Algebra, Analysis, General, Geometry

A Short History of Mathematics

Textbooks nowadays don’t show kids where Maths has come from, or when it was discovered. In my opinion Maths or any other part of the Science field was here long before humans can decipher it. It has been shown that crows can distinguish between sets of up to four elements, a fact that demonstrates that counting occurs in other creatures. Maths has a very long history, not very known by many, and though I had a passion for it all my life, I only read about it’s history during college. And not even then, it’s roots were so clear to me. And after reading some books I could only draw the conclusion that if you want to study the history of maths, you have to study the history of civilization. Although many important results of mathematics go way back to Renaissance, we have to wonder what made them possible? Who decided which language to use, what simbols to use as numbers, or what were the numbers by the way ? Fibonacci was the one who introduced Hindu-Arabic numerals to Europe in the thirteenth century, and freed the mathematicians from the constraints of Roman numerals. ancient math So basically, Maths has been developed everywhere in the world, but the speed of it’s advance was not the same for each region. Ideas have been discovered and lost, and then refound. The modern mathematics borrows ideas from many different places, but the combination between Arabic and Persian Maths with the Greek and Indian gives what we learn today. Though it was discovered in different times in different parts of the world, the results were basically the same, and thanks to the Renaissance mathematicians we have the results that everybody uses now.

Maths hasn’t been so developed at it’s beginning, obviously, but it raised many interesting questions, and gave freedom to think. Nowadays, Maths results are rarely given, but it became used in many other new fields as Computer Science. But you don’t have to be a computer whiz or a math genius to appreciate the beauty of numbers. You don’t have to understand the equation that stands behind everyday things, you only have to become more aware of Mathematics’ influence in the world around you.

And as the great Rene Descartes said, “With me everything turns into mathematics”, make it possible with you and the world will be bigger, more meaningful and more beautiful.

 

photo from: http://graphics8.nytimes.com

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4 thoughts on “A Short History of Mathematics

  1. “In my opinion Maths or any other part of the Science field was here long before humans can decipher it.” – by this I assume you mean that mathematical or scientific ‘truths’ are merely ‘unearthed’ or ‘discovered’? Personally I am more inclined the believe maths and science and products of the human imagination. Or maybe they aren’t. I just enjoy the debate!

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    • haha, it’s great I can debate about this with someone. Science is only an explanation of phenomena that have been happening long before human even existed. You can’t really imagine something that’s very strict and rigurous as Science. It has it’s beauty, yes, but you can’t really imagine it as a story. If you read my Introduction on the blog i wrote there that Mathematics is really a language for something that really exists. It’s like Newton invented the gravity, and that it hasn’t been on Earth until Newton stated his laws. He only discovered it and gave a name to it 🙂

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      • But look how science evolves and theories change as time goes on! All any scientist ever has is an idea of what’s going on in nature that best fits the results of their experiements. Eventually results come along that require either an adjustment of that idea or, in some cases, the complete rejection of it! Has anyone ever actually ‘seen’ an electron? Of course not. It’s just an idea that someone dreamed up that best explains the results. A philosophical concept. One day someone might have to think up something else to replace it. 😉

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      • What you are saying is only possible because the mind can perceive what the eyes can’t see. It’s human nature to give an explanation to everything even if you don’t understand it. If the theories weren’t true, how come the system hasn’t collapsed then? They said the atom is the smallest particle on earth and still they discovered another one even smaller! That doesn’t mean they were wrong, it’s just that technology evolved and it’s still not enough.

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