A conversation between Euclid and the ghost of Socrates. . . the paths of the moon and the sun charted by the stone-builders of ancient Europe. . .the Greek ideal of the golden mean by which they measured beauty. . . Combining historical fact with a retelling of ancient myths and legends, this lively and engaging book describes the historical, religious and geographical background that gave rise to mathematics in ancient Egypt, Babylon, China, Greece, India, and the Arab world. Each chapter contains a case study where mathematics is applied to the problems of the era, including the area of triangles and volume of the Egyptian pyramids; the Babylonian sexagesimal number system and our present measure of space and time which grew out of it; the use of the abacus and remainder theory in China; the invention of trigonometry by Arab mathematicians; and the solution of quadratic equations by completing the square developed in India. These insightful commentaries will give mathematicians and general historians a better understanding of why and how mathematics arose from the problems of everyday life, while the author's easy, accessible writing style will open fascinating chapters in the history of mathematics to a wide audience of general readers.
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