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Gregorius Saint-Vincent

Birth date:

Birth place:

Date of death:

Place of death:

8 Sept 1584

Bruges, Belgium

27 Jan 1667

Ghent, Belgium

Presentation Wikipedia
Gregory of Saint-Vincent began his studies at the Jesuit College of Bruges in 1595. He went to Douai in northern France in 1601, studying mathematics and philosophy there. Saint-Vincent entered the Jesuit Order in 1607. He was a student of Clavius in Rome but he went to Louvain in 1612 to complete his theology degree.

From 1613 he began to teach, first at Brussels where he taught Greek. Then he continued to teach Greek at a number of places, 'sHertogenbosch in the Netherlands in 1614, and Coutrai in 1615. The next year he was appointed chaplain to the Spanish troops stationed in Belgium which must have been a difficult job since this was the period of the Dutch revolt against Spain.

He next taught at the Jesuit school in Antwerp, then from 1621 he spent four years teaching mathematics in Louvain. After six years in Prague as chaplain to the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II from 1626 until 1632. However when the Swedish army attacked Prague, Saint-Vincent fled to Vienna leaving behind many of his important mathematical papers. He moved to the Jesuit College in Ghent where he taught from 1632 for the rest of his life. Eventually the papers he had been force to leave in Prague were returned to him and they were published.

Saint-Vincent's main work is a book over 1250 pages long. There are many topics covered in the book including a study of circles, triangles, geometric series, ellipses , parabolas and hyperbolas .

His book also contains his quadrature method which is related to that of Cavalieri but which he discovered independently. He gives a method of squaring the circle which we can now see is essentially integration.

Saint-Vincent integrated x-1 in a geometric form that is easily recognised as the logarithmic function.

Source:School of Mathematics and Statistics University of St Andrews, Scotland