Mathematician:Mathematicians/Sorted By Birth/1601 - 1700 CE

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For more comprehensive information on the lives and works of mathematicians through the ages, see the MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, created by John J. O'Connor and Edmund F. Robertson.

The army of those who have made at least one definite contribution to mathematics as we know it soon becomes a mob as we look back over history; 6,000 or 8,000 names press forward for some word from us to preserve them from oblivion, and once the bolder leaders have been recognised it becomes largely a matter of arbitrary, illogical legislation to judge who of the clamouring multitude shall be permitted to survive and who be condemned to be forgotten.[1]

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Contents

$1601$ – $1610$

Gilles Personne de Roberval (1602 – 1675)

French mathematician whose work was a precursor to calculus.

Worked on the quadrature of surfaces and the cubature of solids.
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Pierre de Carcavi (c. 1603 – 1684)

French mathematician who was also a secretary of the National Library of France under Louis XIV.

Noted for his correspondence with Pierre de Fermat, Blaise Pascal, Christiaan Huygens, Galileo Galilei, Marin Mersenne, Evangelista Torricelli and René Descartes.
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Bernard Frénicle de Bessy (c. 1604 – 1674)

French mathematician who wrote numerous mathematical papers, mainly in number theory and combinatorics.

Described all $880$ essentially different normal magic squares of order $4$.

Invented the Frénicle standard form, a standard representation of magic squares

Solved many problems created by Pierre de Fermat.

Discovered the cube property of the number $1729$ (Ramanujan number), later referred to as a taxicab number.
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Antoine Gombaud (1607 – 1684)

Antoine Gombaud, Chevalier de Méré was a French gambler, writer, philosopher and amateur mathematician best known for his work in probability theory.
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Evangelista Torricelli (1608 – 1647)

Italian physicist and mathematician, best known for inventing the barometer.

Disciple of Galileo.

Gave his name to Torricelli's Law.
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$1611$ – $1620$

John Pell (1611 – 1685)

English mathematician and foreign diplomat most famous for what is now known as Pell's Equation.
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Antoine Arnauld (1612 – 1694)

French Roman Catholic theologian, philosopher and mathematician.
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Claude Perrault (1613 – 1688)

French architect, best known for his participation in the design of the east façade of the Louvre in Paris.

Also achieved success as a physician and anatomist, and as an author.

Wrote treatises on physics and natural history.

The first to investigate the tractrix, which he did in $1670$.
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John Wallis (1616 – 1703)

English mathematician who made considerable contributions towards the invention of the calculus.

Credited with introducing the symbol $\infty$ for infinity.

One of the first English mathematicians to use the techniques of analytic geometry as defined by Descartes.
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Elisabeth of the Palatinate (1618 – 1680)

Princess of the Electorate of the Palatinate who studied (among other things) mathematics and philosophy with René Descartes.

Her correspondence with Descartes survives as a record of the nature of philosophical and religious debates in that period.

Renowned for her intelligence and humanism.
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Prince Rupert of the Rhine (1619 – 1682)

Prince of the lines of both the Electorate of the Palatinate and the House of Stuart, who later in life turned to science and mathematics.

Known for posing the question which is now known as Prince Rupert's Cube.

Renowned for his military flair, but also notorious for his heavy-handed treatment of defeated enemies.
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Nicholas Mercator (c. 1620 – 1687)

German mathematician who designed a marine chronometer for Charles II, and designed and constructed the fountains at the Palace of Versailles.

Known for the Newton-Mercator Series.
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William Brouncker (1620 – 1684)

William Brouncker, 2nd Viscount Brouncker was an English mathematician best known for Brouncker's Formula, an expansion for pi in the form of a generalized continued fraction.

Popularly believed to have been the first European to provide the solution to what is known as Pell's Equation, but the supposition that its name was a misattibution by Euler is disputed.

Improved on William Neile's computation of the arc length of the semicubical parabola $a y^2 = x^3$.
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$1621$ – $1630$

Johann Heinrich Rahn (1622 – 1676)

Swiss mathematician credited with the first use of the division symbol, $\div$, also known as the obelus, and the therefore sign, $\therefore$.
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Blaise Pascal (1623 – 1662)

French mathematician and philosopher who explored probability theory and projective geometry.

Most famous for the construction now commonly known as Pascal's Triangle.
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John Collins (1625 – 1683)

English mathematician whose principal influence consisted of a copious correspondence with the other leading minds of his day.

Mainly worked as a teacher and an accountant, and authored some books.
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Giovanni Domenico Cassini (1625 – 1712)

Italian/French mathematician, astronomer, engineer, and astrologer.

Most of his important discoveries were in the field of astronomy.

Also known as Giandomenico Cassini or Jean-Dominique Cassini.

Not to be confused with his son, also called Jean-Dominique Cassini.
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Pietro Mengoli (1626 – 1686)

Italian mathematician who spent most of his working life as a professor at the University of Bologna.

Also ordained into the Priesthood.

