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http://dx.doi.org/10.14477/jhm.2015.28.5.249
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Simon Stevin's Works on Loxodrome and Equiangular Spiral Curve: Navigation as a Starting Point of Mathematical Discovery |

JUNG, Won (Dept. of Science Studies, Science Culture Research Center, Chonbuk National Univ.) |

Publication Information

Abstract

Simon Stevin, a mathematician active in the Netherlands in early seventeenth century, parlayed his mathematical talents into improving navigation skills. In 1605, he introduced a technique of calculating the distance of loxodrome employed in long-distance voyages in his book, Navigation. He explained how to calculate distance by 8 different angles, and even depicted how to make a copper loxodrome model for navigators. Particularly, Stevin clarified in the 7th copper loxodrome model on the unique features of equiangular spiral curve that keeps spinning and gradually accesses from the vicinity to the center. These findings predate those of Descartes on equiangular spiral curve by more than 30 years. Navigation, a branch of actual mathematics devised for the survival of sailors on the bosom of the ocean, was also the first step to the discovery of new mathematical object.

Keywords

Stevin; navigation; loxodrome; equiangular spiral curve; practical mathematics;

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