Thursday, November 24, 2022

History of square root

When algebra was first developed the Arabic scholars used the term 'root' to describe the solutions to equations and this was directly translated into various European languages when the ideas were transferred.

The mathematical concept of square roots has been in existence for many thousands of years. No one knows who invented the square root, but it is thought that the knowledge of square roots originally came from dividing areas of land into equal parts so that the length of the side of a square became the square root of its area.

Babylonian clay tablets from 1900 to 1600 BC contain the squares and cubes of the integers 1 to 30 in Babylonian base 60 Akkadian notation. Whole number roots were specifically stated, while irrational roots were expressed in surprisingly accurate approximations.

The Babylonians and Greeks have been credited with the discovery of Heron’s method, the precursor of Newton’s iterative method, although Indian mathematicians are thought to have used a similar system around 800 BC.

The ancient Egyptians created the square root and most likely used it for architecture, building pyramids and other daily activities that required math.

The Rhind Mathematical Papyrus is a copy from 1650 BC of an earlier Berlin Papyrus and other texts, shows how the Egyptians extracted square roots by an inverse proportion method.

The Egyptian name for the square root was called the kenbet, and it looked like a right angle, similar to the current square root symbol. It is believed that the reason behind the right-angle shape was to depict that the square root was similar to the corner of box; it was the “root” of the area because it had equal lengths.

Hundreds of years later (somewhere between 900 and 400 BC), ancient Indian mathematicians used square roots in their work.

Chinese mathematical writings from around 200 BC show that square roots were being approximated using an excess and deficiency method.

It is the Middle Eastern mathematician al-Khwarizmi who developed currently familiar term root to denote a solution to a problem.

In 1450 AD Regiomontanus invented a symbol for a square root, written as an elaborate R. The square root symbol √ was first used in print in 1525.
History of square root

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