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Understanding Greek and Roman Technology: From Catapult to the Pantheon (Transcript)

501 pages


Understanding Greek and Roman Technology: From Catapult to the Pantheon is the companion book to the audio/video series of the same name. It contains a full transcript of the series as well as the complete course guidebook which includes lecture notes, bibliography, and more.

About this series:

In the 17th century, the great scientist and mathematician Galileo Galilei noted that the book of nature cannot be understood unless one first learns to comprehend the language and read the characters in which it is written. It is written in the language of mathematics, and its characters are triangles, circles, and other geometric figures, without which it is not humanly possible to understand a single word of it. For at least 4,000 years of recorded history, humans have engaged in the study of mathematics. Our progress in this field is a gripping narrative, a never-ending search for hidden patterns in numbers, a philosopher's quest for the ultimate meaning of mathematical relationships, a chronicle of amazing progress in practical fields like engineering and economics, a tale of astonishing scientific discoveries, a fantastic voyage into realms of abstract beauty, and a series of fascinating personal profiles of individuals such as: Archimedes, the greatest of all Greek mathematicians, who met his death in 212 B.C. at the hands of a Roman soldier while he was engrossed in a problem Evariste Galois, whose stormy life in 19th-century radical French politics was cut short by a duel at age 20—but not before he laid the foundations for a new branch of modern algebra called Galois theory Srinivasa Ramanujan, an impoverished college dropout in India who sent his extraordinary equations to the famous English mathematician G. H. Hardy in 1913 and was subsequently recognized as a genius An inquiring mind is all you need to embark on this supreme intellectual adventure in The Queen of the Sciences: A History of Mathematics, which contains 24 illuminating lectures taught by award-winning Professor of Mathematics David M. Bressoud.The Queen of the Sciences The history of mathematics concerns one of the most magnificent, surprising, and powerful of all human achievements. In the early 19th century, the noted German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss called mathematics the queen of the sciences because it was so successful at uncovering the nature of physical reality. Gauss's observation is even more accurate in today's age of quantum physics, string theory, chaos theory, information technology, and other mathematics-intensive disciplines that have transformed the way we understand and deal with the world.The Queen of the Sciences takes you from ancient Mesopotamia—where the Pythagorean theorem was already in use more than 1,000 years before the Greek thinker Pythagoras traditionally proved it—to the Human Genome Project, which uses sophisticated mathematical techniques to decipher the 3 billion letters of the human genetic code.Along the way, you meet a remarkable range of individuals whose love of numbers, patterns, and shapes created the grand edifice that is mathematics. These include astrologers, lawyers, a poet, a cult leader, a tax assessor, the author of the most popular textbook ever written, a high school teacher, a blind grandfather, an artist, and several prodigies who died too young.You find the problems and ideas that preoccupied them can be stated with the utmost simplicity: Is there a method for finding all the prime numbers below a given number? (Eratosthenes, c. 200 B.C.) The equation xn + yn = zn has no whole-number solutions where n is greater than 2. (Pierre de Fermat, 1637) What would it mean if space is non-Euclidean; that is, if it is not flat as described by Euclid? (János Bolyai, 1832) The second of these propositions, called Fermat's last theorem, is one of the most famous in mathematics. It was followed by this postscript in the book where Fermat jotted it down: I have a truly marvelous demo

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