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Mathematical Treasure: Kästner’s Foundations of Mathematics

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

Abraham Kästner (1719-1800) was a German mathematician noted for his textbook writing and encyclopedia compilation. He was a mentor of Euler and an active correspondent with Gauss. In his four-volume Mathematische Anfangsgründe, he attempted to use formalization to obtain a more precise mathematics. The title page for the second volume (1764) is shown above. In this volume, Kästner examined and questioned Euclid’s Fifth Postulate.

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: Kästner’s Foundations of Mathematics," Loci (August 2014)