"Lecture" for Week 6

Renaissance mathematics

To make things come out more evenly, some of the reading (not homework) for this week extends into the "transition period". Viete really belongs with the Renaissance cubic-equation people, anyway.

Clarifications of the readings

Here are some things that I thought just might be giving you trouble:

Cubic equations

Several years ago I actually needed to understand the exact solutions of a cubic equation for a research purpose. Here is what I learned. Since writing that I've learned still more, but I'll just point out a paper that interprets the constants that show up in the [delFerro-Tartaglia-]Cardano solution in terms of geometrical properties of the graph of the cubic polynomial, at least in the case where it is not monotonic:

R. W. D. Nickalls, Math. Gazette 77 (1993) 354-359.

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