# Matteo Ricci – The 16th-Century Jesuit who brought Euclid to China

Matteo Ricci (利马窦) the Italian Jesuit Priest who came to China during the 16th Century  Ming Dynasty of WanLi 万历 Emperor, tried to evangelise the Imperial Court Mandarins with his impressive western Science knowledge and Mathematics. In1607 Ricci translated Euclid’s Masterpiece “The Elements” in Chinese with the Prime Minister Xu GuangQi (徐光啓), the later named Geometry as “几何”, a Chinese term still being used today. Paul Xu and few Scientist Officers were baptised by Ricci as the first Catholics in Chinese history. Ricci stopped the Euclid translation at Book 6 of 15 (Euclid’s 13 books + 2 add-on books from Ricci’s Jesuit professor Clavius), albeit the earnest plea from Xu to translate the remaining 9 books (likely because Ricci himself was not taught in Rome before he left for China), which were later translated by a British Alexander Wylie and a Chinese mathematician 李善兰 in 1857 of Qing Dynasty.

Ricci spent his remaining life in China because the Catholic Pope in Rome, influenced by the Macau-based Franciscans (then the opponent of Jesuits), prosecuted him for being ‘compromised’ by Chinese rituals of Ancestor Worship.

Now the current Pope Francis wants to befriend China, which broke diplomatic tie with Vatican in 1950s, intents to beatify Matteo Ricci : The first Saint ‘Mathematician’ !

# Quiz

In the diagram, the circumference of the external large circle is
1) longer, or
2) shorter, or
3) equal to,
the sum of the circumferences of all inner circles centered on the common diameter, tangent to each other.

circumference = π. diameter

Let d be the diameter of the external large circle C
Let dj be the diameter of the inner circle Cj

$\displaystyle d = \sum_{j} d_j$
$\displaystyle \pi. d = \pi. \sum_{j} d_j= \sum_{j}\pi.d_j$

Circumference of the external circle
= sum of circumferences of all inner circles

# New Geometry 新几何

New Geometry (新几何) invented by Zhang JingZhong (張景中) derived from 2 basic theorems:

1) Triangles internal angles =180º

2) Triangle Area = ½ base * height
=> derive all geometry
=> trigonometry
=> algebra
(These 3 maths are linked, unlike current syllabus taught separately)

The powerful Area (Δ) Proof Techniques:

1) Common Height:
Line AMB, P outside line
Δ PAM / Δ PBM = AM/BM

2) Common 1 Side (PQ):
Lines AB and PQ meet at M
Δ APQ /Δ BPQ = AM/BM

3) Common 1 Angle:
∠ABC=∠XYZ (or ∠ABC+∠XYZ = ∏ )
Δ ABC /Δ XYZ= AB.BC /XY.YZ

These 3 theorems can prove Butterfly and tough IMO problems.

# Axiom

Axiom (Greek): meant request. The reader is requested to accept the axioms unquestioningly as the rules of the game.

Euclid’s “Element” built the whole Geometry with only 5 axioms.
The 5th axiom “Parallel line” was not challenged for 3,000 years until 19th CE Gauss & Riemann developed the Non-Euclidian Geometry.