James A. Garfield, the 20th President of the United States, is perhaps best known (at least among math teachers) for having devised a novel proof of the Pythagorean Theorem. He published the proof in 1876, while a member of congress, in the New England Journal of Education [ Garfield, J. A. “Pons Asinorum.” New England J. Educ. 3, 161, 1876. (citation from mathworld.wolfram.com )].
A request, and an open question:
1. Request: If you have access to Garfield’s original article, I’d love to get a paper copy or pdf! Or a hyperlink! Or….
2. Question: Has there been any head-of-state who was by training a mathematician? Which mathematician has risen closest to playing the role of head-of-state of their homeland? [I have a candidate: Isaac Newton, as an MP, and as Master of the Mint in his later years. But I suspect we can do better than that.]