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Mathematical Treasure: Olinthus Gregory's Mathematics for the Practical Man

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

Title page from 2nd American edition of Olinthus Gregory's Mathematics for Practical Men.

Olinthus Gregory (1774-1841) was an English mathematician, editor, and author of popular tracts on mathematics and science. He was an associate of Charles Hutton, another mathematician of the time, who also was quite active in the popularization of mathematics. He first published his Mathematics for the Practical Man in 1825, the intended audience being educated practitioners who already possessed a knowledge of mathematics and were in a position to employ more advanced mathematics. The material shown here is from the second American edition of this book, published in 1836.

Page 162 from Olinthus Gregory's Mathematics for Practical Men.Page 163 from Olinthus Gregory's Mathematics for Practical Men.

On pages 162 and 163, we find discussions of the hyperbola and its construction employing a linkage and the basic properties of the parabola.

Page 165 of Olinthus Gregory's Mathematics for Practical Men.

On page 165, higher properties of a parabola are discussed.

Page 168 of Olinthus Gregory's Mathematics for Practical Men.Page 169 of Olinthus Gregory's Mathematics for Practical Men.

Pages 168 and 169 introduce mechanical curves: conchoids and cissoids, whose shape and use might be of interest to engineers and architects.

This material is obtained through the courtesy of the University of California Libraries. A complete digital copy can be read on the Internet Archive.

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Olinthus Gregory's Mathematics for the Practical Man," Convergence (February 2017)

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