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Bernard Frénicle de Bessy (c. 1605–1675), was a French mathematician born in Paris, who wrote numerous mathematical papers, mainly in number theory and combinatorics. The Frénicle standard form, a standard representation of magic squares, is named after him. He solved many problems created by Fermat. He also discovered a taxicab number and in 1693, he described all 880 essentially different normal magic squares of order 4.

Like Fermat, Frénicle was an amateur mathematician, but he still corresponded with the likes of Descartes, Huygens, Mersenne and also Fermat, who was his personal friend. His major contributions were in number theory.

He challenged Christiaan Huygens to solve the following system of equations in integers,

x2 + y2 = z2,    x2 = u2 + v2,    xy = uv.

A solution was given by M. Pépin in 1880.

In 1973, he was posthumously recognized by the American Mathematical Society for his work in structural combinatorics.

This article is based on a public domain article from Rouse History of Mathematics.

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