ON March 18 the tercentenary occurs of the birth of Phillippe de La Hire, one of the most versatile of French men of science of the later half of the seventeenth century. The son of Laurent de La Hire, a famous painter, who died in 1656, he was instructed in art, but he also learnt mathematics from Gaspard Desargues, the friend of Pascal and Descartes. When twenty years of age, he went to Italy, where he spent four years. On returning to Paris, he resumed his mathematical studies and, during the next forty years, published many papers and books on geometry, conic sections, epicycloids, magic squares, and other subjects. His work on magic squares was based on the treatise of the fifteenth century Italian mathematician Emmanuel Moschopulus.