April 23, 2024 2:12 pm
The invention of the decimal point dates back to at least 1440

In the 15th century, a Venetian merchant named Giovanni Bianchini revolutionized calculations by inventing the comma and using it in decimal numbers. His work was groundbreaking, as he used decimals to simplify astronomical calculations and make them much easier to perform.

At the time, European astronomers used the Babylonian system of sixty, which made multiplication and other calculations challenging. Bianchini’s approach involved developing a decimal system for measuring distances and dividing units into ten equal parts.

Bianchini’s use of decimals predated a German astronomer’s observation of it by 150 years. He is known for his trigonometric tables, which combined degrees and the 60 system with decimals. This unique approach to astronomical calculations showcased the power and simplicity of decimal numbers in mathematical calculations.

Mathematics historian Glen Van Brummelen discovered Bianchini’s innovative use of the decimal point while studying his treatise. His work was groundbreaking for that time, and even influenced later astronomers. Using decimals in calculations made the process much simpler than working with fractions.

In summary, Giovanni Bianchini’s invention of the comma and use of decimal numbers revolutionized calculations in the 15th century. His approach to mathematics demonstrated its power and simplicity, making it easier to perform complex calculations like astronomy.

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