Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Euclid's Element by Susan L.
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 also called axiom, propositions, and mathematical proofs of the propositions. The 13 books cover Euclidean geometry and the ancient Greek version of elementary number theory. The Elements is the oldest extant axiomatic deductive treatment of mathematics, and has proven instrumental in the development of logic and modern science. Euclid's Elements is the most successful textbook ever written. It was one of the very first works to be printed after the printing press was invented, and is second only to the Bible in number of editions published. It was used as the basic text on geometry throughout the Western world for about 2,000 years. For centuries, when the quadrivium was included in the curriculum of all university students, knowledge of at least part of Euclid's Elements was required of all students. Not until the 20th century did it cease to be considered something all educated people had read.