Christoph Rudolff

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Christoff Rudolff

Christoff or Christoph Rudolff (* around 1500 in Jauer , Duchy of Schweidnitz-Jauer ; † before 1543 probably in Vienna ) was a German mathematician .


Not much is known about his living conditions. Possibly he is (according to Kaunzner) identical with a Christoferus Valentini de Jauer, who matriculated in Cracow in the summer semester of 1493 and received his Baccalaureat there in 1495. From 1517 to 1521 he was a student of the mathematician Heinrich Schreiber ( Grammateus ) at the University of Vienna . He then stayed in Vienna and taught, but had no official position at the university. But he had access to the university library.

Rudolff was the author of a book on algebra (Coß), which was published in Strasbourg in 1515 under the title: "Nimble and pretty calculation through the artful rules of algebre, as commonly called the Coß". It was the first German algebra book. Rudolff dedicated it to the Brixen prince-bishop Christoph von Schroffenstein .

He was the first to use the notation "√" to represent the root . He also uses the meaningful definition that is, and uses single letters for variables (and not, like earlier algebra books, words). He uses as a source among other things a Latin translation ( Robert von Chester ) of the algebra of Al-Chwarizmi and a compilation of algebra texts by Johann Vögelin in Vienna. Among other things, Rudolff deals with the solution of linear and quadratic equations. In 1553 Michael Stifel published a new edition that he expanded. Rudolff's Algebra was recognized by Gemma Frisius and was used by Leonhard Euler in 1770 for his Complete Guide to Algebra .

In addition, he also wrote an arithmetic book "Artificial bill with the number and with the Zalpfennigen, sampt the Welligschen Practica, and all the more advantageous on the rule De Tri" (Johan Singriener, Vienna, 1526 and several other editions up to 1588). In his book he describes the basic arithmetic operations , fractional arithmetic , both as arithmetic on lines (that is, with arithmetic pennies) and with numerical arithmetic , the rule of three (de Tri rule) and an Italian ( Wellian ) method for solving arithmetic problems. The target audience were merchants. In addition, he published a "Exempelbüchlein" (Augsburg 1530) with 293 tasks, which considerably expanded the task part of his artificial calculation ... and in which arithmetic with decimal places appears for the first time in printed form. Instead of a decimal point, he uses a dash. The book also contains solution tips and tables of regional dimensions.

Michael Stifel states in the foreword of the third volume of his Arithmetica integra that Rudolff died in 1543.


  • Michael Stifel (Ed.): Die Coss Christoffs Rudolffs , Königsberg 1553 (revised by Stifel; online at Bielefeld University Library )


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Life data according to Helmuth Gericke Mathematics in Antiquity, Orient and Occident , fourier Verlag, second volume, p. 342