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Mathematical Treasure: Schlegel on Grassman’s Extension Theory

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

Victor Schlegel (1843-1905) was a mathematics teacher and colleague of Hermann Grassman (1809-1877). In his book, A System of Instruction on Grassman’s Extension Theory (Ausdehnungslehre), Schlegel explained and promoted his colleague’s theories of “n-space” and a vector basis for geometry. This book was extremely influential in spreading Grassman’s ideas in establishing a foundation for the development of linear algebra.

The present volume became the first volume of Schlegel's System der Raumlehre, vols. 1 and 2 (1872, 1875). Schlegel also published Hermann Grassmann: Sein Leben und seine Werke and Lehrbuch der elementaren Mathematik, both in 1878.

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: Schlegel on Grassman’s Extension Theory," Loci (August 2014)