Mathematical History

“I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.” – John Adams


One of the more interesting topics in mathematics is the history of its development.  Mathematicians are a strange group of people.  By studying the history of their thinking, you can gain insight into just how brilliant their discoveries were.

Below are links to various websites dedicated to the history of mathematics.  I hope you enjoy your walk through the minds of genius.

SOME OF MY FAVORITE MATHEMATICIANS’ BIOGRAPHIES

BIOGRAPHY OF PAUL ERDOS

BIOGRAPHY OF LEONHARD EULER

BIOGRAPHY OF CARL FRIEDRICH GAUSS

BIOGRAPHY OF SOPHIE GERMAIN

BIOGRAPHY OF KURT GODEL

BIOGRAPHY OF PAUL HALMOS

BIOGRAPHY OF EMMY NOETHER

BIOGRAPHY OF STANISLAW ULAM

EVEN MORE BIOGRAPHIES

BIOGRAPHIES OF MATHEMATICIANS – This is a great website containing the biography of just about every mathematician you can think of.  Plan on spending a long time exploring this site.

BIOGRAPHIES OF WOMEN MATHEMATICIANS – This is an outstanding website dedicated to exploring the often overlooked contributions of women mathematicians.  Beyond Sophie Germain and Emmy Noether, there are countless women who have proven invaluable to mathematics.

SUBJECT SPECIFIC HISTORY

GEOMETRY:  Euclid’s Elements – This is the one of the greatest books ever written on mathematics.  Written over 2,000 years ago, Euclid’s book contains theorems in Geometry and Number Theory.  Most of his theorems and postulates are exactly the same as you would find them in a Geometry textbook today.  I love this site because it goes into great detail explaining each of Euclid’s postulates and theorems.  Proofs of the theorems are included!  It adds diagrams where appropriate as well as applets that you can manipulate to better understand the geometry.

ORIGINS OF MATHEMATICAL SYMBOLS

http://www.roma.unisa.edu.au/07305/symbols.htm#Index – Douglas Weaver and Anthony D. Smith of Taperoo High School (Australia) explain the origins of some of the mathematical world’s favorite symbols.

THE 100 GREATEST THEOREMS

http://pirate.shu.edu/~kahlnath/Top100.html  – In 1999, mathematicians Jack and Paul Abad created this list of what they considered to be the 100 Greatest Theorems in all of mathematics.  Click here to read my post on the list.

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