The Egyptians and Babylonians used all the elementary arithmetic operations as early as 2000 BC. Later Roman numerals, descended from tally marks used for counting. The continuous development of modern arithmetic starts with ancient Greece, although it originated much later than the Babylonian and Egyptian examples. Euclid is often credited as the first mathematician to separate study of arithmetic from philosophical and mystical beliefs. Greek numerals were used by Archimedes, Diophantus and others in a positional notation not very different from ours. The ancient Chinese had advanced arithmetic studies dating from the Shang Dynasty and continuing through the Tang Dynasty, from basic numbers to advanced algebra. The ancient Chinese used a positional notation similar to that of the Greeks. The gradual development of the Hindu–Arabic numeral system independently devised the place-value concept and positional notation, which combined the simpler methods for computations with a decimal base and the use of a digit representing zero (0). This allowed the system to consistently represent both large and small integers. This approach eventually replaced all other systems. In the Middle Ages, arithmetic was one of the seven liberal arts taught in universities. The flourishing of algebra in the medievalIslamic world and in RenaissanceEurope was an outgrowth of the enormous simplification of computation through decimal notation.
A cake with one quarter (one fourth) removed. The remaining three fourths are shown by dotted lines and labeled by the fraction 1/4
A fraction (from Latin: fractus, "broken") represents a part of a whole or, more generally, any number of equal parts. When spoken in everyday English, a fraction describes how many parts of a certain size there are, for example, one-half, eight-fifths, three-quarters. A common, vulgar, or simple fraction (examples: ${\tfrac {1}{2}}$ and ${\tfrac {17}{3}}$) consists of a numerator, displayed above a line (or before a slash like 1⁄2), and a non-zero denominator, displayed below (or after) that line. Numerators and denominators are also used in fractions that are not common, including compound fractions, complex fractions, and mixed numerals. (Full article...)
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The variable y is directly proportional to the variable x with proportionality constant ~0.6.
In mathematics, two sequences of numbers, often experimental data, are proportional or directly proportional if their corresponding elements have a constantratio, which is called the coefficient of proportionality or proportionality constant. Two sequences are inversely proportional if corresponding elements have a constant product, also called the coefficient of proportionality. (Full article...)
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The Riemann zeta function ζ(z) plotted with domain coloring.
In science, a multiple is the product of any quantity and an integer. In other words, for the quantities a and b, it can be said that b is a multiple of a if b = na for some integer n, which is called the multiplier. If a is not zero, this is equivalent to saying that $b/a$ is an integer. (Full article...)
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A Venn diagram showing the least common multiples of combinations of 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7 (6 is skipped as it is 2 × 3, both of which are already represented). For example, a card game which requires its cards to be divided equally among up to 5 players requires at least 60 cards, the number at the intersection of the 2, 3, 4, and 5 sets, but not the 7 set.
In arithmetic and number theory, the least common multiple, lowest common multiple, or smallest common multiple of two integersa and b, usually denoted by lcm(a, b), is the smallest positive integer that is divisible by both a and b. Since division of integers by zero is undefined, this definition has meaning only if a and b are both different from zero. However, some authors define lcm(a,0) as 0 for all a, since 0 is the only common multiple of a and 0. (Full article...)
The mode is the value that appears most often in a set of data values. If X is a discrete random variable, the mode is the value x (i.e, {{{1}}}) at which the probability mass function takes its maximum value. In other words, it is the value that is most likely to be sampled. (Full article...)
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Graphs of the result, y, of rounding x using different methods. For clarity, the graphs are shown displaced from integer y values. In the SVG file, hover over a method to highlight it and, in SMIL-enabled browsers, click to select or deselect it.
Rounding means replacing a number with an approximate value that has a shorter, simpler, or more explicit representation. For example, replacing $23.4476 with $23.45, the fraction 312/937 with 1/3, or the expression √2 with 1.414. (Full article...)
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Visualization of distributive law for positive numbers
The weighted arithmetic mean is similar to an ordinary arithmetic mean (the most common type of average), except that instead of each of the data points contributing equally to the final average, some data points contribute more than others. The notion of weighted mean plays a role in descriptive statistics and also occurs in a more general form in several other areas of mathematics. (Full article...)
A Venn diagram showing the least common multiples of combinations of 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7 (6 is skipped as it is 2 × 3, both of which are already represented). For example, a card game which requires its cards to be divided equally among up to 5 players requires at least 60 cards, the number at the intersection of the 2, 3, 4, and 5 sets, but not the 7 set.
