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MathHistory6b: Polynomial equations (cont.)

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Uploaded on Apr 10, 2011

We now move to the Golden age of European mathematics: the period 1500-1900 in this course on the History of Mathematics. We discuss hurdles that the Europeans faced before this time and how they emerged, with the help of Arab algebra and translations of Greek works, to harness the Hindu-Arabic number system and a host of novel symbols including Vieta's new use of letters to represent unknowns to tackle new problems.

Quadratic equations had been solved by almost all earlier mathematical civilizations; cubic equations was a natural step, taken by Tartaglia and Cardano and others. Tartaglia also discovered a formula for the volume of a tetrahedron, and Vieta a trigonometric way of solving cubics.

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