# Montucla, Jean Etienne (1725–1799)

Jean Montucla was a French writer, mathematician, and scientist, who wrote several important
early works on the history of mathematics. His *Histoire des mathématiques* (1758) was published in two volumes, the first of which covers the subject
from ancient times to 1700, while the second is entirely devoted to 17th
century mathematics. It is considered the first attempt at a history of
mathematical ideas and problems, in contrast to earlier works that were
mostly lists of names, titles, and dates.

Montucla had intended to produce a third volume covering the first half
of the 18th century but the amount of new developments that had appeared
during this time, and the difficulties of putting recent work into its historical
context, led him to abandon this aim. A few years later he published another
text for which he is famed – a new, greatly expanded and improved
edition of Jacques Ozanam's *Récréations
mathématiques et physiques* (1778). Montucla's edition was particularly
influential in popularizing geometric dissection problems. Charles Hutton translated it into English in 1803 and Riddle's
edition was published in 1844, called *Recreations in science and natural
philosophy*.