Mathematicians of the 17th Century
Jacob Bernoulli (also known as James or Jacques) (27 December 1654/6 January 1655 – 16 August 1705) was one of the many prominent mathematicians in the Bernoulli family. He became familiar with calculus through a correspondence with Gottfried Leibniz, then collaborated with his brother Johann on various applications, notably publishing papers ontranscendental curves (1696) and isoperimetry(1700, 1701). In 1690, Jacob Bernoulli became the first person to develop the technique for solving separable differential equations. Upon returning to Basel in 1682, he founded a school for mathematics and the sciences. He was appointed professor of mathematics at theUniversity of Basel in 1687, remaining in this position for the rest of his life. Jacob Bernoulli is best known for the work Ars Conjectandi (The Art of Conjecture), published eight years after his death in 1713 by his nephew Nicholas. In this work, he described the known results in probability theory and in enumeration, often providing alternative proofs of known results. This work also includes the application of probability theory to games of chance and his introduction of the theorem known as the law of large numbers. The terms Bernoulli trial and Bernoulli numbers result from this work. The lunar crater Bernoulli is also named after him jointly with his brother Johann. John Craig (1663 – October 11, 1731) was a Scottish mathematician theologist. Born in Dumfries and educated at the University of Edinburgh, he moved to England and became a vicar in the Church of England. A friend of Isaac Newton, he wrote several minor works about the new calculus. He is mainly known for his book Theologiae Christianae Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Christian Theology), published in 1698. René Descartes (French: [ʁəne dekaʁt]; Latinized: Renatus Cartesius; adjectival form: "Cartesian"; 31 March 1596 – 11 February 1650) was a French philosopher, mathematician, and writer who spent most of his adult life in the Dutch Republic. He has been dubbed the 'Father of Modern Philosophy', and much subsequent Western philosophy is a response to his writings, which are studied closely to this day. In particular, his Meditations on First Philosophy continue to be a standard text at most university philosophy departments. Descartes' influence in mathematics is equally apparent; the Cartesian coordinate system — allowing reference to a point in space as a set of numbers, and allowing algebraic equations to be expressed as geometric shapes in a two-dimensional coordinate system (and conversely, shapes to be described as equations) — was named after him. He is credited as the father of analytical geometry, the bridge between algebra and geometry, crucial to the discovery of infinitesimal calculus and analysis. Descartes was also one of the key figures in the Scientific Revolution and has been described as an example of genius. Pierre de Fermat (French: [pjɛːʁ dəfɛʁma]; 17 August 1601 or 1607/8 – 12 January 1665) was a French lawyer at the Parlement of Toulouse, France, and an amateur mathematician who is given credit for early developments that led to infinitesimal calculus, including his technique of adequality. In particular, he is recognized for his discovery of an original method of finding the greatest and the smallest ordinates of curved lines, which is analogous to that of the differential calculus, then unknown, and his research into number theory. He made notable contributions to analytic geometry, probability, and optics. He is best known for Fermat's Last Theorem, which he described in a note at the margin of a copy of Diophantus' Arithmetica. James Gregory FRS (November 1638 – October 1675) was a Scottish mathematician and astronomer. He described an early practical design for the reflecting telescope – the Gregorian telescope – and made advances in trigonometry, discovering infinite series representations for several trigonometric...
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