Mathematics is the abstract study of topics encompassing quantity, structure, space, change, and other properties. It is a prerequisite for theoretical contributions in many other sciences and disciplines.

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6
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1answer
714 views

How did Columbus calculate the size of the Earth?

Eratosthenes' calculations of the size of the Earth were very precise and very accepted during Columbus' time. Still, Columbus was convinced that the world was significatively smaller and that getting ...
8
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2answers
209 views

What were the causes of decline of Babylonian numeric system?

Babylonia developed a numeric system advanced far ahead of its neighbors, and some might say even superior to our contemporary decimal. It was a 60-base system with convenient composition of factors ...
5
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2answers
335 views

How did the Egyptian engineers of the Third and Fourth Dynasty construct the Pyramids and Sphinx without modern science and mathematics? [closed]

What was the "state of the art" in engineering, science, and mathematics in Ancient Egypt when the Sphinx and the Giza Pyramids were built during the Third and Fourth Dynasties? How did they ...
2
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0answers
46 views

When was the first recorded use of hospital readmissions as a summary statistic?

When was the first recorded use, or the first recorded intention of use of hospital readmissions as a summary statistic? A hospital readmission (also called a rehospitalization) is defined as a ...
17
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3answers
342 views

Which Babylonian tablets contains the list of squares and cubes?

The MacTutor History of Mathematics archive writes Two tablets found at Senkerah on the Euphrates in 1854 date from 2000 BC. They give squares of the numbers up to 59 and cubes of the numbers up ...
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2answers
2k views

What is the origin of the “wheat and chessboard” legend?

The "wheat and chessboard" fable describes a geometric problem that is often quoted in stories about the invention of chess. According to Wikipedia, the main theme of the fable is: When the ...
6
votes
1answer
311 views

Were the problems Fibonacci solved in his work “Flos” posed specifically for him?

According to Wikipedia, Fibonacci wrote "Flos", a work which contained solutions to problems posed by Johannes of Palermo. Did Johannes pose a challenge to all European mathematicians of the time, or ...
2
votes
1answer
425 views

Did the pope try to suppress the number zero?

What evidence exists to indicate that the Pope attempted to suppress the number zero? In an editorial review, Rob Lightner claims that "Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea", by Charles Seife, ...
12
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1answer
181 views

Was the State of Indiana's legislation changed to fix the value of Pi?

Is the following an anecdote? Mathematicians describe Pi as an irrational number, that is, a number that cannot be expressed as the ratio of any two integers. This was an irksome fact to the State ...
4
votes
1answer
389 views

Did Pythagoras visit Judaea, Arabia, and/or India?

From Wikipedia's page on Pythagoras: Diogenes Laertius reported that Pythagoras had undertaken extensive travels, and had visited not only Egypt, but Arabia, Phoenicia, Judaea, Babylon, and even ...
16
votes
1answer
312 views

What were tally sticks?

What were tally sticks, and how was it that they they worked for the economy? I understand that they were a form of currency and were of fixed value based on the notches, but how did they work as a ...
7
votes
1answer
358 views

How far into the past was significance ascribed to the Golden Ratio?

I think everyone knows about the golden ratio or the divine proportion (I got to know more about it after reading the wikipedia article on it). It's present everywhere in nature and also in the human ...
12
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2answers
407 views

Early history of prime numbers

Prime numbers are those whole numbers greater than 1 which cannot be written as a product of numbers greater than 1. I'm curious about their very early history, say 200 BC and earlier. What I know: ...
6
votes
1answer
147 views

Vigenere vs. Bellaso

I noticed on the Wikipedia article for the Vigenere cipher, that: The Vigenère (French pronunciation: [viʒnɛːʁ]) cipher has been reinvented many times. The method was originally described by ...