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An honor for Adam Ries – and not only for him

The Department of Mathematics supported last weekend a conference on “Rechenmeistern und Mathematikern der frühen Neuzeit” in Annaberg-Buchholz

Many affirm the alleged correctness of a calculation with the saying: “Macht nach Adam Ries…” – in English: “According to Adam Ries…”. The famous mathematician Adam Ries owed this prominence to his three arithmetic books. The “Father of modern Arithmetic” is still known in Annaberg-Buchholz a city he spend a long time living in. And that is where the scientific conference on reckoning masters and mathematicians of the early modern era between 1500 and 1650 took place from April 21st till 23rd, 2017. The colloquium was organized by the Adam-Ries-Bund and supported by the city administration Annaberg-Buchholz, the district administration Erzgebirgskreis, and the Department of Mathematics of the Chemnitz University of Technology. “Our conference could celebrate a memorable anniversary: The conference exists since 25 years, took place for the 10th time and simultaneously celebrated the 525th birthday of Adam Ries“, illustrates Prof. Christoph Helmberg, Dean of the Department.

The major of the city Annaberg-Buchholz Rolf Schmidt, and the county commissioner Frank Vogel acknowledged in their welcoming speeches the numerous important contributions of the Adam-Ries-Bund for the mathematical education in the region. With the Adam-Ries-competition they contribute to the youth development and both speaker hope that this will strengthen the enthusiasm of young people for the so-called MINT disciplines. In contrast, Prof. Christoph Helmberg discarded the supra-regional significance of Adam Ries, which he gained due to his teaching activity. The Dean placed the focus on the historical study of the reckoning masters in search of insights into the development of mathematical creativity and recognition whose sharing is nowadays more important than ever for the omnipresent computer technology and its competitive use. Ries was the most famous but not only reckoning master of his time. The scientists from Germany and abroad dealt with many of them at the scientific conference. All 27 presentations were collected in a conference transcript.

Adam Ries was born in 1492 in the Franconian Staffelstein and died in 1559 in Annaberg-Buchholz. He wrote down his most important findings in three books in Latin language. Furthermore, he wrote so-called “Brotordnungen” for various cities. Those “Brotordnungen” determined the amount of ingredients in baked goods for the price charged.

Matthias Fejes

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