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Mathematical Treasure: L’Hospital’s Treatise on Conic Sections

Author(s): 
Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

Although, at times, there have been questions raised as to the mathematical abilities of the Marquis de l’Hôpital (1661-1704), he was an able mathematician. In 1776, his Traité Analytique des Sections Coniques (Treatise on the Analysis of Conic Sections) was published posthumously. The pages below are from a copy of this book owned by John Adams (1735-1826), who served as the second president of the United States from 1797 to 1801.

                                               

The first page of the text:

The first theorems concerning the parabola start on pages 4 and 5. The theorem on page 4 refers to Figure 1 on the plate following page 5.

 

The theorem on page 28 concerning constructions within the ellipse refers to Figure 20 on the following plate.

These images were obtained through the courtesy of the Boston Public Library. They may be used for instructional purposes; for all other uses, please obtain permission from the Boston Public Library.

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: L’Hospital’s Treatise on Conic Sections," Convergence (June 2017)

Dummy View - NOT TO BE DELETED