*Science and Its Times*. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.

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## The Three Unsolved Problems of Ancient Greece

The geometry of ancient Greece, as characterized by Euclid's famous book, the *Elements*, has formed the basis of much of modern mathematical thought. For example, the Greek insistence on strict methods of proof has survived to this day. The methods and theorems found in the *Elements* were taught to schoolchildren almost unchanged until the twentieth century. Even today, school geometry is essentially the same geometry as that composed by Euclid (c. 325-c. 265 B.C.) well over two millennia ago.

It became the practice in traditional Greek mathematics to accept geometrical constructions only if they could be performed with an unmarked straightedge and a compass. This custom is derived from the first three postulates of Euclid's *Elements*. A *postulate* is a statement that is accepted as true without proof. In the *Elements*, Euclid gives five postulates...

This section contains 4,161 words(approx. 14 pages at 300 words per page) |