Mathematics Education

A Glimpse of the History of Mathematics (1)

Mathematics and

Civilizations
The history of mathematics is interwoven with the history of human civilization. World’s best known civilizations have contributed, in some way or other, a lot in the development of mathematics education. Now there is one predominant international mathematics, and this mathematics has quite a long history. It has roots in ancient Babylonia, China, Egypt, Greece and Indian subcontinent. Attempts to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics were going on from time immemorial

Mathematics Education
A Glimpse of the History of Mathematics (2)

Mathematics and Civilizations

Mathematics Education
A Glimpse of the History of Mathematics (3)

From Where and When?

Counting was carried out long before the dawn of any civilization. But mere counting (i.e., early counting of the prehistoric period) is no mathematics.

Once we accept this, the origin of the first mathematics can be traced back to some 5000 years or so.
"Mathematics began with the creation or invention of number symbols or numerals.”

This has led to so-called Eurocentrism. many key mathematical developments have been wrongly attributed to scholars of European origin. as a result of which the contributions of non-European countries have been severely neglected in the histories of mathematics. . Worse still.Mathematics Education A Glimpse of the History of Mathematics (4) A Story of Complete Fabrication(1) ‘Mathematics is a European invention’ Mathematics has long been considered an invention of European scholars.

How ridiculous is their claim of making very complicated computations during those days when they had only the primitive type of number symbols or numerals only ? (Refer to the Greek.Mathematics Education A Glimpse of the History of Mathematics (5) A Story of Complete Fabrication(2) ‘Mathematics is a European invention’ Even simple arithmetical operations were not known or could not be performed in the European number system before the introduction of the Hindu-Arabic decimal system some 1000 years ago. Roman and other numerals of the 1st century A.) .D.

Modified Eurocentric chronology of mathematics history. .Mathematics Education A Glimpse of the History of Mathematics (6) ‘Mathematics is a European invention’ Eurocentric chronology of mathematics history.

Mathematics Education A Glimpse of the History of Mathematics (7) The Ancient World (1) Babylonian Mathematics The Babylonian civilization replaced that of the Sumerians from around 2000 BC. Counting in Sumerian civilization was based on a sexagesimal system. It was a positional system one of the greatest achievement in the development of the number system Babylonians used only two symbols to produce their base 60 positional system. cannot be older than that of Sumerian mathematics. So. inherited from the Sumerians. Babylonian Mathematics. . that is to say base 60.

number symbols.Mathematics Education A Glimpse of the History of Mathematics (8) The Ancient World (2) Chinese Mathematics Number names. . traditional decimal notation go back to the origin of Chinese writing. arithmetical computations. The number system which was used to express this numerical information was based on the decimal system and was both additive and multiplicative in nature.

. The Egyptian number systems were not well suited for arithmetical calculations. It was not a place value system. The numerals are formed by putting together the basic symbols .Mathematics Education A Glimpse of the History of Mathematics (9) The Ancient World (3) Egyptian Mathematics About 3000 BC the Egyptians developed their hieroglyphic writing (picture writing) to write numerals This was a base 10 system without a zero symbol.

The system was based on the additive principle. A second ancient Greek number system is the alphabetical system.Mathematics Education A Glimpse of the History of Mathematics (10) The Ancient World (4) Greek Mathematics In the first millennium BC. the Greeks had no single national standard numerals. The first Greek number system is an acrophonic system. the numerals are based on giving values to the letters of the alphabet . The word 'Acrophonic' means that the symbols for the numerals come from the first letter of the number name. As the name 'alphabetical' suggests. . It is sometimes called the 'learned' system.

Mathematics Education A Glimpse of the History of Mathematics (11) The Ancient World (5) Hindu Mathematics (?) The evidence of the first use of mathematics in the Indian subcontinent was found in the Indus valley and dates back to at least 3000 BC. and was primarily concerned with weights. The ratio for brick dimensions 4:2:1 is even today considered optimal for effective bonding . measuring scales and a surprisingly advanced 'brick technology'. (which utilized ratios). The maths used by this early Harrapan civilization was very much for practical means. Excavations at Mohenjodaro and Harrapa. and the surrounding area of the Indus River. have uncovered much evidence of the use of basic mathematics.

they are the ones found in the excavation of Mohenjadaro and Harrapa which did not belong to what is known today as India.D. If there is anything that is worth mentioning. Hindu.Mathematics Education A Glimpse of the History of Mathematics (12) A New Wave of Fabrication ‘Mathematics is a Hindu creation’ Not only the fundamental concepts of Ganit (Mathematics) such as those of counting numbers. Hindi and the Devanagari script verson of Vedah.) . (Refer to the Brahmi numerals of the first century A. This is a total lie. zero and infinity but also various arithmetical and algebraic operations are being claimed to have been present in the Hindu Granth Vedah some 6000 years ago a time when there was nothing like Hindusthan.

