851-0199-00L  History of Mathematics from Antiquity to 17th Century : Magnitudes, Numbers and Equations

SemesterHerbstsemester 2020
DozierendeE. Sammarchi
Periodizitäteinmalige Veranstaltung

KurzbeschreibungFar from being fixed and timeless notions, magnitudes, numbers and equations are three objects that were conceived by mathematicians in a -sometimes radically- different way and that were influenced by their historical context. The course analyses the evolution of these objects from the Greek Antiquity to the European 17th century, via the Arabic and Latin Middle Age and the Italian Renaissance.
LernzielThe course aims are:
- to introduce students to the historical dimension of mathematics;
- to develop a critical understanding of mathematical notions;
- to have a general idea of the history of mathematics until 17th century;
- to acquire skills in order to read and comment mathematical texts written in the past ages and in different cultures.
InhaltAfter a methodological introduction to the history of mathematics, several extracts written by some of the most known mathematicians (Euclide, Archimedes, al-Khwarizmi, al-Khayyam, al-Karaji, Fibonacci, Cardano, Stifel, Descartes, Leibniz, Newton) are read and commented in class. The aim is to understand what magnitudes, numbers and equations are for these authors. Beside this exegetical work on mathematical texts, students are also led to consider:
- the cultural and sociological consequences of the invention of the printed book;
- the history of the classification of mathematical sciences;
- the history of the scientific institutions.