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Mathematical Treasure: Vega’s Lectures on Mathematics

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

Georg Vega (1754-1802) was born in Slovenia, which was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, ruled by the Hapsburgs from Vienna. Georg, having studied mathematics, migrated to Vienna, where he became an artillery officer and then a mathematics lecturer at the artillery school. His four-volume Vorlesungen über die Mathematik (first volume, 1782) was based on his class lectures. Later, he would become famous for compiling an important table of logarithms. These excerpts are from the second volume of his lectures (1784).


The discussion on pages 354-355 concerns the properties of a hyperbola as shown in the accompanying Figure 184 (upper right in Table XIV below).

Table XII demonstrates techniques of surveying and leveling, important parts of military training necessary for the construction of fortifications as well as for range finding.

This material was obtained through the courtesy of the Peabody Library of Johns Hopkins University.

For images from Volume 3 and 4 of Vega's Vorlesungen über die Mathematick, see Mathematical Treasure: Vega's Lectures on Applied Mathematics.

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Vega’s Lectures on Mathematics," Convergence (July 2016)