Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Maths History - History


  • The evolution of mathematics might be seen as an ever-increasing series of abstractions,
    or alternatively an expansion of subject matter.
  • The first abstraction was probably that of numbers.
  • The realization that two apples and two oranges have something in common was a
    breakthrough in human thought.
  • In addition to recognizing how to count physical objects, prehistoric peoples also recognized how to count abstract quantities, like time — days, seasons, years. Arithmetic
    (addition, subtraction,multiplication and division), naturally followed.
  • Further steps need writing or some other system for recording numbers such as tallies or the knotted strings called quipu used by the Inca to store numerical data.
  • Numeralsystems have been many and diverse, with the first known written numerals created by Egyptians in Middle Kingdom texts such as the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus. The Indus Valley civilization developed the modern decimal system, including the concept of zero.
  • From the beginnings of recorded history, the major disciplines within mathematics arose out of the need to do calculations relating to taxation and commerce, to understand the relationships among numbers, to measure land, and to predict astronomical events. These needs can be roughly related to the broad subdivision of mathematics into the studies of quantity, structure,space, and change.
  • since been greatly extended, and there has been a fruitful interaction between
    mathematics and science, to the benefit of both.
  • Mathematical discoveries have been made throughout history and continue to be made today.
  • According to Mikhail B. Sevryuk, in the January 2006 issue of the Bulletin of the American
    Mathematical Society, "The number of papers and books included in the Mathematical Reviews database since 1940 (the first year of operation of MR) is now more than 1.9 million, and more than 75 thousand items are added to the database each year.
  • The overwhelming majorityof works in this ocean contain new mathematical theorems and
    their proofs."

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