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Pythagoras' LegacyMathematics in Ten Great Ideas$
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Marcel Danesi

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198852247

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198852247.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 08 December 2021

The Pythagorean theorem

The Pythagorean theorem

The birth of mathematics

(p.1) 1 The Pythagorean theorem
Pythagoras' Legacy

Marcel Danesi

Oxford University Press

The Pythagorean theorem constitutes one of the first great ideas of mathematics. Its importance is evident in the fact that it has been taught in schools throughout human history; it has had many applications in science and engineering; it has cropped up in numerous other mathematical ideas; it has led to discoveries, such as Fermat’s last theorem; and the list could go on and on. In a phrase, the theorem is one of those ideas that have mattered to mathematics and to human history. This chapter looks at the theorem and at why it is so profoundly important. It also deals with some key concepts that the theorem has introduced, including irrational numbers.

Keywords:   Pythagorean theorem, proof, irrational numbers, Fermat’s last theorem

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