By Adrien Marie Legendre
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year:2009
Online Publication Date:May 2011
Original Publication Year:1808
Subjects: History of Mathematical Texts
Adrien-Marie Legendre (1752–1833), one of the great French mathematicians active in the Revolutionary period, made important contributions to number theory, statistics, mathematical analysis and algebra. He taught at the École Militaire, where he was a colleague of Laplace, and made his name with a paper on the trajectory of projectiles which won a prize of the Berlin Academy in 1782, and brought him to the attention of Lagrange. In 1794 he published Eléments de géométrie, which remained a textbook for over 100 years. The first edition of his Essai sur la théorie des nombres was published in 1798, and the much improved second edition, which is offered here, in 1808. In it Legendre had taken account of criticism by Gauss of the mathematical proofs in the first edition, though he was bitter at the manner in which his younger rival had claimed credit for some of his solutions.