Diophantus of Alexandria

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Diophantus of Alexandria


(probably third century B.C.). Ancient Greek mathematician.

Part of Diophantus’ mathematical treatise Arithmetica has been preserved (six books out of 13), in which solutions are given for problems most of which reduce to indeterminate equations of up to the fourth degree. A solution is sought in rational positive numbers (negative numbers do not occur in Diophantus’ works). Diophantus used an abbreviated notation of words to designate an unknown and its powers and the equals sign. He provided skilled solutions of algebraic and theoretical numerical problems without providing general methods of solution. His works were a starting point for investigations by P. de Fermat, L. Euler, K. Gauss, and other mathematicians.


Kol’man, E. Istoriia matematiki v drevnosti. Moscow, 1961.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
We pick up the story again with Diophantus of Alexandria who probably lived in the middle of the third century of our era (around AD 250).
Nearly 2,000 years ago, for instance, Diophantus of Alexandria observed in his book Arithmetica that 65 can be written in two different ways as the sum of two squares: [4.sup.2] + [7.sup.2] and [8.sup.2] + [1.sup.2].