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Based on a series of lectures delivered at Cornell University in the fall of 1949, and since revised, this is the standard non-technical coverage of Egyptian and Babylonian mathematics and astronomy, and their transmission to the Hellenistic world. Entirely modern in its data and conclusions, it reveals the surprising sophistication of certain areas of early science, particularly Babylonian mathematics.
After a discussion of the number systems used in the ancient Near East (contrasting the Egyptian method of additive computations with unit fractions and Babylonian place values), Dr. Neugebauer covers Babylonian tables for numerical computation, approximations of the square root of 2 (with implications that the Pythagorean Theorem was known more than a thousand years before Pythagoras), Pythagorean numbers, quadratic equations with two unknowns, special cases of logarithms and various other algebraic and geometric cases. Babylonian strength in algebraic and numerical work reveals a level of mathematical development in many aspects comparable to the mathematics of the early Renaissance in Europe. This is in contrast to the relatively primitive Egyptian mathematics. In the realm of astronomy, too, Dr. Neugebauer describes an unexpected sophistication, which is interpreted less as the result of millennia of observations (as used to be the interpretation) than as a competent mathematical apparatus. The transmission of this early science and its further development in Hellenistic times is also described. An Appendix discusses certain aspects of Greek astronomy and the indebtedness of the Copernican system to Ptolemaic and Islamic methods.
Dr. Neugebauer has long enjoyed an international reputation as one of the foremost workers in the area of premodern science. Many of his discoveries have revolutionized earlier understandings. In this volume he presents a non-technical survey, with much material unique on this level, which can be read with great profit by all interested in the history of science or history of culture.
About the Author:
Otto Neugebauer: Exacting History
Neugebauer's The Exact Sciences in Antiquity became an instant unique classic of scientific literature when first published in 1951 in the United States and in Copenhagen where he had lived and worked for some years after having been forced out of Germany because of his opposition to National Socialism. At the start of World War II, Otto Neugebauer (1899–1990) left Europe for Brown University where he founded the History of Mathematics Department. Years later a colleague at Brown recalled Neugebauer's eloquent summary of the dark years in Germany: "If you never heard the sound of Nazi boots below you in the street, you cannot understand the history of the period."
In the 1980s he moved to the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He wrote several books and many articles in addition to The Exact Sciences in Antiquity. His monumental three-volume History of Ancient Mathematical Astronomy (1975) is the definitive work on the subject. Dover reprinted The Exact Sciences in Antiquity in 1969.
Critical Acclaim for Otto Neugebauer:
"Otto Neugebauer was the most original and productive scholar of the history of the exact sciences, perhaps of the history of science, of our age. He began as a mathematician, turned first to Egyptian and Babylonian mathematics, and then took up the history of mathematical astronomy, to which he afterward devoted the greatest part of his attention. In a career of sixty-five years, he to a great extent created our understanding of mathematical astronomy from Babylon and Egypt, through Greco-Roman antiquity, to India, Islam, and Europe of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Through his colleagues, students, and many readers, his influence on the study of the history of the exact sciences remains profound, even definitive." ― N. M. Swerdlow
Title: The Exact Sciences in Antiquity 2nd ed
Publication Date: 1957
Book Condition: Good
Book Description Brown University Press, Providence, 1957. hardcover. Condition: Good. 2d ed.. Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Seller Inventory # GRP31898245
Book Description Brown University Press, Providence, 1957. hardcover. Condition: Fair. 2d ed.. Shows definite wear, and perhaps considerable marking on inside. Seller Inventory # GRP91555420
Book Description Brown University Press, Providence, 1957. hardcover. Condition: Good. 2d ed.. Ships from Reno, NV. Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Seller Inventory # GRP95031990
Book Description Brown University Press, Providence, 1957. hardcover. Condition: Very Good. 2d ed.. Ships from Reno, NV. Former Library book. Great condition for a used book! Minimal wear. Seller Inventory # GRP95533546
Book Description Brown University Press, Providence, 1957. hardcover. Condition: Very Good. 2d ed.. Former Library book. Great condition for a used book! Minimal wear. Seller Inventory # GRP65534888
Book Description Brown University Press, Providence, 1957. hardcover. Condition: Good. 2d ed.. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Seller Inventory # GRP28666390
Book Description Brown, 1957. Condition: Good. A+ Customer service! Satisfaction Guaranteed! Book is in Used-Good condition. Pages and cover are clean and intact. Used items may not include supplementary materials such as CDs or access codes. May show signs of minor shelf wear and contain limited notes and highlighting. Seller Inventory # 0870570447-2-4
Book Description Brown University Press, Providence, RI, 1970. Hardcover. Condition: Near Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. Second edition. Second printing of second edition, 1970, hardcover with orange cloth boards in dust jacket, octavo, 240pp. + 14 b&w plates at rear. Book near fine with handsome boards and tight binding, previous owner's signature to front flyleaf, otherwise text clean and unmarked. DJ VG with sun to spine and front panel, bump to spine head, front flap price-clipped. Seller Inventory # B38953
Book Description Brown. Condition: Good. Ex-library, so some stamps and wear, but in good overall condition. Seller Inventory # Z1-C-067-00400
Book Description Brown, 1957. Hardcover. Condition: Used: Good. Seller Inventory # SONG0870570447