The minimal instruments of geometry – I

Warhadpande, Mahit (2022) The minimal instruments of geometry – I. At Right Angles (12). pp. 7-12. ISSN 2582-1873

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Euclid’s Elements (~300 BCE) built the edifice of (plane) Geometry using a toolkit comprising of two instruments: the ‘straight edge’ and the ‘collapsible compass’ [1]. Many centuries later (1941 CE), in Basic Geometry, George Birkhoff and Ralph Beatley provided an alternative construction of this edifice using a three-instrument toolkit which contemporary students continue to use: the ‘ruler’, the ‘compass’ and the ‘protractor’ [2]. In contrast, a few centuries before Euclid (~800 BCE), Indian vedic texts (Shulbasutras) recommended the ‘rajju’, i.e., a rope, as the lone instrument to be used for geometrical constructions.

Item Type: Articles in APF Magazines
Authors: Warhadpande, Mahit
Document Language:
Uncontrolled Keywords: Euclid, plane geometry, instrument box, ruler, compass, protractor, rope
Subjects: Natural Sciences > Mathematics
Divisions: Azim Premji University > University Publications > At Right Angles
Full Text Status: Public
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