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[During a lecture:]This has been done elegantly by Minkowski; but chalk is cheaper than grey matter, and we will do it as it comes.
J.E. Littlewood, A Mathematician's Miscellany, Methuen and Co. Ltd., 1953.
Mathematics Education at West Point: The First Hundred Years
As the first engineering school in the United States, the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point had a uniquely technical curriculum for its time. The first two years of the curriculum was dominated by mathematics. The first superintendent of the Academy, Jonathan Williams, was aware of the superiority of French mathematics, engineering, and military science textbooks. However, because he was unable to procure enough books to supply the cadets, and because they could not read French, the first mathematics textbook used was Charles Hutton's A Course in Mathematics. When Sylvanus Thayer became superintendent in 1817, he began to wean the cadets and faculty away from Hutton, and French language mathematics texts began to be used, including Lacroix's Algebra, Legendre's Geometry and Boucharlet's Calculus. Soon the entire first year curriculum consisted of mathematics in the mornings and French in the afternoons (in part so that the cadets could read their mathematics). All agreed that this was the kind of education that engineers needed, especially military engineers.
Annual Report of the Superintendent of the United States Military Academy, Washington, 1896, p. 47.
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