Main content

Euclid's Elements

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the content, history and impact of Euclid's Elements, the mathematical text book from the ancient world, originating in Alexandria in about 300BC.

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Euclid's Elements, a mathematical text book attributed to Euclid and in use from its appearance in Alexandria, Egypt around 300 BC until modern times, dealing with geometry and number theory. It has been described as the most influential text book ever written. Einstein had a copy as a child, which he treasured, later saying "If Euclid failed to kindle your youthful enthusiasm, then you were not born to be a scientific thinker."

With

Marcus du Sautoy
Professor of Mathematics and Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford

Serafina Cuomo
Reader in Roman History at Birkbeck University of London

And

June Barrow-Green
Professor of the History of Mathematics at the Open University

Producer: Simon Tillotson.

Available now

43 minutes

LINKS AND FURTHER READING

Marcus du Sautoy at the University of Oxford

Serafina Cuomo at Birkbeck, University of London

June Barrow-Green at the Open University

The 888 AD manuscript of the Elements - Clay Mathematics Institute

Mathematical Treasure: Ratdolt’s first printed edition of the Elements (1482) – Mathematical Association of America

Oliver Byrne’s colour edition of the Elements (1847)

Interactive edition of the Elements

Euclid's Elements - Wikipedia

 

READING LIST:

Karine Chemla (ed.) The History of Mathematical Proof in Ancient Traditions (Cambridge University Press, 2012)

Euclid (eds. Thomas L. Heath and Dana Densmore), Elements (first published 1908; Green Lion Press, 2002)

J. L. Heilbron, Geometry Civilized: History, Culture, and Technique (Oxford University Press, 2000)

Ian Mueller, Philosophy of Mathematics and Deductive Structure in Euclid's Elements (MIT Press, 1981)

 

Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter Melvyn Bragg
Interviewed Guest Marcus du Sautoy
Interviewed Guest June Barrow-Green
Producer Simon Tillotson

Broadcasts

Featured in...

In Our Time podcasts

In Our Time podcasts

Every episode of In Our Time is available to download.

The In Our Time Listeners' Top 10

The In Our Time Listeners' Top 10

If you’re new to In Our Time, this is a good place to start.

Arts and Ideas podcast

Arts and Ideas podcast

Download the best of Radio 3's Free Thinking programme.

Podcast