John Pell’s English Edition of J. H. Rahn’s Teutsche Algebra

  • Christoph J. Scriba
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 15)


Since the transgression of Greek learning to western Europe, its adaption and its renaissance, the arts and sciences have flourished in international cooperation. Political boundaries, ideological differences, language barriers and human aversities or even hostilities in the long run have never succeeded in suppressing the growth and diffusion of new ideas, though they may have hampered their circulation for a time. Mathematics in particular — whether it be considered as an art or as a science — has a tendency of its own to transgress all frontiers set up by external forces. This, perhaps, is due to its highly abstract character, which makes it less susceptible to extraneous influences.


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  1. 1.
    Information on John Pell is given in The Dictionary of National Biography 15 (Oxford, since 1917) 706–708, and in Nieuw Nederlandsch Biografisch Woordenboek 3 (Leiden 1914), coll. 961–965.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    An Idea of Mathematicks, first published in J. Dury: The Reformed Library-Keeper, London 1650; reprinted in R. Hooke: Philosophical Collections, London 1679–1682, no. 5, p. 127, with M. Mersenne’s and R. Descartes’s comments.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    A Refutation of Longomontanus’s pretended Quadrature of the Circle, Amsterdam 1646; Controversiae de veracirculi mensura anno 1644 exortae inter Ch. S. Longomontanum…et J. Pellium, Amsterdam 1647.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Cyclometria ex lunulis reciproce demonstrata, Kopenhagen 1612; Inventio quadraturae circuli, Kopenhagen 1634; Rotundi in piano, seu circuit, absoluta mensura (Amsterdam 1644).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Tabula Numerorum Quadratorum decies millium…, A Table of Ten Thousand Square Numbers, London 1672.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Collins to Dr. Beale, 20 August 1672. Printed in S. J. Rigaud: Correspondence of Scientific Men in the Seventeenth Century. 2 vols., Oxford 1814; reprinted Hildesheim 1965; vol. 1, p. 196. - This collection, as well as that by J. O. Halliwell (cf. note 21) contains further information on the persons mentioned in this article.Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    There are a few lines on J. H. Rahn in the Historisch-Biographisches Lexikon der Schweiz 5 (1929) 520 (Rahn, no. 18), where further sources are given. - See also G. Wertheim: ‘Die Algebra des Johann Heinrich Rahn (1659) und die englische Überset-zung derselben’, Bibliotheca Mathematica (3) 3 (1902) 113–126.Google Scholar
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    An article on Th. Brancker is contained in vol. 2, pp. 1119–1120, of The Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, since 1917 ).Google Scholar
  9. 21.
    B - P, 12 June 1666; ibid. fol. 45; printed in: A Collection of Letters Illustrative of the Progress of Science in England (ed. by J. O. Halliwell), London 1841; reprinted London 1965; pp. 98–99 (misdated June 21).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht-Holland 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christoph J. Scriba
    • 1
  1. 1.Lehrstuhl für Geschichte der exakten Wissenschaften und der TechnikTechnische Universität BerlinGermany

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