The Story of Maths - The Genius of the East

The Story of Maths - The Genius of the East

Our ordinary conception of the history of maths (did I just sound British?) is that it started in Egypt and Babylon, got perfected in Greece, and then very little happened for centuries until Europeans took the baton and got things going again. And now we bestow all kinds of honors and accolades upon a bunch of dead white men for their incredible contributions.

What we normally fail to realize, however, and as the following documentary nicely shows is that while we in the West fell asleep at the wheel for many centuries, various cultures in the East were laying down the foundations and developing intellectual advances without which those dead white Europeans could not have made their remarkable discoveries, at least those that hadn't already been made by our Eastern brethren...

I was surprised and charmed by many of these stories, and if you're as ignorant and curious as me, I think you'll enjoy the show too :)

If the story of using trigonometry to calculate the ratio of our distance to the sun relative to our distance to the moon reminded you of Eratosthenes measuring the circumference of the Earth, check out Carl Sagan relating that awesome story.

And if the Palace of Wisdom whet your appetite, check out the lovely Bethanny Hughes narrate the fantastic documentary When the Moors Ruled Europe.

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