Fermat, Peter

, a very celebrated French mathematician, though by profession a lawyer, was considered by the writers of his own country as having rendered no less service to mathematical science than Descartes, and as having even prepared the way for the doctrine of infinites, afterwards discovered by Newton and Leibnitz. He was not only the restorer of the ancient geometry, but the introducer of the new. He was born at Toulouse in 1590, educated to the law, and advanced to the dignity of counsellor to the parliament of Toulouse. As a magistrate, his knowledge and integrity were highly esteemed. As a mani of science he was connected with Descartes, Huygens, Pascal, and many others. He is said also to have cultivated poetry. He died in 1664. His mathematical works were published at Toulouse in 1679, in two volumes, folio. The first volume contains the treatise of arithmetic of Diophantus, with a commentary, and several analytical inventions. The second comprises his mathematical discoveries, and his correspondence with the most celebrated geometricians of his age. His son, Samuel Fermat, was also eminent as a literary man, and wrote some learned dissertations. 1