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9780198564843

John Pell (1611-1685) and His Correspondence with Sir Charles Cavendish The Mental World of an Early Modern Mathematician

by ;
  • ISBN13:

    9780198564843

  • ISBN10:

    0198564848

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2005-02-10
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Summary

Writing in 1939, the historian of mathematics Herbert Turnbull described John Pell as 'a mysterious figure' and commented: 'he may well prove to be an unsuspected genius, for his manuscripts appear to survive, unexamined, in the British Museum.' Turnbull's expectations were pitched a little too high: although Pell was a man of unusual intellectual abilities, and one of the leading mathematicians of his day, his work does not merit any use of the term 'genius'. The term 'mysterious', on the other hand, was well deserved; and no less mysterious is the fact that the great majority of Pell's voluminous manuscripts have remained almost entirely unexamined for more than sixty years after Turnbull published those comments. This first full length biography of John Pell (1611-1685) by Malcolm and Stedall reconstructs the life and times of this central and enigmatic mathematician and scholar. The text consists of over 600 pages and is presented in three parts: Part 1 "The life of John Pell (1611-1685)" is a thoroughly researched new account of Pell's life; Part 2 "The mathematics of John Pell" explores Pell's contribution to mathematics; and Part 3 "The Pell-Cavendish correspondence" is the first complete edition of Pell's correspondence, with detailed annotations. For historians of mathematics and science, philosophers, social and political historians and early modern intellectual historians, this superb work of scholarship is essential reading.

Table of Contents

General introduction 1(7)
A note on dates and transcriptions 8(1)
Acknowledgements 9(1)
Abbreviations 10(1)
Part I The life of John Pell
11(234)
Noel Malcolm
Sussex, Cambridge, 1611--1629
13(12)
Sussex, London, Sussex, 1629--1638
25(36)
London, 1638--1643
61(41)
Amsterdam, Breda, 1643--1652
102(37)
London, Zurich, 1652--1658
139(38)
London, Essex, London, 1658--1665
177(21)
Cheshire, 1665--1669
198(15)
London, 1669--1685
213(32)
Part II The mathematics of John Pell
245(84)
Jacqueline Stedall
Part III The Pell--Cavendish correspondence
329(258)
Textual introduction
331(4)
The correspondence
335(252)
List of manuscripts 587(14)
Bibliography 601(38)
Index 639

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