Date: Mar 21, 2000 8:04 PM
Subject: Re: [HM] L'Hopital, Pythagoras, Ptolemy and Hilbert

On Mon, 20 Mar 2000, Don Cook wrote:

> Dear Julio,
> What is the story?
> In Carl Boyer's 2nd Edition of "History of Mathematics", Wiley, 1991,
> pg. 420:
> "... Jean Bernoulli signed a pact under which, in return for a regular
> salary, he agreed to send L'Hospital his discoveries in mathematics,
> to be used as the marquis wished."
> The story is unreferenced.
> Peace,
> Don Cook
> P.S. I have just read Avinoam Mann's letter with the same quote. Still, what
> is the correct story?

Boyer mentions letters between L'Hospital and Bernoulli. So does
Coolidge, in _The mathematics of great amateurs_, though Coolidge does
not mention any commercial aspect. Moreover, from Coolidge's quotes it
seems that the letters do not specifically say that B. discovered
`L'Hospital's rule_', but they suggest it. So it appears that to decide
matters one has to go back to the correspondence. Two books are mentioned:
O.J.Rebel, Der Briefwechsel zwischen Johan Bernoulli und den Marquis
L'Hospital, Bottrop i.w. 1934; Coolidge refers to pp. 147-8, 161, 163;
and O.Spiess (editor), Der Briefwechsel von Johann Bernoulli, vol. 1,
Basel, Birkhaeuser 1955.

Avinoam Mann