Mathematician:Nicole Oresme

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Mathematician

French philosopher and mathematician best known for his many writings.

Known for being critical of the writings of Aristotle, an unusual philosophical position for his day.

Defined the power of a number to a non-integral exponent.

A lifelong friend of Charles V "The Wise" of France.

Credited with:

  • The invention of analytic geometry before Descartes
  • Propounding structural theories of compounds before nineteenth century organic chemists
  • Discovering the law of free fall before Galileo
  • Advocating the rotation of the Earth before Copernicus.

None of these claims is in fact true, but Oresme did philosophise on such matters in his works.


Nationality

French


History

  • Born: between 1320 and 1325, probably of peasant stock, in Allemagne (today's Fleury-sur-Orne) near Caen, Normandy
  • 1348: Gained a scholarship in theology at the College of Navarre
  • 1355: Awarded degree of Master of Theology
  • 1356: Appointed Grand Master of the College of Navarre
  • 2 Nov 1359: Became "secretaire du roi"
  • 1361: While still grand master of Navarre, appointed Archdeacon of Bayeux
  • 23 Nov 1362: Became canon of the Cathedral of Rouen
  • 10 Feb 1363: Took on the additional duties of canon at the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris
  • 18 Mar 1364: Became dean of the Cathedral of Rouen
  • 3 Aug 1377: Attained the post of Bishop of Lisieux
  • Sept 1380: Took up residency at Lisieux
  • Died: 11 July 1382, Lisieux, France


Theorems and Definitions


Publications

  • 1345: Quaestiones super de generatione et corruptione
  • 1346 - 1348
    • Quaestiones super Euclidis Geometriam
    • Expositio et Quaestiones in Aristotelis se Anima
    • De causis mirabilium
    • Tabula problematum
  • 1348 - 1350
    • Parva naturalia (Quaestiones de sensu)
    • Quaestiones de sphaera
    • Quaestiones super septem libros physicorum Aristotelis
    • Quaestiones super de caelo
    • De perfectione specierum
    • Utrum omnes impressiones
    • Utrum dyameter alicuius quadrati
  • 1350 - 1360
    • Algorismus proportionum
    • Tractatus specialis de monocordi divisione
    • Tractatus de configurationibus qualitatum et motuum, in which he pre-empted Descartes in an invention of a type of coordinate geometry
    • De proportionibus proportionum, which contains the first use of a fractional exponent
    • Tractatus de commensurabilitate vel incommensurabilitate
  • 1351 - 1353: Questiones super libros Meteororum
  • 1353: Lectura super sententias
  • 1355: De origine, natura, jure et mutationibus monetarum
  • 1358: Traite de la mutation des monnaies
  • 1360: Contra iudicarios astronomos et principes in talibus se occupantes
  • 1360: De communicatione idiomatum
  • 1360: Utrum christus iustis legislator
  • 1360: Determinatio facta in resumpta in domo Navarre
  • 1363: Sermo coram Urbano V
  • 1365: De malis venturis super Ecclesiam
  • 1366: Livre des divinacions
  • 1368: De divinationibus
  • 1370: Quaestio contra divinatores horoscopios
  • 1368 - 1375: Traité de l'espere
  • 1371: Le livre des Politiques d'Aristote (translation of Aristotle from Latin into French)
  • 1372: Le livre des Ethiques d'Aristote (translation of Aristotle from Latin into French)
  • 1375: Le livre des Economique d'Aristote (translation of Aristotle from Latin into French)
  • 1377: Le livre du Ciel et du monde (translation of Aristotle from Latin into French)


Sources