The Genius of the East

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Episode 2 of 4

Duration: 1 hour

Four-part series about the history of mathematics, presented by Oxford professor Marcus du Sautoy.

When ancient Greece fell into decline, mathematical progress stagnated as Europe entered the Dark Ages, but in the East mathematics reached new heights.

Du Sautoy visits China and explores how maths helped build imperial China and was at the heart of such amazing feats of engineering as the Great Wall.

In India, he discovers how the symbol for the number zero was invented and Indian mathematicians' understanding of the new concepts of infinity and negative numbers.

In the Middle East, he looks at the invention of the new language of algebra and the spread of Eastern knowledge to the West through mathematicians such as Leonardo Fibonacci, creator of the Fibonacci Sequence.

  • Clip: Eastern Mathematics

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    Professor Marcus du Sautoy explores the untold story of the mathematics of the East that would transform the West, giving birth to the modern world.

  • take it further:

    Discover Marcus Du Sautoy's thoughts about the most important of all intellectual disciplines at the Open University.

    Visit The Story of Maths on
  • presenter story:

    Marcus Du Sautoy shares his experiences of exploring the fascinating tale of maths.

    Read about Marcus' journey of mathematical discovery at


Marcus du Sautoy


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