C O L L O Q U I U M
Euclid’s Elements : Then and Now,
Within and Outreach
Professor
SIU Man Keung
The University of Hong Kong
Abstract
Euclid’s Elements was compiled in about 300
B.C.E. Bertrand Russell began to
study the book at the age of eleven and referred to the experience as “one of
the great events of my life, as dazzling as first love”, while James Joseph
Sylvester said that “the early study of Euclid
made me a hater of Geometry …”. Albert Einstein got hold of a book on
Euclidean geometry at the age of twelve and reminisced about how “the lucidity
and certainty made an indescribable impression upon me …it is marvellous enough that man is capable at all to reach such
a degree of certainty and purity in pure thinking as the Greeks showed us for
the first time to be possible in geometry”. What kind of book is Euclid’s Elements? What role did it play throughout
history, within mathematics and outside of mathematics? What is the pedagogical strength
or shortcomings of the book when it is viewed as a textbook? This talk tries to look at these
questions from the viewpoint of a mathematician, a teacher of mathematics and a
learner of mathematics.
Date:

March 28, 2008 (Friday)

Time:

4:00 – 5:00pm

Place:

Room 517, Meng Wah Complex, HKU
