# Vowels and Consonants

# Vowels and Consonants

This chapter focuses on the evolution of the vowel–consonant notation. In particular, it discusses François Viète's contribution to algebra through his use of vowels to represent unknowns and consonants to represent known quantities. Viète, a French mathematician, expressed his famous computation for π in proposition II of his *Isagoge*. Even Christoff Rudolff and Nicolas Chuquet had no proper notation for expressing such an infinite sum of nested square roots. Viète was showing us an intimate link between Greek geometry and algebra, a link from the mathematics of lines, figures, and solids to the underlying channels of symbolic algebra. The chapter also considers Viète's work on what are now called “homogeneous equations” as well as the significance of his lettering system to symbolic algebra.

*Keywords:*
vowel-–consonant notation, François Viète, algebra, notation, nested square roots, geometry, mathematics, symbolic algebra, homogeneous equations, known quantities

Princeton Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.