Person: Nemorarius, Jordanus
Jordanus Nemorarius was a German scholar who wrote several books on arithmetic, algebra, geometry and astronomy. He was among the first to use letters to replace numbers in algebraic calculations.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Perhaps the most significant fact is a very negative one, namely that Jordanus de Nemore's name does not appear in any list of clerics so it is generally assumed that he was a layman.
- On the positive side we note that Richard de Fournival, who was Chancellor of the Cathedral of Amiens, made a list of works which were desirable for the Cathedral library in 1250 and four works by Jordanus appear.
- This was, for quite some time, thought to have been written by Jordanus so proving that he taught at Toulouse.
- The second controversy among scholars regarding Jordanus is whether Jordanus de Nemore and Jordanus de Saxonia are the same person.
- It is known that Jordanus de Saxonia was the first successor to Saint Dominic as the Grand Master of the Dominicans.
- This is fair evidence that the two Jordanus's are the same person but it is far from conclusive.
- What we do know of Jordanus is his works, many of which have survived.
- Jordanus was the first to correctly formulate the law of the inclined plane.
- There are six mathematical treatises written by Jordanus.
- In De numeris datis Jordanus gives results on solving quadratic equations similar to those given by al-Khwarizmi except general forms are given rather than the numerical examples of the earlier text.
- The proofs given by Jordanus, like those of al-Khwarizmi, are by the method of completing the square.
- In astronomy Jordanus used letters to denote the magnitudes of stars (not unrelated to his use of letters for algebraic notation).
- Jordanus visited the Holy Land and, on the return journey, he lost his life at sea.
Born 1225, Borgentreich (near Warburg), Germany. Died 1260, At sea.
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Thank you to the contributors under CC BY-SA 4.0!
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive