Geometry

July 3, 2008 by  


ibntufail

Geometry is a part of mathematics about size, shape, and relative position of figures and with properties of space.

Geometry is one of the oldest sciences. Initially a body of practical knowledge concerning lengths, areas, and volumes, in the third century B.C., geometry was put into an axiomatic form by Euclid, whose treatment – Euclidean geometry – set a standard for many centuries to follow. The field of astronomy, especially mapping the positions of the stars and planets on the celestial sphere, served as an important source of geometric problems during the next 1500 years.

The introduction of coordinates by René Descartes and the concurrent development of algebra marked a new stage for geometry, since geometric figures, such as plane curves, could now be represented analytically, i.e., with functions and equations. This played a key role in the emergence of calculus in the seventeenth century. Furthermore, the theory of perspective showed that there is more to geometry than just the metric properties of figures. The subject of geometry was further enriched by the study of intrinsic structure of geometric objects that originated with Euler and Gauss and led to the creation of topology and differential geometry.

Since the discovery in the 1800’s of non-Euclidean geometry, the concept of space has undergone a radical transformation.

The visual nature of geometry makes it initially more accessible than other parts of mathematics, such as algebra or number theory. However, the geometric language is also used in contexts that are far removed from its traditional, Euclidean provenance, for example, in fractal geometry, and especially in algebraic geometry.

The earliest recorded beginnings of geometry can be traced to ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indus Valley from around 3000 BC. Early geometry was a collection of empirically discovered principles concerning lengths, angles, areas, and volumes, which were developed to meet some practical need in surveying, construction, astronomy, and various crafts. The earliest known texts on geometry are the Egyptian Rhind Papyrus and Moscow Papyrus, the Babylonian clay tablets, and the Indian Shulba Sutras, while the Chinese had the work of Mozi, Zhang Heng, and the Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art, edited by Liu Hui.
In the Middle Ages, Muslim mathematicians contributed to the development of geometry, especially algebraic geometry and geometric algebra. Al-Mahani (b. 853) conceived the idea of reducing geometrical problems such as duplicating the cube to problems in algebra. Tha-bit ibn Qurra (known as Thebit in Latin) (836-901) dealt with arithmetical operations applied to ratios of geometrical quantities, and contributed to the development of analytic geometry. Omar Khayyám (1048-1131) found geometric solutions to cubic equations, and his extensive studies of the parallel postulate contributed to the development of Non-Euclidian geometry.

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