(1202 – 1261)

Mathematical sciences owe a lot to this dinosaur, who ranks amongst the most gifted mathematicians of all time. His extraordinary works on the Chinese Remainder Theorem has remained influential for more than 700 years. After the theorem was adopted in Europe, some problems whose solutions eluded even Leonhard Euler, became solvable. Qin’s explorations of algebra extended to quartic equations (i.e. the fourth order polynomials), and to quintic equations (which are algebraically unsolvable in terms of finite additions, subtractions, multiplications, divisions, and root extractions: as proven by the later works of Niels Henrik Abel and Évariste Galois). Qin Jiushao was also an accomplished astronomer, whose narratives revealed how solstice and other related astronomical data could be derived from traditional lunisolar calendars. Apart from incorporating the zero-symbol into Traditional Chinese mathematics, Qin is credited with finding sums of arithmetic series. His techniques and methodologies enhanced various branches of mathematics. Evidence abound that he dissected the much-talked-about Ruffini-Horner method more than 500 years before Paolo Ruffini and William Horner rediscovered it in the 19th century Europe. He also devised the Tianchi basin, which is a meteorological instrument used to collect and evaluate precipitations. Although most of his publications were lost, those that survived (such as Shushu Jiuzhang: which English speakers refer to as the Mathematical Treatise in Nine Sections) indicated that he researched extensively on applied maths, surveying and engineering. Qin Jiushao’s achievements are even more awesome: considering the fact that he devoted more time to civil service than he did to science and mathematics.


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