[t]^2/(4 yf[t]) }.

Optical Property
A radiant point at the focus will reflect or refract off the parabola into parallel lines. The figure shows three parabolas, two of which share a common focus.

Parabola with a Moving Light Source photo of car's headlight (Honda Civic 2000)
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Tangents of Probala
Any set of tangents on the parabola will always cut an arbitrary tangent into the same proportion. That is, suppose you pick three tangents call them a, b, c. Now pick an arbitrary tangent x. Tagents a, b, c will cut x into segments with certain proportions. Now pick any other tangent x1, it will be cut into the same proportions. Thus, the envelope of lines with a positive constant sum of intercepts is a segment of parabola.

Evolute and Semicubic Parabola

The evolute of a parabola is the semicubic parabola, formed by normals in the figure.

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The pedal of a parabola with respect to its focus is a line; pedal with respect to its vertex is the cissoid of Diocles.

The inversion of a parabola with respect to its focus is a cardioid; inversion with respect to its vertex is the cissoid of Diocles.

Radio Dish Photos

Photo of New Mexico's Very Large Array radio receivers, in Socorro New Mexico, USA. Photo by Don Baccus, 1998, used with permission.

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Below left: TV dish receiver. Right: A large radio telescope within farm paddocks at Parkes, New South Wales, Australia. Photo by Ken Chandler, 2003, used with permission.

Pearls of Sluze

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Cartesian equation: yn = k(a - x)pxm The curves with the equation given above, where n, p and m are integers, were studied by de Sluze between 1657 and 1698. The name Pearls of Sluze was given to these curves by Blaise Pascal. The particular curves drawn above have n = 4, k = 2, a = 4, p = 3, m = 2.

Pear-shaped Quartic

Cartesian equation: b2y2 = x3(a-x) Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves
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Evolute 296

Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Involute 2 Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. This curve was studied by G de Longchamps in 1886. G de Longchamps has several other curves named after him.

Plateau Curves

Parametric Cartesian equation: x = a sin(m + n)t/sin(m - n)t, y = 2a sin(mt)sin(nt)/sin(m - n)t Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Evolute Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays Involute 2 Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. This curve was studied by the Belgium physicist and mathematician Joseph Plateau. If m = 2n the Plateau curves become a circle, centre (1, 0) and radius 2. The particular curves drawn above are with the parameters m = 5, n = 3.

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Pursuit Curve

Cartesian equation: y = cx2 - log(x) Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Evolute Involute 2

Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. If A moves along a known curve then P describes a pursuit curve if P is always directed towards A and A and P move with uniform velocities. These were considered in general by the French scientist Pierre Bouguer in 1732. The case here is where A is on a straight line and was studied by Arthur Bernhart. Pierre Bouguer was a French scientist who was the first to attempt to measure the density of the Earth using the deflection of a plumb line due to the attraction of a mountain. He made measurements in Peru in 1740. A more successful use of this method by the astronomer Maskelyne placed the density between 4.5 and 5.

Quadratrix of Hippias

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Cartesian equation: y = x cot( x/2a) Polar equation: r = 2a /( sin( )) Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Evolute Involute 2

Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. The quadratrix was discovered by Hippias of Elis in 430 BC. It may have been used by him for trisecting an angle and squaring the circle. The curve may be used for dividing an angle into any number of equal parts. Later it was studied by Dinostratus in 350 BC who used the curve to square the circle. Hippias of Elis was a statesman and philosopher who travelled from place to place taking money for his services. Plato describes him as a vain man being both arrogant and boastful. He had a wide but superficial knowledge. His only contribution to mathematics seems to be the quadratrix.

Quadratrix Of Hippias

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Mathematica Notebook for This Page. History Description Formulas Properties Related Web Sites

Quadratrix of Hippias is the first named curve other than circle and line. It is conceived by Hippias of Ellis (ca 460 BC) to trisect the angle thus sometimes called trisectrix of Hippias. The curve is better known as quadratrix because it is later used to square the circle.

Step by step description: 1. Let there be a square in the first quardrant with lower-left coner at the origin. 2. Let there be a line parallel to the x-axis and gradually moving up at a constant speed from the bottom side of the square until it reaches the upper side of the square. 3. Let there be an angle in standard position. The angle increase at a constant speed from 0 to Pi/2. Both the angle and line movement start and finish simultaneously. 4. The intersections of the line and the angle is quadratrix of Hippias.

