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The Babylonian theorem : the mathematical journey to Pythagoras and Euclid

Author: Peter Strom Rudman
Publisher: Amherst, N.Y. : Prometheus Books, 2010.
Edition/Format:   Book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
"In this sequel to his award-winning How Mathematics Happened, physicist Peter S. Rudman explores the history of mathematics among the Babylonians and Egyptians, showing how their scribes in the era from 2000 to 1600 BCE used visualizations of how plane geometric figures could be partitioned into squares, rectangles, and right triangles to invent geometric algebra, even solving problems that we now do by quadratic  Read more...
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Genre/Form: History
Named Person: Pythagoras.; Euclid.
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Peter Strom Rudman
ISBN: 9781591027737 159102773X
OCLC Number: 318873024
Notes: Sequel to: How mathematics happened, the first 50,000 years. 2007.
Description: 248 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Contents: Number system basics --
Egyptian numbers and arithmetic --
Babylonian numbers and arithmetic --
Old Babylonian "quadratic algebra" problem texts. YBC 6967 ; AO 8862 ; Db₂ 146 ; VAT 8512 --
Pythagorean triples. OB problem text BM 85196 #9 ; Berlin Papyrus 6610 #1 ; Proto-Plimpton 322 ; Plimpton 322 --
Square root calculations. Egyptian calculation ; OB problem text YBC 7289 ; OB squaring-the-rectangle (Heron's method) ; OB cut-and-paste square root (Newton's method) ; Pythagoras calculates square roots ; Archimedes calculates square roots ; Ptolemy calculates square roots --
PI [mathematical symbol for Pi]. RMP problems 48 and 50 ; OB problem text YBC 7302 ; A scribe from Susa calculates [Pi] (ca. 2000 BCE) ; Archimedes calculates [Pi] (ca. 200 BCE) ; Kepler calculates the area of a circle (ca. 1600) ; Everybody calculates the area of a circle (ca. 2000) --
Similar triangles (Proportionality). RMP problem 53 ; OB problem text MLC 1950 ; OB problem text IM 55357 --
Sequences and series. Arithmetic sequences and series ; OB problem text YBC 4608 #5 ; TMP problem 64 ; RMP problem 40 ; Geometric sequences and series ; OB problem text IM 55357 --
revisited --
Old Babylonian algebra : simultaneous linear equations. A modern elementary algebra problem ; OB problem test VAT 8389 --
Pyramid volume. How they knew V (pyramid) / V (prism) = 1/3 ; Euclid proves V (pyramid) / V (prism) = 1/3 ; Truncated pyramid (frustum) volume --
From Old Babylonian scribe to Late Babylonian scribe to Pythagoras to Plato. Late Babylonian (LB) mathematics ; Pythagoras (ca. 580-500 BCE) ; Plato (427-347 BCE) --
Euclid. Who was Euclid? ; Euclid I-1 ; Euclid I-22 ; Euclid I-37 ; Euclid I-47 : the Pythagorean Theorem ; Euclid II-22 ; Euclid II-14 : the Babylonian Theorem.
Responsibility: Peter S. Rudman.

Abstract:

"In this sequel to his award-winning How Mathematics Happened, physicist Peter S. Rudman explores the history of mathematics among the Babylonians and Egyptians, showing how their scribes in the era from 2000 to 1600 BCE used visualizations of how plane geometric figures could be partitioned into squares, rectangles, and right triangles to invent geometric algebra, even solving problems that we now do by quadratic algebra. Using illustrations adapted from both Babylonian cuneiform tablets and Egyptian hieroglyphic texts, Rudman traces the evolution of mathematics from the metric geometric algebra of Babylon and Egypt-which used numeric quantities on diagrams as a means to work out problems-to the nonmetric geometric algebra of Euclid (ca. 300 BCE). Thus, Rudman traces the evolution of calculations of square roots from Egypt and Babylon to India, and then to Pythagoras, Archimedes, and Ptolemy. Surprisingly, the best calculation was by a Babylonian scribe who calculated the square root of two to seven decimal-digit precision. Rudman provocatively asks, and then interestingly conjectures, why such a precise calculation was made in a mud-brick culture. From his analysis of Babylonian geometric algebra, Rudman formulates a "Babylonian Theorem", which he shows was used to derive the Pythagorean Theorem, about a millennium before its purported discovery by Pythagoras."--Synopsis.

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