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Unformatted text preview: Seminar Notes: Fran cois Vi` ete and his Zetetica Fran cois Vi` ete was born in 1540 in Poitou in westcentral France. Vi` ete was educated as a lawyer, and in the 1570s, having established a good reputation, he was invited by King Henry III to act as an adviser to the court in Paris. He served both Henry III and his successor Henry IV as privy councillor until his retirement in 1602. He died in 1603. The region of Vi` etes birth is also the region from which the Acadians emigrated to eastern Canada, beginning in 1604. The Cajuns of Louisiana are refugees of the British persecution of the Acadians in 17551763. Vi` ete studied and wrote about mathematics as a hobby. He is credited as the first mathematician to use letters as variables. One of his works, the Five Books of Zetetica (which was first published in 1591), contains numerous problems and solutions that illustrate his methods. Below, I have translated some of the problems into modern language. Problems from Zetetica: Book I 1.1 Given the sum and the difference of two numbers, find the numbers. Solution. Let the sum be denoted S and let the difference be denoted D . We are asked to find two numbers x and y such that S = x + y and D = x y . If we add the two equations together, we find...
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This note was uploaded on 11/23/2011 for the course MATH 6302 taught by Professor Madden during the Summer '11 term at LSU.
 Summer '11
 MADDEN
 Math

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