Erland Samuel Bring


Born: 19 August 1736 in Ausas, Kristianstad, Sweden
Died: 20 May 1798 in Lund, Sweden

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Erland Bring studied at Lund from 1750 to 1757. He then taught history at Lund, becoming a reader in 1762 and a professor in 1779. There are eight volumes of his hand written mathematical work on various questions in algebra, geometry, analysis and astronomy preserved in the library at Lund.

His most famous work Meletemata quaedam mathematematica circa transformationem aequationum algebraicarum (1786) was published at Lund. This work describes Bring's contribution to the algebraic solution of equations.

Bring discovered an important transformation to simplify a quintic equation. It enabled the general quintic equation to be reduced to one of the form

x5 + px + q = 0.

The transformation was later discovered independently and generalised by Jerrard in 1832-35. By the time Jerrard discovered the transformation, Ruffini's work and Abel's work on the impossibility of solving the quintic and higher order equations had been published. However, at the time of Bring's discovery, there was no hint that the quintic could not be solved by radicals and, although Bring does not claim that he discovered his transformation in an attempt to solve the quintic, it is likely that this is in fact why he was examining quintic equations.

Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson

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List of References (2 books/articles)

A Poster of Erland Bring

Mathematicians born in the same country

Cross-references in MacTutor

  1. History Topics: Quadratic, cubic and quartic equations

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JOC/EFR December 1996
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School of Mathematics and Statistics
University of St Andrews, Scotland
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