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Mathematical Treasure: 'Of the Parabola' Manuscript

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

Of the Parabola (Codex 526) is an anonymous handwritten manuscript from the late eighteenth century. Perhaps it was a required student treatise submitted at Cambridge University. It contains 58 postulates on the parabola and its properties. Postulates 43-58 (pp. 53-74) concern the use of the parabola in the theory of projectiles. The opening page of the text discusses the construction of the parabola.

On page seven, the parabola is viewed as a conic section.

Page 53 begins the discussion of a parabola as a path of a projectile.

Proposition 52 allows for the determination of horizontal distance, or range, subtended by a parabola (pp. 62-63).

The images above were obtained through the kind cooperation of the University of Pennsylvania Libraries.

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: 'Of the Parabola' Manuscript," Convergence (February 2019)