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Distributed for University of Wales Press

Robert Recorde

Tudor Scholar and Mathematician

Robert Recorde was an important sixteenth-century Welsh physician and mathematician and one of the most enigmatic figures of Tudor England. This book presents a richly detailed and fully rounded picture of Recorde as an academic, theologian, astronomer, antiquarian, inventor of the “equals” sign (=), and writer of widely used textbooks. He was also a scholar who found himself completely out of depth in surrounding political and religious dramas. Drawing from numerous extracts from Recorde’s own writings transcribed into modern English, Gordon Roberts offers the first full-length biography of an intellectual at the center of intrigue and turmoil.

192 pages | 25 halftones | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2016

Biography and Letters

Mathematics and Statistics

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"Robert Recorde was not only was the author of one of the most popular textbooks of arithmetic of all time, but he was also a medical doctor, a surveyor of mines, an antiquarian, a poet, and someone deeply involved in the religious controversies that plagued England under the Tudors. Roberts does justice to all these aspects of Recorde's career, and he draws a rich and convincing portrait of the society in which Recorde grew up in Wales, as well as the atmosphere of Oxford and Cambridge where he studied, and of London, which became his home later in life."


“Roberts’s new biography of Robert Recorde is a wonderfully readable account of this fascinating Tudor scientist, his difficult career in times of religious and political dangers, and his innovative and remarkably entertaining textbooks. It provides context to help the reader fully appreciate the work of this important pioneer of mathematics education.”

Tony Mann, Director, University of Greenwich

“A Welsh scholar of great influence, the Tudor mathematics educator Robert Recorde holds a permanent place in the history of mathematics as the inventor of the equals sign. . . . He was also a physician, a poet, and surveyor of mines and monies who was prosecuted for libel and ended his life in prison. This engagingly written book presents the ups and downs of Recorde’s eventful life with great clarity.”

Robin Wilson, The Open University

Table of Contents

Series Editor's Foreword
List of Illustrations
Preface and Acknowledgments
Genealogy of Robert Recorde Physician
1 Child of Tenby
2 Oxford Scholar
3 Cambridge Savant
4 Such is Your Authority
5 St Paul's Churchyard
6 Doctor Recorde
7 Antiquarian and Mathematician
8 No Mean Divine
9 Comptroller of the King's Mints
10 The Muscovy Company
11 This Talk Delights Me Marvelously
12 Pedagogue and Poet
13 Surveyor of the Mines .md Monies
14 Nemesis
15 A Heart So Oppressed
16 An Unquiet Mind
17 One of His Elect in Glory
Notes and References
Select Bibliography

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