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Mathematical Treasure: Woepcke on Indo-Arabic Numbers

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

Franz Woepcke’s Mémoire sur la Propagation des Chiffres Indiens (1863) was the first modern, scholarly study of the origins and evolution of the “Hindu-Arabic” numerals. Woepcke (1826-1864) was a German orientalist and mathematician who researched Arabic and Hindi mathematical classics.

On the page below, Woepcke outlined the evolution of 10th and 11th century numerals from their Sancrit (Sanskrit) origins.

On page 71, below, the author gave examples of Hindu ritual numbers associated with mythology and astronomy.

This material is obtained through the courtesy of the Peabody Library of Johns Hopkins University.

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Woepcke on Indo-Arabic Numbers," Convergence (July 2016)