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Geometry- Bertrand Russell
Russell's adolescence was very lonely, and he often contemplated suicide. He remarked in his autobiography that his keenest interests were in religion and mathematics, and that only the wish to know more mathematics kept him from suicide. His brother Frank introduced him to the work of Euclid, which transformed Russell's life
Geometry was thoroughly organized in about 300 BC, when the Greek mathematician Euclid gathered what was known at the time, added original work of his own, and arranged 465 propositions into 13 books, called �Elements�. The books covered not only plane and solid geometry but also much of what is now known as algebra, trigonometry, and advanced arithmetic.
Even in 300 BC, geometry was recognized to be not just for mathematicians. Anyone can benefit from the basic learning of geometry, which are how to follow lines of reasoning, how to say precisely what is intended, and especially how to prove basic concepts by following these lines of reasoning. Politicians, advertisers, and many other people try to offer convincing arguments. Anyone who cannot tell a good proof from a bad one may easily be persuaded in the wrong direction. Geometry provides a simplified universe, where points and lines obey believable rules and where conclusions are easily verified. By first studying how to reason in this simplified universe, people can eventually, through practice and experience, learn how to reason in a complicated world.
Copyright 2013 Simon Kregar
February 14th, 2013
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