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Robert Recorde

Tudor Scholar and Mathematician

Author(s): Gordon Roberts

Language: English

Genre(s): Science History Welsh Interest

Series: Scientists of Wales / Gwyddonwyr Cymru

May 2016192 pages

Hardback - 9781783168293 Paperback - 9781783168545 eBook - epub - 9781783168316 eBook - mobi - 9781783168323 eBook - pdf - 9781783168309

About The Book

This enthralling biography tells, for the first time, the complete story of one of Tudor England’s most enigmatic figures. A Welshman born in Tenby, south Wales, c.1512, Robert Recorde was educated at both Oxford and Cambridge. This book, the first detailed biography of this Tudor scholar, reviews the many facets of his astonishingly wide-ranging career and ultimately tragic life. It presents a richly detailed and fully rounded picture of Recorde the man, the university academic and theologian, the physician, the mathematician and astronomer, the antiquarian, and the writer of hugely successful textbooks. Crown appointments brought Recorde into conflict with the scheming Earl of Pembroke, and eventually set him at odds with Queen Mary I. As an intellectual out of his depth in political intrigue, beset by religious turmoil, Recorde eventually succumbed to the dangers that closed inexorably around him.


‘Gordon Roberts’s new biography of Robert Recorde is a wonderfully readable account of this fascinating Tudor scientist, his difficult career in times of religious and political dangers, and his innovative and remarkably entertaining textbooks. It provides context to help the reader fully appreciate the work of this important pioneer of mathematics education.’
- Professor Tony Mann, Director, University of Greenwich

‘A Welsh scholar of great influence, the Tudor mathematics educator Robert Recorde holds a permanent place in the history of mathematics as the inventor of the equals sign ... He was also a physician, a poet, and surveyor of mines and monies, who was prosecuted for libel and ended his life in prison. This engagingly written book presents the ups and downs of Recorde’s eventful life with great clarity.’
- Emeritus Professor Robin Wilson, The Open University

'Robert Recorde not only was the author of one of the most popular textbooks of arithmetic of all time, but he was also a medical doctor, a surveyor of mines, an antiquarian, a poet, and someone deeply involved in the religious controversies that plagued England under the Tudors. Roberts does justice to all these aspects of Recorde's career, and he draws a rich and convincing portrait of the society in which Recorde grew up in Wales, as well as the atmosphere of Oxford and Cambridge where he studied, and of London, which became his home later in life.'
- William R. Shea, MathSciNet: Mathematical Reviews, November 2017


Author’s Forward and Acknowledgments
Chapter 01 – Child of Tenby
Chapter 02 – Oxford Scholar
Chapter 03 – Cambridge Savant
Chapter 04 – Such is Your Authority
Chapter 05 – St Paul’s Churchyard
Chapter 06 – Doctor Recorde
Chapter 07 – Antiquarian and Mathematician
Chapter 08 – No Mean Divine
Chapter 09 – Comptroller of the King’s Mints
Chapter 10 – The Muscovy Company
Chapter 11 – This Talk Delights Me Marvellously
Chapter 12 – Pedagogue and Poet
Chapter 13 – Surveyor of the Mines and Monies
Chapter 14 – Nemesis
Chapter 15 – A Heart So Oppressed
Chapter 16 – An Unquiet Mind
Chapter 17 – One of His Elect in Glory

About the Author(s)

Gordon Roberts

Gordon Roberts is an independent scholar; by profession an aircraft engineer, he is widely read in the sciences, technology, mathematics and engineering. He is a graduate of the Open University.

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