Article ID: CBB832982278

Who Introduced Western Mathematicians to Latin Squares? (2019)


A Latin square is a grid or array containing the same number of rows and columns. The cell entries are a sequence of symbols inserted in such a way that each symbol occurs only once in each row and only once in each column. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, Latin squares have been studied in the field of combinatorics. This article is concerned with the issue of who, according to the published literature, introduced Western mathematicians to Latin squares. The first mathematician to provide a depiction of Latin squares seems to have been Jacques Ozanam (1640–1718), who demonstrated the use of Latin squares in a problem based on playing cards. However, he did not discuss the analytic properties or the potential applications of Latin squares. The first mathematician to provide an analytic description of Latin squares seems to have been Leonhard Euler (1707–1783).

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Authors & Contributors
Wilson, Robin J.
Gutas, Dimitri
Pérez Canals, Enric
Kangshen, Shen
Duan, Yaoyong
Newstead, Anne G. J.
British Society for the History of Mathematics Bulletin
Ziran Kexueshi Yanjiu (Studies in the History of Natural Sciences)
Llull: Revista de la Sociedad Española de Historia de las Ciencias y de las Técnicas
Studies in Dialectics of Nature
Historia Mathematica
Ashgate, Variorum
Discrete mathematics
Diffusion of innovation; diffusion of knowledge; diffusion of technology
Transmission of ideas
East Asia, civilization and culture
Euler, Leonhard
Feng, Zhongtong
Chen, Huaishu
Seki, Takakazu
Time Periods
18th century
19th century
20th century, early
20th century, late
Florida State University

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