Some Questions and Observations Around the Mathematics of Seki Takakazu
This informal paper, an expanded version of the short talk given by the second author at the conference on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of Seki’s death, is slightly non-standard in nature and perhaps requires a short explanatory preamble. The authors are not professional historians of mathematics, and no attempt has been made to interpret the material discussed from a historical viewpoint. Instead, the first section contains several specific mathematical comments, from the point of view of a contemporary professional mathematician (D.Z.), on a few of the problems and solutions of Seki and of his predecessors in China and Japan, pointing out places where the mathematical content is unexpectedly naive or unexpectedly sophisticated, or where particular mathematical features of the problems permit deductions about their authors’ methods or views.
KeywordsDocumentary Evidence Mathematical Text Chinese Mathematician Professional Historian Elimination Theory
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