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Topic: [HM] Theorem of tangents
Replies: 5   Last Post: Mar 28, 2001 4:57 PM

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MANN@vms.huji.ac.il

Posts: 401
Registered: 12/3/04
Re: [HM] Theorem of tangents
Posted: Mar 27, 2001 7:27 PM
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I am quoting from Carl Boyer's _A History of Mathematics_ (1968), p.339:

Vi`ete...in another work a few years later, _Variorum de rebus
mathematicis_ (1593), there is a statement equivalent to our law of
tangents:... Though Vi`ete may have been the first to use this formula, it
was first published by a more obscure figure, Thomas Finck, in 1583 in
_Geometria rotundi_.
(I've omitted the formula).

I don't know why Boyer thinks that Vi`ete may have been the discoverer of
this formula, even though Finck's book is ten years earlier. In the
_Norton History of the Mathematical Sciences_, by I.Grattan-Guinness
(1997), Finck's book is called _Geometria rotunda_, and it is stated that
the names _tangent_ and _secant_ were introduced in that book.

Anybody knows more about Thomas Finck?

Avinoam Mann






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