In arithmetic and number theory, the least common multiple, lowest common multiple, or smallest common multiple of two integersa and b, usually denoted by lcm(a, b), is the smallest positive integer that is divisible by both a and b. Since division of integers by zero is undefined, this definition has meaning only if a and b are both different from zero. However, some authors define lcm(a,0) as 0 for all a, since 0 is the only common multiple of a and 0. (Full article...)
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An operation $\circ$ is commutative if and only if$x\circ y=y\circ x$ for each $x$ and $y$. This image illustrates this property with the concept of an operation as a "calculation machine". It doesn't matter for the output $x\circ y$ or $y\circ x$ respectively which order the arguments $x$ and $y$ have – the final outcome is the same.
In mathematics, a binary operation is commutative if changing the order of the operands does not change the result. It is a fundamental property of many binary operations, and many mathematical proofs depend on it. Most familiar as the name of the property that says something like "3 + 4 = 4 + 3" or "2 × 5 = 5 × 2", the property can also be used in more advanced settings. The name is needed because there are operations, such as division and subtraction, that do not have it (for example, "3 − 5 ≠ 5 − 3"); such operations are not commutative, and so are referred to as noncommutative operations. The idea that simple operations, such as the multiplication and addition of numbers, are commutative was for many years implicitly assumed. Thus, this property was not named until the 19th century, when mathematics started to become formalized. A corresponding property exists for binary relations; a binary relation is said to be symmetric if the relation applies regardless of the order of its operands; for example, equality is symmetric as two equal mathematical objects are equal regardless of their order. (Full article...)
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Cuisenaire rods: 5 (yellow) cannot be evenly divided in 2 (red) by any 2 rods of the same color/length, while 6 (dark green) can be evenly divided in 2 by 3 (lime green).
In mathematics, parity is the property of an integer of whether it is even or odd. An integer is even if it is a multiple of two, and odd if it is not. For example, −4, 0, 82 are even because
In mathematics, the sign of a real number is its property of being either positive, negative, or zero. Depending on local conventions, zero may be considered as being neither positive nor negative (having no sign or a unique third sign), or it may be considered both positive and negative (having both signs).^{[citation needed]} Whenever not specifically mentioned, this article adheres to the first convention. (Full article...)
In mathematics, a ratio indicates how many times one number contains another. For example, if there are eight oranges and six lemons in a bowl of fruit, then the ratio of oranges to lemons is eight to six (that is, 8:6, which is equivalent to the ratio 4:3). Similarly, the ratio of lemons to oranges is 6:8 (or 3:4) and the ratio of oranges to the total amount of fruit is 8:14 (or 4:7). (Full article...)
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A cake with one quarter (one fourth) removed. The remaining three fourths are shown by dotted lines and labeled by the fraction 1/4
A fraction (from Latin: fractus, "broken") represents a part of a whole or, more generally, any number of equal parts. When spoken in everyday English, a fraction describes how many parts of a certain size there are, for example, one-half, eight-fifths, three-quarters. A common, vulgar, or simple fraction (examples: ${\tfrac {1}{2}}$ and ${\tfrac {17}{3}}$) consists of a numerator, displayed above a line (or before a slash like 1⁄2), and a non-zero denominator, displayed below (or after) that line. Numerators and denominators are also used in fractions that are not common, including compound fractions, complex fractions, and mixed numerals. (Full article...)
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Cuisenaire rods: 5 (yellow) cannot be evenly divided in 2 (red) by any 2 rods of the same color/length, while 6 (dark green) can be evenly divided in 2 by 3 (lime green).
In mathematics, parity is the property of an integer of whether it is even or odd. An integer is even if it is a multiple of two, and odd if it is not. For example, −4, 0, 82 are even because
A prime number (or a prime) is a natural number greater than 1 that is not a product of two smaller natural numbers. A natural number greater than 1 that is not prime is called a composite number. For example, 5 is prime because the only ways of writing it as a product, 1 × 5 or 5 × 1, involve 5 itself. However, 4 is composite because it is a product (2 × 2) in which both numbers are smaller than 4. Primes are central in number theory because of the fundamental theorem of arithmetic: every natural number greater than 1 is either a prime itself or can be factorized as a product of primes that is unique up to their order. (Full article...)
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The reciprocal function: y = 1/x. For every x except 0, y represents its multiplicative inverse. The graph forms a rectangular hyperbola.
In mathematics, a multiplicative inverse or reciprocal for a number x, denoted by 1/x or x^{−1}, is a number which when multiplied by x yields the multiplicative identity, 1. The multiplicative inverse of a fractiona/b is b/a. For the multiplicative inverse of a real number, divide 1 by the number. For example, the reciprocal of 5 is one fifth (1/5 or 0.2), and the reciprocal of 0.25 is 1 divided by 0.25, or 4. The reciprocal function, the functionf(x) that maps x to 1/x, is one of the simplest examples of a function which is its own inverse (an involution). (Full article...)
