A Dawn of Simplicity: The Introduction of Decimal Numbers in Mathematics by Italian Mathematician Giovanni Bianchini

The invention of the decimal point dates back to 1440 at the latest.

The use of decimal numbers marked a significant advancement in mathematics that greatly simplified calculations. It was Italian merchant and mathematician Giovanni Bianchini who introduced the use of decimals in the 15th century, using the decimal point for marking distances and dividing units of measurement into ten equal parts.

At the time, Europeans relied on the Babylonian system of sixty for astronomical calculations, but this made multiplication and other calculations difficult. Bianchini’s work showed his creative thinking as he developed a more practical decimal system that was easier to work with. Historian Glen Van Brummelen studied Bianchini’s work and discovered that he used decimals in a modern way, even using the comma in the same way as Clavius did in 1593.

The strength of decimal numbers is their simplicity and ease of calculation, making them useful regardless of the size or number of decimal places. Trigonometric tables also played a significant role in Bianchini’s work as he used decimals to calculate distances and their changes. The discovery of Bianchini’s use of decimals sheds light on the history of mathematics and how easier calculation methods were developed over time.

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