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This is a chronological list of some of the most important mathematicians in history and their major

achievments, as well as some very early achievements in mathematics for which individual contributions

35000 African First notched tally bones

BCE

3100 Sumerian Earliest documented counting and measuring system

BCE

2700 Egyptian Earliest fully-developed base 10 number system in use

BCE

2600 Sumerian Multiplication tables, geometrical exercises and division

BCE problems

2000- Egyptian Earliest papyri showing numeration system and basic

1800 arithmetic

BCE

1800- Babylonian Clay tablets dealing with fractions, algebra and equations

1600

BCE

1650 Egyptian Rhind Papyrus (instruction manual in arithmetic, geometry, unit

BCE fractions, etc)

1200 Chinese First decimal numeration system with place value concept

BCE

1200- Indian Early Vedic mantras invoke powers of ten from a hundred all

900 the way up to a trillion

BCE

800- Indian Sulba Sutra lists several Pythagorean triples and simplified

400 Pythagorean theorem for the sides of a square and a

BCE rectangle, quite accurate approximation to 2

650 Chinese Lo Shu order three (3 x 3) magic square in which each row,

BCE column and diagonal sums to 15

624- Thales Greek Early developments in geometry, including work on similar and

546 right triangles

BCE

570- Pythagoras Greek Expansion of geometry, rigorous approach building from first

495 principles, square and triangular numbers, Pythagoras

BCE theorem

500 Hippasus Greek Discovered potential existence of irrational numbers while

BCE trying to calculate the value of 2

490- Zeno of Elea Greek Describes a series of paradoxes concerning infinity and

430 infinitesimals

BCE

470- Hippocrates of Greek First systematic compilation of geometrical knowledge, Lune of

410 Chios Hippocrates

BCE

460- Democritus Greek Developments in geometry and fractions, volume of a cone

370

BCE

428- Plato Greek Platonic solids, statement of the Three Classical Problems,

348 influential teacher and popularizer of mathematics, insistence

BCE on rigorous proof and logical methods

410- Eudoxus of Greek Method for rigorously proving statements about areas and

355 Cnidus volumes by successive approximations

BCE

384- Aristotle Greek Development and standardization of logic (although not then

322 considered part of mathematics) and deductive reasoning

BCE

300 Euclid Greek Definitive statement of classical (Euclidean) geometry, use of

BCE axioms and postulates, many formulas, proofs and theorems

including Euclids Theorem on infinitude of primes

287- Archimedes Greek Formulas for areas of regular shapes, method of exhaustion

212 for approximating areas and value of , comparison of infinities

BCE

276- Eratosthenes Greek Sieve of Eratosthenes method for identifying prime numbers

195

BCE

262- Apollonius of Greek Work on geometry, especially on cones and conic sections

190 Perga (ellipse, parabola, hyperbola)

BCE

200 Chinese Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art, including guide to

BCE how to solve equations using sophisticated matrix-based

methods

190- Hipparchus Greek Develop first detailed trigonometry tables

120

BCE

36 Mayan Pre-classic Mayans developed the concept of zero by at least

BCE this time

10-70 Heron (or Hero) Greek Herons Formula for finding the area of a triangle from its side

CE of Alexandria lengths, Herons Method for iteratively computing a square root

90-168 Ptolemy Greek/Egyptian Develop even more detailed trigonometry tables

CE

200 CE Sun Tzu Chinese First definitive statement of Chinese Remainder Theorem

200 CE Indian Refined and perfected decimal place value number system

200- Diophantus Greek Diophantine Analysis of complex algebraic problems, to find

284 CE rational solutions to equations with several unknowns

220- Liu Hui Chinese Solved linear equations using a matrices (similar to Gaussian

280 CE elimination), leaving roots unevaluated, calculated value of

correct to five decimal places, early forms of integral and

differential calculus

400 CE Indian Surya Siddhanta contains roots of modern trigonometry,

including first real use of sines, cosines, inverse sines,

tangents and secants

476- Aryabhata Indian Definitions of trigonometric functions, complete and accurate

