MATH 3560 - History of Mathematics
MATH 3560: History of Mathematics (UNSW). Taught by Professor N. J. Wildberger, this course provides an overview of the history of mathematics, in 17 lectures; meant for a broad audience, not necessarily mathematics majors. Starting with Greek mathematics, Professor N. J. Wildberger discusses Hindu, Chinese and Arabic influences on algebra; the development of coordinate geometry, calculus and mechanics; the course of geometry from projective to non-Euclidean in the 19th century; complex numbers and algebra; differential geometry; and topology. This course roughly follows John Stillwell's book 'Mathematics and its History' (Springer, 3rd ed).
|Lecture 15 - Complex Numbers and Algebra
Complex numbers of the form a+bi are mostly introduced these days in the context of quadratic equations, but according to Stillwell cubic equations are closer to their historical roots. We show how the cubic equation formula of del Ferro, Tartaglia and Cardano requires some understanding of complex numbers even when only real zeros appear to be involved. The use of imaginary numbers in calculus manipulations and the geometrical planar representation of complex numbers are illustrated.
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