Mind Maps | Mathematics & Computer Science | Euclid's Elements | Book I

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Euclid's Elements, Book I

Euclid's Elements is a mathematical and geometric treatise, consisting of 13 books, written by the Hellenistic mathematician Euclid in Alexandria circa 300 BC. It comprises a collection of definitions, postulates (axioms), propositions (theorems and constructions), and proofs of the theorems. The 13 books cover Euclidean geometry and the ancient Greek version of elementary number theory.

The Elements form one of the most beautiful and influential works of science in the history of humankind. Its beauty lies in its logical development of geometry and other branches of mathematics. It has influenced all branches of science but none so much as mathematics and the exact sciences. The Elements have been studied 24 centuries in many languages starting, of course, in the original Greek, then in Arabic, Latin, and many modern languages.

Euclid's Book I begins with 23 definitions — such as point, line, and surface — followed by five postulates and five "common notions" (both of which are today called axioms). These are the foundation of all that follows.

 


 

The frontispiece of Sir Henry Billingsley's first English version of Euclid's Elements, 1570

 

The Elements: Books I-XIII (Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading)

 

by Euclid, Thomas L. Heath (Translator), Andrew Aberdein (Introduction)
(Paperback - Complete and Unabridged)

Euclid's Elements is a fundamental landmark of mathematical achievement. Firstly, it is a compendium of the principal mathematical work undertaken in classical Greece, for which in many cases no other source survives. Secondly, it is a model of organizational clarity which has had a deep influence on the way almost all subsequent mathematical research has been conducted. Thirdly, it is the most successful textbook ever written, only seriously challenged as an account of elementary geometry in the nineteenth century, more than two thousand years after its first publication.

Euclid reportedly lived some time between the death of Plato (427-347 BC) and the birth of Archimedes (287-212 BC). He most likely learned mathematics at Plato's Academy in Athens and taught at Alexandria in Egypt. Scholars believe Euclid was hired as one of the original faculty at a school of advanced study, patterned after those in Athens, and known as the Museum.

 

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