Today in class we had an interesting guest lecturer. Among other things, he showed us an image of the first ever recorded use of the = sign. Apparently, Robert Recorde invented the “equal” sign in 1557 with the publication of the Whetstone of Witte. According to Wikipedia, this book also served to introduce algebra to England.
My question is, does anybody else know of any other fascinating math factoids like this? It is one thing to know that [insert crazy old math person] invented zero, it is another to actually see it. Might be a bit too obscure, but if anybody has anything, I’d love to hear it.
I’ve placed this is GQ because I’m looking for factual, the first recorded use of zero can be found in Old Man Hubbard’s “The World is Not Enough” from 1453, which can be found housed at Oxford University. Not just the typical factoids I can dredge up myself.
(I’m only interested in this because my fiancee is a math major, so I’d love to compile a little collection of interesting math history for her.)