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# History of integers

 The first use of numbers

It is speculated that the first known use of numbers dates back to around 30,000 BC.
Bones and other artifacts have been discovered with marks cut into them which many
consider to be tally marks. The uses of these tally marks may have been for counting
elapsed time, such as numbers of days, or keeping records of quantities, such as of
animals.

Tallying systems have no concept of place-value (such as in the currently used decimal
notation), which limit its representation of large numbers and as such is often considered
that this is the first kind of abstract system that would be used, and could be considered a
Numeral System.

The first known system with place-value was the Mesopotamian base 60 system (ca.
3400 BC) and the earliest known base 10 system dates to 3100 BC in Egypt. [1]

 History of zero

Further information: History of zero

The use of zero as a number should be distinguished from its use as a placeholder
numeral in place-value systems. Many ancient texts used zero. Babylonians and Egyptian
texts used it. Egyptians used the word nfr to denote zero balance in double entry
accounting entries. Indian texts used a Sanskrit word Shunya to refer to the concept of
void; in mathematics texts this word would often be used to refer to the number zero. [2].
In a similar vein, Pāṇini (5th century BC) used the null (zero) operator (ie a lambda
production) in the Ashtadhyayi, his algebraic grammar for the Sanskrit language. (also
see Pingala)

Records show that the Ancient Greeks seemed unsure about the status of zero as a
number: they asked themselves "how can 'nothing' be something?" leading to interesting
philosophical and, by the Medieval period, religious arguments about the nature and
existence of zero and the vacuum. The paradoxes of Zeno of Elea depend in large part on
the uncertain interpretation of zero. (The ancient Greeks even questioned if 1 was a
number.)

The late Olmec people of south-central Mexico began to use a true zero (a shell glyph) in
the New World possibly by the 4th century BC but certainly by 40 BC, which became an
integral part of Maya numerals and the Maya calendar. Mayan arithmetic used base 4 and
base 5 written as base 20. Sanchez in 1961 reported a base 4, base 5 'finger' abacus.

By 130, Ptolemy, influenced by Hipparchus and the Babylonians, was using a symbol for
zero (a small circle with a long overbar) within a sexagesimal numeral system otherwise
using alphabetic Greek numerals. Because it was used alone, not as just a placeholder,

1202) and later as losses (in Flos). When division produced zero as a remainder. Another true zero was used in tables alongside Roman numerals by 525 (first known use by Dionysius Exiguus). black for negative. Bhaskara gives negative roots for quadratic equations but says the negative value "is in this case not to be taken. By this time (7th century) the concept had clearly reached Cambodia. The first use of negative numbers in a European work was by Chuquet during the 15th century. saying that the equation gave an absurd result. An isolated use of their initial. This is the earliest known mention of negative numbers in the East. He treated zero as a number and discussed operations involving it. the Chinese were indicating negative numbers by drawing a diagonal stroke through the right-most nonzero digit of the corresponding positive number's numeral[citation needed]. the Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler believed that negative numbers were greater than infinity[citation needed]. nulla meaning nothing. in the 12th century in India. N. During the 600s. red rods were used to denote positive coefficients." European mathematicians. resisted the concept of negative numbers until the 17th century. the Hellenistic zero had morphed into the Greek letter omicron (otherwise meaning 70). As recently as the 18th century.  History of negative numbers Further information: History of negative numbers The abstract concept of negative numbers was recognised as early as 100 BC . but as a word. for it is inadequate. At the same time. although Fibonacci allowed negative solutions in financial problems where they could be interpreted as debits (chapter 13 of Liber Abaci.this Hellenistic zero was the first documented use of a true zero in the Old World. including division. Diophantus referred to the equation equivalent to 4x + 20 = 0 (the solution would be negative) in Arithmetica. The Chinese ”Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art” (Jiu-zhang Suanshu) contains methods for finding the areas of figures. and documentation shows the idea later spreading to China and the Islamic world. These medieval zeros were used by all future medieval computists (calculators of Easter). was used in a table of Roman numerals by Bede or a colleague about 725. In later Byzantine manuscripts of his Syntaxis Mathematica (Almagest). in Brahma-Sphuta-Siddhanta 628. who used negative numbers to produce the general form quadratic formula that remains in use today. a true zero symbol. An early documented use of the zero by Brahmagupta (in the Brahmasphutasiddhanta) dates to 628. negative numbers were in use in India to represent debts. He used them as exponents. However.50 BC. nihil. and it was common practice to . but referred to them as “absurd numbers”. the first reference in a western work was in the 3rd century in Greece. for the most part. was used. not as a symbol. also meaning nothing. people do not approve of negative roots. Diophantus’ previous reference was discussed more explicitly by Indian mathematician Brahmagupta.

