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Euler
08-19-2005, 12:34 AM
This is not a question regarding a math problem. I would like to know if anyone has read Euclid's Elements. I am currently reading the second book, and wanted to know if anyone else had read it, and if so, had it helped them understand geometry any moreso than had they not read it? I find his language somewhat confusing, and some of the proofs are hard to follow but I find it very interesting to see how this branch of mathematics is deduced.

tkhunny
08-19-2005, 12:59 AM
Lincoln is said to have studied the elements until he could work all the examples fluently. I think it helped him understand geometry.

Euler
08-19-2005, 01:46 AM
Are there any other founding texts, like Euclid's Elements was to geometry, for other mathematical fields like Calculus (Leibniz or Newton must have written something…perhaps the Principia?), Algebra…?

tkhunny
08-19-2005, 08:38 AM
Tough call. I'm not sure I'd call Euclid a "founding' text. More like an early compilation, I would think, but I'm willing to be wrong.

Newton was kind of funny about publishing. If it weren't for Halley, he STILL might not be published. Also, folks of that era might be a bit confusing to today's reader as the tended to mix (and often confuse) mathematics, philosophy, religion, astronomy, physics, and maybe alchemy and astrology.

You could find a decent text on Math History. It may mention various texts of some importance. One that comes to mind is by Bertrand Russell, but you couldn't read it - trust me on this. Generally, you will find that mathematics spreads out very broadly very early - after the calculus (1800+). It is said by some that Jules Henri Poincare (1900ish) was the last to comprehend the whole of mathematics. I'm sure that is a gross overstatement of Mr. Poincare's knowledge, but it illustrates the point that no ONE person could do it any more.

There is a link to your right, "Famous Mathematicians". You can read for hours!

Euler
08-19-2005, 03:28 PM
Tough call. I'm not sure I'd call Euclid a "founding' text. More like an early compilation, I would think, but I'm willing to be wrong.

Newton was kind of funny about publishing. If it weren't for Halley, he STILL might not be published. Also, folks of that era might be a bit confusing to today's reader as the tended to mix (and often confuse) mathematics, philosophy, religion, astronomy, physics, and maybe alchemy and astrology.

You could find a decent text on Math History. It may mention various texts of some importance. One that comes to mind is by Bertrand Russell, but you couldn't read it - trust me on this. Generally, you will find that mathematics spreads out very broadly very early - after the calculus (1800+). It is said by some that Jules Henri Poincare (1900ish) was the last to comprehend the whole of mathematics. I'm sure that is a gross overstatement of Mr. Poincare's knowledge, but it illustrates the point that no ONE person could do it any more.

There is a link to your right, "Famous Mathematicians". You can read for hours!

Why couldn't I read Russell's work? I mean, I have read several books by him on logic, and understood them quite well. Is this one any different? There was a book of his on mathematical logic I would like to get — but my library doesn't hold it :(

You make a good point though about how mathematics really began to diversify post-calculus. I'll search around.

tkhunny
08-19-2005, 04:48 PM
Principia Mathematica - I just figure you would go nuts before you got to the end. Anyway, the end doesn't exist, since volume four never was completed. On the other hand, maybe I just made all that up.

Euler
08-19-2005, 06:12 PM
Principia Mathematica - I just figure you would go nuts before you got to the end. Anyway, the end doesn't exist, since volume four never was completed. On the other hand, maybe I just made all that up.

I love Russell's work because I agree with his views on religion and philosophy… and pretty much everything else. I'll have to see if I can get an interlibrary loan.

Wow, 1944 pages… perhaps I will go insane, or I'll just read it over several years.