Petrus Apianus's Pascal's Triangle, 1527

Petrus Apianus's Pascal's Triangle, 1527

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Credit: DR JEREMY BURGESS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Early Pascal's Triangle. Appearing on the title page of Kauffmans Rechnung (Ingolstadt, 1527) by the German scholar Petrus Apianus, this is the first known publication of what would later be known as Pascal's Triangle. The property of the triangle is that each number is the sum of the two numbers directly above it. The standard triangle has the number 1 at the apex, whereas this one has the sequence of natural numbers running down its sides. This triangular construct was known to earlier mathematicians, but it was most thoroughly investigated by the French mathematician Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), who showed that it could be used to determine the co-efficients of a binomial series. For the full title page, see V560/007.

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