Short History of Geometry
Date: 09/15/2001 at 19:50:46 From: Jason Hollowed Subject: History of geometry I've always wondered about the development of geometry, and I just wanted to know if there were any people who helped to develop geometry besides Euclid. Is there anyone who hasn't gotten due credit for developing some basic aspect of geometry?
Date: 09/15/2001 at 20:43:47 From: Doctor Jodi Subject: Re: History of geometry Hi Jason, Thales, a Greek who travelled widely, is sometimes called the "father of geometry." (Surely, though, even he was not the first geometer.) Euclid's _Elements_ is the first known geometry textbook. Many, many people contributed to the study of geometry before Euclid. In particular, the academic atmosphere of Alexandria (where Euclid lived) must have contributed to his work. Travellers entering Alexandria surrendered their books. In place of the originals - which went to the great library - owners received hand-made copies. The relation between the lengths of the sides of a right triangle was known to many civilizations before it was named for Pythagoras. Babylonians, Chinese, and Egyptians had advanced understanding of mathematics. In more recent years (since about the 1800's), mathematicians have studied other sorts of geometries. Gauss, Riemann, Boylai, Lobachevskii, and Saccheri are some of the famous names here. Today, astrophysicists scramble to find the Hubble constant, which may indicate the type of geometry we inhabit in our universe. You can find many biographies of mathematicians at http://www-groups.dcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/~history/Mathematicians/ I hope this addresses some of your question. You may be interested in reading about the non-European roots of mathematics. I recommend _The Crest of the Peacock: The Non-European Roots of Mathematics_ by George Gheverghese Joseph. Let us know if you have more questions! - Doctor Jodi, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
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