How mathematics happened: the first 50,000 years

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In this fascinating discussion of ancient mathematics, author Peter Rudman does not just chronicle the archeological record of what mathematics was done; he digs deeper into the more important question of why it was done in a particular way. Why did the Egyptians use a bizarre method of expressing fractions? Why did the Babylonians use an awkward number system based on multiples of 60? Rudman answers such intriguing questions, arguing that some mathematical thinking is universal and timeless. The similarity of the Babylonian and Mayan number systems, two cultures widely separated in time and space, illustrates the argument. He then traces the evolution of number systems from finger counting in hunter-gatherer cultures to pebble counting in herder-farmer cultures of the Nile and Tigris-Euphrates valleys, which defined the number systems that continued to be used even after the invention of writing. With separate chapters devoted to the remarkable Egyptian and Babylonian mathematics of the era from about 3500 to 2000 BCE, when all of the basic arithmetic operations and even quadratic algebra became doable, Rudman concludes his interpretation of the archeological record. Since some of the mathematics formerly credited to the Greeks is now known to be a prior Babylonian invention, Rudman adds a chapter that discusses the math used by Pythagoras, Eratosthenes, and Hippasus, which has Babylonian roots, illustrating the watershed difference in abstraction and rigor that the Greeks introduced. He also suggests that we might improve present-day teaching by taking note of how the Greeks taught math. Complete with sidebars offering recreational math brainteasers, this engrossing discussion of the evolution of mathematics will appeal to both scholars and lay readers with an interest in mathematics and its history.
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9781591024774
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Grouped Work ID069bcc14-bd87-9428-efac-9541ed550919
Grouping Titlehow mathematics happened the first 50 000 years
Grouping Authorrudman peter strom
Grouping Categorybook
Last Grouping Update2019-12-13 17:31:56PM
Last Indexed2019-12-15 04:33:31AM

Solr Details

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authorRudman, Peter Strom.
author_displayRudman, Peter Strom
available_at_bemisBemis Public Library
detailed_location_bemisBemis Lower Level
display_descriptionA comprehensive evolution of the history of mathematics that discusses how ancient civilizations understood numbers and used them.
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ils:.b31172945.i122981479Bemis Lower Level510.93 RUDMAN, P1falsefalseOn Shelfbelow
itype_bemisJuvenile Biography
last_indexed2019-12-15T11:33:31.734Z
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literary_formNon Fiction
literary_form_fullNon Fiction
local_callnumber_bemis510.93 RUDMAN,P
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owning_library_bemisBemis Public Library
owning_location_bemisBemis Public Library
primary_isbn9781591024774
publishDate2007
record_details
Bib IdFormatFormat CategoryEditionLanguagePublisherPublication DatePhysical Description
ils:.b31172945BookBooksEnglishPrometheus Books, 2007.314 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
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Bib IdItem IdGrouped StatusStatusLocally OwnedAvailableHoldableBookableIn Library Use OnlyLibrary OwnedHoldable PTypesBookable PTypesLocal Url
ils:.b31172945.i122981479On ShelfOn Shelffalsetruetruefalsefalsetrue5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15
subject_facetEgypt
History
Mathematics
Mathematics -- Egypt -- History
Mathematics, Ancient
Mathematics, Babylonian
Metrology
Metrology -- Egypt -- History
title_displayHow mathematics happened : the first 50,000 years
title_fullHow mathematics happened : the first 50,000 years / Peter S. Rudman
title_shortHow mathematics happened
title_subthe first 50,000 years
topic_facetHistory
Mathematics
Mathematics, Ancient
Mathematics, Babylonian
Metrology