Person: Ramus, Peter
Peter Ramus was a French mathematician who wrote a whole series of textbooks on logic and rhetoric, grammar, mathematics, astronomy and optics.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Ramus was educated at home until, in 1527 at the age of twelve years, he entered the Collège de Navarre in Paris.
- After this Ramus taught, first at the Collège de Mans, then at the Collège de l'Ave Maria.
- It was mathematics and the plague which came to Ramus's rescue.
- Mathematics since when he was forbidden to teach and publish philosophy he turned to mathematics, and the plague for it created staff shortages which resulted in Ramus being reinstated as a teacher.
- Not only was Ramus back as a teacher, but he also returned to publishing texts.
- Other changes which Ramus proposed was the abolition of student fees (which 450 years later is again a topic of vigorous debate in Britain!).
- Near the end of 1562, Ramus was forced to flee Paris for fear of his life as the Calvinists were ordered out of the city.
- It granted certain rights of conscience to the Huguenots and Ramus saw it as sufficient to allow him to return to Paris.
- For a while he tried to keep a low profile but when one of his opponents was appointed to the Regius Chair of Mathematics, Ramus opposed the appointment, but lost.
- With tensions rising again in the religious wars, Ramus fled Paris for a second time in 1567.
- Ramus returned briefly to Paris, found his library destroyed, and requested permission from the King to visit Germany.
- This Ramus did from 1568 to 1570, but in that year another treaty, the Peace of Saint-Germain, was signed in August.
- Feeling that it was again safe to return to Paris, Ramus gained the promise of protection from the King although he was again banned from teaching.
- They were massacred on the eve of the feast St Bartholomew and, despite his royal protection, Ramus was murdered by hired assassins.
- The changes which Ramus proposed to the Arts courses taught at universities at that time was a return to the seven classical liberal arts, but with the syllabus more based on applied topics.
- Using this approach Ramus worked on many topics and wrote a whole series of textbooks on logic and rhetoric, grammar, mathematics, astronomy, and optics.
- It is reasonable to ask how important Ramus is for mathematics.
- Ramus believed that learning in mathematics had declined, and this was due in large part to Plato because of his refusal to consider applications of mathematics.
- Having identified the problems, Ramus aimed to improve mathematical instruction.
- Rigorous proof was of little importance to Ramus who preferred a "natural method".
- One of the topics which Ramus believed that mathematics should be applied to was astronomy.
Born 1515, Cuts (near Noyon), Vermandois, France. Died 26 August 1572, Paris, France.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Astronomy, Special Numbers And Numerals
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive