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Most mathematical concepts we encounter every day – numbers, addition, subtraction – seems so basic, so hard to avoid discussing reality on even the most basic level, it is hard to imagine someone having to sit down and find them. Who was the first person to look at the two rocks and think, “Two more and I’ve got four?” The very idea seems almost absurd

But mathematics is, in part, language -. Do not just put a logical connection and entailments that seems deeper than words, but a set of symbols that allow us to discover those relationships. You can not see it twice two makes four, until you sign for the “two” of the brain can operate. And they sign – the language – did develop, strange as it may seem. (Prehistoric artifacts seem to indicate that in the first place had only four “numbers” at “No”, “one”, “two” and “many” – shows just how much our ability to talk about numbers depends on to have the right words for them.)

We do not know which culture was the first to develop a number of systems elaborate than “One, two, a lot!” A 20,000-year-old bone found near the Nile seems to show a series of prime numbers – which would indicate a fairly sophisticated mathematical knowledge from fairly early. Then the Harappan civilization of the Indus Valley in present day northern India and Pakistan. As far as we know, these people were the first to use decimals, among many other important concepts.

Archaeology also seems to find evidence of a sophisticated numbering of the Shang Dynasty in China, 1,600 years before Christ. Archaeologists often turn up new discoveries off the history of human knowledge – so it’s hard to say who was the first to develop this or that idea with certainty

But many mathematical ideas -. Like many other things – starting with the Sumerians. This culture – considered by some historians the cradle of civilization – flourished near the present-day Iraq between three and five thousand years ago, and in addition, provide the first known works of world literature (still-moving story of Gilgamesh), they developed a numerical system based on sixes. If you’ve ever wondered why the hour has sixty minutes, minute sixty seconds – after all, it would be much simpler if everything went 100 (such as the basic unit of our time was 100 smaller units, rather than sixty seconds, sixty minutes) – it is partly due to the lingering effects of Sumerian. As the culture of Sumer fell, it was absorbed into the Babylonian Empire, which also seems to have produced a mathematical way of thinking, if a handful of Babylonian mathematics writing yet to us provides suggested.

Babylonians, Egyptians and ancient Indians all seem to share at least one important discovery – the so-called Pythagorean theorem, the rule has to do with how to calculate the length of the sides of certain types of triangles. (Clearly, this discovery was of use to the culture that built the Pyramids.) The fact that this phrase was common to all three major ancient cultures suggests the traffic they may have had with each other, although some historians’ proposal that each culture was mainly closed off to other places. And the fact that we know the statement that the Pythagorean theorem – after the much later Greek mathematician and philosopher Pythagoras – shows the well-known, and often criticized the tendency of many historians to want to give the ancient Greeks credit for everything.

not that the Greeks did not understand enough. Greek mathematics grew up with Greek philosophy and Greek science – indeed, three subjects were not really understand; for the ancient Greeks, all branches of knowledge was one. Thales, for example – you will often found quoting the first Western philosopher – use geometry to calculate the height of the pyramids, among other things. In any case, the Greek thinkers began in the art of mathematics to a new level of sophistication. Euclid wrote a geometry textbook so percipient be useful today, Aristotle defined the laws of logic, and Archimedes still near the top of some mathematical historians – all-time greats list. Fixed link between mathematics and philosophy in Greek is well described by the inscription on the door of Plato Academy “. Let no one ignorant of geometry enter here”

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