Euclid’s Elements has been referred to as the most successful and influential textbook ever written. It was one of the very earliest mathematical works to be printed after the invention of the printing press and has been estimated to be second only to the Bible, in the number of editions published since the first printing in 1482.
The Elements is a mathematical treatise consisting of 13 books attributed to the ancient Greek mathematician Euclid. It is a collection of definitions, postulates, propositions (theorems and constructions), and mathematical proofs of the propositions. Elements is the oldest surviving large-scale deductive treatment of mathematics. It has proven instrumental in the development of logic and modern science.
The Elements in historical context, has proven enormously influential in many areas of science. Scientists Nicolaus Copernicus, Johannes Kepler, Galileo Galilei, and Sir Isaac Newton were all influenced by the Elements, and applied their knowledge of it to their work. Mathematicians and philosophers, such as Thomas Hobbes, Baruch Spinoza, Alfred North Whitehead, and Bertrand Russell, have attempted to create their own foundational “Elements” for their respective disciplines.
How do you do something different with Elements? Something different from the other Elements that exist and different from our reissue of Principia? Elements is too a public text and widely known and shared. We wanted a challenge – something that would allow us to continue applying art within science. To create something unique again.
Oliver Byrne was our answer. Byrne was an English engineer who re-wrote the first six books of the Elements of Euclid with a totally new and innovative language. He transformed the tedious geometric references to which we are accustomed, into visual concepts.
The result was a precious and advanced publication of his time. A reference that has been revived several times throughout the last decade.
Byrne, as we pointed out, only re-wrote the first six books and Euclid’s Elements consists of thirteen.
We can not categorically state why Oliver Byrne stopped at the sixth book, but it is true that the first six are purely geometric themes. They are subsequently followed by books that deal with arithmetic or mixed themes; complicating further the application of their visual language. So it is at this point in our adventure, that we accept the challenge. Together with a team of mathematical experts, university teachers and post-doctorates who will accompany us – we will finish the work of Oliver Byrne and completing with his style – all the thirteen books of Elements.
In addition to the style used by Oliver Byrne (it would feel like a mistake not to complete), we will give the book our own minimalist touch; updating and building a text that is an experience to hold within your hands, as was our aim with Newton’s Principia.
With the thirteen finished books and with our production, a unique publication will be born. A book that didn’t exist previously and is unlikely to be developed again (due to the great effort and amount of work needed)
Technically speaking, we will make a book of 20 x 27 cm in format, with a hardcover. The sale price once preorder campaign has ended, will be €200. So it pays to collaborate during the campaign, before it goes on sale via our online store.