How Mathematics Happened, by Peter S Rudman


By Matthew Killeya RUDMAN charts the evolution of mathematics from early hunter-gatherer cultures to the civilisations of ancient Egypt and Babylon. He also looks at how a poor understanding of maths has led historians to false conclusions about the mathematical sophistication of early societies. Rudman’s final observation – that ancient Greece enjoyed unrivalled progress in the subject while failing to teach it at school – leads to a radical punch line:
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