Robert Recorde “With the helpe of it, you maie atteyn to all thyng.” A practical application of mathematics.

Karli Morris, Robert Barone

Abstract


Robert Recorde (c.1510-1557) has long been seen by historians and mathematicians as being significant for his works on the practical teaching of mathematics to a non-specialized audience.  What we are trying to show in this essay is how Recorde, precisely because of his role as a teacher, came up with a practical, useful, and educationally workable way of presenting mathematical concepts to a general audience.  Specifically we have looked at two of his works, The Grounde of Artes and The Whetstone of Witte, to show and analyze his teaching pedagogy.  We also discuss the different audiences Recorde apparently had in mind for these works.  While The Grounde of Artes seems to be aimed at merchants, The Whetstone of Witte has numerous examples related to the utility of mathematics to the military.


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References


Aubrey, John. 1898. Brief Lives, chiefly of Contemporaries, set down by John Aubrey, between 1669 & 1696, ed. Andrew Clark. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Denniss, John and Fenny Smith. 2012. “Robert Recorde and his remarkable Arithmetic,” in Gareth Roberts and Fenny Smith, ed., Robert Recorde: The Life and Times of a Tudor Mathematician. Cardiff: University of Wales Press.

Easton, Joy. 1967. “The Early Editions of Robert Recorde’s Ground of Artes.” ISIS. Vol. 58 No. 4.

Johnson, Francis R. and Sanford V. Larkey. 1935. “Robert Recorde’s Mathematical Teaching and the Anti- Aristotelian Movement.” The Huntington Library Bulletin. Vol. 7.

Recorde, Robert. 1551. The Grounde of Artes. London: Reynolds Wolff.

______. The Whetstone of Witte. 1557. Mickleover, Derby: Renascent Books, 2010. A Facsimile of the sole edition imprinted at London by John Kingston.

Reich, Ulrich. 2012. “The Whetstone of Witte: content and sources,” in Gareth Roberts and Fenny Smith, ed., Robert Recorde: The Life and Times of a Tudor Mathematician. Cardiff: University of Wales Press.

Roberts, Gareth and Fenny Smith, ed. 2012. Robert Recorde: The Life and Times of a Tudor Mathematician. Cardiff: University of Wales Press.


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