550 CE sine and versine tables, solutions to simultaneous quadratic

equations, accurate approximation for (and recognition that

is an irrational number)

598- Brahmagupta Indian Basic mathematical rules for dealing with zero (+, - and x),

668 CE negative numbers, negative roots of quadratic equations,

solution of quadratic equations with two unknowns

600- Bhaskara I Indian First to write numbers in Hindu-Arabic decimal system with a

680 CE circle for zero, remarkably accurate approximation of the sine

function

780- Muhammad Al- Persian Advocacy of the Hindu numerals 1 - 9 and 0 in Islamic world,

850 CE Khwarizmi foundations of modern algebra, including algebraic methods of

reduction and balancing, solution of polynomial equations

up to second degree

908- Ibrahim ibn Arabic Continued Archimedes' investigations of areas and volumes,

946 CE Sinan tangents to a circle

953- Muhammad Al- Persian First use of proof by mathematical induction, including to prove

1029 Karaji the binomial theorem

CE

966- Ibn al-Haytham Persian/Arabic Derived a formula for the sum of fourth powers using a readily

1059 (Alhazen) generalizable method, Alhazen's problem, established

CE beginnings of link between algebra and geometry

1048- Omar Khayyam Persian Generalized Indian methods for extracting square and cube

1131 roots to include fourth, fifth and higher roots, noted existence

of different sorts of cubic equations

1114- Bhaskara II Indian Established that dividing by zero yields infinity, found solutions

1185 to quadratic, cubic and quartic equations (including negative

and irrational solutions) and to second order Diophantine

equations, introduced some preliminary concepts of calculus

1170- Leonardo of Italian Fibonacci Sequence of numbers, advocacy of the use of the

1250 Pisa Hindu-Arabic numeral system in Europe, Fibonacci's identity

(Fibonacci) (product of two sums of two squares is itself a sum of two

squares)

1201- Nasir al-Din al- Persian Developed field of spherical trigonometry, formulated law of

1274 Tusi sines for plane triangles

1202- Qin Jiushao Chinese Solutions to quadratic, cubic and higher power equations using

1261 a method of repeated approximations

1238- Yang Hui Chinese Culmination of Chinese magic squares, circles and triangles,

1298 Yang Huis Triangle (earlier version of Pascals Triangle of

binomial co-efficients)

1267- Kamal al-Din Persian Applied theory of conic sections to solve optical problems,

1319 al-Farisi explored amicable numbers, factorization and combinatorial

methods

1350- Madhava Indian Use of infinite series of fractions to give an exact formula for ,

1425 sine formula and other trigonometric functions, important step

towards development of calculus

1323- Nicole Oresme French System of rectangular coordinates, such as for a time-speed-

1382 distance graph, first to use fractional exponents, also worked

on infinite series

1446- Luca Pacioli Italian Influential book on arithmetic, geometry and book-keeping,

1517 also introduced standard symbols for plus and minus

1499- Niccol Italian Formula for solving all types of cubic equations, involving first

1557 Fontana real use of complex numbers (combinations of real and

Tartaglia imaginary numbers), Tartaglias Triangle (earlier version of

Pascals Triangle)

1501- Gerolamo Italian Published solution of cubic and quartic equations (by Tartaglia

1576 Cardano and Ferrari), acknowledged existence of imaginary numbers

(based on -1)

1522- Lodovico Italian Devised formula for solution of quartic equations

1565 Ferrari

1550- John Napier British Invention of natural logarithms, popularized the use of the

1617 decimal point, Napiers Bones tool for lattice multiplication

1588- Marin French Clearing house for mathematical thought during 17th Century,

1648 Mersenne Mersenne primes (prime numbers that are one less than a

power of 2)

