Real Numbers – History of Negative Numbers

A page of The Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art

A page of The Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art

The first mention of negative numbers can be traced to the Han dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE), the second imperial dynasty of China.

Three Han mathematical treatises — the Book on Numbers and Computation, the Arithmetical Classic of the Gnomon and the Circular Paths of Heaven, and the Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art — still exist.

Negative numbers first appeared in the Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art as black counting rods, while positive numbers were represented by red counting rods.

The Chinese were able to solve simultaneous equations involving negative numbers.

Amazing, isn’t it? 🙂

Sponge ME, Maths Tuition (Singapore)

Categories: Mathematics, Maths 101

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