Q&A #4192


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From: Pat Ballew (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Jun 22, 2000 at 14:57:13
Subject: Re: Calculus

Here is the way I explained it on my Mathwords, and other words web page::

Calculate / Calculus The origin of both these words is in the Greek word
kalyx, for pebble or small stone. The manipulations of small stones on
counting boards to do arithmetic operations led to the present mathematical
meanings of calculate and calculus. The pebble root is still present in the
medical use of the word calculus, a name for an accretion of mineral salts
in the body into a small "stone" such as kidney stones. The name for the
element calcium comes from the same root. The prefix calci usually relates
to calcium or limestone in some way. The furnace used for annealing in the
glass making process is called a calcar, and the same word is used for a
spur or projection on the heel. Interestingly, the material created in the
calcar (glass furnace) is called frit, and is the root of the food product
called a fritter; both words coming from the Latin word for fry.

You can find this, and other math origins at the URL

 -Pat Ballew, for the Teacher2Teacher service

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