Occupies the philosophical transitional ground between the work of Bonaventura Cavalieri and that of Isaac Newton and Gottfried von Leibniz.
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Johannes van Waveren Hudde (1628 – 1704)

Johannes Hudde, also rendered Johann Hudde or Jan Hudde, was Dutch mathematician, who was also at one time the mayor of Amsterdam and governor of the Dutch East India Company.

Organised the regulation of the waterways of Amsterdam, in the process making major steps towards improvements in sanitation.

Collaborated on a translation into Latin of La Géométrie by René Descartes.
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Christiaan Huygens (1629 – 1695)

Dutch mathematician, astronomer, physicist and horologist.

Studied the rings of Saturn and discovered its moon Titan.

Invented the pendulum clock.

Believed that light travels in waves, hence the Huygens-Fresnel Principle.
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Isaac Barrow (1630 – 1677)

English Christian theologian and mathematician who had a hand in the development of calculus.

Often cited as being the discoverer of the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus.

Concentrated on the properties of the tangent.

The first to calculate the tangents of the kappa curve.

Famously stood down from his position as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics in favour of Isaac Newton.
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$1631$ – $1640$

1632

Christopher Michael Wren (1632 – 1723)

English mathematician, anatomist, astronomer, geometer and physicist, as well as being Britain's most famous architect.

One of the founders of the Royal Society, and was its president from $1680$ to $1682$.
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1635

Robert Hooke (1635 – 1703)

English scientist who worked in many fields and investigated a great deal of stuff.

In the field of applied mathematics he is best known for Hooke's Law.
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1637

William Neile (1637 – 1670)

William Neile, sometimes rendered Neil, was an English mathematician whose most important work was on the rectification of the semicubical parabola, which was an important stage in the development of calculus.
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1638

James Gregory (1638 – 1675)

Scottish mathematician and astronomer best known for designing the Gregorian telescope.

Made advances in trigonometry, discovering infinite series representations for several trigonometric functions.
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1640

April

Georg Mohr (1640 – 1697)

Born Jørgen Mohr, latinised as Georg(ius) Mohr.

Danish mathematician and geometer now famous for proving in 1672 that any geometrical construction that can be made with compasses and straightedge can also be achieved by using only compasses. This result was overlooked at the time. Lorenzo Mascheroni made the same discovery in 1797. However, it was only in 1928 that Mohr's priority came to light.

Other books of his are rumoured but none have come to direct light.
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June

Jacques Ozanam (1640 – 1718)

French mathematician renowned for the books he wrote, and for his philanthropy.

Published a set of trigonometric and logarithmic tables more accurate than any of the existing ones.

Identified three pairs of triangular numbers whose sum and difference are also triangular.
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$1641$ – $1650$

Isaac Newton (1642 – 1727)

Hugely influential English all-rounder famous for:

and much more.
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Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (1646 – 1716)

German mathematician and philosopher who is best known for being the co-inventor (independently of Isaac Newton) of calculus.

Took some of the first philosophical steps towards a system of symbolic logic, but his works failed to have much influence on the development of logic, and these ideas were not developed to any significant extent.

Invented the system of binary notation.
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Giovanni Ceva (1647 – 1734)

Italian mathematician best known for Ceva's Theorem, a result in geometry.

Also rediscovered and published Menelaus's Theorem.
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$1651$ – $1660$

Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus (1651 – 1708)

German mathematician more famous for inventing a brand of porcelain.

Worked on techniques in algebra, and also investigated catacaustic curves.
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Michel Rolle (1652 – 1719)

French mathematician best known for Rolle's Theorem.

Also noted for popularising the $n$th root sign.
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Jacob Bernoulli (1654 – 1705)

Swiss mathematician best known for his work on probability theory, analytic geometry and development of the calculus.

Also developed the field of calculus of variations.

Developed the technique of Separation of Variables, and in $1696$ solved what is now known as Bernoulli's (Differential) Equation.

Invented polar coordinates.

Elder brother of Johann Bernoulli, with whom he famously quarrelled.
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Edmund Halley (1656 – 1742)

English astronomer, geophysicist, mathematician, meteorologist, and physicist best known for computing the orbit of Halley's Comet.

He was the second Astronomer Royal in Britain, succeeding John Flamsteed.
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David Gregory (1659 – 1708)

Scottish mathematician and astronomer.

Professor of mathematics at the University of Edinburgh, Savilian Professor of Astronomy at the University of Oxford.

Commentator on Isaac Newton's Principia.
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$1661$ – $1670$

Guillaume de l'Hôpital (1661 – 1704)

Shortened version of his full name and title, which was: Guillaume-François-Antoine Marquis de l'Hôpital, Marquis de Sainte-Mesme, Comte d'Entremont and Seigneur d'Ouques-la-Chaise.

French mathematician best known for L'Hôpital's Rule, although this was in fact discovered by Johann Bernoulli.
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Nicolaus Bernoulli (1662 – 1716)

Brother of Jacob Bernoulli and Johann Bernoulli, and father of Nicolaus I Bernoulli.

It is unclear exactly what, if anything, Nicolaus Bernoulli contributed to mathematics.

The accepted report is that he was a painter, and an alderman of Basel.

