Person: Seki, Takakazu Shinsuke
Takakazu Seki was a Japanese mathematician who was the first person to study determinants. He also discovered Bernoulli numbers before Jacob Bernoulli.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Seki was an infant prodigy in mathematics.
- He was self-educated in mathematics having been introduced to the topic by a servant in the household who, when Seki was nine years old, realised the talent of the young boy.
- Seki soon built up a library of Japanese and Chinese books on mathematics and became acknowledged as an expert.
- When his lord became heir to the Shogun, Seki became Shogunate samurai and in 1704 was given a position of honour as master of ceremonies in the Shogun's household.
- In 1674 Seki published Hatsubi Sampo in which he solved fifteen problems which had been posed four years earlier.
- The work is remarkable for the careful analysis of the problems which Seki made and this certainly was one of the reasons for his great success as a teacher.
- Seki anticipated many of the discoveries of Western mathematics.
- Seki was the first person to study determinants in 1683.
- Ten years later Leibniz, independently, used determinants to solve simultaneous equations although Seki's version was the more general.
- Seki also discovered Bernoulli numbers before Jacob Bernoulli.
- Among other problems studied by Seki were Diophantine equations.
- Secrecy surrounded the schools in Japan so it is hard to determine the contributions made by Seki, but he is also credited with major discoveries in the calculus which he passed on to his pupils.
Born March 1642, Fujioka (now Gunma), Kozuke, Japan. Died 5 December 1708, Edo (now Tokyo), Japan.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Algebra, Origin Japan, Special Numbers And Numerals
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