Hyperbolic geometry in the work of Johann Heinrich Lambert

Abstract : The memoir Theorie der Parallellinien (1766) by Johann Heinrich Lambert is one of the founding texts of hyperbolic geometry, even though its author's aim was, like many of his predecessors', to prove that such a geometry does not exist. In fact, Lambert developed his theory with the hope of finding a contradiction in a geometry where all the Euclidean axioms are kept except the parallel axiom and that the latter is replaced by its negation. In doing so, he obtained several fundamental results of hyperbolic geometry. This was sixty years before the first writings of Lobachevsky and Bolyai appeared in print. In the present paper, we present Lambert's main results and we comment on them. A French translation of the Theorie der Parallellinien, together with an extensive commentary, has just appeared in print (A. Papadopoulos and G. Théret, La théorie des lignes parallèles de Johann Heinrich Lambert. Collection Sciences dans l'Histoire, Librairie Scientifique et Technique Albert Blanchard, Paris, 2014).
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Contributor : Athanase Papadopoulos <>
Submitted on : Thursday, March 5, 2015 - 10:09:41 PM
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  • HAL Id : hal-01123965, version 1
  • ARXIV : 1503.01865


Athanase Papadopoulos, Guillaume Théret. Hyperbolic geometry in the work of Johann Heinrich Lambert. Ganita Bharati (Indian Mathematics): Journal of the Indian Society for History of Mathematics, 2014, 36 (2), p. 129-155. ⟨hal-01123965⟩



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