General images
The following are images from various arithmetic-related articles on Wikipedia.
Image 1A cake with one quarter (one fourth) removed. The remaining three fourths are shown by dotted lines and labeled by the fraction 1/4 (from Fraction)
Image 2If ${\tfrac {1}{2}}$ of a cake is to be added to ${\tfrac {1}{4}}$ of a cake, the pieces need to be converted into comparable quantities, such as cake-eighths or cake-quarters. (from Fraction)
Image 4Cycles of the unit digit of multiples of integers ending in 1, 3, 7 and 9 (upper row), and 2, 4, 6 and 8 (lower row) on a telephone keypad (from Multiplication table)
Image 5The Ishango bone, found near Lake Edward, possibly displaying a numbering system from more than 20,000 years ago. (from History of arithmetic)
Image 7Multiplication table from 1 to 10 drawn to scale with the upper-right half labeled with prime factorisations (from Multiplication table)
Image 8The symbols for each basic elementary operations. Starting from the top-left going clockwise, is addition, division, multiplication, and subtraction. (from Elementary arithmetic)
Image 9Arithmetics. Pinturikkyo's list. Borgia's apartments. 1492 — 1495. Rome, Vatican palaces (from History of arithmetic)
Image 10A scale calibrated in imperial units with an associated cost display. (from Arithmetic)
Brahmagupta was the first to give rules to compute with zero. The texts composed by Brahmagupta were in elliptic verse in Sanskrit, as was common practice in Indian mathematics. As no proofs are given, it is not known how Brahmagupta's results were derived.
In 628 CE, Brahmagupta first described gravity as an attractive force, and used the term "gurutvākarṣaṇam (गुरुत्वाकर्षणम्)]" in Sanskrit to describe it. (Full article...)
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A stamp of Zhang Heng issued by China Post in 1955
Zhang Heng began his career as a minor civil servant in Nanyang. Eventually, he became Chief Astronomer, Prefect of the Majors for Official Carriages, and then Palace Attendant at the imperial court. His uncompromising stance on historical and calendrical issues led to his becoming a controversial figure, preventing him from rising to the status of Grand Historian. His political rivalry with the palace eunuchs during the reign of Emperor Shun (r. 125–144) led to his decision to retire from the central court to serve as an administrator of Hejian Kingdom in present-day Hebei. Zhang returned home to Nanyang for a short time, before being recalled to serve in the capital once more in 138. He died there a year later, in 139.
Zhang applied his extensive knowledge of mechanics and gears in several of his inventions. He invented the world's first water-poweredarmillary sphere to assist astronomical observation; improved the inflow water clock by adding another tank; and invented the world's first seismoscope, which discerned the cardinal direction of an earthquake 500 km (310 mi) away. He improved previous Chinese calculations for pi. In addition to documenting about 2,500 stars in his extensive star catalog, Zhang also posited theories about the Moon and its relationship to the Sun: specifically, he discussed the Moon's sphericity, its illumination by reflected sunlight on one side and the hidden nature of the other, and the nature of solar and lunareclipses. His fu (rhapsody) and shi poetry were renowned in his time and studied and analyzed by later Chinese writers. Zhang received many posthumous honors for his scholarship and ingenuity; some modern scholars have compared his work in astronomy to that of the Greco-Roman Ptolemy (AD 86–161). (Full article...)
Al-Khwarizmi's popularizing treatise on algebra (The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing, c. 813–833 CE) presented the first systematic solution of linear and quadratic equations. One of his principal achievements in algebra was his demonstration of how to solve quadratic equations by completing the square, for which he provided geometric justifications. Because he was the first to treat algebra as an independent discipline and introduced the methods of "reduction" and "balancing" (the transposition of subtracted terms to the other side of an equation, that is, the cancellation of like terms on opposite sides of the equation), he has been described as the father or founder of algebra. The term algebra itself comes from the title of his book (the word al-jabr meaning "completion" or "rejoining"). His name gave rise to the terms algorism and algorithm, as well as Spanish, Italian and Portuguese terms algoritmo, and Spanish guarismo and Portuguesealgarismo meaning "digit".
In addition to his best-known works, he revised Ptolemy's Geography, listing the longitudes and latitudes of various cities and localities. He further produced a set of astronomical tables and wrote about calendaric works, as well as the astrolabe and the sundial. He also made important contributions to trigonometry, producing accurate sine and cosine tables, and the first table of tangents. (Full article...)
