Pandrosion

Pandrosion of Alexandria (Greek: Πανδροσιον) was a mathematician in fourth-century Alexandria, discussed in the Mathematical Collection of Pappus of Alexandria and known for developing an approximate method for doubling the cube. Although there is disagreement on the subject, Pandrosion is believed by many current scholars to have been female. If so, she would be an earlier female contributor to mathematics than Hypatia.

Contributions

Pandrosion is credited with developing a method for calculating numerically accurate but approximate solutions to the problem of doubling the cube, or more generally of calculating cube roots. It is a "recursive geometric" solution, but three-dimensional rather than working within the plane.[1] Pappus criticized this work as lacking a proper mathematical proof.[1][2] Although Pappus does not directly state that the method is Pandrosion's, he includes it in a section of his Collection dedicated to correcting what he perceives as errors in Pandrosion's students.[1] Another method included in the same section, and attributable in the same way indirectly to Pandrosion, is a correct and exact method for constructing the geometric mean, simpler than the method used by Pappus.[1][3]

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