Harriot's algebra: reputation and reality
DOI link for Harriot's algebra: reputation and reality
Harriot's algebra: reputation and reality book
What follows cannot be an exhaustive account of Harriot's algebra: only someone unfamiliar with the seven to eight thousand pages of Harriot papers might expect that. Thomas Harriot is often remembered for astronomy or for his work on optics or ballistics. He himself, however, seems to have wanted to be remembered as a mathematician and in his will he gives directions for the disposal only of his mathematical papers, unpublished during his lifetime. Harriot was held in high esteem as a mathematician in his own time, but his reputation has greatly fluctuated over the years. Harriot's reputation does not rest upon Section 6 of the Praxis in which polynomial equations of the second, third, and fourth degrees have a term or terms removed with a change of root. Harriot 'reality' defines the constraints of the historical discipline in its relative but cumulative nature.