The Story of Maths
07:20 - 08:20
The Genius of the East
The Mayans devised an incredibly accurate calendar. Their calculation of the lunar month varies by just 0.0004 of a day from the value accepted by astronomers today. In China, in around 200 BC, the Han Dynasty encouraged scholars to compile a book known as The Nine Chapters, which attempted to recover and preserve forever the lost teachings of the Chinese mathematicians of antiquity. The text is dedicated to solving practical, real-world problems; how to divide land or goods and how to manage building works. India was the first civilisation to develop a number system with a special symbol to represent zero - one of the great landmarks in the development of mathematics. Aryabhata, (476-550 AD) produced a method for finding the value of Pi which generates its true value more accurately than any other contemporary method. In the 7th Century AD, a new regime was established, with its centre at Baghdad, which aimed to become the world's greatest intellectual powerhouse. They founded a new centre for learning, called The House of Wisdom, which became the focal-point of attempts to bring together the mathematical know-how of Greece, India and Babylonia.
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