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Negative numbers

Updated: Oct 12, 2021

'... darken the very whole doctrines of the equations and make dark of the things which are in their nature excessively obvious and simple" .


This was the opinion of British mathematician Francis Maseres about negative numbers in1758.




Although the first set of rules for dealing with negative numbers was stated in the 7th century by the Indian mathematician Brahmagupta.

Maseres and his contemporary, William Friend took the view that negative numbers did not exist. However, other mathematicians around the same time had decided that negative numbers could be used as long as they had been eliminated during the calculations where they appeared.


It was not until the 19th century when British mathematicians like De Morgan, Peacock, and others, began to investigate the 'laws of arithmetic' in terms of logical definitions that the problem of negative numbers was finally sorted out.

ref: https://nrich.maths.org/5961



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