Tracing the Curve. (18 k) Tracing the Curve Given the definition, it is easy to derive the parametric equation. Let the parameter t be the angle, 0 < t < Pi/2 and the square having side length Pi/2. So immediately, y == t. Since we know the angle and one side of the triangle y at any time t, using the identity Cot[t] = x/y to get the formulas.

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300 Parametric: {t Cot[t], t}. -2 Pi <= Polar: r == theta/Sin[theta] Cartesian: x == y Cot[y]

t <= 2 Pi

Trisecting an Angle
The curve can be used to trisect any acute angle. To trisect angel AOB, one first find distance OE, take one third of distance OE to get OD (trisection of a segment can be done with ruler and compass). Let the intersection of the curve and the horizontal line at D be P, then the angle AOP is one third of angle AOB. This follows because by the definition of the curve, distance[O,E]/distance[O,C] == angle[A,O,B]/(Pi/2). If distance[O,C] == Pi/2, then distance[O,E] == angle[A,O,B].

Rhodonea Curves

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Polar equation: r = a sin(k ) Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Evolute Involute 2

Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. These curves were named by the Italian mathematician Guido Grandi between 1723 and 1728 because they looked like roses. When k is an integer there are k or 2k petals depending whether k is odd or even. If k is irrational then the number of petals is infinite. The Quadrifolium is the rhodonea curve with k = 2. It has polar equation r = a sin(2 ) and cartesian form (x2+ y2) 3 = 4 a2x2y2. Luigi Guido Grandi was a member of the order of the Camaldolites. He became professor of philosophy in 1700 and professor of mathematics in 1714 both post being at the University of Pisa. Grandi was the author of a number of works on geometry in which he considered the analogies of the circle and equilateral hyperbola. He also considered curves of double curvature on the sphere and the quadrature of parts of a spherical surface. Other Web site: Xah Lee


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Roses r==Cos[p/q*theta]. The fraction on the upper right corner indicates the parameter p/q. Mathematica Notebook for This Page. History Description Formulas Properties Related Web Sites

Studied by Guido Grandi around 1723.

Rose (aka rhodonea) describe a family of curves. Roses are probably historically defined as the pedals of epi/hypocycloids with respect to their centers, which has the polar form r==Cos[p/q*theta], where p and q are relative primes. Not all possible rational p/q in r==Cos[p/q*theta] occur as pedals of epi/hypocycloids, but we can define rose to be the curve r==Cos[p/q*theta], where p/q is any rational. The curve has loops that are symmetrically distributed around the pole. The loops are called petals or leafs. If p and q are both odd, it has a period of Pi*q with p petals, otherwise the period is 2*Pi*q and has 2*p petals. In particular, r==Cos[p/1*theta] has p petals and periodicy Pi if p is odd, else it has 2*p petals with peroid 2*Pi. The period of the curve can be derived by studying the period of the parametric form Cos[p/q*t]*{Cos[t],Sin[t]}. In particular, analying the period of Sin[p/q*t]*Sin[t]. Similarly, the number of petalls can be inferred. The curve r==Cos[r*theta] where r is irrational, is non-periodic. Roses are shaped like an airplane propeller when q==1. If q is not 1, the "propeller blades" are fat and overlap, which alludes to its name "rose". The rose r==Cos[3*theta] is called Trifolium (having 3 petals), and r==Cos[2*theta] is called Quadrifolium (having 4 petals). The pedals of a deltoid with respect to one of its cusp, vertex, or center is called a folium, bifolium, and trifolium respectively. They are called n-foliums because the curves have n loops. However, folium and bifolium are not roses. Only the trifolium is a rose. (*XahNote: possible the folium is the 1 petalled rose r==Cos[1/3*theta]. Need to look at the curve to be sure. *)

Polar equation: r==Cos[p/q*theta]. (see Description section for the period and number of loops.) The parametric formula is Cos[p/q*t]*{Cos[t],Sin[t]}. It is directly derived from the polar equation. Cartesion equation for the quadrifolium is (x^2+y^2)^3==4*x^2*y^2. The graph by this equation is rotated by 2*Pi/8. (*XahNote: needs proof. Is r==Cos[p/q*theta] all algebraic? What are the equations? *)

