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How Euclid once ruled the world
28.04.2021 Judith Grabiner
Mathematics
Euclid

Geometry is obviously a very useful area of maths. We need it to measure things, to understand shapes, and to navigate through the spaces we live in.

But I'd like to argue that geometry is much more than that: it interacts with all aspects of human thought and life.

To start, let's turn to a person who is universally known as the "father of geometry": the ancient Greek mathematician Euclid. Euclid's work is the earliest example we have of a systematic approach to geometry. When you make a general statement in geometry, such as Pythagoras' theorem, you should prove this statement by deriving it from statements you're convinced are self-evident, using the rules of logic. For 2000 years Euclid's systematic approach seemed to prove truths about geometrical objects, and thereby to achieve certainty.

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