However Pythagoras believed in the absoluteness of numbers. irrational. but the theory is generally referred to the year 1872. Similarly. The story goes that Hippasus discovered irrational numbers when trying to represent the square root of 2 as a fraction.ignore any negative results returned by equations on the assumption that they were meaningless. and Richard Dedekind. just as René Descartes did with negative solutions in a cartesian coordinate system. The concept of decimal fractions is closely linked with decimal place value notation. Weierstrass's method has been completely . Classical Greek and Indian mathematicians made studies of the theory of rational numbers. For example. The best known of these is Euclid's Elements. integral and fractional numbers.[citation needed] The first existence proofs of irrational numbers is usually attributed to Pythagoras. which also covers number theory as part of a general study of mathematics. 5). It had remained almost dormant since Euclid. more specifically to the Pythagorean Hippasus of Metapontum. Babylonian math texts had always used sexagesimal fractions with great frequency. but his beliefs would not accept the existence of irrational numbers and so he sentenced Hippasus to death by drowning. Even the Ancient Egyptians wrote math texts describing how to convert general fractions into their special notation. The seventeenth century saw decimal fractions with the modern notation quite generally used by mathematicians. Of the Indian texts.  History of rational. Méray had taken in 1869 the same point of departure as Heine. who produced a (most likely geometrical) proof of the irrationality of the square root of 2. and could not accept the existence of irrational numbers.  History of irrational numbers The earliest known use of irrational numbers was in the Indian Sulba Sutras composed between 800-500 BC. it is common for the Jain math sutras to include calculations of decimal-fraction approximations to pi or the square root of two. The sixteenth century saw the final acceptance by Europeans of negative. and a scientific study of theory of irrationals was taken once more. and real numbers Further information: History of irrational numbers and History of pi  History of rational numbers It is likely that the concept of fractional numbers dates to prehistoric times. as part of the general study of number theory. Georg Cantor (Annalen. 74). The RMP 2/n table and the Kahun Papyrus wrote out unit fraction series by using least common multiples. the most relevant is the Sthananga Sutra. dating to roughly 300 BC. Heine (Crelle. The year 1872 saw the publication of the theories of Karl Weierstrass (by his pupil Kossak). But it was not until the nineteenth century that the irrationals were separated into algebraic and transcendental parts. the two seem to have developed in tandem. He could not disprove their existence through logic.

Lemke (1870). Kronecker (Crelle. 101). Galois (1832) linked polynomial equations to group theory giving rise to the field of Galois theory.  Transcendental numbers and reals The first results concerning transcendental numbers were Lambert's 1761 proof that π cannot be rational. and Heine base their theories on infinite series. Ramus (1855) first connected the subject with determinants. The number is irrational. Weierstrass. and Méray. Cantor. and also that en is irrational if n is rational (unless n = 0).) Legendre extended this proof to show that π is not the square root of a rational number. 1613). Hence it was necessary to consider the wider set of algebraic numbers (all solutions to polynomial equations). (The constant e was first referred to in Napier's 1618 work on logarithms. Continued fractions.set forth by Salvatore Pincherle (1880). and Günther. Möbius. Abel 1824) showed that they could not be solved by radicals (formula involving only arithmetical operations and roots). as have numerous contributors to the applications of the subject. while Dedekind founds his on the idea of a cut (Schnitt) in the system of real numbers. the Abel–Ruffini theorem (Ruffini 1799. and Günther (1872). with the subsequent contributions of Heine. Dirichlet also added to the general theory. The search for roots of quintic and higher degree equations was an important development. and at the opening of the nineteenth century were brought into prominence through the writings of Joseph Louis Lagrange. Other noteworthy contributions have been made by Druckenmüller (1837). resulting. in the theory of Kettenbruchdeterminanten. closely related to irrational numbers (and due to Cataldi. separating all rational numbers into two groups having certain characteristic properties. Kunze (1857). . The subject has received later contributions at the hands of Weierstrass. and Dedekind's has received additional prominence through the author's later work (1888) and the recent endorsement by Paul Tannery (1894). received attention at the hands of Euler.

