By Paula Ribenboim

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X C F ig . 1. An advertisement of the forthcoming Arithmetica infin itorum, Easter 1655. To the most Distinguished and Worthy gentleman and most Skilled Mathematician, Dr William Oughtred Rector of the church of Aldbury in the county of Surrey Here for you at last (most dist inguished gent leman) is now the whole of that work of which I gave hope in that proposition on circle measurement t hat I gave you in its ste ad in print last Easter (see Figure 1). For since, by custom, when one puts somet hing out in publi c, it ought to be dedicat ed to someone, I thought to seek not only a great gentleman but a grea t mathematician to whom Imight offer it .

Thus where Wallis had written simple numerical sums, Newton wrote infinite power series in which the coefficient of each power was defined and eIearly visible. For the partial area of a quadrant, for example, using the interpolated values calculated by Wallis, Newton wrote: 79 5 7 9 1 x3 A=x- -. - - -1 . -x - _1 . -x - _5 . -x - . dt). 9 See Van Maanen 1984, 241-242 for Huygen's formulation of his result and 245-250 for a possible reconstruction of his methods. Van Maanen 1984 , 222-250. Mercator 1668 .

But while those now published were in the press , I was pleased to put out as a foretaste (last spring) a proposition on circle measurement (including also that which I proposed in the form of a problem some years since , as I said ab ove, to various distinguished gentlemen) , and you may discover that it was chosen from the three problems that end this treatise. Moreover , since that time (in the month just gone) 8 The Arithmetic of Infinitesimals Doctor Hobbes produced a book," who had already promised much in geometry, and especially in the quadrature of the circle, and sectioning angles in a given ratio , and other things related to these, and at length he brought his book out publicly, from which it was clear that he had not demonstrated any of these things, nor indeed will he demonstrate them; for the book abounds everywhere with the most disgraceful paradoxes, so that you scarcely at times find anything sensible (which my Elenchus,9 which is also now in the press, will make clear), whence you may easily discern also that the author is not one from whom we may hope that mysteries of this kind are to be unraveled.

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Algebraic Numbers (Pure & Applied Mathematics Monograph) by Paula Ribenboim
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