Analysis

Analysis is the process of breaking a complex topic or substance into smaller parts in order to gain a better understanding of it. The technique has been applied in the study of mathematics and logic since before Aristotle (384–322 B.C.), though analysis as a formal concept is a relatively recent development.[1]

Adriaen van Ostade, "Analysis" (1666)

The word comes from the Ancient Greek ἀνάλυσις (analysis, "a breaking-up" or "an untying;" from ana- "up, throughout" and lysis "a loosening").[2] From it also comes the word's plural, analyses.

As a formal concept, the method has variously been ascribed to Alhazen,[3] René Descartes (Discourse on the Method), and Galileo Galilei. It has also been ascribed to Isaac Newton, in the form of a practical method of physical discovery (which he did not name).


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