Friday, November 9, 2007

Finding the origins of English mathematics

When I studied the history of mathematics in college, we didn't talk about the contributions of the Brits--mostly, I think, because no one ever thought there was a contribution before the middle ages. So this article on megolithic circles just looks really cool. The money paragraph for me is this:
In an interesting aside, Linacre describes the research of Anne Macauley (1924-1998) who studied the monuments and showed that these megalithic people understood the Fibonacci series of numbers and the Golden Mean five thousand years before Leonardo of Pisa explained them. The evidence also suggests they used square roots and Pythagorean mathematics two thousand years before Pythagoras.
Leonardo of Pisa was around 1175-1250, so the Brits supposedly understood Fibonacci series around 4000 BC. Impressive, yes; but I think Mesopotamia may have had similar technology, although this timeline shows nothing for that time period. To my knowledge, we have no evidence that Mesopotamia was interested in Fibonacci numbers, but then there numerical system was sexigesimal, so I'll lay the blame at that. They did work on quadratic equations, although I can't imagine doing those without the shorthand notation we use!

No comments:

Post a Comment

This blog does not necessarily support any and all comments posted. The author retains the right to delete any and all comments deemed offensive or spam.