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Bamboo math documents called China's earliest

Jan. 20, 2014 at 7:50 PM   |   Comments

TSINGHUA, China, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Chinese archaeologists say they have discovered the country's earliest mathematics document, written on bamboo more than 2,200 years ago.

The document is a mathematical method inscribed on bamboo slips from the Warring States Period, 475-221 B.C., Li Xueqin of Tsinghua University told China's state-run Xinhua News Agency.

It provides a method for the multiplication of any two whole numbers under 100 and of certain fractions, Li said.

Guo Shuchun, director of the Chinese Society of the History of Mathematics, said the document is the earliest of its kind found in China so far and has filled in a historical blank for math documents prior to the Qin Dynasty of 221 B.C. to 206 B.C.

"It was very advanced for the world at that time and is an important discovery in the mathematical history of China and even the world," he said, noting it was older and had greater calculating power than other ancient multiplication tables discovered.

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