Thursday, October 7, 2010

Euclid's Elements

Euclid's Elements (Greek: Στοιχεῖα Stoicheia) is a mathematical and geometric treatise consisting of 13 books written by the Greek mathematician Euclid in Alexandria circa 300 BC. It is a collection of definitions, postulates (axioms), propositions (theorems and constructions), and mathematical proofs of the propositions. The thirteen books cover Euclidean geometry and the ancient Greek version of elementary number theory. With the exception of Autolycus' On the Moving Sphere, the Elements is one of the oldest extant Greek mathematical treatises[1] and it is the oldest extant axiomatic deductive treatment of mathematics. It has proven instrumental in the development of logic and modern science.

Euclid's Elements has been referred to as the most successful[2][3] and influential[4] textbook ever written. Being first set in type in Venice in 1482, it is one of the very earliest mathematical works to be printed after the invention of the printing press and is estimated to be second only to the Bible in the number of editions published,[4] with the number reaching well over one thousand.[5] It was used as the basic text on geometry throughout the Western world for about 2,000 years. For centuries, when the quadrivium was included in the curriculum of all university students, knowledge of at least part of Euclid's Elements was required of all students. Not until the 20th century, by which time its content was universally taught through school books, did it cease to be considered something all educated people had read.

Click here for a very nice presentation and explanation of Euclid's Elements

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