Chinese Mathematics


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You may have already read something about Greek mathematics and its development since Thales’ invention of deductive reasoning. Unlike the Greeks, Chinese developed their mathematics in relation to the problems of everyday life - their most famous work on mathematics Jiuzhang suanshu or Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art is a tribute to this practical approach to mathematics in general.

The oldest known, complete, Chinese mathematical text is a work on astronomy, which shows how to measure the positions of the heavenly bodies by using sun-dials of a kind. For us, it seems, the most important piece of mathematics contained in this work, which is called Zhoubi suanjing, is the fact that it contains one of the earliest records of Pythagoras’ Theorem (Zhoubi suanjing dates to the period between 100BC and 100AD).

The Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art are also described on these pages.

Chinese introduced this practical mathematics as a necessary knowledge for civil servants as early as 600AD. The mathematical syllabus that was the basis for the examination consisted of ten, now most famous, Chinese mathematical texts. Both of the texts mentioned above were part of this syllabus.

Chinese mathematics is still very much based on their own tradition.



See other famous ancient nations and their mathematics.

See the famous places from the history of mathematics.

Famous mathematicians can be seen here.

See some famous mathematical children.


Or just climb the mathematical tree and see what branch you end up on.


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