André Tacquet


July 5, 2022

André Tacquet (born June 23, 1612 in Antwerp, died December 22, 1660 there) - a Flemish scholar and Jesuit. He was mainly involved in mathematics.

Curriculum vitae

He came from a family of a wealthy merchant family. He was the child of Pierre Tacquet and Agnes Wandelen, who came from Nuremberg. His father died when André was still a child, but left behind a fortune that gave the boy a good start into the future. Despite the tense political situation caused by the conflict between the Habsburgs and the Dutch, who demanded independence for the northern Netherlands, Antwerp was a wealthy city and one of the centers of European culture. The Jesuit Order, with whom André started his education, was also well organized. His first school was the local Jesuit college. The teachers quickly learned about his abilities and tried to develop them. In 1629 André joined the convent and left for Mechelen. In 1631 he moved to Leuven, where he studied mathematics, physics and logic for four years. One of his teachers was the eminent mathematician and Jesuit Grégoire de Saint-Vincent. After completing his education in 1635, Tacquet began teaching himself. He was a Greek and Poetry teacher at a college in Bruges. After five years of work at school, he went to Leuven, where he began his theological studies. Simultaneously with his studies, he was teaching mathematics. From 1644 he taught at the local college, then in 1645 he moved to the college in Antwerp. He taught there until 1649, after which he returned to Leuven. In 1655 he returned to Antwerp and began teaching again. He was a mathematician at the local college until 1660.

Scientific work

In addition to teaching and religious service, Tacquet was constantly engaged in scientific work. His most important work was the Cylindricorum et Annularium, published in 1651. The main topic of the work was battles and circles, and Tacquet was based on the achievements of Luca Valeria and Archimedes. It was not a breakthrough work in terms of presenting some new discovery, but in terms of considering the methods used in mathematics. Even so, the description of some of the problems in Tacquet's execution was novel and influenced other scholars who later made important discoveries. This was the case, for example, in the case of the inverse nature of the tangent and the area under the curve. They resulted from Tacquet's reflection on the curve generated by a point not being part of it. These views greatly influenced Pascal, Leibniz, and Newton, and contributed to the development of the theory of differential and integral calculus. The same was true of Tacquet's use of the depletion method. Working with this method, he obtained results that showed later scientists the way to the concept of the boundary. Tacquet is also known as the author of an excellent mathematics textbook for students of Jesuit colleges. This work was the implementation of the idea of ​​General Goswin Nickel, who, after reading the contents of the Cylindricorum et Annularium, asked Tacquet to write a set of textbooks in various fields of mathematics. André had already written textbooks on geometry and arithmetic only. His most famous and popular work of this kind was Elementa geometriae. First published in 1654, it translated the basics of geometry. The book contained the views contained in Euclid's Elements and material from Archimedes' work, laid out in a way that was very accessible to students. The textbook has, therefore, been reprinted many times and translated into other languages. With time, not only Jesuit colleges began to use it. The basics of mathematics from Tacquet's books were learned by the next few generations of mathematicians all over Europe throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. The rest of the work