Right Strophoid

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Cartesian equation: y2 = x2(a - x)/(a + x) Polar equation: r = a cos(2 )/cos( ) Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Evolute Involute 2

Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. The strophoid first appears in work by Isaac Barrow in 1670. However Torricelli describes the curve in his letters around 1645 and Roberval found it as the locus of the focus of the conic obtained when the plane cutting the cone rotates about the tangent at its vertex. The name (meaning a belt with a twist) was proposed by Montucci in 1846. The general strophoid has equation r = b sin(a - 2 )/sin(a ).

The particular case of a right strophoid in where a = /2 and the equation, in cartesians and polars, is that given above. The area of the loop of the right strophoid is a2(4 - )/2 and the area between the curve and its asymptote is a2(4 - )/2. Let C be the circle with centre at the point where the right strophoid crosses the x-axis and radius the distance of that point from the origin. Then the strophoid is invariant under inversion in the circle C. Hence the strophoid is an anallagmatic curve.

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Parametric Cartesian equation: x2y + aby - a2x = 0, ab > 0 Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Evolute Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays Involute 2 Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. This curve was named and studied by Newton in 1701. It is contained in his classification of cubic curves which appears in Curves by Sir Isaac Newton in Lexicon Technicumby John Harris published in London in 1710. Harris's introduction to the article states: The incomparable Sir Isaac Newton gives this following Ennumeration of Geometrical Lines of the Third or Cubick Order; in which you have an admirable account of many Species of Curves which exceed the Conick-Sections, for they go no higher than the Quadratick or Second Order. [Here the older spelling has been preserved including conick, Quadratick and ennumeration]. Newton shows that the curve f(x, y) = 0, where f(x, y) is a cubic, can be divided into one of four normal forms. The first of these is equations of the form xy2 + ey = ax3 + bx2 + cx + d. This is the hardest case in the classification and the serpentine is one of the subcases of this first normal form. The serpentine had been studied earlier by de L'Hpital and Huygens in 1692.

Sinusoidal Spirals
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Polar equation: rp = ap cos(p ) Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Evolute Involute 2

Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. Sinusoidal spirals can have any rational number p in the formula above. Many standard curves occur as sinusoidal spirals. If p = -1 we have a line. If p = 1 we have a circle. If p = 1/2 we have a cardioid. If p = -1/2 we have a parabola. If p = -2 we have a hyperbola. If p = 2 we have a lemniscate of Bernoulli. Sinusoidal spirals were first studied by Maclaurin. They are not, of course, true spirals. The pedal curve of sinusoidal spirals, when the pedal point is the pole, is another sinusoidal spiral. The sinusoidal spiral rp = ap cos(p ) inverts to rp = ap/cos(p ) if the centre of inversion is taken at the pole.

Spiral of Archimedes

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Polar equation: r = a Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Evolute Involute 2

Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. This spiral was studied by Archimedes in about 225 BC in a work On Spirals. It had already been considered by his friend Conon. Archimedes was able to work out the lengths of various tangents to the spiral. It can be used to trisect an angle and square the circle. The curve can be used as a cam to convert uniform angular motion into uniform linear motion. The cam consists of one arch of the spiral above the x-axis together with its reflection in the x-axis. Rotating this with uniform angular velocity about its centre will result in uniform linear motion of the point where it crosses the y-axis. Taking the pole as the centre of inversion, the spiral of Archimedes r = a inverts to the hyperbolic spiral r = a/ .

Spiric Sections

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Cartesian equation: (r2 - a2 + c2 + x2 + y2)2 = 4r2(x2 + c2) After Menaechmus constructed conic sections by cutting a cone by a plane, around 150 BC which was 200 years later, the Greek mathematician Perseus investigated the curves obtained by cutting a torus by a plane which is parallel to the line through the centre of the hole of the torus. In the formula of the curve given above the torus is formed from a circle of radius a whose centre is rotated along a circle of radius r. The value of c gives the distance of the cutting plane from the centre of the torus. When c = 0 the curve consists of two circles of radius a whose centres are at (r, 0) and (-r, 0). If c = r + a the curve consists of one point, namely the origin, while if c > r + a no point lies on the curve.

