View a marked up mathematics text — from 1646

Take a brief video tour of the Elsevier Heritage Collection – and download a copy of Opera Mathematica

There is also a Chinese version of this video.

This video sheds light on scholarly life in the 17thcentury and the publishing house that inspired modern-day Elsevier.

Professor Paul Hoftijzer, book historian at Leiden University in the Netherlands and advisor to the Elsevier Heritage Collection, explores the relationship between Leiden University, Bibliotheca Thysiana, and the 17th-century Elzeviers.

He and other publishing experts share little-known facts about publishing and the House of Elzevier, and discusses some rare books in the Elsevier Heritage Collection, which is available for researchers, book lovers and history buffs to peruse. The books include Galileo Galilei's Discorsi e Dimostrazioni Matematiche, intorno a due nuove scienze (Discourses and Mathematical Demonstrations Relating to Two New Sciences). Banned by the Inquisition, this and various other of Galileo's books were smuggled into the Netherlands and published by the Elzeviers.

Also featured is Opera Mathematica by François Viète, edited by the Leiden scholar Frans van Schooten and published in 1646. The volume reveals how scientists used their books; the academic who owned it, named Edward Davenant, has worked out most of Viètes' problems in his beautiful handwriting.

Download Opera Mathematica

A digital version of Opera Mathematica is available to view and download for free on Elsevier's mathematics website.

View the Elsevier Heritage Collection

Elsevier's Heritage Collection consists of about 2,000 rare books, of which 1,000 are distinct titles published by the original Elzevier family publishing house between 1580 and 1712. Housed in museum-quality display cases in Elsevier's headquarters in Amsterdam, the collection is open to researchers, by appointment. Contact Curator Sjors de Heuvel for more information.

You can also view the books online in the Elsevier Heritage Collection Catalogue.

Elsevier Connect Contributors

Valerie Teng-BrougEvalyne WanjiruValerie Teng-Broug is Publisher for mathematical sciences at Elsevier, managing a portfolio of journals in the field of pure mathematics. She is based in Amsterdam.

Evalyne Wanjiru is responsible for the marketing communication of Elsevier's Mathematics, Statistics and Physics journals and the promotion of Elsevier initiatives for these communities. She is based in Amsterdam.

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