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Name: Anya
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Question:
Who invented long division, or just fractions, or multiplication? Who figured out that these thing worked? Like long subtraction: Borrowing from one number making it one less, then putting a 1 in front of the next number and just reading it as if 1 is part of the number. It seems like it would take a life time to figure all this out and then to experiment with it, test it, and find out that there were no flaws, and then to start applying it to real life things. What genius invented this, discovered this, because he WAS a genius. And most people do not even know his name. But I want to, and that is my question.



Replies:
Henry Briggs, an English mathematician (1561­1630), developed the method we commonly use now to do long division, but there really is not one genius responsible for the things you ask about. Fractions based on 10's, 100's, etc. were used in the Indus Valley more than 4000 years ago. Egyptians used fractions with ones in the numerators about 4000 years ago. Mathematicians often build on the work of predecessors. Sure, sometimes a single "genius" develops a totally new idea, but many times a new idea or new way of doing things is an improvement on an old one. I hope this helps!

Dr. Eric A. Hagedorn
University of Texas, El Paso



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