Straight Line

Cartesian equation: y = mx + c
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or parametrically: x = at + b, y = ct +d Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Evolute Involute 2

Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. The straight line must be one of the earliest curves studied, but Euclid in his Elementsalthough he devotes much study to the straight line, does not consider it a curve. In fact nobody attempted a general definition of a curve until Jordan in his Cours d'Analysein 1893. The inverse of a straight line is a circle if the centre of inversion is not on the line. The negative pedal of the straight line is a parabola if the pedal point is not on the line. Since normals to a straight line never intersect and tangents coincide with the curve, evolutes, involutes and pedal curves are not too interesting. Other Web site: Jeff Miller (Why is the slope of a straight line called m?)

Talbot's Curve

Parametric Cartesian equation: x = (a2 + f2sin2(t))cos(t)/a, y = (a2 - 2f2 + f2sin2(t))sin(t)/b Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Evolute Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin
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Involute 2 Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point 310

Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. This curve was investigated by Talbot. Talbot's curve is the negative pedal of an ellipse with respect to its centre. It has four cusps and two nodes provided the square of the eccentricity of the ellipse is greater than 1/2.


Parametric Cartesian equation: x = 1/cosh(t), y = t - tanh(t) Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Evolute Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays Involute 2 Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. The tractrix is sometimes called a tractory or equitangential curve. It was first studied by Huygens in 1692 who gave it its name. Later Leibniz, Johann Bernoulli and others studied the curve. The study of the tractrix started with the following problem being posed to Leibniz: What is the path of an object dragged along a horizontal plane by a string of constant length when the end of the string not joined to the object moves along a straight line in the plane? He solved this using the fact that the axis is an asymptote to the tractrix.

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The evolute of a tractrix is a catenary. Among the properties of the tractrix are the fact that the length of a tangent from its point of contact to an asymptote is constant. The area between the tractrix and its asymptote is finite. When a tractrix is rotated around its asymptote then a pseudosphere results. This is a surface of constant negative curvature and was used by Beltrami in 1868 in his concrete realisation of noneuclidean geometry. You can see this surface of revolution. Other Web site: Xah Lee


Mathematica Notebook for This Page. History Description Formulas Properties Related Web Sites

Studied by Huygens in 1692 and later by Leibnitz, Joan bernouli, Liouvlle, and Beltrami. Also called Tractory and Equitangential Curve. [verbatim, Robert C. Yates, 1952]

Tracktrix (equitangential curve, tractory) is a curve such that any tangent segment from the tangent point on the curve to the curve's asymptote have constant length. Suppose a bicycle is on the y-axis heading South. Its front wheel is at the {0,0} and its back wheel is at {0,1}. At this moment, the cyclist made an abrupt 90 degree turn and is now heading East. The track traced by the back wheel is the tractrix. Note that the tractrix's asymptote cuts its tangents into segments of equal length.

Tracing a tractrix. (18 k) tractrix 1; tractrix with normals

Parametric: {Log[Sec[t] + Tan[t]] - Sin[t], Cos[t]}, -Pi/2 < t < Cartesian: x == Log[(1 -Sqrt[1^2-y^2])/y] + Sqrt[1^2-y^2]. F;ile: /var/www/apps/conversion/tmp/scratch_5/176675770.doc

Pi/2. 312

Tractrix and Catenary
The evolute of tractrix is catenary, conversely, the involute of catenary is tractrix. The figure on the left connect each point on the tracttrix to its center of osculating circles, thus forming its evolute. On the right, the normals of the tractrix is draw, and their envelope forms its evolute.

This animation shows the trace of a point's center of osculating circle to form a catenary.

Moving Osculating Circle (25 k)

Orthogonal to Circles
The tractrix is orthogonal to a set of circles of constant radius whose centers are on the asymptote of the tractrix; conversely, the curve that cuts 90 degrees into a series of identical circles on a line is the tractrix.

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The surface of revolution of tractrix around its asymptote is called pseudosphere. Eugenio Beltrami in 1868 showed that pseudosphere provided a partial model for hyperbolic geometry. It is a surface of constant negative Gaussian curvature.