However, some sources, notably 1937: Eric Temple Bell: Men of Mathematics, appear to conflate him with Nicolaus II Bernoulli.
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Abraham de Moivre (1667 – 1754)

French mathematician best known for De Moivre's Formula.

Also noted for his work on the normal distribution and probability theory.
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Johann Bernoulli (1667 – 1748)

Swiss mathematician best known for his work on development of the calculus.

Taught Guillaume de l'Hôpital, who then went ahead and published his lecture notes without crediting him.

Pioneered the technique of Integration by Parts.

Younger brother of Jacob Bernoulli, with whom he did not always see eye to eye.
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$1671$ – $1680$

Luigi Guido Grandi (1671 – 1742)

Guido Grandi was an Italian mathematician, engineer, priest and philosopher, best known for his study of the rose curve.

Contributed to Note on the Treatise of Galileo Concerning Natural Motion in the first Florentine edition of Galileo Galilei's works.

Helped introduce Gottfried Leibniz's ideas on calculus to Italy.

Also known for Grandi's Series.
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Jacopo Francesco Riccati (1676 – 1754)

Count Jacopo Francesco Riccati was an aristocratic Italian mathematician and jurist from Venice.

Chiefly responsible for introducing Isaac Newton's ideas to Italy.

Best known for having founded the equation which bears his name.

Contributed towards Maria Gaëtana Agnesi's 1748 work Instituzioni analitiche ad uso della gioventù italiana.
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Pierre Raymond de Montmort (1678 – 1719)

French mathematician (also known as Pierre Rémond de Montmort) who worked in probability theory.

The first to introduce the combinatorial study of derangements.

Also known for naming Pascal's triangle after Blaise Pascal, calling it "Table de M. Pascal pour les combinaisons."
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$1681$ – $1690$

1685

George Berkeley (1685 – 1753)

Also known under the name Bishop Berkeley.

Anglo-Irish mathematician and philosopher best known nowadays for his critique of the philosophical underpinnings of calculus as it had been developed by Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz and Isaac Newton.

Incisive intellectual, noted humanitarian, and, by all accounts, all-round good guy.
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Brook Taylor (1685 – 1731)

English mathematician noted for Taylor's Theorem, but he was not the only one to have been exploring it.

Also made progress in the mathematics of perspective and the foundations of projective geometry.
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1686

John Machin (c. 1686 – 1751)

English professor of astronomy, best known for developing a quickly converging series for $\pi$ (pi) in $1706$ and using it to compute $\pi$ to $100$ decimal places.
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Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit (1686 – 1736)

Dutch-German-Polish physicist, engineer, and glass blower.

Best known for inventing the mercury-in-glass thermometer.

Developed the Fahrenheit temperature scale.
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1687

Robert Simson (1687 – 1768)

Scots mathematician notable for having produced a translation of Euclid's The Elements which was long used as the standard text.
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Nicolaus I Bernoulli (1687 – 1759)

Swiss mathematician who worked on probability theory, geometry and differential equations.

Most of his important work can be found in his correspondence, particularly with Pierre Raymond de Montmort, in which he introduced the St. Petersburg Paradox.

He also corresponded with Leonhard Paul Euler and Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz.

Son of Nicolaus Bernoulli and so nephew of Jacob Bernoulli and Johann Bernoulli.
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1690

Christian Goldbach (1690 – 1764)

Prussian amateur mathematician who also studied law and medicine.

Best known for posing the Goldbach Conjecture, which also appears as Goldbach's Marginal Conjecture, and a similar weaker conjecture known as Goldbach's Weak Conjecture.
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$1691$ – $1700$

James Stirling (1692 – 1770)

Scottish mathematician best known for Stirling's Formula.

One of the first to study what is now known as the Gamma function.
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Nicolaus II Bernoulli (1695 – 1726)

Swiss mathematician who worked mostly on curves, differential equations and probability theory. He also contributed to fluid dynamics.

Studied as a lawyer, and became involved in the priority dispute between Newton and Leibniz, and also the one between Johann Bernoulli and Brook Taylor.

Posed the problem of reciprocal orthogonal trajectories in $1720$.

Son of Johann Bernoulli and the elder brother of Daniel Bernoulli and Johann II Bernoulli.
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Colin Maclaurin (1698 – 1746)

Held the record for almost 300 years as the youngest professor in history.

Worked extensively on elliptic functions.

Best known nowadays for Maclaurin Series.
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Pierre Bouguer (1698 – 1758)

French mathematician, geophysicist, geodesist and astronomer.

The first known discoverer of what is now generally known as the Beer-Lambert-Bouguer Law.
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Daniel Bernoulli (1700 – 1782)

Dutch / Swiss mathematician who worked mostly on fluid dynamics, probability theory and statistics.

Considered by many to be the first mathematical physicist.

Son of Johann Bernoulli and the brother of Nicolaus II Bernoulli and Johann II Bernoulli.

Famously suffered from the jealousy and bad temper of his father Johann Bernoulli who, among other unpleasantnesses, tried to steal his Hydrodynamica and pass it off as his own, naming it Hydraulica.
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References

  1. Eric Temple Bell: Men of Mathematics, 1937, Victor Gollancz, London.