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Rhind Papyrus

The Rhind Papyrus so named after it's discoverer in 1858, Alexander Henry Rhind; a Scottish antiquarian. It is one of the oldest mathematical texts, dating roughly to somewhere around 17th century BC. Written by the scribe Ahmes or Ah'mose the egyptian manuscript is currently in the permanent collection of the British Museum apart from a few small fragments held by Brooklyn Museum in New York. The 33 cm tall and over 5 meters long scroll was only translated in the late 19th century.

Besides describing how to obtain an approximation of π only missing the mark by under one per cent, it is describes one of the earliest attempts at squaring the circle and in the process provides persuasive evidence against the theory that the Egyptians deliberately built their pyramids to enshrine the value of π in the proportions of their pyramids. Even though it would be a strong overstatement to suggest that the papyrus represents even rudimentary attempts at analytical geometry, Ahmes did make use of a kind of an analogue of the cotangent.

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