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Enlightening Symbols – A Short History of Mathematical Notation and Its Hidden Powers - Princeton Scholarship Online
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Enlightening Symbols: A Short History of Mathematical Notation and Its Hidden Powers

Joseph Mazur


While all of us regularly use basic mathematical symbols such as those for plus, minus, and equals, few of us know that many of these symbols weren't available before the sixteenth century. What did mathematicians rely on for their work before then? And how did mathematical notations evolve into what we know today? This book explains the fascinating history behind the development of our mathematical notation system. It shows how symbols were used initially, how one symbol replaced another over time, and how written math was conveyed before and after symbols became widely adopted. Traversing ma ... More

Keywords: notation, algebra, mathematics, symbols, number system, numerals

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2016 Print ISBN-13: 9780691173375
Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018 DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691173375.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Joseph Mazur, author
Marlboro College