François Vieta

(redirected from Francois Viete)

Vieta, François

 

(also Vietè). Born 1540 in Fontenayle-Comte; died Dec. 13, 1603, in Paris. French mathematician. A lawyer by profession.

In 1591, Vieta introduced literal designations not only for unknown quantities but also for coefficients in equations. Owing to this it became possible for the first time to express the properties of equations and their roots by general formulas. He also established uniform methods for the solution of equations of the second, third, and fourth degree. Among his discoveries Vieta himself valued especially highly the establishment of the relationship between the roots and the coefficients of equations. For the approximate solution of equations with numerical coefficients Vieta proposed a method that is analogous to Newton’s later method. In trigonometry Vieta provided the complete solution to the problem of determining all the elements of a plane or spherical triangle on the basis of three quantities, and he found important expansions of cos nx and sin nx in powers of cos x and sin x. He was the first to study infinite products. His works are written in a language difficult to follow and therefore received less widespread attention than they deserved.

WORKS

Opera mathematica. Leiden, 1646.
Isagoge in artem analyticam. Tours, 1591.

REFERENCE

Struik, D. J. Kratkii ocherk istorii matematiki, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1969. (Translated from German.)
References in periodicals archive ?
The French mathematician, Francois Viete (1540-1603), invented the algebraic notation we use today.
Interestingly, "Eco marks the beginning of work on a priori philosophical languages in Britain in the seventeenth century" (25), despite a number of European thinkers, namely, Descartes, Francois Viete, and G.
He then skips forward to the Enlightenment, continuing the discussion through to the 20th century in chapters on Francois Viete, Rene Descartes, Gerard Desargues, Giovanni Saccheri, Johann Lambert, Nicolai Lobachevski and Janos Bolyai, Bernhard Riemann, Jean-Victor Poncelet, and Felix Klein.
While in 1591 in France, Francois Viete (Franciscus Vieta, 1540-1603) would have written:
Particu larly important is the cryptographic work of Francois Viete, an important figure in the invention of algebra as well as cryptography.
Mahoney also documents the ongoing fruits of the Italian h umanists' recovery of Greek mathematical texts in the previous century, most notably in the work of the great French mathematician, Francois Viete.