×

zbMATH — the first resource for mathematics

Astronomy and calendars – the other Chinese mathematics. 104 BC–AD 1644. Translated from the French. (English) Zbl 1354.01004
Berlin: Springer (ISBN 978-3-662-49717-3/hbk; 978-3-662-49718-0/ebook). xxxv, 471 p. (2016).
This book is a revised translated edition of the French original [Le calendrier chinois : structure et calculs (104 av. J.-C. – 1644). Indétermination céleste et réforme permanente. La construction chinoise officielle du temps quotidien discret à partir d’un temps mathématique caché, linéaire et continu. Paris: Honoré Champion (2009; Zbl 1347.01003)] and the content of which has been reviewed extensively [N. Sivin, J. Hist. Astron. 41, No. 4, 521–523 (2010); J. W. Dauben, East Asian Sci. Technol. Med. 33, 96–120 (2011), http://www.eastm.org/index.php/journal/article/view/549; B. van Dalen, ISIS 102, No. 3, 544–545 (2011; doi:10.1086/663023); the reviewer, Hist. Math. 39, No. 3, 335–338 (2012; doi:10.1016/j.hm.2012.01.001)].
The book is concerned with the computational foundations of the Chinese calendar, and as such, as the new English title suggests, as a study of another, even more important set of mathematical practices outside the much studied canonical tradition in line with the conceptual framework of the Nine chapters of mathematical procedures. Crucial to the author’s conception of this book is his interpretation of the Chinese term li, that he understands not simply as the official ‘calendar’ but as a term referring to the underlying mathematical astronomy in general, thus equally encompassing the technical aspects of astronomical tables and positional astronomy. Besides an updated bibliography and additional illustrations the new English version has given more space to methodological concerns, the connections with non-Chinese cultural areas, the presentation of certain mathematical techniques such as interpolation and some afterthoughts about possible future research directions that can be taken based upon this new and comprehensive introduction to the mathematics of Chinese astronomy.

MSC:
01-02 Research exposition (monographs, survey articles) pertaining to history and biography
01A25 History of mathematics in China
85-03 History of astronomy and astrophysics
PDF BibTeX XML Cite
Full Text: DOI