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13:15 - 13:55 28 February 2012
Lunch Hour Lecture: From Euclid to modern geometry: Do the angles of a triangle really add up to 180??
Darwin Lecture Theatre - accessed via Malet Place |
access via Malet Place | London | WC1E 6BT | United Kingdom
Admission: Free and open to anyone on a first-come first-served basis. Lectures are also streamed live online or can be downloaded after the event.
Professor Mark Ronan, UCL Mathematics
More than two thousand years ago, Euclid of Alexandria wrote the most successful textbook of all time. Starting with a few simple assumptions (often called axioms), he proved one result after another — for example that the angles of a triangle add up to 180?. Scholars wondered whether the last of his five axioms — which referred to parallel lines, and sounded more like a theorem than an assumption — wasn't simply a necessary consequence of the other four. Many tried to prove this, and some false proofs were published. I shall give a very convincing one before outlining the history of geometry up to the nineteenth century. That's when three people independently discovered a perfectly consistent geometry in which the Euclid's fifth axiom is not true, and where the angles of a triangle no longer add up to 180?. This new work inspired others and led eventually to the sort of geometry Einstein needed for his theory of gravity.
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