Search All of the Math Forum:
Views expressed in these public forums are not endorsed by
NCTM or The Math Forum.



Re: [HM] Two (unrelated) questions
Posted:
Jun 24, 2000 2:10 PM


John Conway wrote
> The division symbol is just a little picture of the general fraction > p >  , as you'll find from any of the standard books. > q > I wonder if it is as simple as this? In drawing attention to the symbol's appearance as a division sign in Rahn's Algebra (1659), Cajori remarks that "Many writers before him had used Ã?Â· as a minus sign" [Cajori, A history of mathematical notations, 1928, vol 1, p.270].
Cajori goes on to say, interestingly, "There are perhaps no symbols which are as completely observant of political boundaries as are Ã?Â· and : as symbols for division. The former belongs to Great Britain, the British dominions, and the United States. The latter belongs to Continental Europe and the LatinAmerican countries." Is this still the case?
John Fauvel



