"Since Fermat introduced the conception of infinitely small differences between consecutive values of a function and arrived at the principle for finding the maxima and minima, it was maintained by Lagrange, Laplace, and Fourier, that Fermat may be regarded as the first inventor of the differential calculus..." -Florian Cajori, A History of Mathematics
EXTREMELY RARE FIRST EDITION of Fermat's Collected Works, containing the first publication of most of his work.
Fermat is “often called the founder of the modern theory of numbers. Together with Descartes, Fermat was one of the two leading mathematicians of the first half of the 17th century. Independently of Descartes, Fermat discovered the fundamental principle of analytic geometry. His methods for finding tangents to curves and their maximum and minimum points led him to be regarded as the inventor of the differential calculus. Through his correspondence with Blaise Pascal he was a co-founder of the theory of probability” (Carl B. Boyer, Britannica).
Fermat was famously averse to publishing and very little of his work appeared in print during his lifetime; the Varia Opera, assembled and edited by his son Samuel, appeared posthumously in 1679 and “remained the only published collection of Fermat's papers until the late nineteenth century" (Mahoney, The Mathematical Career of Pierre de Fermat). Dibner 108.
Provenance: The Inner Temple Library, with small ink stamp on title and a few other leaves. (The Inner Temple library is one of the most renowned private legal reference libraries in the world, dating back to 1506.) English mathematician and member of the Royal Society Francis Maseres's (1731-1824) copy with his signature on front flyleaf and annotations in text. (Maseres became affliated with the Inner Temple in 1750 and remained associated with the library throughout his life.)
Toulouse: Jean Pech, 1679. Folio (208x340mm), contemporary calf rebacked. With five engraved folding plates; engraved head- and tail-pieces, diagrams in text. As usual, without the exceedingly rare portrait. Front free endpaper hinge split but holding, title page hinge tender; occasional light browning and foxing. A very good copy. RARE.
Price: $65,000 .