Encyclopedia > Caspar Wessel

  Article Content

Caspar Wessel

Caspar Wessel, (1745 - 1818) Norwegian-Danish mathematician, born in Jonsrud, Vestby, Akershus, Norway.

In 1763, having completed secondary school, he went to Denmark for further studies (Norway having at the time no university). 1778 he acquired the degree of candidatus juris. From 1794, however, he was employed as a surveyor (from 1798 as Royal inspector of Surveying).

It was the mathematical aspect of surveying that led him to exploring the geometrical significance of complex numbers. His fundamental paper, Om directionens analytiske betegning, was published in 1799 by the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters[?]. Since it was in Danish, it passed almost unnoticed, and the same results were later independently found by Argand and Gauss.

Wessel's priority to the idea of a complex number as a point in the complex plane is today universally recognised. His paper was re-issued in French translation in 1899, and in English in 1999 as On the analytic representation of direction (ed. J. Lützen et al.).

Caspar Wessel's elder brother, Johan Herman Wessel was a major name in Norwegian and Danish literature.



All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

 
  Search Encyclopedia

Search over one million articles, find something about almost anything!
 
 
  
  Featured Article
Islandia, New York

... are Hispanic or Latino of any race. There are 1,007 households out of which 35.3% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.8% are married couples livin ...

 
 
 
This page was created in 35.9 ms