Home > Mathematician of the Week Archive Detail

<< Prev 5/13/2007 Next >>

A Scotsman, I gained some fame by capitalizing on the resources of John Collins (librarian for the Royal Society) and his wide range of mathematical contacts.

For example, I studied mathematics for many years in Italy under the eye of Stefano degli Angeli, where we developed the ideas underlying infinitesimal methods and the quadrature of conic sections.

I was perhaps the first to formulate the binomial theorem for integral powers.

I was the first to use the term "converge," especially when trying to prove the impossibility of squaring a circle by Greek rules.

Based on my work with mathematicians in France, Holland, and England, I published books that downplayed the differences between algebraic and geometrical methods.

In addition to being a predecessor of Newton, I basically knew all of the key calculus theorems that Newton would eventually develop, but I was too bull-headed with my own geometrical agenda to see the big picture.

Answer: James Gregory, 1638-1675