×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

The Chinese Roots of Linear Algebra
     

The Chinese Roots of Linear Algebra

by Roger Hart
 

See All Formats & Editions

A monumental accomplishment in the history of non-Western mathematics, The Chinese Roots of Linear Algebra explains the fundamentally visual way Chinese mathematicians understood and solved mathematical problems. It argues convincingly that what the West "discovered" in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries had already been known to the Chinese for 1,000

Overview

A monumental accomplishment in the history of non-Western mathematics, The Chinese Roots of Linear Algebra explains the fundamentally visual way Chinese mathematicians understood and solved mathematical problems. It argues convincingly that what the West "discovered" in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries had already been known to the Chinese for 1,000 years.

Accomplished historian and Chinese-language scholar Roger Hart examines Nine Chapters of Mathematical Arts—the classic ancient Chinese mathematics text—and the arcane art of fangcheng, one of the most significant branches of mathematics in Imperial China. Practiced between the first and seventeenth centuries by anonymous and most likely illiterate adepts, fangcheng involves manipulating counting rods on a counting board. It is essentially equivalent to the solution of systems of N equations in N unknowns in modern algebra, and its practice, Hart reveals, was visual and algorithmic. Fangcheng practitioners viewed problems in two dimensions as an array of numbers across counting boards. By "cross multiplying" these, they derived solutions of systems of linear equations that are not found in ancient Greek or early European mathematics. Doing so within a column equates to Gaussian elimination, while the same operation among individual entries produces determinantal-style solutions.

Mathematicians and historians of mathematics and science will find in The Chinese Roots of Linear Algebra new ways to conceptualize the intellectual development of linear algebra.

Editorial Reviews

East Asian Science, Technology, and Medicine - Eberhard Knobloch
[A] challenging, inspiring book that is full of most valuable, new historial insights.

Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society - Joseph F. Grcar
Hart's provocative book deserves to be in every college and university collection.

Journal of the American Oriental Society - David Prager Branner
It seems likely that Hart's thoughtful, meticulous book will be the precursor to much fruitful study not only of pre-modern Chinese mathematics but also the roles of literacy and notation in its transmission.

Choice
A pivotal work in the history of non-Western mathematics that will revolutionize people's understanding of the origins of techniques previously viewed as Western inventions.

Mathematical Reviews
This study is an important contribution to making one field of the history of mathematical activity in China available to a non-Chinese audience.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801897559
Publisher:
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date:
11/17/2010
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

Related Subjects

What People are Saying About This

John N. Crossley
A beautifully written scholarly book in an area where books are scarce. Hart's scholarship is impeccable and his precision is a delight. The Chinese Roots of Linear Algebra will be essential reading for those interested in the history of Chinese mathematics.

Meet the Author

Roger Hart is an assistant professor in the Department of History at the University of Texas, Austin.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews