Mathematics started with counting. In about the
2000 BC’s, the Babylonians developed some mathematical
Number problems like the Pythagorean triples
(discovered by Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans, his students) were
studied from 1700 BC. Linear equations were studied to solve
problems, as well as quadratic equations. These led to a kind of
The Greeks studied similar figures, volume and area
(geometry problems). Values were also determined for p .
The Babylonian’s mathematics passed on to the
Greeks. From 450 BC on the Greeks studied and improved many kinds
The ancient Greeks discovered conic sections
(circular shapes formed when cutting a cone at different angles).
They also made many discoveries in astronomy and trigonometry.
While the Greeks’ greatest mathematical
discoveries were occurring between 300 BC and 200 BC, mathematics
was also making progress in Islamic countries, such as Iran, Syria,
and India. These mathematics were not as highly developed then the
Greeks. The Islamic mathematics, however, preserved the works of
the Greeks. They were brought back to Europe in the eighteenth
Major work in mathematics in Europe began in about
the sixteenth century, with the mathematician Girolamo Cardan and
some others, such as Tartaglia, Ferrari, and Pacioli. They reformed
what people thought the universe and mathematics were like.
During the seventeenth century, mathematicians made
more and more progress towards calculus and added some algebraic
methods to geometry.
The development toward calculus continued
with the great mathematicians Pierre de Fermat. Together, with
Blaise Pascal, they began the mathematical theory of probability.
However, calculus evolved in the seventeenth century.
Newton, Sir Isaac, discovered the branch of
mathematics called calculus. He called it fluxions, which meant
changing. His new discoveries contained an interaction between
physics, astronomy, and mathematics. His theories on light and
gravitation took us to the eighteenth century.
Two branches of mathematics were invented in the
eighteenth century, the calculus of variations and number theory,
which had begun with Fermat.