Euclid, the Father of Geometry

January 9, 2018

At Blueberry Books we have a couple of books relating to Euclid and felt it worth writing a little post about the father of geometry.

 

He was based in Alexandria during the reign of Ptolemy I. Not very much is known about him. In-fact the depiction of him with a long flowing beard is most likely the work of artistic license, as no contemporary image or description exists.

 

His book Elements is regarded as one of the most influential books in mathematics. It builds upon and is a compilation of the work of many mathematicians that came before him, such as: Hipocrates, Theaetetus, Eudoxus, and Pythagoras. It was the definitive textbook on geometry for over two millennia, which in itself is an incredible achievement.

 

There are works by Euclid that have been lost to time. It is hoped (along with many other lost texts) that they may be found among the Herculaneum papyri. This is a cache of more than 1800 scrolls that were carbonised and buried when Vesuvius erupted, leading to their preservation. There are also thought to be many more scrolls in as yet unexcavated parts of the villa, and now that technology has advanced they can be scanned and read without opening and damaging them.

 

Our books:

 

1. We have a copy of Frederico Commandino's well known Latin translation of Elements bound together with John Keill's 'Trigonometriae' and 'Logarithmorum' (Left).

 

Frederico Commandino translated the text in 1572. Our copy was published in 1747, which gives some indication as to the quality of the translation.

 

 

2. Blueberry Books also has George Fournier's book on Euclid with 'Elementa Astronomica' by Jean-Baptiste du Hamel (Right).

 

It's quite a small copy, but don't let its size fool you as quite a lot of information is crammed into its pages.

 

 

3. William Ludlam's The Rudiments of Mathematics (below) became a standard textbook at Cambridge, with his commentary about the first six books of Euclid. The following quotes are glowing in their praise,  and manage to sum up the book far better than I ever could:

 

"The late Mr. Ludlam's Rudiments of Mathematics has long been considered one of the best introductions to Algebra, and to Euclid's Elements, in the English language." - Advertisement to the fifth edition.

 

"This is a work of very great merit. The book begins with the doctrine of vulgar fractions, which being well understood, a learner will find little difficulty in comprehending the elements of algebra, as here laid down. The remarks of Euclid are, in general, very just, and will help young students to comprehend the drift and design of that celebrated Author. The trigonometry is brief, but easy to be understood; and, in particular, here is an excellent elucidation of the several changes in the algebraic signs, of the cosines, tangents, &c. so necessary to be observed in the solutions of astronomical and physical problems." - The Monthly Review, or, Literary Journal, Volume 76.

 

Hopefully you've found the above interesting.

 

 

 

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