In the 1960s. Each family of parallel lines in a given direction is postulated to converge to the corresponding ideal point. in 1895 he published a book about his new set theory. introducing. and infinite perpetually. the general consensus being that only the latter had true value. Finally Cantor shows that the set of all real numbers is uncountably infinite but the set of all algebraic numbers is countably infinite. 1851). This is closely related to the idea of vanishing points in perspective drawing. the traditional notion of mathematical infinity was defined by Aristotle. The system of hyperreal numbers represents a rigorous method of treating the ideas about infinite and infinitesimal numbers that had been used casually by mathematicians. infinite everywhere. infinite in area. among other things. so there is an uncountably infinite number of transcendental numbers. still what remains is infinity". which introduces "ideal points at infinity. A modern geometrical version of infinity is given by projective geometry. and engineers ever since the invention of calculus by Newton and Leibniz. Infinity was a popular topic of philosophical study among the Jain mathematicians circa 400 BC. which at one point states "if you remove a part from infinity or add a part to infinity. Galileo's Two New Sciences discussed the idea of one- to-one correspondences between infinite sets. Abraham Robinson showed how infinitely large and infinitesimal numbers can be rigorously defined and used to develop the field of nonstandard analysis.  Infinity Further information: History of infinity The earliest known conception of mathematical infinity appears in the Yajur Veda .Even the set of algebraic numbers was not sufficient and the full set of real number includes transcendental numbers." one for each spatial direction. scientists. In the West. But the next major advance in the theory was made by Georg Cantor. transfinite numbers and formulating the continuum hypothesis.an ancient script in India. who distinguished between actual infinity and potential infinity. They distinguished between five types of infinity: infinite in one and two directions. The existence of which was first established by Liouville (1844. . Hermite proved in 1873 that e is transcendental and Lindemann proved in 1882 that π is transcendental. This was the first mathematical model that represented infinity by numbers and gave rules for operating with these infinite numbers.

when he considered the volume of an impossible frustum of a pyramid. b positive and the other negative. They became more prominent when in the 16th century closed formulas for the roots of third and fourth degree polynomials were discovered by Italian mathematicians (see Niccolo Fontana Tartaglia. ∞.  Complex numbers Further information: History of complex numbers The earliest fleeting reference to square roots of negative numbers occurred in the work of the mathematician and inventor Heron of Alexandria in the 1st century AD. This was doubly unsettling since they did not even consider negative numbers to be on firm ground at the time. Gerolamo Cardano). in several typefaces. It was soon realized that these formulas. and the related identity . A further source of confusion was that the equation seemed to be capriciously inconsistent with the algebraic identity which is valid for positive real numbers a and b. The term "imaginary" for these quantities was coined by René Descartes in 1637 and was meant to be derogatory (see imaginary number for a discussion of the "reality" of complex numbers). sometimes required the manipulation of square roots of negative numbers.The infinity symbol. and which was also used in complex number calculations with one of a. The incorrect use of this identity. even if one was only interested in real solutions.