Best Few Sites

Wolfram Research Inc.'s This is work by Eric Weisstein and Sponsored by Wolfram Research Inc. This is the best math resource on the web. Every curve on my site has an entry there. Though, the info on that site are sometimes incorrect or misleading.
Wolfram Research also has other very useful and interesting math sites. Functions: F;ile: /var/www/apps/conversion/tmp/scratch_5/176675770.doc

314 Integration: Brief history on solving the Quintic equation as a wall-poster: Solving the Quintic.

MacTutor History of Mathematics archive This is one of the most complete history of mathematics site on the net. This site contains a section devoted to special plane curves with Java applets for interactive exploration. Links to biographies of related mathematicians are well integrated in the description of each curve. Main site at United Kingdom:

Math This site in French contains about 71 curves. Its author is Serge MEHL ( It includes figures and animations and photographs. Well done.

Jan Wassenaar's page at A large site dedicated to plane curves.

Math Forum's Ask Dr. Math's Geometric Formulas FAQ at A very large collection of metric formulas on plane and solid geometric objects. Including seldom seen ones such as formulas for conic sections, spherical polygons, and regular polyhedrons,

This site in Italian is dedicated to conic sections. %7essrondan/coniche/index.htm It's about 30 pages and contains Cabri Geometry files and photographs or drawings or related history and links. Part of it contains Italian translations of my conics sections pages.

Introducing Curves, by Mathematician C.T.J. Dodson. ( This site is about 6 pages. It is a mathematical introduction to curves. A background of multivariable calculus is required. Not for general readers.

Euclid's Elements by David Joyce This is an on-line version of Euclid's Elements in English, with interactive Java applets.

Jeff Miller ( maintains a site titled The Earliest Known Uses of Some of the Words of Mathematics, at You can find brief historical
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backgrounds on the naming of most curves. He also maintains some other quite interested pages, including: "Earliest Uses of Various Mathematical Symbols" at and "Images of Mathematicians on Postage Stamps" at

The Virtual Museum of Mathematical Machines, from University of Modena and other organizations. It contains photographs and diagrams of mechanical devices that traces various curves. Their English version pages is not as good as the following page:, which contains many animations. Although it's in a foreign tongue, the pictures speak tons.

Minimal Surface by Matthias Weber, at

Mathematician Alfred Gray's (1993-1998) Curves and Surfaces Gallery at %7Egray/, from his second edition of "Modern Differential Geometry of Curves and Surfaces with Mathematica". This site is about 6 long pages of images of various curves and surfaces. (2002-03)

Mathematician Richard Palais has a graphics gallery of surfaces.

There are an increasing number of softwares that can plot implicitly defined curves. Here are few that I know of. Most of them also plot surfaces. All of them either have downloadable demo or are free. I have not tried them all extensively.

Graphing Calculator by Ron Avitzur. Very well designed. A joy to use. Very good at plotting relations in both 2 and 3 dimensions. Also plots parametric and polar equations. Version 1 is distributed with every MacOS. Version 3 is available for Mac and Windows. Buy this program right away! URL:

GrafEQ from Pedagoguery Software. Very good at plotting relations. Available for Mac and Windows. Fully functional demo is available from their site.

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Curvus Pro by Jean Bovet. Plots curves and surfaces. Shareware. For Macs only. URL:

3D-FilmStrip by mathematician Richard Palais. A large non-trivial program primarily for mathematicians. It also plot surfaces, polyhedra, complex plane, differential equations, and others. Mac only. URL:


Cartesian equation: (x2 + 2+12ax + 9a2)2 = 4a(2x + 3a)3 or parametrically: x = a(2cos(t) + cos(2t)), y = a(2sin(t) - sin(2t)) Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Evolute Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays Involute 2 Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. The tricuspoid or deltoid was first considered by Euler in 1745 in connection with an optical problem. It was also investigated by Steiner in 1856 and is sometimes called Steiner's hypocycloid. The length of the tangent to the tricuspoid, measured between the two points P, Q in which it cuts the curve again is constant and equal to 4a. If you draw tangents at P and Q they are at right angles. The length of the curve is 16a and the area it encloses is 2 a2.
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In the parametric form the cusps occur at t = 0 , 2 /3 and 4 /3. Notice the similarity between the parametric form of the tricuspoid and the parametric form of the cardioid. The pedal of the tricuspoid, where the pedal point is the cusp, is a simple folium. The pedal, where the pedal point is the vertex, is a double folium. If the pedal point is on the inscribed equilateral triangle then the pedal is a trifolium. The caustic of the tricuspoid, where the rays are parallel and in any direction, is an astroid. Other Web site: Xah Lee


Deltoid and its Tangents Mathematica Notebook for This Page. History Description Formulas Properties Related Web Sites

Conceived by Euler in 1745 in connection with a study of caustics curves.

