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The invention of the decimal point dates back to 1440 at the latest.


Apr 3, 2024

Decimal numbers were a significant advancement that made calculations much easier. The discovery that the comma was invented in the 15th century was revealed by Italian merchant and mathematician Giovanni Bianchini, who used the decimal point in 1440. Bianchini was a Venetian merchant who served the Este family, managing their wealth and drawing up horoscopes. He used a decimal system for marking distances, dividing units of measurement into ten equal parts.

Europeans at the time used a Babylonian system of sixty for astronomical calculations, but this made multiplication and other calculations difficult. Bianchini’s work showed that he had creative thinking and developed a decimal system that was easier to work with. Historian Glen Van Brummelen studied Bianchini’s work and found that he unexpectedly used the decimal point in a modern way.

Van Brummelen discovered that Bianchini’s use of decimals was more advanced than previously thought. Bianchini used the comma in the same way as Clavius did in 1593, showing that Clavius likely adopted the practice from Bianchini. The strength of decimal numbers is that they are easy to calculate with, regardless of the size or number of decimal places.

Trigonometric tables also played a significant role in Bianchini‚Äôs work, as he applied decimals to calculate distances and their changes. The discovery of Bianchini’s use of decimals sheds light on the history of mathematics and the development of easier calculation methods.

By editor

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