Mathematician:John Playfair

From ProofWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Scots mathematician and scientific philosopher who was an early proponent of the philosophical position that physical laws are the same throughout the universe and do not change with time.

Also credited with Playfair's axiom, an alternative (and easier to digest) form of Euclid's Fifth Postulate, although he himself did not originate it.




  • Born: 10 March 1748, Benvie (near Dundee), Scotland
  • Died: 20 July 1819, Burntisland, Fife, Scotland

Theorems and Definitions

Axioms named for John Playfair can be found here.


  • 1779: On the Arithmetic of Impossible Quantities
  • 1795: Elements of Geometry
  • 1797: An Analytical Treatise on the Conic Sections,
  • 1797: Essay on the Accidental Discoveries Which Have Been Made By Men of Science, Whilst In Pursuit of Something Else, Or When They Had No Determinate Object in View
  • 1802: Illustrations of the Huttonian Theory of the Earth
  • 1812 -- 1816: Outlines of Natural Philosophy (2 vols.)
  • 1818: Dissertation on the Progress of the Mathematical and Physical Science since the Revival of Letters in Europe
  • 1818: Memoir on Naval Tactics