Ibn al-Haytham was an early proponent of the concept that a hypothesis must be supported by experiments based on confirmable procedures or mathematical evidence—an early pioneer in the scientific method five centuries before Renaissance scientists. On account of this, he is sometimes described as the world's "first true scientist". He was also a polymath, writing on philosophy, theology and medicine.
Born in Basra, he spent most of his productive period in the Fatimid capital of Cairo and earned his living authoring various treatises and tutoring members of the nobilities. Ibn al-Haytham is sometimes given the bynameal-Baṣrī after his birthplace, or al-Miṣrī ("the Egyptian"). Al-Haytham was dubbed the "Second Ptolemy" by Abu'l-Hasan Bayhaqi and "The Physicist" by John Peckham. Ibn al-Haytham paved the way for the modern science of physical optics. (Full article...)
Since the discovery and publication of his work by European scholars in the nineteenth century, Pāṇini has been considered the "first descriptive linguist", and even labelled as “the father of linguistics”.
Several of his works were plagiarised from Piero della Francesca, in what has been called "probably the first full-blown case of plagiarism in the history of mathematics". (Full article...)
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Posthumous portrait of Thales by Wilhelm Meyer, based on a bust from the 4th century
Thales is recognized for breaking from the use of mythology to explain the world and the universe, instead explaining natural objects and phenomena by offering naturalistictheories and hypotheses. Almost all the other pre-Socratic philosophers followed him in explaining nature as deriving from a unity of everything based on the existence of a single ultimate substance instead of using mythological explanations. Aristotle regarded him as the founder of the Ionian School of philosophy, and reported Thales' hypothesis that the originating principle of nature and the nature of matter was a single material substance: water.
Hero published a well-recognized description of a steam-powered device called an aeolipile (sometimes called a "Hero engine"). Among his most famous inventions was a windwheel, constituting the earliest instance of wind harnessing on land. He is said to have been a follower of the atomists. In his work Mechanics, he described pantographs. Some of his ideas were derived from the works of Ctesibius.
In mathematics he is mostly remembered for Heron's formula, a way to calculate the area of a triangle using only the lengths of its sides.
Much of Hero's original writings and designs have been lost, but some of his works were preserved including in manuscripts from the Eastern Roman Empire and to a lesser extent, in Latin or Arabic translations. (Full article...)
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Etching of an ancient seal identified as Eratosthenes. Philipp Daniel Lippert, Dactyliothec, 1767.
He is best known for being the first person known to calculate the circumference of the Earth, which he did by using the extensive survey results he could access in his role at the Library; his calculation was remarkably accurate. He was also the first to calculate Earth's axial tilt, which also proved to have remarkable accuracy. He created the first global projection of the world, incorporating parallels and meridians based on the available geographic knowledge of his era.
Eratosthenes was the founder of scientific chronology; he endeavoured to revise the dates of the main events of the semi-mythological Trojan War, dating the Sack of Troy to 1183 BC. In number theory, he introduced the sieve of Eratosthenes, an efficient method of identifying prime numbers.
He was a figure of influence in many fields who yearned to understand the complexities of the entire world. His devotees nicknamed him Pentathlos after the Olympians who were well rounded competitors, for he had proven himself to be knowledgeable in every area of learning. Yet, according to an entry in the Suda (a 10th-century encyclopedia), some critics scorned him, calling him Beta (the second letter of the Greek alphabet) because he always came in second in all his endeavours. (Full article...)
Pythagoras of Samos (Ancient Greek: Πυθαγόρας ὁ Σάμιος, romanized: Pythagóras ho Sámios, lit. 'Pythagoras the Samian', or simply Πυθαγόρας; Πυθαγόρης in Ionian Greek; c. 570 – c. 495 BC) was an ancient IonianGreek philosopher and the eponymous founder of Pythagoreanism. His political and religious teachings were well known in Magna Graecia and influenced the philosophies of Plato, Aristotle, and, through them, the West in general. Knowledge of his life is clouded by legend, but he appears to have been the son of Mnesarchus, a gem-engraver on the island of Samos. Modern scholars disagree regarding Pythagoras's education and influences, but they do agree that, around 530 BC, he travelled to Croton in southern Italy, where he founded a school in which initiates were sworn to secrecy and lived a communal, ascetic lifestyle. This lifestyle entailed a number of dietary prohibitions, traditionally said to have included vegetarianism, although modern scholars doubt that he ever advocated complete vegetarianism.
