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Thomas Hariot

by Henry Stevens

Very little is known of Thomas Hariot; his only published works are the 'Briefe and true report' and the posthumous 'Praxis', a handbook of algebra. He anticipated the law of refraction, corresponded with Kepler, observed comets, and may have been the first to recognize that the straight line paths of comets might be segments of elongated ellipses. The lost 'ephemera' referred to in the text have since been found (since 1876) and a conference was held in 1970 at the University of Delaware on the current state of Hariot research, the proceedings of which have been published by the Oxford University Press, where one may find a fairly current view of the historical record.

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