Deltoid (aka tricuspid) is a special case of hypocycloid. (see Curve Family Index) Deltoid can be defined as the trace of a point on a circle, rolling inside another circle 3 or 3/2 times as large in radius. The latter is called double generation. The right figure shows the coordination of both methods. O is the center of the fixed circle of radius a. C is the center of the rolling circle of radius a/3. P is the tracing point. OHCJ are colinear. JPT are colinear. TAOGE are colinear, where G, A are a/3 distant from O, and A is the center of the other rolling circle with radius 2/3 a. PHG are colinear and is the tangent at P. Triangle TEJ, TGP, and JHP are all similar and TP/JP == 2. Angle JCP == 3*Angle BOJ. Let point Q (not shown) be the intersection of JE and the circle centered on C. Points Q, P are symmetric with respect to point C. The intersection of OQ, PJ forms the center of osculating circle of P.

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Tracing Deltoid (40 k) Double Generation (74 k) Tracing Deltoid Constructing Osculating Circle

Let a be a scaling factor, and a is the distance from deltoid's center to a cusp. Parametric: 1/3*{(2 Cos[t]) + Cos[2 t], (2 Sin[t]) - Sin[2 t]}, 0 < t <= 2 Pi. Cartesian: (x^2+y^2)^2-8 x (x^2 - 3 y^2) + 18 (x^2 + y^2) - 27 == 0

Let A be the center of the curve. Let B be one cusp, P be any point on the curve. Let E, H be the intersections of the curve and the tangent at P. The segment EH has constant length distance[E,H]== 4/3*distance[A,B]. The locus of midpoint D of tangent segment EH is the inscribed circle. The normals at E,P,H are concurrent, and its locus is the circumscribed circle. Let J be the intersection of another tangent cutting EH at right angle. The locus of J (deltoid's orthoptic) is the inscribed circle.

tangent properties; construction 1; 2; orthoptic

Deltoid and Astroid

Astroid is the caustic of deltoid with parallel rays in any direction
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Moving Light Source (234 k) parallel ray caustic

The evolute of deltoid is another deltoid. (all epi/hypocycloids' evolute are equal to themselves) In the left figure, the evolute is formed by the envelope of its normals. The right figure show osculating circles and their centers.

Constructing Normal; Osculating Circle

An inversion of deltoid with respect to its center.(according to Robert C. Yates, this is Cote's spiral)

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Simson Lines
Deltoid is the envelope of Simson lines of any triangle. (Robert Simson, 1687-1768) Step by step description: 1. Let there be a triangle inscribed in a circle. 2. Pick any point P on the circle. 3. Mark a point Q1 on any side of the triangle such that line[P,Q1] is perpendicular to it. Extend the side if necessary. 4. Similarly, find points Q2 and Q3 with respect to P for other sides. 5. The points Q1, Q2, and Q3 are colinear. The line passing through them is called Simson line of the triangle with respect to P. 6. Find Simson lines for other points P on the circle. The envelope of Simson lines is the deltoid. Amazingly, this is true for any triangle.

Simson Line in Motion Deltoid by Simson Lines

Pedal, Radial, and Rose

The pedal of deltoid with respect to a cusp, vertex, or center is a folium with one, two, or three loops respectively. The last one is called trifolium, which is a tree petalled rose. Deltoid's radial is a trifolium too. (all epi/hypocycloid's pedal and radial are equal, and they are roses.) Conjectures: (1) 60 degree isoptic of deltoid is an inscribed trifolium. (visual proof) (2) The derivative of deltoid's parametric equation is also a trifolium.

