Home > Mathematician of the Week Archive Detail

<< Prev 1/29/2012 Next >>

Born in Milan, I first studied theology in a Jesuit monastery near Milan and then focused on studying geometry at the University of Pisa.

I published a total of eleven books, offering solutions to problems in mathematics, optics, astronomy, and the physics of motion...and even one on astrology.

The esteemed Galileo exerted a strong influence on me, encouraging me to work on my new methods and offering useful suggestions...he even once wrote about me: "few, if any, since Archimedes, have delved as far and as deep into the science of geometry."

Using the method of exhaustion, I developed a geometrical approach to calculus in my Geometria indivisibilibus continuorum nova quadam ratione promota, viewing area as being built from an indefinite number of parallel segments and similarily a volume by an indefinite number of parallel planar areas.

I developed the theory of parabolic, hyperbolic, and elliptical mirrors, but the work remained theoretical only since our limited technology did not allow the construction of such mirrors.

I published tables of logarithms, illustrating their practical use in astronomy and geography...and thereby introduced logarithms to all of Italy.

Answer: Bonaventura Francesco Cavalieri (1598 - 1647)