Researching ancient mathematics

2008-04-20 14:16:00

Part of the 1482 print of Euclid's work.

This semester I'm taking the second year's course Geschiedenis 2 Vakgedeelte, which can be translated as History of math 2. Over the next two months we'll be taking a look at math through the ages, starting with the Egyptians and Babylonians.

As part of this course, each student is expected to write a short biography on one of the Great Mathematicians (tm). I was assigned Euclid (Euclides in dutch), which seems to be a very interesting topic. So far I've done some six hours of research and I've gotten a pretty good picture so far.

During my research I've run into some very cool things! Things that may be of interest to a lot of people :)

For instance, there's Rare Book This website has gathered thousands and thousands of photographs of antique books. They've created a huge archive, so that mere mortals such as you and I can leaf through tomes that are normally in musea.

A 1482 print of Elements, by Euclid.

A 1613 print of Istoria e Dimostrazioni Intorno Alle Macchie Solar, by Galileo Galilei.

Another neat project is Euclid's elements of geometry by Richard Fitzpatrick. Mr Fitzpatrick has taken the 1883 Heiberg translation and used it to make a completely fresh english translation of Elements (Euclid's most famous work). You can download the book for free as a .PDF at the link provided, or you can fork over $28 to buy the hardcover print from I'd say the print is definitely worth it! I've just ordered my copy, to support Mr Fitzpatrick's work. tags: , , ,

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