Time Line of Math History

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The time line of math history is extensive, as geometry has been found to exist in ancient cultures. Learn about the Babylonians use of math, as well as that of other cultures, with help from a math teacher in this free video on math history.

Part of the Video Series: Math Applications
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Video Transcript

What is a time line of math history? Hi. I'm Jimmy Chang, and I've been teaching mathematics for nine years. And the time line of math history has seen many, many events. It is very, very long. So in the next couple of minutes, we're going to explore just a little bit of an overview as to where we've been and where we are today. Now, with early math, it all started with the cavemen. Yes, the cavemen. Now, there were a lot of different drawings that have been found that indicate some early practice of geometry, as well as recording of time. Now, since then, we've had various civilizations- Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, Hindu mathematicians, and the Mayans. They've all had very important places in the study of mathematics. With number systems, the Babylonians had a base 60. In other words, 60 character number system. And the Mayans had base 20 number system. How did we get to the base 10 number system that we work with today? That is because we settled, eventually, on the Hindu/Arabic number system, which originally had nine digits and then eventually had 10, with the addition of zero. Euclid, famous Greek mathematician. We have to thank for the foundation of geometry. He wrote a multi-volume set called Elements, which had various postulates and statements discussing the various geometric statements on lines, points, etc., but that also paved the way for not just Euclidean geometry, for which the geometry was named after Euclid, but also non-Euclidean geometry, which really allowed us to explore geometry in whole different ways that we never were able to before. With algebra and calculus, many different civilizations have worked with algebra, as well as parts of calculus, but it was Newton and Leibniz who were working on calculus independently of each other, which really helped pave the way for advanced mathematics. Where we are today, mathematics is still being studied, as well, in various areas. People have been using carbon dating now to try to find out the Shroud of Turin, to figure out how old it actually is. People are still trying to figure out the value of what pi is, that legendary symbol pi. Also, there have been some theorems that have just recently been proved over the last few years, as well as trying to find out the next largest prime. We are definitely getting up there in terms of large prime numbers. So I'm Jimmy Chang, and that's a brief glimpse as to the time line of math history.


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