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History of Mathematics

History of Mathematics

The history of mathematics spans all of human civilization. The earliest surviving mathematical text dates from ancient Babylon and Egypt. These texts are far more than simple addition and subtraction, and contain the Pythagorean theorem, indicating the age of geometry. The Pythagoreans themselves were a group of 6th century BCE Greeks who developed the term "mathematics."

There is evidence that prehistoric humans attempted to quantify time. Babylonian mathematics refers to efforts undertaken in the ancient Middle East, from the Sumerians to the dawn of Christianity, where the city of Babylon was a major center of learning. While the Egyptians also had mathematics, there are far more archaeological records from Mesopotamia. Greek mathematics dates from Thales of Miletus (c.624-c.546 BCE) and Pythagoras of Samos (c.582-c.507 BCE). Plato's Academy in Athens was also an influential center of mathematical learning.

Persians made tremendous contributions to the development of mathematics during the period of the Islamic Empire in the early Middle Ages. By the 12th century, Europeans were seeking out Arab texts in Spain. In 1202, Fibonacci was the first European to produce a mathematical text on that continent in more than a thousand years. The history of mathematics took a leap forward during the Scientific Revolution, when Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibnitz both independently invented Calculus, much to the dismay of college freshmen everywhere.

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