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Good Math by Mark C. Chu-Carroll

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Part 3Writing Numbers

Numbers are so familiar to us that we often forget about their beauty and their mystery. We think that the way we commonly look at numbers is the only way to look at them and that the way we write them is the only correct way to do so.

But that isn’t always the case. As mathematics has evolved, its practitioners have invented an amazing number of ways to write numbers. Some of these systems of notation are worse than the ones we use today, and some are just, well, different. In this part of the book, we’re going to look at two ancient systems of notation and a modern one that continues to intrigue today’s mathematicians.

We’ll look first at how the Romans wrote numbers and see how our number system really does make a ...

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