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The Spectacle of Mathematics, in Arielle Saiber’s Measured Words

Through figures and equations, Renaissance mathematicians explore representation and identity.

di Sarah Axelrod

Arielle Saiber’s Measured Words takes readers through seminal works of four exceptional Renaissance ‘computers,’ her term for scholars engaged in mathematics as language. The four exceptional thinkers, calculators and writers Saiber has chosen to explore in the book – Leon Battista Alberti, Luca Pacioli, Niccolò Tartaglia and Giambattista Della Porta – “unequivocally demonstrate how mutually meneficial conversation between computational arts and writing arts can be.” In the interview, she and Sarah Axelrod discuss the interplay between the visual and the linguistic in these four scholars’ representation of their work, as well as the growing recognition of the value of numbers to both clarify and obscure knowledge in the Renaissance.

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