And Equality for All

Math with Bad Drawings

a brief biography of the equals sign

Like Roald Dahl and Catherine-Zeta Jones, the equals sign was born in Wales.

map of UK

It was 1557—not that long ago, in the scheme of things. Just a few years before the birth of Shakespeare. In fact, the Danish prince and the Scottish king captivated the public long before their humble Welsh neighbor reached wide renown.

The early equals sign was a lovely but ungainly thing, a long pair of parallels that its inventor called Gemowe Lines:

20141216074242_00002

Over the centuries, this stilt-legged creature shortened into the compact and tidy symbol we know today.

And before that? Well, mathematicians simply spelled out equalities with the phrase “is equal to.”

10 is equal to 7 + 3.

8 x 9 is equal to 72.

And of course, a2 + b2 is equal to c2.

The equals sign offered a way to avoid the…

View original post 868 more words

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