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Sir Thomas Little Heath (5 October 1861 – 16 March 1940) was a British civil servant, mathematician, classical scholar, historian of ancient Greek mathematics, translator, and mountaineer. He was educated at Clifton College. Heath translated works of Euclid of Alexandria, Apollonius of Perga, Aristarchus of Samos, and Archimedes of Syracuse into English.

It is primarily through Heath's translations that modern English-speaking readers are aware of what Archimedes did. His translation of the celebrated Archimedes Palimpsest, however, was based on a transcription that had lacunae, which scholars such as Reviel Netz have been able to fill in to a certain extent, by exploiting modern scientific methods of imagery not available in Heath's time.

When Heath's Works of Archimedes was published in 1897, the Archimedes Palimpsest had not been extensively explored. Its significance was not recognized until 1906, when it was examined by the Danish professor Johan Ludvig Heiberg. The palimpsest contained an extended version of Stomachion, and a treatise entitled The Method of Mechanical Theorems that had previously been thought lost. These works have therefore been the focus of research by modern scholars.

Translations and other works

Note: Only first editions are listed; many of these titles have been reprinted several times.

* Diophantus of Alexandria: a Study in the History of Greek Algebra (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1885)
* Apollonius of Perga: Treatise on Conic Sections (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1896)
* Archimedes: Works (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1897)
* Euclid The thirteen books of Euclid's Elements (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1908)
* Aristarchus of Samos, the Ancient Copernicus Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913)
* A History of Greek Mathematics (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1921)
* A Manual of Greek Mathematics (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1931)
* Greek Astronomy (London: J.M. Dent & Sons, 1932)
* Mathematics in Aristotle (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1949)


* "About the translator: Thomas L. Heath" in Euclid's Elements: all thirteen books complete in one volume (2002) Green Lion Press. ISBN 978-188800919-4

External links

Online texts of Heath's books

* A History of Greek Mathematics: vol. 2
* The Works of Archimedes
o Archimedes' Quadrature Of The Parabola
o Archimedes' On The Measurement Of The Circle
* Diophantus Of Alexandria: A Study In The History Of Greek Algebra
* The Thirteen Books of Euclid's Elements: vol. 1, vol. 2, vol. 3
* PDF files of many of Heath's works, including those on Diophantus, Apollonius, etc.

About T.L. Heath

* O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Thomas Little Heath", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews, .


Mathematics Encyclopedia

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