Pierre Vernier

(c. 1580—1637)

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(c.1580–1637) French mathematician

Born at Ornans in France, Vernier was educated by his father, a scientist, and became interested in scientific instruments. He was employed as an official with the government of Spain and then held various offices under the French government.

In 1631 Vernier invented the caliper named for him, an instrument for taking very precise measurements. The principle of the vernier scale is described in his book La Construction, l'usage, et les propriétés du quadrant nouveau de mathématique (1631; The Construction, Uses, and Properties of a New Mathematical Quadrant), which also contained some of the earliest tables of trigonometric functions and formulas for deriving the angles of a triangle from the lengths of its sides.

Subjects: Science and Mathematics.

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