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China, Math and Science in Ancient  

As early as 1500 BC, the Chinese had started using written numbers in conducting their daily businesses. Although these events really came into focus around 454BC where it is recorded on the Bible timeline with History; it was during the Shang Dynasty , which was at least 2000 years earlier than when people from West Asia began writing numbers. Moreover, the Chinese mathematics system was considered as efficient, and the people counted numbers in base ten. It was before the year 190 AD in China when people started using the abacus in making simple calculations. The Nine Chapters, an early mathematical textbook, was used in Ancient China. Based on research, several parts of it have been written somewhere in 200 BC, or the start of the Han Dynasty in the country.

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According to historical records, the emergence of math in China began by 11 BC. There was a binary system, place value decimal system, trigonometry and geometry developed by the Chinese. Prior to 254 BC, the Chinese mathematics was still fragmentary. In earlier societies, the main focus in terms of science was astronomy. The main goal was not to create formal systems but to perform practical tasks and create the agricultural calendar. Furthermore, mathematics in ancient China did not utilize the axiomatic approach. Instead, there were advances made in some areas of math such as algebra and algorithm. It is also worth noting that the greatest advancement in the field of algebra in China was during the 13th century. It was at this period that the method of “four unknowns” was developed by Zhu Shijie.

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Acupuncture; ‘A woman receiving fire cupping in China.’

There were great advances made in mathematics, science and technology, and astronomy with the help of ancient Chinese doctors, mathematicians and scientists. Herbal medicine, acupuncture and traditional form of Chinese medicine were also invented and improved during this period. The developments made on these fields were through scientific experiments and conducting empirical observations. Several inventions were made in ancient China including the shadow clock and the Kongming lanterns. In addition, there were quite a number of other inventions such as papermaking, printing, gunpowder and the compass. These were considered as technological advances in the country. It was in 618 AD, which was the Tang Dynasty, when numerous items were invented, and these helped improved the lives of the people in ancient China.

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Kongming lanterns or Sky Lantern

In the 16th and 17th centuries, missions initiated by Jesuits in China helped bring about Western science, as well as astronomy. In addition, various technologies in China were introduced to Europe. By the 19th and 20th century, Western technology had a huge impact in China’s progress and advancement of technologies. As for the records that explored the history of science in ancient China, this study was conducted by Joseph Needham.

Indeed, China has contributed much when it comes to the fields of math and science. It has introduced certain tools and systems that are still being used today. This has expanded to various continents throughout the world. With these innovations made by the people in ancient China it has helped make the lives of many individuals worldwide much easier and more efficient.

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1 thought on “China, Math and Science in Ancient  

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