Claude Gaspar Bachet de Méziriac

Born: 9 Oct 1581 in Bourg-en-Bresse, France
Died: 26 Feb 1638 in Bourg-en-Bresse, France

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Bachet studied with the Jesuits in Lyon and Milan. He joined the Jesuit Order in 1601 but the following year, after an illness, he left the Order. For most of his life Bachet lived in comparative leisure on his estate at Bourg-en-Bresse. It was to this estate he returned after the illness in Milan in 1602 and, except for spending 1619-20 in Paris, he spent his life quietly there enjoying the considerable income generated by the estate. He married in 1612.

Bachet was a writer of books (1612 and 1624) on mathematical puzzles and tricks which formed the basis for almost all later books on mathematical recreations.

Bachet discovered a method of constructing magic squares. He also worked on number theory. He is most famous for his Latin translation of Diophantus's Greek text Arithmetica (1621) in which Fermat wrote his famous Last Theorem marginal note.

He was elected to the French Academy in 1635.

References (3 books/articles)

Some pages from works by Bachet:

The title page from the translation by Bachet of Diophantus's Arithmetica (1670)
and another page showing the transcription of Fermat's marginal note

References elsewhere in this archive:

Tell me about Bachet's 'recreational' mathematics

Other Web sites:

Rice University, USA

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JOC/EFR December 1996