Viète, François, Seigneur De La Bigotiere

Viète, François, Seigneur De La Bigotiere

▪ French mathematician
Latin  Franciscus Vieta  
born 1540, Fontenay-le-Comte, France
died Dec. 13, 1603, Paris

      mathematician who introduced the first systematic algebraic notation and contributed to the theory of equations.

      Viète, a Huguenot sympathizer, solved a complex cipher of more than 500 characters used by King Philip II of Spain in his war to defend Roman Catholicism from the Huguenots. When Philip, assuming that the cipher could not be broken, discovered that the French were aware of his military plans, he complained to the pope that black magic was being employed against his country.

      Viète's Canon mathematicus seu ad triangula (1579; “Mathematical Laws Applied to Triangles”) is probably the first western European work dealing with a systematic development of methods—utilizing all six trigonometric functions—for computing plane and spherical triangles. Viète has been called “the father of modern algebraic notation,” and his In artem analyticem isagoge (1591; “Introduction to the Analytical Arts”) closely resembles a modern elementary algebra text. His contribution to the theory of equations is De aequationum recognitione et emendatione (1615; “Concerning the Recognition and Emendation of Equations”), in which he presented methods for solving equations of second, third, and fourth degree. He knew the connection between the positive roots of an equation (which, in his time, were thought of as the only roots) and the coefficients of the different powers of the unknown quantity.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • mathematics — /math euh mat iks/, n. 1. (used with a sing. v.) the systematic treatment of magnitude, relationships between figures and forms, and relations between quantities expressed symbolically. 2. (used with a sing. or pl. v.) mathematical procedures,… …   Universalium

  • algebra — /al jeuh breuh/, n. 1. the branch of mathematics that deals with general statements of relations, utilizing letters and other symbols to represent specific sets of numbers, values, vectors, etc., in the description of such relations. 2. any of… …   Universalium

  • trigonometry — trigonometric /trig euh neuh me trik/, trigonometrical, adj. trigonometrically, adv. /trig euh nom i tree/, n. the branch of mathematics that deals with the relations between the sides and angles of plane or spherical triangles, and the… …   Universalium

  • analytic geometry — a branch of mathematics in which algebraic procedures are applied to geometry and position is represented analytically by coordinates. Also called coordinate geometry. [1820 30] * * * Investigation of geometric objects using coordinate systems.… …   Universalium

  • trigonometry table —  tabulated values for some or all of the six trigonometric functions for various angular values. Once an essential tool for scientists, engineers, surveyors, and navigators, trigonometry tables became obsolete with the availability of computers.… …   Universalium

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