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Thomas Little Heath

Data de nascimento: 5. Outubro 1861
Data de falecimento: 16. Março 1940

Sir Thomas Little Heath was a British civil servant, mathematician, classical scholar, historian of ancient Greek mathematics, translator, and mountaineer. He was educated at Clifton College. Heath translated works of Euclid of Alexandria, Apollonius of Perga, Aristarchus of Samos, and Archimedes of Syracuse into English. Wikipedia

Citações Thomas Little Heath

„It may be in some measure due to the defects of notation in his time that Diophantos will have in his solutions no numbers whatever except rational numbers, in [the non-numbers of] which, in addition to surds and imaginary quantities, he includes negative quantities. …Such equations then as lead to surd, imaginary, or negative roots he regards as useless for his purpose: the solution is in these cases ὰδοπος, impossible. So we find him describing the equation 4=4x+20 as ᾰτοπος because it would give x=-4. Diophantos makes it throughout his object to obtain solutions in rational numbers, and we find him frequently giving, as a preliminary, conditions which must be satisfied, which are the conditions of a result rational in Diophantos' sense. In the great majority of cases when Diophantos arrives in the course of a solution at an equation which would give an irrational result he retraces his steps and finds out how his equation has arisen, and how he may by altering the previous work substitute for it another which shall give a rational result. This gives rise, in general, to a subsidiary problem the solution of which ensures a rational result for the problem itself. Though, however, Diophantos has no notation for a surd, and does not admit surd results, it is scarcely true to say that he makes no use of quadratic equations which lead to such results. Thus, for example, in v. 33 he solves such an equation so far as to be able to see to what integers the solution would approximate most nearly.“

—  Thomas Little Heath

Diophantos of Alexandria: A Study in the History of Greek Algebra (1885)

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„Diophantos lived in a period when the Greek mathematicians of great original power had been succeeded by a number of learned commentators, who confined their investigations within the limits already reached, without attempting to further the development of the science. To this general rule there are two most striking exceptions, in different branches of mathematics, Diophantos and Pappos. These two mathematicians, who would have been an ornament to any age, were destined by fate to live and labour at a time when their work could not check the decay of mathematical learning. There is scarcely a passage in any Greek writer where either of the two is so much as mentioned. The neglect of their works by their countrymen and contemporaries can be explained only by the fact that they were not appreciated or understood. The reason why Diophantos was the earliest of the Greek mathematicians to be forgotten is also probably the reason why he was the last to be re-discovered after the Revival of Learning. The oblivion, in fact, into which his writings and methods fell is due to the circumstance that they were not understood. That being so, we are able to understand why there is so much obscurity concerning his personality and the time at which he lived. Indeed, when we consider how little he was understood, and in consequence how little esteemed, we can only congratulate ourselves that so much of his work has survived to the present day.“

—  Thomas Little Heath

Historical Introduction, p.17
Diophantos of Alexandria: A Study in the History of Greek Algebra (1885)

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