Friday, October 25, 2019

Medieval Quadrivium and Logarithms (quora)

Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere : Medieval Quadrivium and Logarithms (quora) · Φιλολoγικά/Philologica : Expressing Logarithms in Points of Royal Feet · Previous Work on Logarithms

History of Science: You are transported back in time to the Middle Ages. You tell the people that you meet about the time you have come from, of our scientific discoveries and technological wonders. You are taken to a university, using only materials available at the time, what proofs would you show them?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
none/ apprx Masters Latin & Greek, Lund University
Answered Thu
The one advance I would more or less master would be the logarithms. So, I improvise a logarithm table over a few weeks (or even better have one with me in the pocket or learn one by heart before going).

I then use the best ruler they can provide from a craftsman's shop to mark up two long pieces of parchment with alpha at the bottom, beta at 301 points (2 inches, 1 line, 1 point), gamma at 477 points (3 inches, 3 lines, 8 points), and so on and at 1000 points (6 inches, 11 lines, 4 points, I think) I mark iota, and kappa at 1301 and lambda at 1477 lines until the Greek numerals are finished.

I then show them that when the alpha of the one is laid on the gamma of the second, and you count the second until lambda, there you will find a qoppa on the first, that when the alpha of the one is laid on the delta of the second and you count the second to mu, you will on the first find yourself between rho and sigma so it is credible you are at somewhere like rho xi.

Wait, they say, you just have to add and it will multiply?
That is so, I answer.
Would you like to be promoted doctor of arts or at least adjunct of quadrivium?
Why not?

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