Egyptian mathematics is a fascinating topic that has intrigued scholars for centuries. The Egyptians were known for their incredible knowledge in various fields such as engineering, medicine, and mathematics. One of the most notable contributions of the Egyptians to mathematics is their development of a unique method of multiplication, known as Egyptian multiplication. But who invented Egyptian mathematics?
The Origins Of Egyptian Mathematics
Egyptian mathematics dates back to ancient times, as early as 3000 bce. The Egyptians used a decimal system based on the number ten, similar to the one used today. However, unlike the modern design, the Egyptians did not have a symbol for zero. This meant that they had to use different methods for calculations involving zero.
One of the most notable achievements of Egyptian mathematics was the development of a unique method of multiplication, known as Egyptian multiplication. This method involved breaking down a number into its prime factors and then multiplying them together in a specific way. Egyptian multiplication was used for various applications, including calculating the area of fields and the volume of containers.
The Invention Of Egyptian Multiplication
It is unclear who exactly invented Egyptian multiplication, but many people believe it was given to them by god Thoth. However, it is believed that the method was developed over a long period of time by different scholars and mathematicians in ancient Egypt. The method was likely refined and improved upon over many years of use, eventually becoming the standard method of multiplication in ancient Egypt.
How Egyptian Multiplication Works
Egyptian multiplication is a unique method of multiplication that involves breaking down a number into its prime factors and then multiplying them together. The method involves the following steps:
- Write the two numbers to be multiplied at the top of two columns.
- Divide the first number by 2 repeatedly, writing each result in the second column until you reach 1.
- Double the second number repeatedly, writing each result in the first column until you reach the same number of rows as in the second column.
- Circle the numbers in the second column that are odd.
- Add up the circled numbers in the second column to get the answer.
For example, let’s say we want to multiply 12 by 15 using Egyptian multiplication. The steps would be as follows:
Write the two numbers at the top of two columns:
12 | 15
Divide the first number by 2 repeatedly:
12 | 15
Double the second number repeatedly:
12 | 15
6 | 30
3 | 60
Circle the numbers in the second column that are odd:
12 | 15
6 | 30
3 | 60
Add up the circled numbers in the second column:
15 + 60 + 120 = 195
Therefore, 12 x 15 = 195 using Egyptian multiplication.
Applications Of Egyptian Multiplication
One of the most important applications was in the calculation of the area of fields. The ancient Egyptians were known for their advanced agricultural techniques, and they used Egyptian multiplication to calculate the area of their fields so they could determine the amount of seed they needed to plant.
Egyptian multiplication was also used to calculate the volume of containers. The ancient Egyptians were skilled craftsmen and created many beautiful and complex containers made of clay or stone. They used Egyptian multiplication to calculate the volume of these containers so they could determine how much liquid or other materials they could hold.
Another practical application of Egyptian multiplication was in the construction of buildings. The ancient Egyptians were known for their impressive engineering feats, such as the construction of the pyramids. They used Egyptian multiplication to calculate the dimensions of the stones they needed for construction and the number of materials they needed for mortar. The use of Egyptian multiplication was not limited to practical applications. It was also used in religious rituals and ceremonies. The ancient Egyptians believed in a complex pantheon of gods and goddesses, and they used Egyptian multiplication to calculate the positions of the planets and stars, which were important in their religious ceremonies and rituals.
In conclusion, Egyptian mathematics is an important part of ancient history and has contributed significantly to the development of modern mathematics. The invention of Egyptian multiplication is just one example of the incredible knowledge and innovation of the ancient Egyptians. While it is unclear who exactly invented Egyptian multiplication, the method was developed over a long period of time by different scholars and mathematicians in ancient Egypt. Today, we continue to use and study the methods developed by the Egyptians, recognizing their lasting contributions to the field of mathematics.
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