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Topic: Re: 300 BCE Chinese multiplication table. Nature owes India an
apology!

Replies: 15   Last Post: Jan 25, 2014 7:11 AM

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 Jonathan Crabtree Posts: 309 Registered: 12/19/10
Re: 300 BCE Chinese multiplication table. Nature owes India an apology!
Posted: Jan 17, 2014 9:17 AM

Nature magazine is in effect, not reporting history, it is swallowing whole, propaganda, (PR spin) with the Chinese University's translation into a contemporary multiplication table with Hindu Arabic Numerals and zero as a number, not just a placeholder.

In the time period these bamboo artifacts were created, the Chinese only had an empty space to mark an absence of any quantity in a particular place.

"The ancient Chinese performed their addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division using rods made from animal bones or bamboo. Rods were used for reckoning since the Warring States period (475 - 221 BC) and possibly earlier, and through their use a numeral system was developed." (Yong 1996)

When discussing the number 65,302...

"...the place that represented the tens rank was left blank and was called kong" (Yong 1996)

In this same paper from 1996 we find another example of China alluding to its own creation of zero.

"When a rod numeral had no digit of a particular rank, the space representing that rank in the numeral was naturally left blank - this created the concept of what we now called zero." (Yong 1996)

Aahhhh! I see. So China really invented what WE call zero.

Now let's turn to an 'independent mathematics historian'.

"If zero was represented by just an empty space within a well-defined positional numeration system, such a zero was present in Chinese mathematics a few centuries before the Indian zero." (Joseph 2008)

And also...

"However, the Indian zero alluded to in the question was a multi-faceted mathematical object: a symbol, a number, a magnitude, a direction separator and a place-holder, all in one operating within a fully established positional numeration system. Such a zero occurred only twice in history Âthe Indian zero which is now the universal zero and the Mayan zero which occurred in solitary isolation in Central America at the beginning of the Common Era." (Joseph 2008)

So the recent presentation of a multiplication table translated by the Chinese to incorporate zeros is nothing more than propaganda.

I will leave you with another assertion... (Yong 1996)

"This unexpected similarity has provided strong evidence that the Hindu-Arabic numeral system has its origins in the rod numeral system."

China is a superpower. All superpowers re-write history. Yet it is disappointing that nobody has yet pointed the misleading nature of the multiplication table as 'translated' by the Chinese to incorporate India's zero.

(Yong 1996) Lam Lay Yong The Development of Hindu-Arabic and Traditional Chinese Arithmetic. Chinese Science 13 (1996), pp. 35 - 54

(Joseph 2008) George Gheverghese Joseph. A Brief History of Zero. Iranian Journal for the History of Science, 6 (2008), pp. 37 - 48

Date Subject Author
1/16/14 Jonathan Crabtree
1/17/14 Robert Hansen
1/17/14 Jonathan Crabtree
1/17/14 kirby urner
1/20/14 Joe Niederberger
1/20/14 kirby urner
1/21/14 Joe Niederberger
1/21/14 kirby urner
1/21/14 Jonathan Crabtree
1/22/14 Joe Niederberger
1/22/14 Robert Hansen
1/21/14 GS Chandy
1/21/14 Joe Niederberger
1/21/14 Joe Niederberger
1/25/14 GS Chandy
1/18/14 GS Chandy