There exists a complete analogy between the Lichhavian number system and the 14th Century B. . The Lichhavian numerals used in the beginning of the last millennium is both additive and multiplicative.C. Chinese system both in form and technique of writing numbers using numerals.Mathematics Education A Glimpse of the History of Mathematics (13) The Ancient World (6) Nepalese Mathematics (1) Record written in Bramhi and Nepal Bhasa (Bhujimol) scripts and in the brick found while reconstructing the Dhando Stupa at Chabahil (Kathmandu) 2003 testifies that counting numbers were used in Nepal as early as 3rd century B.C. It was decimal in nature.

They further show their skill in measurement and power of reproduction of congruent copies. .Mathematics Education A Glimpse of the History of Mathematics (14) The Ancient World (6) Nepalese Mathematics (2) The extremely artistic ways of writing numerals together with the various shaped objects placed symmetrically or asymmetrically in the ancient temples of Nepal do show that Nepalese people had not only the knowledge of various geometric shapes (supposed to have been discovered by Westerners) but also their practical use long long ago.

it is doubtful whether few knew more than basic counting and finger reckoning. Schools were reduced to little or no arithmetic.. The Dark ages and then the Middle Ages were upon the land and civilization let alone the science of mathematics was having trouble surviving the times. .Mathematics Education A Glimpse of the History of Mathematics (15) Medieval Mathematics (1) (320 – 1660 AD) Britain and European Mathematics The collapse of Rome and the general chaos that followed has no great advancements in the mathematical community in it.

but in the late Middle Ages there were a few advances and much of what had been forgotten from the ancient world was rediscovered and re-evaluated . the early Middle Ages. In the early Middle Ages mathematics made no progress. or Dark Ages (from 300AD to 1100AD) and the late Middle Ages. just before the Renaissance.Mathematics Education A Glimpse of the History of Mathematics (16) Medieval Mathematics (2) (320 – 1660 AD) In the period from 300AD to 1600AD there existed two major sub-divisions.

geometry combinatorics and latterly differential calculus. From the earliest numerate civilisation of the Indus valley. through the scholars of the 5th to 12th centuries who were conversant in arithmetic. or 'Golden era' of Indian mathematics. where scholars were the first to derive infinite series expansions of trigonometric functions The work of Bhaskara was considered the highest point Indian mathematics attained. Indian scholars led the world in the field of mathematics. trigonometry.Mathematics Education A Glimpse of the History of Mathematics (17) Medieval Mathematics (3) (320 – 1660 AD) The so called 'classical period'. algebra. . The peak coming between the 14th and 16th centuries in the far South. and it was long considered that Indian mathematics ceased after that point.

Mathematics Education A Glimpse of the History of Mathematics (18) Medieval Mathematics (4) (320 –1660 AD) Arabic Mathematics : Forgotten brilliance? Many of the ideas which were previously thought to have been brilliant new conceptions due to European mathematicians of the sixteenth. The period after the Late Middle Ages saw the rise of maths again as a science worth a second glance and many educated men throughout Europe took up the challenge of relearning the "Wisdom of the Ancients". seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are now known to have been developed by Arabic/Islamic mathematicians around four centuries earlier. .

These were not intended for the highly educated mathematician but for the common man seeking to improve his understanding of such subjects as the Hindu-Arabic numeral system. and a significant number of students entering Oxford and Cambridge in the 1630's still had no prior knowledge of the Hindu-Arabic numeral system .Mathematics Education A Glimpse of the History of Mathematics (19) Renaissance Mathematics(1) In England. computation with counters which would aid their work in trade and commerce The quality and the quantity of teaching still varied hugely. Robert Recorde wrote what is thought to be the first series of textbooks in English. conversions between weights and coins.

research and application on the HinduArabic Number System. who. During the same period. began the mathematical study of probability. their contributions to the theory and application of mathematics grew tremendously during the latter part of the seventeenth century. together with Pascal. worldwide usage of the Hindu-Arabic number system proved to be a boon for both mathematics and the whole of human society. Progress towards the calculus continued with Fermat. However the calculus was to be the topic of most significance to evolve in the 17th Century .Mathematics Education A Glimpse of the History of Mathematics (20) Renaissance Mathematics(2) Once the European community based their study.

much more rigorous approach to the calculus. Leibniz. . was to set the scene for the mathematical work of the 18th Century rather than that of Newton. Newton's theory of gravitation and his theory of light take us into the 18th Century.Mathematics Education A Glimpse of the History of Mathematics (21) 18th – 19th Centuries (1) Newton developed the calculus into a tool to push forward the study of nature. His work contained a wealth of new discoveries showing the interaction between mathematics. physics and astronomy.

Euler was also important in pushing forward with research in number theory begun so effectively by Fermat. The period around the turn of the century saw Laplace's great work on celestial mechanics as well as major progress in synthetic geometry by Monge and Carnot. was to invent two new branches. in addition to work in a wide range of mathematical areas. namely the calculus of variations and differential geometry. .Mathematics Education A Glimpse of the History of Mathematics (22) 18th – 19th Centuries (2)   The most important mathematician of the 18th Century was Euler who. Toward the end of the 18th Century. Lagrange was to begin a rigorous theory of functions and of mechanics.

