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RECORDE, ROBERT (died 1558), mathematician and physician

Name: Robert Recorde
Date of death: 1558
Parent: Rose Recorde (née Jones)
Parent: Thomas Recorde
Gender: Male
Area of activity: Medicine; Science and Mathematics
Author: James Frederick Rees

Born at Tenby, son of Thomas Record and his wife Rose, daughter of Thomas Jones of Machynlleth. He graduated at Oxford and was elected Fellow of All Souls College in 1531. Migrating to Cambridge, he studied mathematics there and qualified in medicine. After a further period of teaching at Oxford he settled in London where he practised medicine and is said to have been physician to king Edward VI and queen Mary. In 1549 he was appointed comptroller of the Mint at Bristol and two years later, general surveyor of the mines and money in England and Ireland.

He died in the King's Bench prison in Southwark, in 1558; probate of his will made there was granted on 18 June of that year. His family appears to have resided in the Maudlins, which had been a medieval foundation for lepers just outside the walls of Tenby.

Recorde was the pioneer of mathematical writers in England, being the first to write treatises on arithmetic, algebra, and geometry. His books ran through many editions in the 16th and 17th centuries. To him is due the invention of the sign of equality (=). His chief writing were The Grounde of Artes, 1540, The Whetstone of Witte, 1557, and The Pathway to Knowledge, 1557? which treat respectively the subjects of arithmetic, algebra, and geometry. In he last of them he explains solar and lunar eclipses on the Copernican system which he was one of the first to adopt in England.


Published date: 1959

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