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Pedal; Negative Pedal; Radial

Trident of Newton

Cartesian equation: xy = cx3 + dx2 + ex + f Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays
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Evolute Involute 2

Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point 322

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. This curve was investigated by Newton and also by Descartes. It is sometimes called the Parabola of Descartes even although it is not a parabola. The name trident is due to Newton. The curve occurs in Newton's study of cubics. It is contained in his classification of cubic curves which appears in Curves by Sir Isaac Newtonin Lexicon Technicumby John Harris published in London in 1710. Newton was the first to undertake such a systematic study of cubic equations and he classified them into 72 different cases. In fact he missed six cases in his classification. The trident is the 66th species in his classification and Newton gives the graph essentially looking identical to the graph given above. Newton states some properties of his trident. For example he states that the curve has four infinite legsand that the y-axis is an asymptote to two tending towards contrary parts .He also comments And this figure is that parabola by which D. Cartes (Descartes) constructed equations of six dimensions. Newton's classification of cubics was criticised by Euler because it lacked general general principle. Plcker later gave a more detailed classification with 219 types.


Cartesian equation: (x2 + y2)(y2 + x(x + a)) = 4axy2 Polar equation: r = a cos (4sin2 - 1) Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Evolute Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays Involute 2 Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves.
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The general form of the folium is given by the formula (x2 + y2)(y2 + x(x + b)) = 4axy2 or, in polar coordinates r = -b cos + 4a cos sin2 .

The word folium means 'leaf-shaped'. There are three special forms of the folium, the simple folium, the double folium and the trifolium. These correspond to the cases b = 4a, b = 0, b = a respectively in the formula for the general form. The graph plotted above is the trifolium. There are separate entries for the simple folium and the double folium.

Trisectrix of Maclaurin

Cartesian equation: y2(a + x) = x2(3a - x) Polar equation: r = 2a sin(3 )/sin(2 ) Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays
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Evolute Involute 2

Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point 324

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. This was first studied by Colin Maclaurin in 1742. Like so many curves it was studied to provide a solution to one of the ancient Greek problems, this one is in relation to the problem of trisecting an angle. The name trisectrix arises since it can be used to trisect angles. The trisectrix of Maclaurin is an anallagmatic curve. Another form of the equation is r = a sec( /3) where the origin is inside the loop and the crossing point is on the negative x-axis. The tangents to the curve at the origin make angles of 60 with the x-axis. The area of the loop is 3 3a2 and the distance from the origin to the point where the curve cuts the xaxis is 3a. It is the pedal curve of the parabola where the pedal-point is taken as the reflection of the focus in the directrix. Other Web site: Xah Lee

Trisectrix of Maclaurin

Trisectrix of Maclaurin Mathematica Notebook for This Page. History Description Formulas Properties Related Web Sites

This is a curve Colin Maclaurin (1698-1746) used to trisect an angle.

A curve used by Colin Maclaurin (1698-1746) to trisect an angle.


Parametric o (1-4 Cos[t]^2)*{1, Tan[t]}, -Pi/2 < t < Pi/2. o (Sec[t] - 4 Cos[t])*{Cos[t], Sin[t]}, -Pi/2 < t < Pi/2. o Sec[t/3]*{Cos[t], Sin[t]}, -3/2 Pi < t < 3/2 Pi. 325

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t^2))/(1 + t^2)}, -Infinity < t < Infinity.

Relation to Parabola
It is the pedal of parabola with repect to its focus reflect by the directrix.

Trisecting an Angle
Suppose we have a trisectrix with node at the origin and vertex at point {-3,0}, and let P be any point on the loop of the curve. angle[{-3,0},{-2,0},P] == 3*angle[{-2,0},{0,0},P].

Moving Point P

Tschirnhaus'S Cubic

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Cartesian equation: 3a y2 = x(x-a)2 Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Evolute Involute 2

Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. This curve was investigated by Tschirnhaus, de L'Hpital and Catalan. As well as Tschirnhaus' cubic it is sometimes called de L'Hpital's cubic or the trisectrix of Catalan. The name Tschirnhaus's cubic is given in R C Archibald's paper written in 1900 where he attempted to classify curves. Tschirnhaus's cubic is the negative pedal of a parabola with respect to the focus of the parabola. The caustic of Tschirnhaus's cubic where the radiant point is the pole is Neile's semi-cubic parabola .

