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

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Julio Gonzalez Cabillon

Posts: 1,353
Registered: 12/3/04
Re: [HM] Theorem of tangents
Posted: Mar 28, 2001 4:57 PM
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Francine F. Abeles wrote:

<< I'm interested in finding a reference in English to
the origin and use of the theorem of tangents ..... >>

An elementary book in English that might be of your interest
is Eli Maor's "Trigonometric Delights" [Princeton University
Press, 1998.] See chapter xii, p. 152. This book is far from
being a scholarly work, though Maor takes his job seriously.

"Around 1580 Viete stated a beautiful theorem that,
unfortunately, has all but disappeared from today's
textbooks: the Law of Tangents. . . . This theorem
follows from the Law of Sines . . . but in Viete's
time it was regarded as an independent theorem (3).

Note (3) [p. 162] ... As for other discoverers of the Law of
Tangents, see David Eugene Smith, __History of Mathematics__
(1925, rpt. New York: Dover, 1958), vol. 2, pp. 611 and 631.


Fran, it goes without saying that _the_ reference (as far as
secondary sources are concerned) for this kind of question is
Braunmuehl's "Vorlesungen ueber Geschichte der Trigonometrie"
(two volumes), published in Leipzig, B.G. Teubner, 1900-03.

Best wishes from excited Montevideo (UY soccer team is trying
tonight to get back to its glorious and golden days),


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