An exploration of the life and work of the thirteenth-century mathematician Ch'in, this fascinating book examines a range of mathematical issues that reflect Chinese life of a millennium ago. Its first part consists of four closely related studies of Ch'in and his work. The first study brings together what is known of the mathematician's life and of the history of his only extant work, the Shu-shu chiu-chang. Subsequent studies examine the entire range of mathematical techniques and problems found within Ch'in's book.
The core of this book consists of an in-depth study of what modern mathematicians still refer to as the Chinese remainder theorem for the solution of indeterminate equations of the first degree. This was Ch'in's most original contribution to mathematics--so original that no one could correctly explain Ch'in's procedure until the early nineteenth century. This volume's concluding study unites information on artisanal, economic, administrative, and military affairs dispersed throughout Ch'in's writings, providing rare insights into thirteenth-century China.
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