it was rediscovered several years later and popularized by Carl Friedrich Gauss. studied the type a + bω. Other such classes (called cyclotomic fields) of complex numbers are derived from the roots of unity xk − 1 = 0 for higher values of k. The general theory of fields was created by Évariste Galois. His student. who was the first to boldly use complex numbers with a success that is well known. which were expressed as geometrical entities by Felix Klein in 1893. Gauss studied complex numbers of the form a + bi. as early as 1685. The idea of the graphic representation of complex numbers had appeared. and especially the latter. who also invented ideal numbers. where a and b are integral. In 1850 Victor Alexandre Puiseux took the key step of distinguishing between poles and branch points. Ferdinand Eisenstein. and introduced the concept of essential singular points. de Moivre's formula: and to Euler (1748) Euler's formula of complex analysis: The existence of complex numbers was not completely accepted until the geometrical interpretation had been described by Caspar Wessel in 1799. this would eventually lead to the concept of the extended complex plane. where ω is a complex root of x3 − 1 = 0. showing that every polynomial over the complex numbers has a full set of solutions in that realm. The 18th century saw the labors of Abraham de Moivre and Leonhard Euler.in the case when both a and b are negative even bedeviled Euler. and as a result the theory of complex numbers received a notable expansion. in Wallis's De Algebra tractatus. or rational (and i is one of the two roots of x2 + 1 = 0). however. To De Moivre is due (1730) the well-known formula which bears his name. Also in 1799. This difficulty eventually led him to the convention of using the special symbol i in place of √−1 to guard against this mistake. This generalization is largely due to Ernst Kummer.  Prime numbers . who studied the fields generated by the roots of any polynomial equation F(x) = 0. The general acceptance of the theory of complex numbers is not a little due to the labors of Augustin Louis Cauchy and Niels Henrik Abel. Gauss provided the first generally accepted proof of the fundamental theorem of algebra.

The concept as used in modern times originated with the Indian mathematician Brahmagupta in 628. In 240 BC. This allowed systems to be developed for recording large numbers. A zero digit had been used in place-value notation as early as 700 BC by the Babylonians. Adrien-Marie Legendre conjectured the prime number theorem. and similarly for the number 4. Eratosthenes used the Sieve of Eratosthenes to quickly isolate prime numbers. as abstract entities) is usually credited to the Greek philosophers Pythagoras and Archimedes. and 6 ones. China. medieval computists (calculators of Easter). For example. Nevertheless. and Mesoamerica. independent studies also occurred at around the same time in India. but this usage did not spread beyond Mesoamerica. but they omitted it when it would have been the last symbol in the number. History of natural numbers and the status of zero The natural numbers had their origins in the words used to count things. However. In 1796. The ancient Egyptians had a system of numerals with distinct hieroglyphs for 1. beginning with the number 1. dating from around 1500 BC and now at the Louvre in Paris. Instead nullus. the Latin word for "nothing". and the Goldbach conjecture which claims that any sufficiently large even number is the sum of two primes. The conjectures of Goldbach and Riemann yet remain to be proved or refuted. A stone carving from Karnak. The first major advance in abstraction was the use of numerals to represent numbers.Prime numbers have been studied throughout recorded history. Yet another conjecture related to the distribution of prime numbers is the Riemann hypothesis. developed independently. The first systematic study of numbers as abstractions (that is. formulated by Bernhard Riemann in 1859. describing the asymptotic distribution of primes. Other results concerning the distribution of the primes include Euler's proof that the sum of the reciprocals of the primes diverges. A much later advance in abstraction was the development of the idea of zero as a number with its own numeral. in it he proved the infinitude of the primes and the fundamental theorem of arithmetic. was employed. 7 tens. beginning with Dionysius Exiguus in 525. used zero as a number without using a Roman numeral to write it.[1] The Olmec and Maya civilization used zero as a separate number as early as 1st century BC. But most further development of the theory of primes in Europe dates to the Renaissance and later eras. the Babylonians developed a powerful place-value system based essentially on the numerals for 1 and 10. Euclid devoted one book of the Elements to the theory of primes. and presented the Euclidean algorithm for finding the greatest common divisor of two numbers. The prime number theorem was finally proved by Jacques Hadamard and Charles de la Vallée-Poussin in 1896. and all the powers of 10 up to one million. 10. . depicts 276 as 2 hundreds.622.

Including 0 is now the common convention among set theorists. Many other mathematicians also include 0. a set-theoretical definition of natural numbers was developed.. .In the nineteenth century. although some have kept the older tradition and take 1 to be the first natural number. logicians. . With this definition. Sometimes the set of natural numbers with 0 included is called the set of whole numbers. Jump to: navigation. two apples. it was convenient to include 0 (corresponding to the empty set) as a natural number. search Natural numbers can be used for counting (one apple. three apples. and computer scientists..).