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Old 03-11-2013, 12:17 AM   #11146
Shayne Parkinson
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That actually makes sense.

You're giving Mr Recorde a little too much credit, by the way.
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Old 03-11-2013, 03:31 AM   #11147
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Was it the use of "x"?

Was he French or Belgian? (I'm assuming you haven't changed the spelling of his given name, eg from Roberto to Robert.)
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Old 03-11-2013, 04:59 AM   #11148
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No, not "x", but a good suggestion! Clue: you almost certainly encountered this invention even earlier than you did the use of "x".

Not French or Belgian, and I haven't changed the spelling of his name.

I'm about to head for bed. Further clues in the morning if necessary.
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:23 AM   #11149
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The plus sign? Using the cross for adition?

Or, more general, all these signs, + - * : ?
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Old 03-11-2013, 09:29 AM   #11150
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Was it the " number" zero?
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Old 03-11-2013, 09:48 AM   #11151
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The infinity symbol: ?
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Old 03-11-2013, 10:11 AM   #11152
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π? ......
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Old 03-11-2013, 10:29 AM   #11153
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Originally Posted by orlok View Post
Was it the " number" zero?
I thought that 'zero' was invented by gambling casinos to make Roulette a guaranteed money-maker for the house. It sure got my money...


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Old 03-11-2013, 02:04 PM   #11154
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I thought that 'zero' was invented by gambling casinos to make Roulette a guaranteed money-maker for the house. It sure got my money...


Stitchawl
And don't you just love the later "innovation" of the double zero? That one really took the cake (and my cash).
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Old 03-11-2013, 03:14 PM   #11155
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billi View Post
The plus sign? Using the cross for adition?

Or, more general, all these signs, + - * : ?
You're very, very close, Billi.

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Originally Posted by orlok View Post
Was it the " number" zero?
No, not that.
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Originally Posted by poohbear_nc View Post
The infinity symbol: ?
Not that, either.
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Originally Posted by orlok View Post
π? ......
Nor that.
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Old 03-11-2013, 04:19 PM   #11156
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Square root?
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Old 03-11-2013, 04:22 PM   #11157
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Looking at Biili's very close guesses, it looks like = and / were missing. Is it one/both of those?
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Old 03-11-2013, 04:35 PM   #11158
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Looking at Biili's very close guesses, it looks like = and / were missing. Is it one/both of those?
We have a winner! Specifically, the = sign. In his 1557 treatise The Whetstone of Witte, Robert Recorde introduced this sign thus:
Quote:
To avoide the tediouse repetition of these woordes: is equal to: I will sette as I doe often in woorke use, a paire of paralleles, or gemowe lines of one lengthe: bicause noe .2. thynges, can be moare equalle.
I came across a reference to this in New Scientist. I found it interesting that we have such a specific record of the introduction of something as fundamental as this.

Wikipedia also credits Recorde with inventing the + sign, but that appears quite a bit earlier in various German texts. Recorde does, however, appear to have been the first to use the + and - signs in a printed English text. The same Whetstone of Witte includes:
Quote:
There be other 2 signes in often use of which the first is made thus + and betokeneth more: the other is thus made - and betokeneth lesse.
Recorde's country of birth was Wales. Fbone got the date, Bilbo has the symbol. Have at it, gentlemen.

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Old 03-11-2013, 05:58 PM   #11159
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It's interesting and surprising that the equal sign has been "invented" this late. I would have thought that the old Greeks used it already. Nice question!
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Old 03-11-2013, 06:07 PM   #11160
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It's interesting and surprising that the equal sign has been "invented" this late. I would have thought that the old Greeks used it already.
Yes, I thought so too! It's only a few hundred years old.
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