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In the following century, the center of mathematics shifts from Italy to France and Britain, Dunham explains. Great thinkers such as Francois Viete, Renee Descartes, Blaise Pascal and Pierre de Fermat make great strides in the advancement of mathematics. In Britain, John Napier and Henry Briggs make important discoveries. The largest figure of the period, however, is easily Sir Isaac Newton. Dunham chooses a few of Newton's advances as representatives for the great theorem discussed in this chapter, which is Newton's calculation of π.

Dunham presents a brief biography of Newton from his troubled boyhood through his years at Cambridge as a student and later a professor and into his later years as Warden of the Mint. As a young college student, Newton's genius goes almost unnoticed in an environment that has been overtaken by politics in favor of scholarship. He is encouraged by a...

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This section contains 333 words(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page) |