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Mathematical Treasure: Chasles' Higher Geometry

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

Michel Chasles (1793-1880) was a Professor of Mathematics at the École Polytechnique. He was noted as a geometer and as a historian of mathematics. A pioneer in the development of modern projective geometry, he introduced such notions as: pencil of lines, cross ratio, and involution. His Treatise on Higher Geometry was first published in 1852. The edition shown above is from 1880, the year of his death.

In the Preface, Chasles explained the need for such a work in geometry.

Chasles’ Preface, continued

In Chapter 35 of the Geometry, Chasles introduced the use of elliptic functions.

The Special Collections staff at the Linderman Library of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is pleased to cooperate with the Mathematical Association of America to exhibit this and other items from the Library’s holdings in Mathematical Treasures. In particular, Convergence would like to thank Lois Fischer Black, Curator, Special Collections, and Ilhan Citak, Archives and Special Collections Librarian, for their kind assistance in helping to make this display possible. You may use these images in your classroom; all other uses require permission from the Special Collections staff, Linderman Library, Lehigh University.

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Chasles' Higher Geometry," Loci (June 2014)