Mathematics From the Birth of Numbers

How much do I want to read more? 8/10

This massive book is a really interesting and in-depth entry into the wonder of the mathematic's world.
I didn't read any like this one. Who knew old english had more than two plural forms (I, we, plus I and you).

Foreword: Mathematics in Our Culture

The author is, by profession, a medical man, but he has a love of mathematics and wants others to share his enthusiasm.

Just as an appreciation of music is all-mark of the educated person, so should be an appreciation of mathematics.


1.0 The origins of reckoning

Without words there is no possibility of reckoning.

-- Thomas Hobbes

Hunting and gathering people can count to as many as six by combining numbers like this:

  1. One
  2. Two
  3. Two-one (Three)
  4. Two-two (One-three)
  5. Two-two-one (Two-three)
  6. Two-two-two (Three-three)

They refer to anything beyond six as many, much or plenty.

Dual, Trial, Quadrual

In many languages nouns and pronouns had more than two forms of numbers, up to five.

In Sanskrit, nouns had three forms: singular, dual, and plural.

Whereas moden english lack dual forms in nouns, old english had dual forms.

1.1 Numbers and numerals

Who knoweth not the names, knoweth not the subject.

-- Carl Von Linné, Critica Botanica (1737)