Euclid

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Logic and the scientific method

By | 2017-09-06T17:22:05+00:00 September 6th, 2017|Science|

An eclipse of the moon. You can see the curved shadow of the Earth. Once people have seen that something happens through observation, sooner or later it will occur to them to ask why it happens. And is there any way to prove that it will happen the same way every time? Sumerians developed advanced math to [...]

Medieval math in Europe

By | 2017-08-04T13:22:07+00:00 August 4th, 2017|Math, Medieval|

Math was a very exciting subject to be working on during the Middle Ages in Europe. Little by little, math experts in Europe were learning from Islamic math experts about what we call Arabic numbers (0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9) (though the numbers came originally from India). Leaning Tower of Pisa (built while Fibonacci was a child) The first of these experts was Adelard [...]

Geometry made easy!

By | 2017-07-29T10:05:30+00:00 July 29th, 2017|Math|

This is an equilateral trangle. The simplest geometric idea is the point, and then the line, the plane, and the solid. Shapes like circles, squares, rectangles, and triangles are flat, and we can think of them as being parts of a plane, flat like a drawing. Shapes like spheres, cubes, and pyramids are solid, and we can think of them as being part of the whole universe [...]

Proof for the area of a circle

By | 2017-07-28T08:41:36+00:00 July 28th, 2017|Math|

Divide a circle up into sections like an orange We know it's true that A=πr-squared is the area of a circle, but how can we prove that it is always true for every possible circle? Here's how Euclid did it. Start by dividing a circle into sixteen sections like an orange. We know that together they add up to the [...]

Medieval Islamic science

By | 2017-08-17T15:21:26+00:00 July 27th, 2017|Islam, Science|

Al Tusi's diagram of linear motion from circular motion In the Early Middle Ages, before the formation of the Islamic Empire, Buddhists ran the world's biggest universities. One was in India, at Nalanda. Another was in what is now Pakistan, at Taxila. In Egypt, the University of Alexandria was still an important center of learning, too. Most serious scholars went to [...]

Ibn al-Haytham – Medieval Islamic science

By | 2017-07-27T09:02:18+00:00 July 27th, 2017|Islam, Science|

Diagram of an eye, by Ibn al-Haytham (ca. 1000 AD) Ibn al-Haytham was born about 965 AD in Basra, near the Persian Gulf (modern Iraq), and when he grew up he went to Cairo, then a rich university center under Fatimid rule, and became a scientist. Al-Haytham first worked on a plan to build a dam across the Nile [...]

Jainism – religion in medieval India

By | 2017-07-21T09:23:04+00:00 July 21st, 2017|India, Religion|

A Jain statue, possibly Mahavira, from about 1200 AD Nobody knows when people first began to follow Jain ideas. Some Jain traditions take their history back to about 2000 BC, in the Harappan period. The first definite evidence of Jain faith, though, comes from about 650 BC, with the Jain leader Parshvanatha. We don't know much for [...]

Greek mathematics – Geometry and Proofs

By | 2017-07-18T11:36:00+00:00 July 18th, 2017|Greeks, Math|

An Egyptian papyrus from about 100 AD which is a piece of one of Euclid's books Because people in ancient Greece had only very clumsy ways of writing down numbers, they didn't like algebra. They found it very hard to write down equations or number problems. Instead, Greek mathematicians were more focused on geometry, and used geometric [...]

Who was Euclid? History of Geometry

By | 2017-07-18T11:26:44+00:00 July 18th, 2017|Africa, Egypt, Science|

An Egyptian papyrus from about 100 AD which is a piece of one of Euclid's books Nobody knows much about Euclid's life anymore - it is all forgotten. We only know that he worked at the University of Alexandria, in Egypt, for a while. There are no pictures of him. We can't even be sure [...]

Who was Archimedes? Eureka!

By | 2017-07-18T07:38:57+00:00 July 18th, 2017|History|

Syracuse, Sicily, with Mount Etna in the background Archimedes was born about 287 BC, so he was a little younger than Euclid. Archimedes' father was an astronomer. Because Archimedes was related to the tyrant who ruled Syracuse, on the island of Sicily, he lived his whole life in Sicily, except when he went to study at the University of [...]