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Mathematical Treasure: Simpson’s Treatise of Algebra

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

Thomas Simpson (1710-1761) was a self-taught genius who mastered mathematics to become an outstanding mathematics educator in eighteenth century England. Among the many books that he wrote was A Treatise of Algebra (1745). The tenth edition of this popular book was issued in 1826.

Title page of A Treatise of Algebra, tenth edition, 1826, by Thomas Simpson

The list of “Contents” reveals the topics for a study of algebra at this period.

First page of table of contents of A Treatise of Algebra, tenth edition, 1826, by Thomas Simpson

Second page of table of contents of A Treatise of Algebra, tenth edition, 1826, by Thomas Simpson

Third page of table of contents of A Treatise of Algebra, tenth edition, 1826, by Thomas Simpson

The first page of Simpson’s text defines algebra as “specious arithmetic.”

First page of A Treatise of Algebra, tenth edition, 1826, by Thomas Simpson

The images above were obtained through the courtesy of the University of California Libraries. The book may be viewed in its entirety in the Internet Archive.

Index to Mathematical Treasures 

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Simpson’s Treatise of Algebra," Convergence (January 2018)

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