There was little formal teacher education until late in the century.K. were once again enjoined to go to school. but could leave the educational system once they could read.  . Children in U. write and had an elementary knowledge of Arithmetic. It was now generally accepted that some level of understanding of Mathematics was absolutely necessary for modern life. Specialized content might be learned on the job or in special academies. and there were few schools who did not give Mathematics a place in a student's timetable of classes.Mathematics Education A Glimpse of the History of Mathematics (23) 18th – 19th Centuries (3)  The 1800s—societal emphasis Mathematics teaching mainly meant arithmetic and basic geometry--skills needed for daily life.

 . In geometry Plücker produced fundamental work on analytic geometry and Steiner in synthetic geometry. Fourier's work on heat was of fundamental importance.Mathematics Education A Glimpse of the History of Mathematics (24) 18th – 19th Centuries (4)   By 1823. the analytical methods and notation of differential calculus made their way into the course The 19th Century saw rapid progress. while Augustus De Morgan was at Cambridge.

Cauchy. began rigorous analysis and began the study of the theory of functions of a complex variable. building on the work of Lagrange on functions. studied quadratic reciprocity and integer congruences. began the mathematical study of probability. Galois' introduction of the group concept was to herald in a new direction for mathematical research which has continued through the 20th Century. who. This work would continue through Weierstrass and Riemann. . He also contributed in a major way to astronomy and magnetism. His work in differential geometry was to revolutionise the topic. Gauss. thought by some to be the greatest mathematician of all time.Mathematics Education A Glimpse of the History of Mathematics (25) 18th – 19th Centuries (5)    Progress towards the calculus continued with Fermat. The 19th Century saw the work of Galois on equations and his insight into the path that mathematics would follow in studying fundamental operations. together with Pascal. However the calculus was to be the topic of most Non-euclidean geometry developed by Lobachevsky and Bolyai led to characterisation of geometry by Riemann.

Cantor invent set theory almost single handedly while his analysis of the concept of number added to the major work of Dedekind and Weierstrass on irrational numbers Lie's work on differential equations led to the study of topological groups and differential topology. The study of electrostatics and potential theory. . It led to ergodic theory.Mathematics Education A Glimpse of the History of Mathematics (26) 18th – 19th Centuries (6)    Algebraic geometry was carried forward by Cayley whose work on matrices and linear algebra complemented that by Hamilton and Grassmann. Boltzmann and Gibbs. By Fredholm led to Hilbert and the development of functional analysis. Statistical mechanics was developed by Maxwell. Maxwell was to revolutionise the application of analysis to mathematical physics.

Mathematics Education A Glimpse of the History of Mathematics (27) Some Numerals of the World (1) The number system employed throughout the greater part of the world today was probably developed in India. but because it was the Arabs who transmitted this system to the West the numerals it uses have come to be called Arabic ( Hindu-Arabic) . .

Mathematics Education A Glimpse of the History of Mathematics (28) Some Numerals of the World (2) Roman Numerals: I = 1. X = 10. D = 500 and M = 1000 Brahmi Numerals: . C = 100. L = 50. V = 5.

Greek. Thus the number 323 was expressed like this: Egyptian : 999 nn III . the Egyptian. Roman : CCC XX III . and other cultures used their own numerals in a manner similar to that of the Romans.Mathematics Education A Glimpse of the History of Mathematics (29) Some Numerals of the World (3) Until 771. Greek : HHH ÆÆ III .

Arabic Early Hindu-Arabic Arabic Letters Early Arabic Modern Arabic Early Devanagari Later Devanagari .Mathematics Education A Glimpse of the History of Mathematics (30) Some Numerals of the World (4)        Modern Hindu.

Mathematics Education A Glimpse of the History of Mathematics (31) Some Numerals used in India Some Numerals used in Nepal Some Numerals of the World (5) ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 .

Mathematics Education A Glimpse of the History of Mathematics (32) Some Numerals of the World (6) Ancient Chinese Lichchavian .

in the year 207'.Mathematics Education A Glimpse of the History of Mathematics (33) Some Numerals of the World (7) An Inscribed Statue of the Year 207 From Maligaon. on the fourth day of the seventh (?) fortnight of summer. Kathmandu Translation of Castro and Garbini 'Of the great king Jayavarma. According to Rajbanshi the year is 107 Rajbanshi Samvat 107 100 7 4 Castro/Gabin Samvat 207 200 7 4 .

Mathematics Education A Glimpse of the History of Mathematics (34) Fabrication of Nepal’s History Some Numerals of the World (8) Some Conflicting Interpretations of Inscribed Numerals of Ancient Nepal .

END OF PART ONE .

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