Monumental mathematics events
We celebrate Time Travellers Day with a travel back through history to look at some monumental mathematics events.
The foundations of geometry
3,000 years ago, the Greeks laid the foundations for geometry and arithmetic. Euclid was the mathematician who wrote one of the most influential books in history, Elements, which laid the foundations of geometry.
The earth’s diameter
Several centuries later, the Greek mathematician Eratothenes calculated the Earth’s diameter using a rod stuck in the ground and the rule of three – several centuries before it was proven that the world is round.
The number zero
The number zero was created in India in the Middle Ages, leading to a mathematical revolution in how numbers are calculated.
Al-Khwarizmi created equations and started algebra by inheriting the creation of zero by the Indians.
Differential and integral calculus
Sir Isaac Newton’s work in the 18th century on theorems such as differential and integral calculus are still taught and applied today.
A scientist who was a member of Napoleon’s staff, Joseph Fourier, did mathematical work in the early 19th century on thermodynamics, which is the basis for the CT scan, data storage in cell phones and equalizers in the music industry that we have today.
Theories of Relativity
While Einstein is widely recognised for his theories of relativity, it was female mathematician Emmy Noether who ended up formulating fundamental theories to understand relativity in the 19th century.
Thanks to the study of dynamic systems in the 1960s and ’70s, the Butterfly effect, the Smale horseshoe and the Feigenbaum constant were created to describe the system of chaos. This explains how small variations produce disproportionate results.
Which of these important maths events would you like to time travel back to? Let us know in the comments.
This is maths tuition in Singapore done differently!