History of Mathematics

Welcome to the Wonderful World of the History of Mathematics !

This page is sponsored by the History of Mathematics program at California State University, Northridge. CSUN is not responsible for anything here except for providing you with the opportunity to browse, explore, and learn. The select board below identifies the places you can go to find information about the History of Mathematics. Just place your cursor on the word(s),

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Whenever you want to go to another place from wherever you are, return back to select a different trip in the Wonderful World of the History of Mathematics.

General Information.

Mathematical Topics.

Mathematical Persons.

Mathematical Places.

Mathematical Organizations

History of Science.


Additional Resources

CSUN Department of Secondary Education

I offer a plethora of thanks to all the historians and collectors who have made their materials available on INTERNET. They have provided me with ideas and information that you will find in my collection. Special thanks to the publisher who permitted me to use the illustration from the cover of their book, Mathematics in the Making (1960), by Lancelot Hobgen.

If you wish to communicate with me, you can do so via e-mail. Comments, corrections, and additions are always appreciated.

Barnabas Hughes, Professor of Mathematics Education and History of Mathematics at CSUN.

There have been visitors to this page since 26.viii.96

General Information

If you are looking for a fast, very good overview of the history of mathematics, then select Overview . Perhaps the most extensive archive for the history of mathematics is MacTutor at Saint Andrew's University in Scotland. This is the work of John O'Connor and Edmund F. Robertson of the School of Mathematical and Computational Sciences. The archive contains information on more than 1000 mathematicians, in two groups: long biographies (alphabetical index or chronological index) and short biographies index. There is a Chronology showing the overlapping lives of mathematicians in the long biographies. Further, there is a birthplace map, a mathematicians of the day page, and a list of anniversaries for the year. Finally (but not exhausting everything in MacTutor) is a list of other good sources of information available on the web concerning the history of mathematics. On the other hand, the most extensive as well as spectacular resource may be at Clark University. David E. has amassed a massive (ptp) amount of information. Just consider his Regions or Web Resources, to identify only two of his contributions. Further, by going to his Home Page page, you can access such things as regional mathematics, subjects, chronology, timelines (these are particularly fascinating), and books and other resources. Other web resources worthy of note are at the University of Utah.

Mathematical Topics

The quadrivium offers a classical division of the history of mathematics. There is good information on Arithmetic. A separate section on the history of the abacus has its own lesson plan and museum resource. Geometry has two resources, one at Clark University. Don't overlook the study on Escher. Applications of ratios led to music. And the study of geometry found applications in astronomy which has two resources, one at the University of Bonn and the other at Data Sources. If you are interested in Mesoamerican astronomy, select Mayan Codices. There is Information about the history of algebra can be found at Clark University. The history of computing is the focus of a study from the University of Bonn, while museum collections are offered by Los Alamos, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Virtual Museum . If you thought that you had studied all the curves that existed, take a look at famous curves. Finally, if what you are looking for is not mentioned here, then select Topics.

Mathematical Persons

The most extensive collection of information about mathematicians is the MacTutor biographical data base at Saint Andrew's University, Scotland. On the other hand, the most interesting presentation of "names in mathematics" is done by David E. Joyce at Clark University. There is a resource about women mathematicians only, which you may want to cross consult with Saint Andrew's collection. I have picked out a few individuals about whom you may wish to learn more: Ptolemy, Hypatia, and Galileo.

Mathematical Places

To get an idea of the living and cultural circumstances in which mathematics developed, you can find information about some places. There is a resource on Europe. Regarding Egypt, there are two fonts. Dustin Cambridge University. The Vatican Library offers a multifaceted exhibition. You can wander through the Orient by selecting the China font. Apart from geographical places there are institutional places known as museums. Each of these places offers much information in which you may have to search in order to find the mathematics component. The Oxford Archive offers a general overview as does the Louvre in Paris. There are special resources for these important museums: Oxford University, Munich Germany, .and The Smithsonian Institution Institution.

Mathematical Organizations

Historians of mathematics are usually joiners. Some of the organizations to which they may belong are American Mathematics Society , Mathematics Association of America, History and Pedagory of Mathematics Association, and Canadian Society for the History and Philosophy of Mathematics. By all means, however, become involved with National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.. There is also a resource on the history of organizations.

History of Science

Science and mathematics grew up together. So it is entirely appropriate to offer a resource on the history of science. It is at the University of Oklahoma. If you ever have the opportunity to visit this school, be sure to stop in at its Library of the History of Science. The collection of significant books is outstanding.

Additional Resources

Resources is a catch-what's-left container. Here you will find lists of interesting quotations, textbooks, books to buy and resources elsewhere and NOT on the Web.