Mathknow pp 183-191

Part of the MS&A book series (MS&A, volume 3) | Cite as

Recreative mathematics: soldiers, eggs and a pirate crew

  • Nadia Ambrosetti

Abstract

The goal of this paper is to tell the hitherto known history of an old question concerning the so-called recreative mathematics: this application of arithmetic techniques to every-day situations has surprisingly spread in Asia and Europe through the centuries, and it shows unforeseen connections among remote places, times, and cultures. The presence of a similar or identical question in different contexts can both help historians of mathematics to find unexplored links and dependences between scholars and mathematical discoveries in geographically and culturally far environments, and provide to tout-court historians and cultural anthropologists brand-new material sources to investigate daily life and civilization streams. The way this passage happened, is often a mystery hard to explore, but, from these hints, scholars can rightly be sure that such links existed: in fact recreative mathematics has always and everywhere been considered a minor branch of this discipline, devoted to education or game, so that it has never been censored for any reason and no filters of dominant culture have been applied.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    Morrow, G.R.: Plato’s Cretan City. A Historical Interpretation of the Laws. University Press, Princeton (1960)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Singmaster, D.: Chronology of Recreational Mathematics (1996) http://www.eldar.org/∼problemi/singmast/recchron.html, accessed 14 November 2008Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Kangsheng, S.: Historical development of the Chinese remainder theorem. AHES 38, 285–305 (1988)MATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Datta, B., Singh, A.N.: History of Hindu Mathematics, A Source Book, Parts 1 and 2. Asia Publishing House, Bombay (1962)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Ore, O.: Number Theory and Its History. McGraw-Hill, New York (1948)MATHGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Libbrecht, U.: Chinese Mathematics in the Thirteenth Century: The Shu-shu Chiu-Chang of Ch’in Chiu-Shao. MIT Press, Cambridge (1973)MATHGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Curtze, M.: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Algebra in Deutschland im fünfzehnten Jahrhundert. AGM 5, 31–74 (1895)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Ambrosetti, N.: L’eredità arabo-islamica nelle scienze e nelle arti del calcolo dell’Europa medievale. LED Edizioni, Milano (2008)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Rebstock, U.: Angewandtes Rechnen in der islamischen Welt und dessen Einflüsse auf die abendländische Rechenkunst. In: H. Hundsbichler (ed.) Kommunikation zwischen Orient und Okzident. Alltag und Sachkultur. Internationaler Kongreß in Krems an der Donau, 6.–9. Oktober 1992, pp. 91–115. Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien (1994)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Paiva, J., Simpson, K.: Chinese Leftovers — Hudson River Undergraduate Mathematics Conference XIII (2006) http://www.skidmore.edu/academics/mcs/pages06sess2.htm, accessed 14 November 2008Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia, Milan 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nadia Ambrosetti
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Informatica e Comunicazione Facoltà di Scienze matematiche, Fisiche e NaturaliUniversità degli Studi di MilanoMilanoItaly

Personalised recommendations