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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 become the focal-point of attempts to bring together the mathematical know-how of Greece, India and Babylonia.

(Episode two of the four-part series "The Story of Maths")

Sendetermine: The Genius of the East

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WDR Fernsehen

Di. 25.09.2018, 7:20h



11 - 13

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60 Minuten

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