The Science Seminar Series: September 6, 2012
Journey into the history of cubic equations in Ancient Iraq, China, Persia, Italy, and a current geometric method
Dr. Iwan Elstak
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Valdosta State University
Time: 4:00 -5:00pm
Five historical ways to solve cubic equations.
The quest for solving problems involving unknown numbers has taken mathematicians into the most diverse and ingenious methods to find answers for such problems. We start in ancient Iraq and study their methods for solving cubic forms. Then we move on to Persia where mathematics soared to unprecedented heights in solving cubic forms. The Arabs, Persians and Central-Asians reinvented the practice of mathematics and created its advanced forms. Around the 13th century Chinese mathematicians solved cubic forms to any degree of accuracy creating a whole new way of handling cubics. We follow the trail to Italy where traders learned from the North Africans adopting their mathematics and their numbers. After two centuries of trying to solve the cubic, Italians used the geometry from the Arabs and solved the cubic. Today the search for new methods of solving cubics is still strong. We present a fifth method to solve cubics, with innovative geometric methods different from those used by the Persians.