Robert Recorde
Robert Recorde  

Robert Recorde (c.1512–1558)


Born  c. 1512 Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales 
Died  1558 London, England 
Nationality  Welsh 
Fields  Physician and mathematician 
Institutions  University of Oxford Royal Mint 
Alma mater  University of Oxford University of Cambridge 
Known for  Inventing the equals sign (=) 
Robert Recorde (c. 1512 – 1558) was a Welsh physician and mathematician. He invented the equals sign (=) and also introduced the preexisting plus sign (+) to English speakers in 1557.
Biography
Born around 1512, Robert Recorde was the second son of Thomas and Rose Recorde of Tenby, Pembrokeshire, in Wales.^{[1]}
Recorde entered the University of Oxford about 1525, and was elected a Fellow of All Souls College there in 1531. Having adopted medicine as a profession, he went to the University of Cambridge to take the degree of M.D. in 1545. He afterwards returned to Oxford, where he publicly taught mathematics, as he had done prior to going to Cambridge. It appears that he afterwards went to London, and acted as physician to King Edward VI and to Queen Mary, to whom some of his books are dedicated. He was also controller of the Royal Mint and served as Comptroller of Mines and Monies in Ireland.^{[2]} After being sued for defamation by a political enemy, he was arrested for debt and died in the King's Bench Prison, Southwark, by the middle of June 1558.
Publications
Recorde published several works upon mathematical and medical subjects, chiefly in the form of dialogue between master and scholar, such as the following:
 The Grounde of Artes, teachings the Worke and Practise, of Arithmeticke, both in whole numbers and fractions (1543),^{[1]} the first English language book on algebra.
 The Pathway to Knowledge, containing the First Principles of Geometry ... bothe for the use of Instrumentes Geometricall and Astronomicall, and also for Projection of Plattes (London, 1551)
 The Castle of Knowledge, containing the Explication of the Sphere both Celestiall and Materiall, etc. (London, 1556) A book explaining Ptolemaic astronomy while mentioning the Copernican heliocentric model in passing.
 The Whetstone of Witte, whiche is the seconde parte of Arithmeteke: containing the extraction of rootes; the cossike practise, with the rule of equation; and the workes of Surde Nombers (London, 1557). This was the book in which the equals sign was introduced. With the publication of this book Recorde is credited with introducing algebra into the Island of Britain with a systematic notation.^{[3]}^{[4]}
 A medical work, The Urinal of Physick (1548), frequently reprinted.^{[5]}
Several books whose authors are unknown have been attributed to him: Cosmographiae isagoge, De Arte faciendi Horologium and De Usu Globorum et de Statu temporum.^{[6]}
See also
 Equality
 Equals sign
 Equation
 History of mathematical notation
 St. Mary's Church, Tenby
 The Ground of Arts
 Welsh mathematicians
 Zenzizenzizenzic – a word to describe a number to the eighth power coined by Robert Recorde
Notes
 ↑ ^{1.0} ^{1.1} Johnston, Stephen (2004). "Recorde, Robert (c. 1512–1558)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/23241.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
 ↑ Newman, James R. (1956). The World of Mathematics.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
 ↑ Jourdain, Philip E. B. (1913). The Nature of Mathematics.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
 ↑ Robert Recorde, The Whetstone of Witte (London, England: John Kyngstone, 1557), p. 236 (although the pages of this book are not numbered). From the chapter titled "The rule of equation, commonly called Algebers Rule" (p. 236): "Howbeit, for easie alteration of equations. I will propounde a fewe examples, bicause the extraction of their rootes, maie the more aptly bee wroughte. And to avoide the tediouse repetition of these woordes: is equalle to: I will sette as I doe often in worke use, a paire of paralleles, or Gemowe [twin, from gemew, from the French gemeau (twin / twins), from the Latin gemellus (little twin)] lines of one lengthe, thus: = , bicause noe .2. thynges, can be moare equalle." (However, for easy manipulation of equations, I will present a few examples in order that the extraction of roots may be more readily done. And to avoid the tedious repetition of these words "is equal to", I will substitute, as I often do when working, a pair of parallels or twin lines of the same length, thus: = , because no two things can be more equal.)
 ↑ The Urinal of Physick, by Robert Recorde, 1548; at Google Books
 ↑ John Hall, "An Historiall Expostulation", p. 60. In Early English Poetry, Ballads, and Popular Literature of the Middle Ages, v. XI. London: T. Richards, 1844
References
 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). . Encyclopædia Britannica. 22 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 966.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
 James R. Newman (1956). The World of Mathematics Vol. 1 Commentary on Robert Recorde
 Philip E. B. Jourdain (1913). The Nature of Mathematics
 Gareth Roberts and Fenny Smith, editors (2012). Robert Recorde: The Life and Times of a Tudor Mathematician (University of Wales Press, distributed by University of Chicago Press) 232 pages
 Jack Williams (2011). Robert Recorde: Tudor Polymath, Expositor and Practitioner of Computation (Heidelberg, Springer) (History of Computing).
 J. W. S. Cassels (1976). Is This a Recorde?, The Mathematical Gazette Vol. 60 No. 411 March 1976 p 5961
 Gordon Roberts (2016). Robert Recorde: Tudor Scholar and Mathematician (University of Wales Press).
 Frank J. Swetz and Victor J. Katz (2011). "Mathematical Treasures  Robert Recorde's Whetstone of Witte," Convergence (January 2011)
External links
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Robert Recorde. 
 St. Andrew's University Maths History biography
 Robert Recorde and other Welsh Mathematicians
 100 Welsh Heroes – Robert Recorde
 Earliest Uses of Symbols of Relation
 Earliest Known Uses of Some of the Words of Mathematics This contains numerous quotations from Recorde.
 RECORDE (Robert) in Charles Hutton's Mathematical and Philosophical Dictionary^{[dead link]}
 Robert Recorde's life and works on h2g2
 Current publisher of Robert Recorde's books in the form of original reproductions
 Works by Robert Record at Project Gutenberg
 CS1 maint: ref=harv
 Wikipedia articles incorporating a citation from the ODNB
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 Wikipedia articles incorporating a citation from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica with Wikisource reference
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 Articles with dead external links from December 2016
 1510s births
 1558 deaths
 People from Tenby
 Welsh scientists
 Welsh philosophers
 Alumni of the University of Oxford
 Alumni of the University of Cambridge
 Welsh mathematicians
 16thcentury mathematicians
 16thcentury Welsh medical doctors
 Fellows of All Souls College, Oxford
 People imprisoned for debt
 16thcentury Welsh scientists
 16thcentury philosophers
 16thcentury Welsh writers
 16thcentury male writers