Robert Recorde (c. 1510 – 1558) was a
Welsh physician and
mathematician. He introduced the
"equals" sign in 1557.
A member
of a respectable family of Tenby, Wales, he entered the University of Oxford in about 1525, and was elected a fellow of All Souls
College in 1531. Having adopted medicine as a profession, he
went to the University of Cambridge to take the degree of M.D. in 1545. He
afterwards returned to Oxford, where he publicly taught
mathematics, as he had done prior to going to Cambridge.
It appears
that he afterwards went to London, and acted
as physician to King Edward VI
and to Queen Mary, to whom some of
his books are dedicated. He was also controller of the
Royal Mint and served as "Comptroller of
Mines and Monies" in Ireland.
After being sued for defamation by a
political enemy, he was arrested for debt and died in the King's Bench
Prison, Southwark, in 1558.
Recorde published several works upon mathematical subjects, chiefly
in the form of dialogue between master and scholar, such as the
following:
- The Grounde of Artes,
teachings the Worke and Practise, of Arithmeticke, both in whole
numbers and fractions (c. 1540), the first English book on
algebra.
- The Pathway to Knowledge, containing the First Principles
of Geometry ... bothe for the use of Instrumentes Geometricall and
Astronomicall, and also for Projection of Plattes (London,
1551)
- The Castle of Knowledge, containing the Explication of the
Sphere both Celestiall and Materiall, etc. (London, 1556)
- The Whetstone of
Witte, whiche is the seconde parte of Arithmeteke: containing
the extraction of rootes; the cossike practise, with the rule of
equation; and the workes of Surde Nombers (London, 1557). This
was the book in which the equals sign
was introduced. With the publication of this book Recorde is
credited with introducing algebra into
England.
- a medical work, The Urinal of Physic (1548),
frequently reprinted.
Sherburne states that Recorde also published
Cosmographiae
isagoge, and that he wrote a book
De Arte faciendi
Horologium and another
De Usu Globorum et de Statu
temporum. Recorde's chief contributions to the progress of
algebra were in the way of systematizing its notation.
See also
Notes
- Newman, James R. 1956, "The World Of Mathematics"
- Jourdain, Philip E. B. 1913, "The Nature Of Mathematics"
References
- Newman, James R. (1956), "The
World Of Mathematics" Vol. 1 "Commentary On Robert Recorde"
- Jourdain, Philip E.B. (1913), "The Nature Of Mathematics"
External links