• Studies in the History of Natural Sciences NO.2 2004

Studies in the History of Natural Sciences  NO.2 2004







A Comparative Study on Suanshushu and Ten Mathematical Classics……GUO Shuchun

【Abstract】 This paper is a comparative study on the Suanshushu(Book of Arithmetic) and the Ten Mathematical Classics from four aspects:styles,the abstractness of the expressions of method and the drafts of mathematical calculations,the means of mathematical expression,and mathematical contents.In the study,several classics are chosen that can be compared with the Suanshushu from the Ten Mathematical Classics,such as the Nine Chapters on Mathematical Procedures,the Sun Zi Suan Jing (Master Sun’s Mathematical Manual),Zhang Qiu Jian Suan Jing (Zhang Qiujian’s Mathematical Manual)and Wu Cao Suan Jing (Mathematical Manual of the Five Goverment Departments).There are three styles in the Nine Chapters on Mathematical Procedures,consisting of the expression of method commanding examples,the collection of applied problems,and putting preparatory knowledge at the beginning of a volume.The Suanshushu also has the three styles.The Nine Chapters on Mathematical Procedures not only has basic operation therems and certain attractive expressions of method accommodated to a category of mathematical problems,but also has very attractive expressions of method applied to certain mathematical problems and the drafts of mathematical calculations aimed at a problem.The Sun Zi Suan Jing and the Zhang Qiu Jian Suan Jing are completely the drafts of mathematical calculations aimed at a problem.The degree of abstractness of expression of method in Suanshushu also has three levels.Because the means of mathematical expression found in it are manifold and not unified,the degree of standardization of Suanshushu is inferior to the Nine Chpaters on Mathematical Procedures.As far as mathematical contents are concerned,the Suanshushu makes many original contributions.Comparing the Suanshushu with the Nine Chapters on Mathematical Procedures,some methods and a few problems are the same,but quite many methods and the majority of problems are different.And the contents in Suanshushu are not more comprehensive and standardized than those in the Nine Chapters on Mathematical Procedures.The Suanshushu is also a little inferior to Zhang Qiu Jian Suan Jing.And it is almost on a same level with Sun Zi Suan Jing,but far exceeds the Wu Cao Suan Jing.Considering that the Suanshushu is more than seven or eight hundred years old,and comparing it with extant classics in the Ten Mathemtical Classics in the degree of innovation and the width and profundity of contents,the importance of the Suanshushu is only next to the Nine Chapters on Mathematical Procedures.




Local Records of Solar Eclipse in the Qing Dynasty……MA Liping

【Abstract】 There are more than 1100 extant local records of solar eclipse in the Qing Dynasty.Through modern calculation,this paper examines and analyzes these records,which are then divided into two kinds.One kind of records is identical with official history,and the other kind has independent information.A notable difference is found in the rate of errors of these two kinds of records.The first kind has few mistakes.However,the rate of errors of the other kind is up to 54%.Among the latter,few records on the dates of solar eclipses are correct.On the other hand,local records of total or close to total solar eclipses are rich and colorful.




The Salt Production of Yunnan’s Minority Nationalities As Seen from Diannan Yanfa Tu……ZHU Xia

【Abstract】 This paper discusses the salt production methods of Yunnan’s minority nationalities through researching on Diannan Yanfa Tu Illustrations on the Salt Production Methods of Yunnan in the Qing Dynasty collected by China National Museum.It tests briefly the nine salt wells in Diannan Yanfa Tu by quoting from related ancient historical documents of Yunnan.It also analyzes the three types of salt sources in Yunnan:the salt sources on land,the salt wells built under the land,and the salt wells built in the rivers.The last type is unique in Yunnan’s salt production.In addition,the paper expounds on the varied techniques of Yunnan’s salt production,such as drawing bittern,transporting bittern,and boiling bittern to turn it into salt.Depicting the salt production methods of Yunnan,Yunnan Yanfa Tu occupies an important place in the history of science and technology of Yunnan.




History of Mathematics: From a Scholar’s Study to the Classroom……WANG Qingjian

【Abstract】 In the beginning of the new century, the research of history of mathematics ought to shift its focal point, that is, from a scholar’s study to the classroom. This paper gives three reasons for such a shift. First, it is needed for the aim of research and education of history of mathematics. Second, it is needed for the existence and development of history of mathematics. Third, it is needed for blazing new trails for research on the history of mathematics.




Commentary on Researches on the History of the Chinese Translation of Terms for Chemical Elements……HE Juan

【Abstract】 Since the beginning of the researches on the history of the Chinese translation of terms for chemical elements in the 1930s,the interests of scholars have been focused mainly on the following aspects,namely,the methods and systems of the Chinese translation of chemical elements,the founders of the transliteration principles of chemical elements,the standardization of the Chinese terms for chemical elements,the comparison of Chinese and Japanese terms for elements,the rival of Chinese terms for elements,and some problems about the Chinese terms for oxygen,hydrogen and nitrogen. All these lay a good foundation for studying the history of the Chinese translation of chemical elements. However,this is only a start,the methods and means for research are still rather traditional,and further systematic work remains to be done.




New Advances in the Study on History of Mathematics in Pre-Qin Period: A Review on Zou Dahai’s Chinese Mathematics in Pre-Qin Period……DUAN Yaoyong,HAI Hong

【Abstract】 Owing to the limitations of available historical literature,the study on Chinese mathematics in the Pre-Qin period has been a weak link among the studies on the history of Chinese mathematics in various periods.For the very first time,Prof.Zou has studied the topic completely and systematically in his monograph Mathematics in Pre-Qin Period,in which extensive materials are collected,external-history is used to verify internal-history and the method of pushing layer upon layer with a fulcrum is chosen.By discussing the achievements,characteristics and the context of the various stages of Chinese mathematics in the Pre-Qin period,the book has carried the study of Chinese mathematics in Pre-Qin period to a new stage .




Didn’t Maxwell Prophesy the Existence of Electromagnetic Wave? ……HOU Yude

【Abstract】 It is announced in References 1 and 2 that “Maxwell did not clearly prophesy the existence of electromagnet wave.”This paper gives the disproof to References 1 and 2, and through the discussion of the electromagnetic wave thoughts of Maxwell, gets the contrary conclusion to Reference 1 and Reference 2: Maxwell clearly prophesized the existence of electromagnetic wave, which is a natural result of his electromagnetic theory.