March 28, 2017

Download A History of Mathematics: From Mesopotamia to Modernity by Luke Hodgkin PDF

By Luke Hodgkin

Even supposing the bankruptcy subject matters stick with the present version of background of arithmetic textual content books (compare the desk of contents Victor J. Katz's heritage of arithmetic; significantly similar), the textual content has a energy, intensity, and honesty discovered all too seldom in a textual content booklet mathematical background. this isn't the common text-book on technical historical past that may be brushed aside (as Victor J. Katz's may be) as "a pack of lies" with merely "slight exageration" (to quote William Berkson's Fields of Force).Also, the textual content is daring sufficient to cite and translate the particular and normal form of presentation utilized in Bourbaki conferences: "tu es demembere foutu Bourbaki" ("you are dismmembered [..]) [a telegram despatched by way of Bourbaki team to Cartan, informing him that his e-book was once approved and will be published]. Luke Hodgkin's textual content dispenses with the asterisk (see p.241).

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Additional info for A History of Mathematics: From Mesopotamia to Modernity

Sample text

Plato, Philebus, tr. 4, p. 75) 1 Plato and the Meno One feature of mathematics which has remained fairly constant from the earliest times to the present day is a general view that its aim is to use ‘numbers’ to solve problems which arise in the world. However, another idea has been widespread among mathematicians at least since the time of the ancient Greeks, and its statement dates back to Plato, whose different view is summarized above: there is a down-to-earth mathematics which you use for accounts and measuring, and there is a superior mathematics, which I use for some other purpose.

Why is 2 not a fraction anyway? 2 Literature It is striking that near the end of the twentieth century there should appear two books arguing that much of the history of Greek mathematics written during that century is wrong. Reviel Netz argues that it is wrong because historians have not understood the crucial roles that language and diagrams played in shaping the deductive structure that is Greek mathematics’ most striking characteristic. David Fowler argues that it is wrong because a key component of the mathematics that developed in and around Plato’s academy was lost in Hellenistic times and was not rediscovered until the Renaissance.

Accounts were complicated by the fact that almost any quantity had a special system of units to measure it. However, the scribe is, on the whole, up to the calculation; as usual, there are tables of conversion factors to help. Here is an example which, according to Damerow and Englund (Nissen et al. 1993, pp. 141–2), represents ‘the calculation of the harvest yield of the province of Lagash for the third year recorded in the text’ (Fig. 7). We begin Fig. 7 The tablet recording harvests from Lagash, AO3448.

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