Liber Abaci


Liber Abaci

"Liber Abaci" (1202, also spelled as Liber Abbaci) is an historic book on arithmetic by Leonardo of Pisa, known later by his nickname Fibonacci. Its title has two common translations, "The Book of the Abacus" or "The Book of Calculation". In this work, Fibonacci introduced to Europe the Arabic numerals, a major element of our decimal system, which he had learned by studying with Arabs while living in North Africa with his father, Guilielmo Bonaccio, who wished for him to become a merchant.

Liber Abaci was not the first Western book to describe Arabic numerals, the first being by Pope Silvester II in 999, but by addressing tradesmen and academics, it began to convince the public of the superiority of the new numerals.

ummary of sections

The first section introduces the Arabic numeral system, including lattice multiplication and methods for converting between different repesentation systems.

The second section presents examples from commerce, such as conversions of currency and measurements, and calculations of profit and interest.

The third section discusses a number of mathematical problems; for instance, it includes (ch. II.12) the Chinese remainder theorem, perfect numbers and Mersenne primes as well as formulas for arithmetic series and for square pyramidal numbers.

Another example in this chapter, describing the growth of a population of rabbits, was the origin of the Fibonacci sequence for which the author is most famous today. The fourth section derives approximations, both numerical and geometrical, of irrational numbers such as square roots.

The book also includes Euclidean geometric proofs, and a study of simultaneous linear equations following Diophantus, which Fibonacci most likely learned from Persian mathematician al-Karaji (Ore 1948).

Fibonacci's notation for fractions

In reading Liber Abaci, it is helpful to understand Fibonacci's notation for rational numbers, a notation that is intermediate in form between the Egyptian fractions commonly used until that time and the vulgar fractions still in use today. There are three key differences between Fibonacci's notation and modern fraction notation.
#Where we generally write a fraction to the right of the whole number to which it is added, Fibonacci would write the same fraction to the left. That is, we write 7/3 as scriptstyle2,frac13, while Fibonacci would write the same number as scriptstylefrac13,2.
#Fibonacci used a "composite fraction" notation in which a sequence of numerators and denominators shared the same fraction bar; each such term represented an additional fraction of the given numerator divided by the product of all the denominators below and to the right of it. That is, scriptstylefrac{b,,a}{d,,c} = frac{a}{c} + frac{b}{cd}, and scriptstylefrac{c,,b,,a}{f,,e,,d} = frac{a}{d} + frac{b}{de} + frac{c}{def}. The notation was read from right to left. For example, 29/30 was written as scriptstylefrac{1,,2,,4}{2,,3,,5}, representing the value scriptstylefrac45+frac2{3 imes5}+frac1{2 imes3 imes5}. This can be viewed as a form of mixed radix notation, and was very convenient for dealing with traditional systems of weights, measures, and currency. For instance, for units of length, a foot is 1/3 of a yard, and an inch is 1/12 of a foot, so a quantity of 5 yards, 2 feet, and scriptstyle 7 frac34 inches could be represented as a composite fraction: scriptstylefrac{3 ,7,,2}{4,,12,,3},5 yards. However, typical notations for traditional measures, while similarly based on mixed radixes, do not write out the denominators explicitly; the explicit denominators in Fibonacci's notation allow him to use different radixes for different problems when convenient. Sigler also points out an instance where Fibonacci uses composite fractions in which all denominators are 10, prefiguring modern decimal notation for fractions.
#Fibonacci sometimes wrote several fractions next to each other, representing a sum of the given fractions. For instance, 1/3+1/4 = 7/12, so a notation like scriptstylefrac14,frac13,2 would represent the number that would now more commonly be written scriptstyle 2,frac{7}{12}, or simply the vulgar fraction 31/12. Notation of this form can be distinguished from sequences of numerators and denominators sharing a fraction bar by the visible break in the bar. If all numerators are 1 in a fraction written in this form, and all denominators are different from each other, the result is an Egyptian fraction representation of the number. This notation was also sometimes combined with the composite fraction notation: two composite fractions written next to each other would represent the sum of the fractions.

The complexity of this notation allows numbers to be written in many different ways, and Fibonacci described several methods for converting from one style of representation to another. In particular, chapter II.7 contains a list of methods for converting a vulgar fraction to an Egyptian fraction; see Egyptian fraction and the following internet links for a more detailed description of these methods.

"Modus Indorum"

In the "Liber Abaci", Fibonacci says the following introducing the so-called "Modus Indorum" or the method of the Indians, today known as Arabic numerals.

:After my father's appointment by his homeland as state official in the customs house of Bugia for the Pisan merchants who thronged to it, he took charge; and in view of its future usefulness and convenience, had me in my boyhood come to him and there wanted me to devote myself to and be instructed in the study of calculation for some days. :There, following my introduction, as a consequence of marvelous instruction in the art, to the nine digits of the Hindus, the knowledge of the art very much appealed to me before all others, and for it I realized that all its aspects were studied in Egypt, Syria, Greece, Sicily, and Provence, with their varying methods; and at these places thereafter, while on business. :I pursued my study in depth and learned the give-and-take of disputation. But all this even, and the algorism, as well as the art of Pythagoras, I considered as almost a mistake in respect to the method of the Hindus. (Modus Indorum). Therefore, embracing more stringently that method of the Hindus, and taking stricter pains in its study, while adding certain things from my own understanding and inserting also certain things from the niceties of Euclid's geometric art, I have striven to compose this book in its entirety as understandably as I could, dividing it into fifteen chapters. :Almost everything which I have introduced I have displayed with exact proof, in order that those further seeking this knowledge, with its pre-eminent method, might be instructed, and further, in order that the Latin people might not be discovered to be without it, as they have been up to now. If I have perchance omitted anything more or less proper or necessary, I beg indulgence, since there is no one who is blameless and utterly provident in all things.

:The nine Indian figures are: :9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 :With these nine figures, and with the sign 0 ... any number may be written. — "(Ref. Sigler, 2003 and Grimm 1973 see references)"

In other words, in his book he advocated the use of the digits 0—9, and of place value.

In this book he showed the practical importance of the new numeral system, using lattice multiplication and Egyptian fractions by applying it to commercial bookkeeping, conversion of weights and measures, the calculation of interests, money-changing, and numerous other applications. The book was well received throughout educated Europe and had a profound impact on European thought, although the use of decimal numerals did not become widespread until the invention of printing almost three centuries later, in 1585 (See, for example, the 1482 Ptolemaeus map of the world printed by Lienhart Holle in Ulm).

References

*cite book
title = Fibonacci's Liber Abaci
author = Sigler, Laurence E. (trans.)
publisher = Springer-Verlag
year = 2002
id = ISBN 0-387-95419-8

*cite book
title = Leonardi Pisani Liber Abbaci oder Lesevergnügen eines Mathematikers
author = Lüneburg, Heinz
publisher = B. I. Wissenschaftsverlag
location = Mannheim
year = 1993

*cite book
title = Number Theory and its History
author = Ore, Oystein
publisher = McGraw Hill
year = 1948
Dover version also available, 1988, ISBN 978-0486656205.

See also

*Lattice Multiplication

External links

* [http://liberabaci.blogspot.com/ Liber Abaci and its Egyptian fraction methods]
*PlanetMath|urlname=LiberAbaci|title=Liber Abaci


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