Caspar Wessel (1745-1818). Surveyor and Mathematician.

Bodil Branner, Nils Voje Johansen

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    Abstract

    This is a biography. It focus on Caspar Wessel's work as surveyor under the auspices of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, in particular on some of his theoretical investigations of geodesy that lead him to use complex numbers to represent directions in a plane at least as early as 1787. In 1797 his mathematical paper "On the Analytical Representation of Direction. An Attempt Applied Chiefly to Solving Plane and Spherical Polygons" (in Danish) was accepted for publication in the Collected Papers of the Academy. The articleis today recognised as the first to contain the geometrical interpretation of the complex numbers and their rules of composition.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationCaspar Wessel. On the Analytical Representation of Direction.
    Place of PublicationCopenhagen
    PublisherThe Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters
    Publication date1999
    Publication statusPublished - 1999
    EventWessel Symposium 1998 - The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, Copenhagen, Denmark
    Duration: 11 Aug 199815 Aug 1998

    Conference

    ConferenceWessel Symposium 1998
    LocationThe Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters
    CountryDenmark
    CityCopenhagen
    Period11/08/199815/08/1998

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