Название:Science Awakening I: Egyptian, Babylonian and Greek Mathematics
Автор:B. L. Van Der Waerden
Размер: 18 MB
Why History of Mathematics?
Every one knows that we are living in a technological era. But it is not often realized that our technology is based entirely on mathematics and physics. When we ride home on the streetcar in the evening, when we turn on the electric light and the radio, everything depends on cleverly constructed physical mechanisms based on mathematical calculations. But more than that! We owe to physics not only these pleasant articles of luxury, but, to a large extent, even our daily bread. Apart from the fact that our grains come to us, chiefly by steamer from overseas, our own agriculture would be far less productive without artificial fertilizers. Such fertilizers are chemical products, and chemistry depends on physics.
But science has not brought us blessings only. The destructive armaments which mankind uses at the present time to knock its own civilization to pieces are also products to which the development of mathematics and physics have inevitably led.
Our spiritual life is also influenced by science and technology, in a measure but rarely fully understood. The unprecedented growth of natural science in the 17th century was followed ineluctably by the rationalism of the 18th, by the deification of reason and the decline of religion; an analogous development had taken place earlier, in Greek times. In a similar manner the triumphs of technology in the 19th century were followed in the 20th by the deification of technology.
Unfortunately, man seems to be overly inclined to deify whatever is powerful and successful.
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