Saturday, July 30, 2011

Omar Khayyam's Algebra

This is a page from a manuscript of the Algebra (Maqalah fi al-jabra wa-al muqabalah) of Omar Khayyam (1048-1131). This work is known for its solution of the various cases of the cubic equation by finding the intersections of appropriately chosen conic sections.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Treatise of Algebra by John Wallis

A Treatise of Algebra (1685) by John Wallis (1616-1703). This is probably the first attempt at a history of the subject of algebra, presented in the context of a text on the subject.

A Treatise of Algebra by John Wallis

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Boethius's Arithmetic

The Arithmetic of Boethius (480-524) dates from the early sixth century. This page is from a manuscript (Plimpton MS 165) that dates from approximately 1294, written on vellum. The above image is from page f. 13 and lists the powers of 2, 3, and 4 and also has some other tables representing multiplication by some of these powers. Note that the forms of the figures are not always identical to the modern form.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Galileo's Siderius Nuncius

This page from Galileo's Siderius Nuncius gives Galileo's initial sketches of the surface of the moon, with various craters, and the line between darkness and light clearly visible.