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    Babylonian Theorem: The Mathematical Journey to Pythagoras and Euclid (Hardback) By (author) Peter S. Rudman

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    DescriptionIn 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. He also concludes that what enabled the Greek mathematicians to surpass their predecessors was the insertion of alphabetic notation onto geometric figures. Such symbolic notation was natural for users of an alphabetic language, but was impossible for the Babylonians and Egyptians, whose writing systems (cuneiform and hieroglyphics, respectively) were not alphabetic. Rudman intersperses his discussions of early math conundrums and solutions with "Fun Questions" for those who enjoy recreational math and wish to test their understanding. The Babylonian Theorem is a masterful, fascinating, and entertaining book, which will interest both math enthusiasts and students of history.


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  • Full bibliographic data for Babylonian Theorem

    Title
    Babylonian Theorem
    Subtitle
    The Mathematical Journey to Pythagoras and Euclid
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Peter S. Rudman
    Physical properties
    Format: Hardback
    Number of pages: 248
    Width: 156 mm
    Height: 232 mm
    Thickness: 24 mm
    Weight: 481 g
    Language
    English
    ISBN
    ISBN 13: 9781591027737
    ISBN 10: 159102773X
    Classifications

    BIC E4L: MAT
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: S7.8
    B&T Merchandise Category: GEN
    B&T Book Type: NF
    B&T Modifier: Region of Publication: 01
    B&T Modifier: Subject Development: 01
    BIC subject category V2: PBX
    Ingram Theme: CHRN/ANCIEN
    B&T General Subject: 710
    BISAC Merchandising Theme: ET135
    Ingram Theme: CULT/MIDEST
    Ingram Subject Code: MA
    Libri: I-MA
    DC22: 510.9
    Warengruppen-Systematik des deutschen Buchhandels: 16220
    Ingram Theme: CULT/NAFRIC
    BISAC V2.8: MAT015000
    BIC subject category V2: PBMW
    LC subject heading:
    DC22: 510.935
    LC subject heading:
    BISAC V2.8: MAT012010
    LC subject heading: , , , ,
    LC classification: QA22 .R859 2010
    LC subject heading:
    Thema V1.0: PBX, PBMW
    Illustrations note
    b/w illus
    Publisher
    Prometheus Books
    Imprint name
    Prometheus Books
    Publication date
    26 January 2010
    Publication City/Country
    Amherst
    Author Information
    Peter S. Rudman (Tel Aviv, Israel), a retired professor of physics at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, is the author of How Mathematics Happened: The First 50,000 Years, which was selected in 2008 as an Outstanding Academic Text by the American Library Association.