Lillian Vanous Nutt Room

Exhibits in the Greenfield Library

Why Does Euclid Matter?

August 21, 2019–January 23, 2020

Euclid Exhbit Greenfiled Library St Johns College AnnapolisWhat is Euclid’s Elements? Why did Lewis Carrol write a whole screenplay about the Elements being on trial in hell? Why did Abraham Lincoln spend his nights memorizing it? Why did Aristotle bother to prove something already proven? Why do our freshman spend months presenting and discussing the Elements? In other words, why does Euclid matter?

The Greenfield Library’s current exhibit tackles all those questions and more. Beginning with Euclid’s influence in ancient times and stretching past non-Euclidean geometry, the exhibit encompasses diverse views on the Elements. Featured books include the commentaries of Pappus and Proclus, as well as Lewis Carrol’s book, Euclid and His Modern Rivals. The exhibit also contains three copies of Euclid from the Library’s Rare Book collection, the oldest from 1536. Also on display are propositions 1.47 and 13.16, Abraham Lincoln’s Slavery Proof, and quotes from Tutors and Alumni detailing why Euclid matters to them.

Stop by to plunge into the world of Euclid and his geometry. You can even create your own platonic solid. And during your visit, fill out a card to tell us why the Elements matters to you.