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Mathematical Treasure: Nicollet's Student Notes

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

Joseph Nicolas Nicollet (1786-1843) was a French mathematician, astronomer and geographer who immigrated to the United States and became involved in surveying and mapping his new country. Nicollet is credited for accomplishing the first complete cartographical survey of the Upper Mississippi Basin. His Traité elémentaire [et] synthétique des sections coniques (1809) consists of his student notes acquired while attending the lectures of George-Marie Raymond (1769-1839) at the École Normale de Chambéry. Note the precision in the hand-drawn diagrams.

The images above were obtained through the kind cooperation of the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, The Lawrence J. Schoenberg Collection of Late and Early Renaissance Manuscripts, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Lawrence Schoenberg, a successful businessman and collector of early scientific manuscripts, donated his collection to the University. The item shown here is fully digitized and may be consulted and copied in its entirety with due credit provided, including its reference number, LJS 213.

Index to Mathematical Treasures


Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Nicollet's Student Notes," Convergence (February 2019)