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Stanford University Student Attempts to Reconstruct History of Geometry Diagrams

Lee traced the changes in diagrams over the course of human history

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Geometry Diagrams
Various Geometry Solids. Pixabay
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  • New approach to this study made by Eunsoo Lee who is a PhD student in Classics at Stanford University
  • Lee was confused by the blind spot in the study of Elements which changed drastically over time after multiple copies and translations
  • His professor considered his project as unique and groundbreaking in the field of classics

June 26, 2017: Geometry diagrams and patterns have been with us for a very long time. Whether we liked it or not, we all had to make diagrams and read geometry books when we were in school. Now, researchers are trying to understand the geometric patterns through examinations of texts and writing which is also known as philology.

There is a new approach to this study made by Eunsoo Lee who is a PhD student in Classics at Stanford University by tracing the changes and variations in diagrams over the course of human history.

Lee examined the changes in diagrams used in a collection of 13 books on mathematical and geometry concepts called Elements, written by Euclid, an ancient Greek mathematician.

Lee first got to know about Elements during his mathematics undergraduate degree at Seoul National University. He said, “I was fascinated by its simple logic and structure.”

Reviel Netz, professor of classics said, “Until recently, no one has really examined the visual side of ancient science, you would try to recover the words that people said but you didn’t try to recover the visual impact, the images.”

Lee was confused by the blind spot in the study of Elements which changed drastically over time after multiple copies and translations. This became the basis of Lee’s project, which his professor considered as unique and groundbreaking in the field of classics.

Netz Said, “We’ve come to realise just how central images are to scientific thinking. You do one kind of science when you assume that diagrams are precise pictures, and you do a different kind of science when diagrams are assumed to be just rough sketches.”

Prepared by Sumit Balodi of NewsGram. Twitter: @sumit_balodi

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On National Mathematics Day, 10 amazing facts about Srinivasa Ramanujan

Srinivasa is credited with crucial contributions like infinite series, number theory, and continued fractions.

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Srinivasa Ramanujan was only second Indian to be offered fellowship in Royal Society.
Srinivasa Ramanujan was only second Indian to be offered fellowship in Royal Society.

NEW DELHI: Srinivasa Ramanujan is considered as one of the top mathematician gems ever lived in India. His extraordinary mind and unbeatable logics got him noticed by the mathematics scholar all over the world. He was born on 22 December 1887. He is credited with crucial contributions like infinite series, number theory, and continued fractions.

To get the better understanding of mathematics, he initiated a postal internship with an English mathematician, GH Hardy in 1913. Soon, Hardy was able to recognize the marvelous talent of Srinivasa and took him along to Cambridge University.

Following are some of the facts that sum up the works of Srinivasa Ramanujan:

1. Embarked his career on a Mathematics book
Srinivasa belonged to a very financially weak background and wasn’t in a position to buy books and copies. Thus, he borrowed a copy of Loney’s book on Plane Trigonometry, from one of his friends. This book was published by Cambridge University Press in 1894.

One other book which laid his sturdy foundation was ‘A Synopsis of Elementary Results in Pure and Applied Mathematics’. Both these books helped him to get through the basics of 20th-century mathematics.

2. Grew on his own skills
Srinivasa didn’t get any kind of support from anywhere and learned all the academic knowledge on his own. Many of his work was the result of his mere intuition. His these efforts helped him to be known as one of the great mathematicians of all times.

3. Honoured as a Fellow of the Royal Society
Srinivasa is one of the youngest fellows in the history of the Royal Society and the only second Indian to reach such heights. He achieved this feat when he was 31 years old in 1918.During his course of three years in fellowship, Srinivasa published more than 30 research papers. And also he worked on half a dozen research papers.

4. Authored 3,900 results by the age of 32
Srinivasa didn’t live long enough and his life journey was cut short at a very young age of 32 only. But he made full use of his time and compiled 3.900 results, mostly on identities and equations. Apart from this, his most memorable discovery in the mathematics field is The Infinite Series of Pi.

Srinivasan is regarded as an imminent mathematician for his work
Srinivasan is regarded as an imminent mathematician for his work

5. An exclusive museum dedicated to Srinivasa

There is a dedicated museum situated in Chennai, in the glorious memory of Srinivasa Ramanujan. The museum is decorated with many of his pictures along with his family members. Apart from that, the museum holds his many letters and life stories. The credit to laud his efforts goes to Late P.K. Srinivasan. He himself was an eminent mathematician.

6. December 22, is remembered as the National Mathematics Day
Srinivasa was born on December 22, and to immortalise his work in the field of math’s, this date is celebrated as the National Mathematics Day every year. He has been a tremendous inspiration to our many generations to come and will be remembered as a great mathematical scholar of India.

7. Mastered Loney’s Trigonometry by the age of 13
By the time Srinivasa turned 13, he had completed advanced Trigonometry by Loney’s and not only this but he also worked out on many complex theorems through his own logic. He is rightly considered as a child prodigy by many historians and scholars.

8. Earned his Ph.D. degree from Cambridge
After learning about Srinivasa’s ability in Maths, GH Hardy took him to Cambridge University. There is spelled his professors with his exceptional potential and knowledge. After devoting his full five years in Cambridge University, he was awarded his Ph.D. degree in mathematics.

9. Devotee of goddess Mahalakshmi
Srinivas was a very religious kind of person and staunchly believed in almighty. His personal favorite was goddess Mahalakshmi of Namakkal and credited her for all his achievements. He even said, “An equation for me has no meaning unless it expresses a thought of God.” Throughout his life, he followed a very strict vegetarian diet.

10. House turned into monument
Srinivas residence in Kumbakonam is now retained as the Srinivasa Ramanujan International monument. After his birth, his family along with him moved to this residence and hence it was the set of his official residence.