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In his autobiography, Charles Darwin wrote of his time at Cambridge: 'I attempted mathematics … but I got on very slowly. The work was repugnant to me, chiefly from my not being able to see any meaning in the early steps in algebra. This impatience was very foolish, and in after years I have deeply regretted that I did not proceed far enough at least to understand something of the great leading principles of mathematics, for men thus endowed seem to have an extra sense.' First published in 1795 and reissued here in its 1815 sixth edition, The Elements of Algebra by James Wood (1760–1839) was one of the standard Cambridge texts for decades, so its presence in Darwin's library aboard the Beagle is readily understandable. Then, as now, Cambridge had a high opinion of itself as a mathematical university. The contents of Wood's book give an interesting glimpse of the standards expected of the less able students.
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- Date Published: January 2014
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9781108066532
- length: 318 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 18 mm
- weight: 0.47kg
- contains: 19 b/w illus.
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
On vulgar fractions
On decimal fractions
Signs used in algebra
The addition of algebraical quantities
On algebraical fractions
Involution and evolution
On arithmetical progression
On geometrical progression
On permutations and combinations
The binomial theorem
The nature of equations
The transformation of equations
The limits of the roots of equations
The depression of equations
The solution of recurring equations
The solution of a cubic equation
Des Cartes's solution of a biquadratic
Dr Waring's solution
The method of divisors
The method of approximation
The reversion of series
The sums of the powers of the roots of an equation
On the impossible roots of an equation
On unlimited problems
On continued fractions
The value of a fraction whose numerator and denominator are evanescent
The least common multiple
The cube root
On interest and annuities
On the summation of series
On life annuities
On the nature of curves
On the construction of equations
General properties of curve lines.
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