# Groundbreaking Scientific Experiments, Inventions, and Discoveries of the 17th Century

By Michael Windelspecht | Go to book overview

F

Fermat’s Last Theorem (ca. 1630): Pierre de Fermat was a French mathematician who played an important role in the mathematical revolution of the 17th century. Fermat’s contributions to mathematics were many. His discoveries frequently closely paralleled the work of his countryman René Descartes. For example, Fermat and Descartes independently developed a coordinate system for the study of geometric figures. The discovery of coordinate geometry gave 17th-century mathematicians the ability to manipulate geometric shapes using algebraic equations. This was the beginning of the study of analytical geometry, or the defining of geometric shapes using algebraic principles, a branch of mathematics in which Fermat played a key role. He established algebraic formulas for many geometric shapes, including hyperbolas and parabolas. He also made significant contributions to the study of curves that included finding the minimum and maximum values of the curves and solving for the area under a curve (see ANALYTICAL GEOMETRY). In cooperation with the French mathematician Blaise Pascal, Fermat established early theories on the study of probability, although this work was directed initially at predicting games of chance and not scientific research (see PROBABILITY). Despite his many achievements in mathematics, Fermat is most often recognized for his work on number theories and for proposing a mathematical theorem that took over 300 years to prove.

In mathematics, the study of number theory involves defining the properties of whole integers. The study of the theory of numbers was not unique to the 17th century, as its history most likely dates back to the time of Pythagoras. The Greek mathematician Euclid presented one of the first comprehensive descriptions of ancient number theo-

-64-

### Notes for this page

If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

#### Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

#### Cited page

Bookmark this page
Groundbreaking Scientific Experiments, Inventions, and Discoveries of the 17th Century
Table of contents

#### Table of contents

• Title Page iii
• Contents vii
• Series Foreword xi
• Acknowledgements xv
• Introduction xvii
• Experiments, Inventions and Discoveries 1
• A 3
• B 15
• C 34
• E 54
• F 64
• G 70
• H 81
• J 109
• K 115
• L 121
• M 148
• N 173
• O 177
• P 187
• S 201
• T 224
• V 241
• Appendix 245
• Glossary of Technical Terms 247
• Selected Bibliography 257
• Subject Index 261
• Name Index 267
• About the Author 271
Settings

#### Settings

Typeface
Text size Reset View mode
Search within

Look up

#### Look up a word

• Dictionary
• Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

#### Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
• Bookmarks
• Highlights & Notes
• Citations
/ 271

## Questia reader help

### How to highlight and cite specific passages

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

## Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

## Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

Buy instant access to save your work.

Already a member? Log in now.

Search by...
Show...

### Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.