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A Discourse Concerning AlgebraEnglish Algebra to 1685$
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Jacqueline A. Stedall

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780198524953

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198524953.001.0001

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Reading between the lines: John Wallis's Arithmetica infinitorum

Reading between the lines: John Wallis's Arithmetica infinitorum

Chapter:
(p.155) 6 Reading between the lines: John Wallis's Arithmetica infinitorum
Source:
A Discourse Concerning Algebra
Author(s):

Jacqueline A. Stedall (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198524953.003.0006

At the beginning of his mathematical career, John Wallis embarked on the work that was to be published in 1656 as the Arithmetica infinitorum. The book was his masterpiece and over the following ten or twenty years was to have a profound influence on the course of English mathematics. It contains the result for which Wallis is now best remembered, his infinite fraction for 4/π, but to Wallis and his contemporaries this was not the book's only, or most remarkable, feature: its real importance lay in the new methods Wallis devised to solve age-old problems of quadrature and cubature. Wallis was well aware of the importance of his work and later devoted the final quarter of A treatise of algebra describing the contents and implications of the Arithmetica infinitorum, as developed in the book itself and by Newton and others in the years following its publication. This chapter revisits the Arithmetica infinitorum and reviews its significance.

Keywords:   John Wallis, Arithmetica infinitorum, infinite fraction, quadrature, curbature

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