Why you would take this class if you are interested in Mathematics?


            One of our stations brings us to the Adam-Ries-Museum in Annaberg. Adam Ries is considered as a reference in the local language as a mathematical genius. His real accomplishment consists of a scheme to calculate sums, differences, products and quotients using roman numerals.


            You may ask why this matters? Imagine a world in which every town and village uses different units of measurement and different units of money. Now try to buy a bread from a baker at the neighboring town without being cheated - this was nearly impossible before Adam Ries. His particular contribution is to have developed and clearly explained a bookkeeping scheme and computation scheme which allowed everybody to take charge in his financial transactions. He published several books (Coß, Rechnung auf der Linihen, Rechnung auf der Linihen und Federn) which are basically early and useful descriptions of book-keeping mathematics. The methods are very useful if you use an abacus.


            Maybe even more interesting for the mathematically inclined mind are the problems associated with the mapping and surveying of mining areas and ore veins. The methods used in the so-called Markscheidewesen (surveying business) have developed significantly. After all, the earliest appearance of trigonometric functions lies also in the 15th century, with Regiomontanus’ De Triangulis Omnimodus.


            We will see and learn about stepping stones n the development of this essential aspect of mines. Issues of units of measurement and money value are important in concern with metal analysis and coin making techniques.



Hanging compass (Pochwerk Altenberg); surveying equipment (Reiche Zeche)





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