Taming the Unknown

A History of Algebra from Antiquity to the Early Twentieth Century

Author: Victor J. Katz,Karen Hunger Parshall

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400850525

Category: Mathematics

Page: 504

View: 1156

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What is algebra? For some, it is an abstract language of x's and y’s. For mathematics majors and professional mathematicians, it is a world of axiomatically defined constructs like groups, rings, and fields. Taming the Unknown considers how these two seemingly different types of algebra evolved and how they relate. Victor Katz and Karen Parshall explore the history of algebra, from its roots in the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, China, and India, through its development in the medieval Islamic world and medieval and early modern Europe, to its modern form in the early twentieth century. Defining algebra originally as a collection of techniques for determining unknowns, the authors trace the development of these techniques from geometric beginnings in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia and classical Greece. They show how similar problems were tackled in Alexandrian Greece, in China, and in India, then look at how medieval Islamic scholars shifted to an algorithmic stage, which was further developed by medieval and early modern European mathematicians. With the introduction of a flexible and operative symbolism in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, algebra entered into a dynamic period characterized by the analytic geometry that could evaluate curves represented by equations in two variables, thereby solving problems in the physics of motion. This new symbolism freed mathematicians to study equations of degrees higher than two and three, ultimately leading to the present abstract era. Taming the Unknown follows algebra’s remarkable growth through different epochs around the globe.
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Turning Points in the History of Mathematics

Author: Hardy Grant,Israel Kleiner

Publisher: Birkhäuser

ISBN: 1493932640

Category: Mathematics

Page: 109

View: 3377

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This book explores some of the major turning points in the history of mathematics, ranging from ancient Greece to the present, demonstrating the drama that has often been a part of its evolution. Studying these breakthroughs, transitions, and revolutions, their stumbling-blocks and their triumphs, can help illuminate the importance of the history of mathematics for its teaching, learning, and appreciation. Some of the turning points considered are the rise of the axiomatic method (most famously in Euclid), and the subsequent major changes in it (for example, by David Hilbert); the “wedding,” via analytic geometry, of algebra and geometry; the “taming” of the infinitely small and the infinitely large; the passages from algebra to algebras, from geometry to geometries, and from arithmetic to arithmetics; and the revolutions in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that resulted from Georg Cantor’s creation of transfinite set theory. The origin of each turning point is discussed, along with the mathematicians involved and some of the mathematics that resulted. Problems and projects are included in each chapter to extend and increase understanding of the material. Substantial reference lists are also provided. Turning Points in the History of Mathematics will be a valuable resource for teachers of, and students in, courses in mathematics or its history. The book should also be of interest to anyone with a background in mathematics who wishes to learn more about the important moments in its development.
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A Brief History of Numbers

Author: Leo Corry

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191007072

Category: Mathematics

Page: 368

View: 9495

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The world around us is saturated with numbers. They are a fundamental pillar of our modern society, and accepted and used with hardly a second thought. But how did this state of affairs come to be? In this book, Leo Corry tells the story behind the idea of number from the early days of the Pythagoreans, up until the turn of the twentieth century. He presents an overview of how numbers were handled and conceived in classical Greek mathematics, in the mathematics of Islam, in European mathematics of the middle ages and the Renaissance, during the scientific revolution, all the way through to the mathematics of the 18th to the early 20th century. Focusing on both foundational debates and practical use numbers, and showing how the story of numbers is intimately linked to that of the idea of equation, this book provides a valuable insight to numbers for undergraduate students, teachers, engineers, professional mathematicians, and anyone with an interest in the history of mathematics.
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The Metaphysics of the Pythagorean Theorem

Thales, Pythagoras, Engineering, Diagrams, and the Construction of the Cosmos out of Right Triangles

Author: Robert Hahn

Publisher: SUNY Press

ISBN: 1438464894

Category: Philosophy

Page: 300

View: 3987

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Explores Thales’s speculative philosophy through a study of geometrical diagrams. Bringing together geometry and philosophy, this book undertakes a strikingly original study of the origins and significance of the Pythagorean theorem. Thales, whom Aristotle called the first philosopher and who was an older contemporary of Pythagoras, posited the principle of a unity from which all things come, and back into which they return upon dissolution. He held that all appearances are only alterations of this basic unity and there can be no change in the cosmos. Such an account requires some fundamental geometric figure out of which appearances are structured. Robert Hahn argues that Thales came to the conclusion that it was the right triangle: by recombination and repackaging, all alterations can be explained from that figure. This idea is central to what the discovery of the Pythagorean theorem could have meant to Thales and Pythagoras in the sixth century BCE. With more than two hundred illustrations and figures, Hahn provides a series of geometric proofs for this lost narrative, tracing it from Thales to Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans who followed, and then finally to Plato’s Timaeus. Uncovering the philosophical motivation behind the discovery of the theorem, Hahn’s book will enrich the study of ancient philosophy and mathematics alike.
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Bridging Traditions

Alchemy, Chemistry, and Paracelsian Practices in the Early Modern ERA: Essays in Honor of Allen G. Debus

Author: Karen Hunger Parshall,Michael Thomson Walton,Bruce T. Moran

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9781612481340

Category: Chemistry

Page: 330

View: 8679

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This book explores the connections between apparently different zones of comprehension and experience -- magic and experiment, alchemy and mechanics, practical mathematics and geometrical mysticism, things earthy and heavenly, and especially science and medicine -- by focusing on points of intersection among alchemy, chemistry, and Paracelsian medical philosophy. In exploring the varieties of natural knowledge in the early modern era, the authors pay tribute to the work of Allen Debus, whose own endeavours cleared the way for scholars to examine subjects that were once snubbed as suitable only to the refuse heap of the history of science.
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Bridging Traditions

Alchemy, Chemistry, and Paracelsian Practices in the Early Modern Era

Author: Michael Thomson Walton,Bruce Thomas Moran,Karen Virginia Hunger Parshall

Publisher: Truman State University Press

ISBN: 1612481353

Category: Science

Page: 328

View: 6205

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Bridging Traditions explores the connections between apparently different zones of comprehension and experience—magic and experiment, alchemy and mechanics, practical mathematics and geometrical mysticism, things earthy and heavenly, and especially science and medicine—by focusing on points of intersection among alchemy, chemistry, and Paracelsian medical philosophy. In exploring the varieties of natural knowledge in the early modern era, the authors pay tribute to the work of Allen Debus, whose own endeavors cleared the way for scholars to examine subjects that were once snubbed as suitable only to the refuse heap of the history of science.
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