Robert Recorde

 

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Robert Recorde (c. 1510-1558) was born in Tenby, Wales, and died in London

He studied at Oxford and became a fellow of All Souls College there in 1531. He was a medical doctor, but published also books on wider scientific subjects, such as those on mathematics. In fact, his book 'The Pathwaye to Knowledge, containing the First Principles of Geometry' was a first book on Geometry published in English language, and his 'The Grounde of Artes' the first book in English on arithmetic and algebra.

Although he practiced medicine (it is believed he acted as a physician to King Edward VI and to Queen Mary), he also taught mathematics to private students. It may be that the books that he published were aimed at this audience - they were certainly meant to support a novel way of study in which knowledge of mathematics was presented in a popular way, in vernacular English (not Latin as was then usually the case) and through some examples of practical applications.

Apart from The Pathwaye to Knowledge , and The Grounde of Artes (which was a first book in English language on arithmetic and algebra), he also wrote The Castle of Knowledge (which was a book on astronomy), and The Whetstone of Witte (a second book of his on arithmetic, which had a section on surds, and was the book where the = signs first appear).

   

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Click on the frontispiece to see bigger copy of The Pathwaye to Knowledge.

 

 

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