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West Asian mathematics – history of math

By |2018-05-10T10:12:08+00:00September 16th, 2017|Science, West Asia|

History of math: Sumerian multiplication table (2700 BC) Cuneiform multiplication table Once people in West Asia figured out how to write down numbers, about 3500 BC, they quickly began to want to use cuneiform to write down other mathematical ideas. (Read more about the invention of numbers) The earliest example of this that we have is from about 2700 BC. It [...]

What are logarithms? Numbers and math

By |2017-07-29T16:38:58+00:00July 29th, 2017|Math|

Earthquake in Peru Logarithms are a way of writing numbers using exponents. "Log 100" means the exponent you'd need to use to get 100 starting from 10. That would be 2, because 102 = 100. So Log 100 = 2, and Log 1000 = 3. Logarithms are useful for thinking about big numbers in general terms, when [...]

The Islamic story of wheat on the chessboard

By |2017-07-25T17:33:16+00:00July 25th, 2017|Islam, Literature|

Muslims playing chess in Spain About 1260 AD, Ibn Khallikan, a Kurdish historian living in the Abbasid Empire (modern Iraq), wrote an encyclopedia with biographies of many famous men (though no women). One of the biographies includes a story about chess and the meaning of "exponential growth." The story takes place in India, because Ibn Khallikan knew that [...]

Who was Archimedes? Eureka!

By |2018-04-23T13:58:51+00:00July 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 [...]