I finished reading this book:

Number, about the history of numbers as we know it from ancient civilizations until current times. I read this in Arabic. The book is published in 1991, so it is way before more advancement in technology, as far as computer goes. So some of the figures in the book are not quite adequate by current standards. Anyway, the part about the computer at the end was very boring and deosn't compare to the evolution of mathematics. After reading the book I felt an urge to reread our school math books and refresh my memory, knowing that I got a complete score in math in بكالوريا, which I am very proud of.

So the book starts with talking about numbers and math in different civilizations. The main concept is that learning or discovering math is a sequel of needs, and not of mere mental masturbation. i.e the need to make calendars, fortell fortune and prepare for armies, and sometimes calculating what days should the emperor court his "women".

__American Indians:__ had no good concept of the numbers due to the fact that they had no calendars, coins, or a stable built civilization. The Incas in South America used ropes with knots for counting and used their ability to memorize to differentiate units of numbers. They used the decimal system (and this apparently is due to us having ten digits)

__Sumarians:__ They used a system of 60 order (not 10), they had no zero (which is by the way taken from the word Sifr صفر in Arabic). Using the 60 system gave them the advantage of ease of calculating as 60 has many factors.

__Babylonians:__ took over the Sumarian and used pre-made tables for calculations. The need for setting calendars for religious feasts and events improved the development of math.

__Egyptians:__ in Egypt there was no currency!!! That apparently affected math development. And they used no zero. But the math developed apparently to be used in governmental issues. Most of what is known is after a papyrus called Rhind written by an EgyptiAn named Amus. They used the decimal system and improved math tables. The need for detecting when the Nile floods was important in developing Astronomy and math too. They started the 24 hour a day system, and used fractions.

__China:__ They had 5 ways of writing numbers, and used the decimal system. They also had the zero concept, and it seems this dates to before the Arabs. They figured the solutions for معادلات من مجهولين (I don't know the English name but it is an x,y formula). The Chinese emperor had in addition to the Empress 140 females in his palace, and he had to sleep with all of them twice a month!!! (I don't know if he had time for running the empire) and for this they developed a good math and astronomy system because in every time he "sleeps" there would be "orgasm recorders" because this exact time dictates the zodiac sign of a baby. They even solved math formula of the thenth order.

__Greece:__ They used the decimal system with no zero. Pythagores thought that math is the way to perfection. They didn't consider 1 or 2 as numbers because a number means more than one, and two was the start of even number so it wasn't counted either. The Pythagorians thought the number 10 was sacred (=1+2+3+4) and they swore by it. They had a system that divieded numbers to: even-even, even-odd, odd-even, and odd-odd.

Euclids (I hope the spelling is right) إقليدس composed the book: Elements, which was considered a sacred book for 2000 years in math and geometry.

__India:__ Used the decimal system, and used the zero sign. They are the first to discover the field of trigonometry. Math was considered of religious teaching, and they had 5 kinds of infinity.

__Mayans:__ used the 20 system (in relation to fingers and digits apparently), and used the zero.

__Arabs:__ Al-Khawarizmi الخوارزمي (680-750) was the reason of introducing the numbers 0-9 to Europe in its current way (the numbers are called by the way Arabic), he has the Algebra book (thus the name of the science). The book contained teaching in the math operations (adding...) and the negative number concept.

Omar Al-Khayam (known for his poems الرباعيات) also had he go in math especially analytic geometry and algebra.

__Europe:__Napier (1550-1617) opposed the papal domination and discovered the decimal point (or comma الفاصلة العشرية). discovered Logarithms and made log tables that were used until 1960's

Newton: made advancement in differential calculus (حساب تفاضلي)

Babbage: created the difference machine (may not be the right naming). and wrote what is the first computing program in addition to creating the first calculator. he also created the distance counter (used till now in cars...).

Boole: added to differential and integral calculus, in addition to algebra (logic) where the use of AND, OR, and NOT is applied. Although it is not mentioned in the book but the first thing that struck my mind is that this is what I use in internet searching. But of course, this is called the

__Boolean serach.__Turing: is the creator of the first electronic computer machine.

One funny thing I read is about this guy called

Zeno who had this weird math concepts. One is the following:

If an arrow was shot in the air it will arrive to point A. The arrow cannot move unless it was in a certain place first (in order for the arrow to move in a place it had to be it it first of all). Then the arrow cannot be moving in the place it is in because then it will not be in the place. so the arrow cannot move. :)

This reminds me of another story: if you want to go from A to B you have to move half the way, then you have to move have again from the last point to B, the half the way again from the previous point to B. And becasue the is an infinite number of "half-ways" you will never be able to reach B.

Neat isn't it

Anyway, this is another example how we take things for granted. The simple multiplying calculation we use machines to do, or use a pencil to calculate the number quickly, took others tens of years of thinking to make this possible. So a big salut to them.

*(we were told this story at school, but after some research it looked that it is a Zeno idea, see the above link)*