Geometry (Encyclopedia of Science)
The term geometry is derived from the Greek word geometria, meaning "to measure the Earth." In its most basic sense, then, geometry was a branch of mathematics originally developed and used to measure common features of Earth. Most people today know what those features are: lines, circles, angles, triangles, squares, trapezoids, spheres, cones, cylinders, and the like.
Humans have probably used concepts from geometry as long as civilization has existed. But the subject did not become a real science until about the sixth century B.C. At that point, Greek philosophers began to express the principles of geometry in formal terms. The one person whose name is most closely associated with the development of geometry is Euclid (c. 32570 B.C.), who wrote a book called Elements. This work was the standard textbook in the field for more than 2,000 years, and the basic ideas of geometry are still referred to as Euclidean geometry.
Elements of geometry
Statements. Statements in geometry take one of two forms: axioms and propositions. An axiom is a statement that mathematicians accept as being true without demanding proof. An axiom is also called a postulate. Actually, mathematicians prefer not to accept any statement without proof. But one has to start somewhere, and Euclid began by listing certain statements as axioms because they...
(The entire section is 1652 words.)
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