SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Francois Viete (1540-1603), French mathematician. Viete trained as a lawyer, but abandoned the legal profession in 1564 to be a private tutor. He published mainly in mathematical astronomy, and worked on algebra and geometry. In 1573, he was appointed to a government post by Charles IX, King of France. Viete served several French kings in the years that followed, variously being in favour, or banished, following the latest political intrigue. At one time, he was employed to decode wartime messages.
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