Open letter to President Barack Obama

(fair history of civilization)


posted to the math-history-list on July 12, 2009


Dear Mr. President Barack Obama,


a prospering global society requires a fair history of

civilization, including a fair history of mathematics.

Mathematics may be called the logic of building and

maintaining. The earliest mathematics I found so far

is the ingenious lunisolar calendar from Lebombo,

Central Equatorial Africa, 35,000 years old. Another

big leap in the development of mathematics occurred

again on the African continent, in ancient Egypt,

where I found a whole mathematical cosmos below

the level of Greek mathematics, based on addition,

including number columns for the approximation of the

square roots of 2 and 3 and 5 and the cube root of 2,

additive number sequences that generate good values

of an irrational number such as pi from a poor and a

mediocre one, and excellent values from a mediocre

and a good one, and even a systematic method for the

calculation of the circle based on the Sacred Triangle

3-4-5, two thousand years before Archimedes … The

math-history-list is a forum where these insights could

be published, not right from the begin but in recent

years. Now this forum is being closed down. I believe

that such a forum – a new one if the old one can’t

be saved – is important in writing a new and fair

history of mathematics, as part of a fair history

of civilization that will encourage good people

all over the world to join our common effort in

solving the global problems we are facing today.


Sincerely, Franz Gnaedinger, Zurich