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Mathematical Treasure: Peter Apian's Manual on Quadrant Use

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

Among the many talents of Peter Apian (1495-1552) was that of mathematical instrument maker. It would seem natural that he would write about the instruments he made and how to use them. This “self-promotion” is expressed in his 1532 Quadrans Apiani astronomicus ..., an instructional manual on the use of the quadrant.

Title page of Quadrans Apiani astronomicus by Peter Apian, 1532

Simple applications involving use of shadows are demonstrated.

Illustrations of measurements involving shadows from Quadrans Apiani astronomicus by Peter Apian, 1532

More complicated measuring situations involve some creative thinking.

Two additional diagrams illustrating measuements from Quadrans Apiani astronomicus by Peter Apian, 1532

The images above are provided courtesy of Columbia University Libraries. A copy of this work is also available in its entirety in the Internet Archive.

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Peter Apian's Manual on Quadrant Use," Convergence (August 2018)

Dummy View - NOT TO BE DELETED