The convex hull of a set of points appears recognizably in a 1676 letter from Newton to Henry Oldenburg describing Newton polygons. Is there an earlier precedent for convex hulls or is this their first known appearance in the mathematical literature?

  • $\begingroup$ Could you quote the specific passage where you believe it appears to make the post self-contained? $\endgroup$ – Conifold Jan 29 '20 at 0:51
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    $\begingroup$ "Dein applico regulam DE ad inferiorem è locis signatis in sinistrâ columnâ, eamque ab inferioribus ad superiora dextrorsum gyrare facio" ... but I think you really need to go to the link and see Fig.2 to understand it more clearly. To me his description of making the line turn around the point of contact is more or less the same as the standard gift-wrapping algorithm for convex hulls. $\endgroup$ – David Eppstein Jan 29 '20 at 2:02

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