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Mathematical Treasure: Sturm's Elements of Mathematics

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

Johann Christoph Sturm (1635–1703) was a German mathematician and philosopher. He taught at the university at Altdorf founded in 1622 to serve the needs of nearby Nuremberg. He was the author of many books on mathematics and the natural sciences. Mathesis Enucleata (1695) (The Elements of Mathematics) was written as a textbook for his students. In 1700, it was translated into English with the title The Elements of Mathematics, an Introduction to the Specious Analysis or Algebra. The title page of the first 1695 edition is shown above.

Mathesis Enucleata was lavishly illustrated with forty-nine copper plate prints, some of which are shown above (p. 217) and below (p. 268). The reader can attempt to determine the particular mathematical situation and/or problem depicted.

These images are presented courtesy of Archives and Special Collections, Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania. You may use them in your classroom and/or for private study; for all other purposes, please seek permission from Archives and Special Collections, Waidner-Spahr Library, Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA.

Index of Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Sturm's Elements of Mathematics," Convergence (February 2014)