The teaching most securely identified with Pythagoras is metempsychosis, or the "transmigration of souls", which holds that every soul is immortal and, upon death, enters into a new body. He may have also devised the doctrine of musica universalis, which holds that the planets move according to mathematicalequations and thus resonate to produce an inaudible symphony of music. Scholars debate whether Pythagoras developed the numerological and musical teachings attributed to him, or if those teachings were developed by his later followers, particularly Philolaus of Croton. Following Croton's decisive victory over Sybaris in around 510 BC, Pythagoras's followers came into conflict with supporters of democracy and Pythagorean meeting houses were burned. Pythagoras may have been killed during this persecution, or escaped to Metapontum, where he eventually died.
In antiquity, Pythagoras was credited with many mathematical and scientific discoveries, including the Pythagorean theorem, Pythagorean tuning, the five regular solids, the Theory of Proportions, the sphericity of the Earth, and the identity of the morning and evening stars as the planet Venus. It was said that he was the first man to call himself a philosopher ("lover of wisdom") and that he was the first to divide the globe into five climatic zones. Classical historians debate whether Pythagoras made these discoveries, and many of the accomplishments credited to him likely originated earlier or were made by his colleagues or successors. Some accounts mention that the philosophy associated with Pythagoras was related to mathematics and that numbers were important, but it is debated to what extent, if at all, he actually contributed to mathematics or natural philosophy.
Pythagoras influenced Plato, whose dialogues, especially his Timaeus, exhibit Pythagorean teachings. Pythagorean ideas on mathematical perfection also impacted ancient Greek art. His teachings underwent a major revival in the first century BC among Middle Platonists, coinciding with the rise of Neopythagoreanism. Pythagoras continued to be regarded as a great philosopher throughout the Middle Ages and his philosophy had a major impact on scientists such as Nicolaus Copernicus, Johannes Kepler, and Isaac Newton. Pythagorean symbolism was used throughout early modern European esotericism, and his teachings as portrayed in Ovid's Metamorphoses influenced the modern vegetarian movement. (Full article...)
Very little is known of Euclid's life, and most information comes from the philosophers Proclus and Pappus of Alexandria many centuries later. Until the early Renaissance he was often mistaken for the earlier philosopher Euclid of Megara, causing his biography to be substantially revised. It is generally agreed that he spent his career under Ptolemy I in Alexandria and lived around 300 BCE, after Plato and before Archimedes. There is some speculation that Euclid was a student of the Platonic Academy. Euclid is often regarded as bridging between the earlier Platonic tradition in Athens with the later tradition of Alexandria.
In the Elements, Euclid deduced the theorems from a small set of axioms. He also wrote works on perspective, conic sections, spherical geometry, number theory, and mathematical rigour. In addition to the Elements, Euclid wrote a central early text in the optics field, Optics, and lesser-known works including Data and Phaenomena. Euclid's authorship of two other texts—On Divisions of Figures, Catoptrics—has been questioned. He is thought to have written many now lost works. (Full article...)
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An imaginary rendition of Al Biruni on a 1973 Soviet postage stamp
Al-Biruni was well versed in physics, mathematics, astronomy, and natural sciences, and also distinguished himself as a historian, chronologist, and linguist. He studied almost all the sciences of his day and was rewarded abundantly for his tireless research in many fields of knowledge. Royalty and other powerful elements in society funded Al-Biruni's research and sought him out with specific projects in mind. Influential in his own right, Al-Biruni was himself influenced by the scholars of other nations, such as the Greeks, from whom he took inspiration when he turned to the study of philosophy. A gifted linguist, he was conversant in Khwarezmian, Persian, Arabic, Sanskrit, and also knew Greek, Hebrew, and Syriac. He spent much of his life in Ghazni, then capital of the Ghaznavids, in modern-day central-eastern Afghanistan. In 1017 he travelled to the Indian subcontinent and wrote a treatise on Indian culture entitled Tārīkh al-Hind (History of India), after exploring the Hindu faith practiced in India. He was, for his time, an admirably impartial writer on the customs and creeds of various nations, his scholarly objectivity earning him the title al-Ustadh ("The Master") in recognition of his remarkable description of early 11th-century India. (Full article...)
Cardano partially invented and described several mechanical devices including the combination lock, the gimbal consisting of three concentric rings allowing a supported compass or gyroscope to rotate freely, and the Cardan shaft with universal joints, which allows the transmission of rotary motion at various angles and is used in vehicles to this day. He made significant contributions to hypocycloids, published in De proportionibus, in 1570. The generating circles of these hypocycloids were later named Cardano circles or cardanic circles and were used for the construction of the first high-speed printing presses.