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Liu Hui

Liu Hui was a great Chinese mathematician in the third century. He lived in a time of serious political turbulence in China. The country was split into three kingdoms and Liu Hui was an official of the Kingdom of Wei. After years of war, the Kingdom of Wei came out on top and began to revive literary and scientific classics.

Liu Hui was most famous for his annotated text of Jiuzhang Suanshu (Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art), which came into being in the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220). The book consists of 9 chapters containing 246 questions with their solutions and procedures. Each of 9 chapters focuses on a separate part of daily mathematics. Many data recorded in the book were advanced in the world at that time, but some of the solutions lacked proof. In 263, Liu Hui annotated the book, giving full proof to the solutions and formulas in the book while correcting the errors.

Liu Hui was the first person to put forward the concept of decimal number in the world. He also raised and defined a number of mathematical concepts, including area, power and equation. Besides, he approximated pi by approximating circles polygons, doubling the number of sides to get better approximations. From 96 and 192 sided polygons, he approximates pi as 3.141014 and suggested 3.14 as a practical approx. This is the most accurate estimate of ancient mathematicians.

He also compiled the Haidao Suanjing (Sea Island Mathematical Manual) which consisted of 9 measurement problems. The originality, complexity and representativeness of the problems impressed the peers in the West.

Liu Hui was more devoted into solving the problems on area and volume than any of his predecessors and made great achievements in this field. He is considered one of the greatest mathematicians in China.

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