# What does the word Euclid mean?

Asked by talljasperman (21858) June 12th, 2015

Predictive text won’t let me spell the whole word. Euclidian

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Euclid was the name of an influential Greek mathematician. Accordingly, the term “Euclidean” refers to things that he contributed to the field of mathematics (e.g., Euclidean geometry or the Euclidean algorithm).

Euclid was a Greek mathematician who lived around 300 BC.

Darth_Algar (18262)

Euclidean is usually used as part of the phrase Euclidean geometry, which is the geometry most of us learned in high school. The ancient Greeks invented the concept of a formal proof and used it to develop the geometry of lines and circles. Euclid worked in the library of Alexandria. He wrote a text compiling the geometry that had been developed. He quite likely made some additional contributions, but we don’t have enough information to determine this. Part of the problem is that Euclid’s work became so popular that it drove out everything else.

You may be wondering if there is such a thing as non-Euclidean geometry. The answer is yes and, although most people are not aware of it, the development of non-Euclidean geometry was a major mathematical breakthrough. Euclid carefully built up his work from a set of axioms. One of his axioms is called the parallel axiom. It says that, in a plane, given a line and a point not on the line, there is exactly one line that goes through the given point that is parallel to the given line. Many people were displeased with Euclid’s parallel axiom. They thought that it should not be an assumption, but should instead be provable from the other axioms. Euclid turned out to be correct. A geometry can be created that has infinitely many lines through a point and parallel to a given line. Of course, the lines in this geometry do not correspond to what we think of lines, but they satisfy all Euclid’s axioms.

The development of non-Euclidean geometry led to the separation of mathematics and science. Euclidean geometry is the geometry of our immediate experience of the natural world. The Greeks saw no reason to distinguish mathematics from science. The advent of non-Euclidean geometry allowed mathematics to separate itself from the natural world. The great irony is that a type of non-Euclidean geometry was used to model the theory of relativity.

The name is derived from Εὐκλείδης , which means “glorious”

ragingloli (47295)

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