Oliver Byrne

Oliver Byrne. The First Six Books of the Elements of Euclid. London: William Pickering, 1847.

Celebrated for innovative design, this tome by obscure Irish mathematician Oliver Byrne re-imagines Euclid’s Elements, the fundamental work of geometryIn300 BCE, the Greek mathematician Euclid assembled the theories of such important thinkers as Pythagoras and Hippocrates into a series of axioms to create his original work.  Elements became the most famous and most continuously used mathematical textbook in history.

Euclid’s Elements used letters to designate the angles and lines of geometric figures.  Byrne presents the same lessons using shapes with vivid colors and minimal text.  Today, Byrne’s book is often compared with distinctive works by the modern Dutch painter Mondrian, featuring black lines with solid shapes of color.

Link: The University of British Columbia Mathematics Department’s Digital Mathematics Archive.