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Johann van Waveren Hudde

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23 April 1628

Amsterdam, Netherlands

15 April 1704

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Johann Hudde attended the University of Leiden to study law. However he was introduced to mathematics at Leiden by his teacher van Schooten . From 1654 until 1663 he worked on mathematics as part of van Schooten geometry research group at Leiden. From 1663 he worked in various roles for the Amsterdam City Council. He served for 30 years as burgomaster of Amsterdam being first appointed in 1672.

All of Hudde's mathematics was done before he began to work for the city council in 1663. Van Schooten edited and published a second two-volume translation of Descartes 's La Géométrie (1659-1661) which contained appendices by de Witt , Hudde and van Heuraet .

Hudde worked on maxima and minima and the theory of equations. Hudde gave an ingenious method to find multiple roots of an equation which is essentially the modern method of finding the highest common factor of a polynomial and its derivative.

He was the first to treat the coefficients in algebra without considering whether they were positive or negative in De reductione aequationum. In 1656 he gave the power series expansion of ln(1+x). The following year he directed the flooding of parts of Holland to block the advance of the French army.

Hudde also worked on optics, producing microscopes and constructing telescope lenses.

Hudde corresponded with Huygens on problems of canal maintenance, probability and life expectancy. Leibniz studied Hudde's manuscripts and reported finding many excellent results. The manuscripts must have had an important influence on Leibniz 's introduction of the calculus.

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