Watt's Curve

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Polar equation: r2 = b2 - [a sin( ) (c2 - a2cos2( ))]2 Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Evolute Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays Involute 2 Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. The curve is named after James Watt (1736- 1819), the Scottish engineer who developed the steam engine. In fact the curve comes from the linkages of rods connecting two wheels of equal diameter. Let two wheels of radius b have their centres 2a apart. Suppose that a rod of length 2c is fixed at each end to the circumference of the two wheels. Let P be the mid-point of the rod. Then Watt's curve C is the locus of P. If a = c then C is a circle of radius b with a figure of eight inside it. Sylvester, Kempe and Cayley further developed the geometry associated with the theory of linkages in the 1870's. In fact Kempe proved that every finite segment of an algebraic curve can be generated can be generated by a linkage in this way.

Witch of Agnesi

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Cartesian equation: y(x2 + a2) = a3 or parametrically: x = at, y = a/(1 + t2) Click below to see one of the Associated curves. Definitions of the Associated curves Involute 1 Inverse curve wrt origin Pedal curve wrt origin Negative pedal curve wrt origin Caustic wrt horizontal rays

Evolute Involute 2

Inverse wrt another circle Pedal wrt another point Negative pedal wrt another point Caustic curve wrt another point

If your browser can handle JAVA code, click HERE to experiment interactively with this curve and its associated curves. This was studied and named versiera by Maria Agnesi in 1748 in her book Istituzioni Analitiche. It is also known as Cubique d'Agnesi or Agnsienne. There is a discussion on how it came to be called witch in Agnesi's biography. The curve had been studied earlier by Fermat and Guido Grandi in 1703. The curve lies between y = 0 and y = a. It has points of inflection at y = 3a/4. The line y = 0 is an asymptote to the curve. The curve can be considered as the locus of a point P defined as follows. Draw a circle C with centre at (0, a/2) through O. Draw a line from O cutting C at L and the line y = a at M. Then P has the xcoordinate of M and the y-coordinate of L. The tangent to the Witch of Agnesi at the point with parameter p is (p2+1)2y + 2px = a(3p2+1). Other Web site: Xah Lee

Witch of Agnesi
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Parallels of Witch of Agnesi Mathematica Notebook for This Page. History Description Formulas Properties Related Web Sites

Studied by Maria Gaetana Agnesi (1718-1799) in 1748. Also studied by Fermat (1666), and Guido Grandi (1703). The name of this curve has a colorful history. Versaria is the name given by Grandi, meaning "turning in every direction". In the course of time the word versariatook on another meaning. The Latin words adversaria, and by aphaeresis, versaria, signify a female that is contrary to God. Thus gradually the curve versaria is understood in English as the Witch.

Witch of Agnesi (Versiera) is defined as follows. Step by step description: 1. Let there be a circle of radius a with center at {0,a}. 2. Let there be a horizontal line L passing through {0,2 a}. 3. Draw a line passing the Origin and any point M on the circle. Let the intersection of this secant and line L be N. 4. Witch of Agnesi is the locus of intersections of a horizontal line passing through M and a vertical line passing through N.

Tracing Witch of Agnesi (20 k) Construction of the Witch


Parametric: 2 a {Tan[t], Cos[t]^2}, -Pi/2 < t < Pi/2. Cartesian: y (x^2 + 4 a^2) == 8 a^3 330

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(a is the scaling factor. It is the radius of the circle the Witch is constructed on)

Properties Graphics Gallery

Normals, and Evolute of witch of Agnesi.

Osculating circles of the Witch.

Conchoids of witch of Agnesi.

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Conhoids wrt a moving point (57 k) Conchoid of the Witch Parallels of the Witch.

Inversion curves of the Witch {Tan[t], Cos[t]^2} with respect to points {{0,-1}, {0, -.8},...,{0,1.6}} and radius of inversion 1, corresponding to curves with light to dark shades.

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Pedal curves of the Witch {Tan[t], Cos[t]^2} with respect to points {{0,-1}, {0, -.8},...,{0,1.6}}, corresponding to curves with light to dark shades.

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