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Mathematical Treasure: Oronce Fine's On the Practice of Geometry

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

Oronce Fine’s De re et praxi geometrica was published posthumously in 1556. This On the Practice of Geometry stressed applications.

Title page from De re et praxi geometrica by Oronce Fine, 1556

A variety of distance measuring situations involving an assortment of relevant instruments are demonstrated.

Page 4 from De re et praxi geometrica by Oronce Fine, 1556

Page showing the measurement of the height of a tower from De re et praxi geometrica by Oronce Fine, 1556

Calculating the volumes of barrels and casks was still an important mathematical concern.

Page 56 from De re et praxi geometrica by Oronce Fine, 1556

The images above were obtained through the courtesy of the Erwin Tomash Library on the History of Computing, Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota.

Erwin Tomash (1921-2012) was a pioneering computer scientist, helping launch the U.S. computer industry from the 1940s onward. During the 1970s he became interested in the history of computer science, and founded the Charles Babbage Society, and its research arm, the Charles Babbage Institute. The Institute, an archive and research center, is housed at the University of Minnesota. Its Erwin Tomash Library on the History of Computing began with Tomash's 2009 donation to the Institute of much of his own collection of rare books from the history of mathematics and computing. (Source: Jeffrey R. Yost, Computer Industry Pioneer: Erwin Tomash (1921-2012), IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, April-June 2013, 4-7.)

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Oronce Fine's On the Practice of Geometry," Convergence (August 2018)

Dummy View - NOT TO BE DELETED