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Mathematical Treasure: Peacock's Treatise on Algebra

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

George Peacock (1791–1858) was an English mathematician and mathematics reformer. Together with his Cambridge classmates John Herschel and Charles Babbage, he founded the Analytical Society, a group of young mathematicians intent on bringing continental calculus to the British Isles. Peacock is especially well known for his attempts to make algebra into a deductive science. He put forth his ideas in his Treatise on Algebra (1830). Many consider Peacock’s theories to foreshadow the development of modern abstract algebra.

In the Preface, Peacock discussed his concepts for algebra. (Peacock’s Preface can also be read at the MacTutor History of Mathematics website.)

First page of Preface to Treatise on Algebra by George Peacock, 1830

Second page of Preface to Treatise on Algebra by George Peacock, 1830

Third page of Preface to Treatise on Algebra by George Peacock, 1830

Fourth page of Preface to Treatise on Algebra by George Peacock, 1830

The first page of text opens with a listing of definitions.

First page of Treatise on Algebra by George Peacock, 1830

The images above were obtained from the Internet Archive's digitization of the copy owned by Stanford University.

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Peacock's Treatise on Algebra," Convergence (February 2020)

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