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patrickk · 2012-10-15 · Original thread
> I don't see how mathematical contributions hundreds of years ago have any relevance to the modern world.

Math is timeless unless it's mistaken.

...there’s an alternative math metaphor we might use: calculus. The calculus metaphor asks whether and how we can figure out exactly what’s going to happen. Take NASA and the Apollo missions, for instance. You have to figure out where the moon is going to be, exactly. You have to plan whether a rocket has enough fuel to reach it. And so on. The point is that no one would want to ride in a statistically, probabilistically-informed spaceship.

The origins of calculus can be traced to ancient times. Moon rockets. Let that sink in.

Elon Musk and anyone else who pushes that envelope must stand on the shoulders of the giants who came before him, including Arabic mathematicians (indirectly).

What about mathematics that are thousands of years old, i.e. geometry from the ancient Greeks? Buildings with architecture based on the golden ratio[1] are aesthetically very pleasing, e.g. Georgian architecture[2]. Far nicer and better proportioned than most of the shit that's hastily thrown up all over the world today.

Every time you fire up your computer, you're taking advantage of boolean algebra[3], first laid down in the 1850s by George Boole, which is critical to modern computer science.

Mathematical contributions from hundreds of years ago has an incredible amount of relevance to the modern world, in countless different ways.

I wish I knew more about the history of mathematics to counter you more forcefully.

I would also urge you to read this book:

It shows how that in the 15th century, Europe was a shithole backwater, plagued by diseases and wars, and other civilisations like the Chinese and Arabic ones were far more advanced. By various accidents of history, the western world dominated the rest over the next 500 years. Some would argue that the wests' power is currently on the wane, and China is rising again.




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