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Earliest math document discovered in China

PTI | Last Updated: Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - 21:37

Beijing: In a major find, China`s earliest mathematics document, dating back to over 2,200 years ago and inscribed on bamboo slips has been discovered, archaeologists announced here today.

The document consists of a mathematical method from the Warring States Period (475-221 BC), according to Li Xueqin, head of the Research and Conservation Center for Excavated Texts of Tsinghua University here.

The unearthed document provides a method for the multiplication of any two whole numbers under 100 and certain fractions, said Li, a well-known historian.
The document is the earliest of its kind discovered so far and has filled in a historical blank for math documents prior to the Qin Dynasty (221 BC - 206 BC), the official Xinhua news agency quoted Guo Shuchun, director of the Chinese Society of the History of Mathematics as saying.

It is older and had greater calculating functions than other ancient multiplication tables discovered, said Guo. "It was very advanced for the world at that time and is an important discovery in the mathematical history of China and even the world."
In July 2008, Tsinghua University had acquired a rare collection of 2,500 slip bamboo items belonging to the late Warring States period, which had been smuggled out of China.

First Published: Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - 21:37

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