- Book on Numbers and Computation
The "Suàn shù shū" (算數書), or the "Book on Numbers and Computation" (also as "Writings on Reckoning"), [Dauben (2004), 151.] is the earliest known Chinese mathematical treatise. It was written during the early Western
Han Dynasty, sometime between 202 BCand 186 BC.Liu et al. (2003), 9.]
The text was found in tomb M247 of the burial grounds near
Zhangjiashan, Jiangling County, in Hubeiprovince excavated in 1984. This tomb belonged to an anonymous civil servant in early West Han dynasty. In the tomb were 1200 bamboo strips written in ink. Originally the strips were bound together with string, but the string had rotted away and it took Chinese scholars 17 years to piece together the strips. As well as the mathematical work the strips covered government statutes, law reports and therapeutic gymnastics.
The Suàn shù shū consists of 200 strips of
bamboowritten in ink, 180 strips are intact, the others have rotted. They consist of 69 mathematical problems from a variety of sources, two names Mr Wáng and Mr Yáng were found, probably two of the writers. Each problem has a question, an answer, followed by a method. The problems cover elementary arithmetic; fractions;inverse proportion; factorization of number; geometric progressions, in particular interest ratecalculations and handling of errors; conversion between different units; the false position methodfor finding roots and the extraction of approximate square roots; calculation of the volumeof various 3-dimensional shapes; relative dimensions of a square and its inscribed circle; Calculation of unknown side of rectangle, given area and one side. All the calculations about circumference and area of circle are approximate, equivalent to taking π = 3. Calculations of pi were made more accurate with the work of Liu Xin(c. 46 BC – 23 AD), Zhang Heng(78–139 AD), Liu Hui(fl. 3rd century AD), and Zu Chongzhi(429–500).
Prior to discovery the oldest Chinese mathematical text were the
Chou Pei Suan Chingand the " The Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art" which dates from around 100CE. Many topics are covered in both texts, however, error correction problems only appear in the Suàn shù shū, and the last two chapter of the nine chapters have no corresponding material in the Suàn shù shū.
The text has been translated to English by
Christopher Cullendirector of the Needham Research Institute.
* Christopher Cullen, "The Suàn shù shū Image, “Writings on reckoning”: Rewriting the history of early Chinese mathematics in the light of an excavated manuscript", Historia Mathematica, in Press (2006). [http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6WG9-4JMKWR7-1&_user=1495569&_handle=V-WA-A-W-BA-MsSAYWW-UUA-U-AACCUWEABW-AACWZUEEBW-EYYEBACBB-BA-U&_fmt=summary&_coverDate=04%2F03%2F2006&_rdoc=12&_orig=browse&_srch=%23toc%236817%239999%23999999999%2399999!&_cdi=6817&view=c&_acct=C000053194&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=1495569&md5=dd947333736a794d8f3ce0df7e358214]
*Dauben, Joseph W. (2004). "The Suan Shu Shu (A Book on Numbers and Computation), A Preliminary Investigation" in "Form, Zahl, Ordnung", 151–168. München: Franz Steiner Verlag. ISBN 3515085254.
* Guilin Liu, Lisheng Feng, Airong Jiang, and Xiaohui Zheng. (2003). The Development of E-mathematics Resources at Tsinghua University Library (THUL)," in "Electronic Information and Communication in Mathematics", 1–13. Edited by Fengshen Bai and Bernd Wegner. Berlin: Springer. ISBN 3540406891.
* Stephanie Pain, "Histories: China's oldest mathematical puzzles",
New Scientist, 30 July 2006. [http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19125621.800.html]
* Péng Hào, "Zhāngjiāshān Hànjiǎn "Suàn shù shū" zhùshì (The Hàn dynasty book on wooden strips "Suàn shù shū" found at Zhāngjiāshān with a commentary and explanation)" Beijing, Science Press, (2001).
Wu Wenjuned, Zhong Guo Shu Xue Shi Da Xi(The Grand Series of History of Chinese Mathematics) vol 1, chapter 2, "Suan Shu Shu". ISBN 7-303-04555-4
* [http://www.nri.org.uk/suanshushu.html Full text of book]
Needham Research Institute
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Society and culture of the Han Dynasty — A Western Han jade carved door knocker with designs of Chinese dragons (and two other jade figurines) The Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE) was a period of ancient China divided by the Western Han (206 BCE – 9 CE) and Eastern Han (25–220 CE) periods … Wikipedia
Luxuriant Dew of the Spring and Autumn Annals — The Luxuriant Dew of the Spring and Autumn Annals (Chinese: 春秋繁露; pinyin: Chūnqiū Fánlòu; Wade–Giles: Ch unch iu Fanlou) is one of the work that has survived to the present that was attributed to Dong Zhongshu, but compilation might had lasted… … Wikipedia
Three Lords and Nine Ministers — The Three Lords and Nine Ministers system (Chinese: 三公九卿) was a central administrative system adopted in ancient China that was officially instituted in Qin Dynasty (221 BC 206 BC) and was replaced by the Three Departments and Six Ministries… … Wikipedia
Eigenvalues and eigenvectors — For more specific information regarding the eigenvalues and eigenvectors of matrices, see Eigendecomposition of a matrix. In this shear mapping the red arrow changes direction but the blue arrow does not. Therefore the blue arrow is an… … Wikipedia
Greek arithmetic, geometry and harmonics: Thales to Plato — Ian Mueller INTRODUCTION: PROCLUS’ HISTORY OF GEOMETRY In a famous passage in Book VII of the Republic starting at Socrates proposes to inquire about the studies (mathēmata) needed to train the young people who will become leaders of the ideal… … History of philosophy
Timeline of Islamic science and engineering — This timeline of Islamic science and engineering covers the general development of science and technology in the Islamic world during the Islamic Golden Age, usually dated from the 7th to 16th centuries.From the 17th century onwards, the advances … Wikipedia
Mathematics and Physical Sciences — ▪ 2003 Introduction Mathematics Mathematics in 2002 was marked by two discoveries in number theory. The first may have practical implications; the second satisfied a 150 year old curiosity. Computer scientist Manindra Agrawal of the… … Universalium
Eigenvalue, eigenvector and eigenspace — In mathematics, given a linear transformation, an Audio|De eigenvector.ogg|eigenvector of that linear transformation is a nonzero vector which, when that transformation is applied to it, changes in length, but not direction. For each eigenvector… … Wikipedia
Demographic estimates of the flight and expulsion of Germans — Flight and expulsion of Germans during and after World War II (demographic estimates) Background … Wikipedia
numerals and numeral systems — ▪ mathematics Introduction a collection of symbols used to represent small numbers, together with a system of rules for representing larger numbers. Just as the first attempts at writing came long after the development of speech, so… … Universalium