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Conference Paper: On Alexander Wylie’s Jottings on the Science of the Chinese Arithmetic
Title  On Alexander Wylie’s Jottings on the Science of the Chinese Arithmetic 

Authors  
Keywords  Alexander Wylie Chinese mathematics Arithmetic algebra 
Issue Date  2012 
Publisher  International Congress on Mathematical Education (ICME). 
Citation  History and Pedagogy of Mathematics (HPM) Satellite Meeting of International Congress on Mathematical Education (ICME), Daejeon, Korea, 1620 July 2012. In Proceedings of HPM, 2012, p. 229237 How to Cite? 
Abstract  Starting from August of 1852 the British Protestant missionary and sinologist, Alexander Wylie
(1815–1887), published in nine instalments an account Jottings on the Science of the Chinese Arithmetic
in the newspaper North China Herald. He explained clearly the purpose of his account at the beginning:
‘The object of the following desultory notes, made from time to time, in the course of some
researches entered upon, with another purpose in view, is to draw attention to the state of the
arithmetical science in China, a subject which has not been so fully explored as it might with
advantage, and on which some erroneous statements have been current in modern publications.’
Alexander Wylie is a wellknown figure in the last quarter of the Qing Dynasty for his contribution
in transmitting Western science into China during the latter half of the 19th century. In mathematics
he was known for translating three treatises in collaboration with the Qing mathematician Li Shanlan
(1811–1882) — Supplementary Elements of Geometry in 1856 but published in 1865 (believed to be
based on the English translation of Book VII to XV of Elements by Henry Billingsley in 1570), Treatise
of Algebra in 1859 (based on Elements of Algebra by Agustus De Morgan in 1835) and Analytical
Geometry and Differential and Integral Calculus Step by Step in 1859 (based on Elements of Analytical
Geometry and of the Differential and Integral Calculus of Elias Loomis in 1850). He was also the author
of Compendium of Arithmetic published in 1853.
This presentation will discuss the knowledge of Chinese science and mathematics which most
European sinologists of the 18th and 19th centuries possessed and the low regard they held it in,
but the viewpoint of which was critically examined by Wylie in his account. 
Description  Oral Presentation(Theme 2): R102 
Persistent Identifier  http://hdl.handle.net/10722/177469 
DC Field  Value  Language 

dc.contributor.author  Siu, MK  en_US 
dc.contributor.author  Chan, Y C  en_US 
dc.date.accessioned  20121218T05:11:10Z   
dc.date.available  20121218T05:11:10Z   
dc.date.issued  2012  en_US 
dc.identifier.citation  History and Pedagogy of Mathematics (HPM) Satellite Meeting of International Congress on Mathematical Education (ICME), Daejeon, Korea, 1620 July 2012. In Proceedings of HPM, 2012, p. 229237  en_US 
dc.identifier.uri  http://hdl.handle.net/10722/177469   
dc.description  Oral Presentation(Theme 2): R102   
dc.description.abstract  Starting from August of 1852 the British Protestant missionary and sinologist, Alexander Wylie (1815–1887), published in nine instalments an account Jottings on the Science of the Chinese Arithmetic in the newspaper North China Herald. He explained clearly the purpose of his account at the beginning: ‘The object of the following desultory notes, made from time to time, in the course of some researches entered upon, with another purpose in view, is to draw attention to the state of the arithmetical science in China, a subject which has not been so fully explored as it might with advantage, and on which some erroneous statements have been current in modern publications.’ Alexander Wylie is a wellknown figure in the last quarter of the Qing Dynasty for his contribution in transmitting Western science into China during the latter half of the 19th century. In mathematics he was known for translating three treatises in collaboration with the Qing mathematician Li Shanlan (1811–1882) — Supplementary Elements of Geometry in 1856 but published in 1865 (believed to be based on the English translation of Book VII to XV of Elements by Henry Billingsley in 1570), Treatise of Algebra in 1859 (based on Elements of Algebra by Agustus De Morgan in 1835) and Analytical Geometry and Differential and Integral Calculus Step by Step in 1859 (based on Elements of Analytical Geometry and of the Differential and Integral Calculus of Elias Loomis in 1850). He was also the author of Compendium of Arithmetic published in 1853. This presentation will discuss the knowledge of Chinese science and mathematics which most European sinologists of the 18th and 19th centuries possessed and the low regard they held it in, but the viewpoint of which was critically examined by Wylie in his account.   
dc.language  eng  en_US 
dc.publisher  International Congress on Mathematical Education (ICME).   
dc.relation.ispartof  Proceedings of HPM 2012  en_US 
dc.rights  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons AttributionNonCommercialNoDerivatives 4.0 International License.   
dc.subject  Alexander Wylie   
dc.subject  Chinese mathematics   
dc.subject  Arithmetic   
dc.subject  algebra   
dc.title  On Alexander Wylie’s Jottings on the Science of the Chinese Arithmetic  en_US 
dc.type  Conference_Paper  en_US 
dc.identifier.email  Siu, MK: mathsiu@hkucc.hku.hk  en_US 
dc.description.nature  published_or_final_version   
dc.identifier.hkuros  212456  en_US 
dc.identifier.spage  229  en_US 
dc.identifier.epage  237  en_US 