Leo Corry's A Brief History of Numbers PDF

By Leo Corry

ISBN-10: 0191007064

ISBN-13: 9780191007064

The area round us is saturated with numbers. they seem to be a basic pillar of our sleek society, and approved and used with hardly ever a moment concept. yet how did this situation emerge as? during this ebook, Leo Corry tells the tale at the back of the belief of quantity from the early days of the Pythagoreans, up until eventually the flip of the 20th century. He provides an summary of the way numbers have been dealt with and conceived in classical Greek arithmetic, within the arithmetic of Islam, in ecu arithmetic of the center a long time and the Renaissance, through the medical revolution, throughout to the maths of the 18th to the early twentieth century. targeting either foundational debates and useful use numbers, and exhibiting how the tale of numbers is in detail associated with that of the belief of equation, this ebook offers a worthy perception to numbers for undergraduate scholars, lecturers, engineers, specialist mathematicians, and someone with an curiosity within the historical past of arithmetic.

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Parallel to this, however, there was another tradition, usually called “logistics,” that arose mainly in the framework of commerce and day-to-day life. Incidentally, the extant direct evidence of written texts is mostly of this latter kind of mathematics. It appears in relatively extensive, but always fragmentary, papyrus texts. They were written by the Greco-Roman administration in Egypt from the fourth century BCE onwards. So, very little of this kind of more practical mathematics appears in Byzantine manuscripts, whereas, at the same time, very little of the scholarly mathematics has remained in original papyrus texts.

We find one nowadays in the world of digital computers, where numbers are internally stored and processed in binary representation, namely, with the help of only two symbols: 0 and 1. More precisely, in electronic computers, numbers are presented and processed as strings of tiny electric charges on some kind of medium, and the presence or absence of a charge is taken to represent either 1 or 0, respectively. This is the same positional principle used in our decimal system, but with base two, and any such string of 0’s and 1’s can be easily translated into decimal representation.

Since Ptolemy adopted the Babylonian sexagesimal system as the main way for presenting astronomical data and computations, this has remained the accepted one in the discipline to this day. He modified the Babylonian system, though, in a crucial respect, namely, by introducing the symbol O to indicate an empty place in the power representation of the numbers. It is remarkable, however, that in spite of the enormous impact and influence of his book, only a few astronomers that followed him adopted this particular aspect of his work.

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A Brief History of Numbers by Leo Corry


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