1591- Girard French Early development of projective geometry and point at

1661 Desargues infinity, perspective theorem

1596- Ren French Development of Cartesian coordinates and analytic geometry

1650 Descartes (synthesis of geometry and algebra), also credited with the first

use of superscripts for powers or exponents

1598- Bonaventura Italian Method of indivisibles paved way for the later development of

1647 Cavalieri infinitesimal calculus

1601- Pierre de French Discovered many new numbers patterns and theorems

1665 Fermat (including Little Theorem, Two-Square Thereom and Last

Theorem), greatly extending knowlege of number theory, also

contributed to probability theory

1616- John Wallis British Contributed towards development of calculus, originated idea

1703 of number line, introduced symbol for infinity, developed

standard notation for powers

1623- Blaise Pascal French Pioneer (with Fermat) of probability theory, Pascals Triangle

1662 of binomial coefficients

1643- Isaac Newton British Development of infinitesimal calculus (differentiation and

1727 integration), laid ground work for almost all of classical

mechanics, generalized binomial theorem, infinite power series

1646- Gottfried German Independently developed infinitesimal calculus (his calculus

1716 Leibniz notation is still used), also practical calculating machine using

binary system (forerunner of the computer), solved linear

equations using a matrix

1654- Jacob Bernoulli Swiss Helped to consolidate infinitesimal calculus, developed a

1705 technique for solving separable differential equations, added a

theory of permutations and combinations to probability theory,

Bernoulli Numbers sequence, transcendental curves

1667- Johann Swiss Further developed infinitesimal calculus, including the

1748 Bernoulli calculus of variation, functions for curve of fastest descent

(brachistochrone) and catenary curve

1667- Abraham de French De Moivre's formula, development of analytic geometry, first

1754 Moivre statement of the formula for the normal distribution curve,

probability theory

1690- Christian German Goldbach Conjecture, Goldbach-Euler Theorem on perfect

1764 Goldbach powers

1707- Leonhard Euler Swiss Made important contributions in almost all fields and found

1783 unexpected links between different fields, proved numerous

theorems, pioneered new methods, standardized

mathematical notation and wrote many influential textbooks

1728- Johann Swiss Rigorous proof that is irrational, introduced hyperbolic

1777 Lambert functions into trigonometry, made conjectures on non-

Euclidean space and hyperbolic triangles

1736- Joseph Louis Italian/French Comprehensive treatment of classical and celestial mechanics,

1813 Lagrange calculus of variations, Lagranges theorem of finite groups,

four-square theorem, mean value theorem

1746- Gaspard French Inventor of descriptive geometry, orthographic projection

1818 Monge

1749- Pierre-Simon French Celestial mechanics translated geometric study of classical

1827 Laplace mechanics to one based on calculus, Bayesian interpretation

of probability, belief in scientific determinism

1752- Adrien-Marie French Abstract algebra, mathematical analysis, least squares method

1833 Legendre for curve-fitting and linear regression, quadratic reciprocity law,

prime number theorem, elliptic functions

1768- Joseph Fourier French Studied periodic functions and infinite sums in which the terms

1830 are trigonometric functions (Fourier series)

1777- Carl Friedrich German Pattern in occurrence of prime numbers, construction of

1825 Gauss heptadecagon, Fundamental Theorem of Algebra, exposition

of complex numbers, least squares approximation method,

Gaussian distribution, Gaussian function, Gaussian error

curve, non-Euclidean geometry, Gaussian curvature

1789- Augustin-Louis French Early pioneer of mathematical analysis, reformulated and

1857 Cauchy proved theorems of calculus in a rigorous manner, Cauchy's

theorem (a fundamental theorem of group theory)

1790- August German Mbius strip (a two-dimensional surface with only one side),

1868 Ferdinand Mbius configuration, Mbius transformations, Mbius

Mbius transform (number theory), Mbius function, Mbius inversion

formula

1791- George British Inventor of symbolic algebra (early attempt to place algebra on

1858 Peacock a strictly logical basis)

1791- Charles British Designed a "difference engine" that could automatically

1871 Babbage perform computations based on instructions stored on cards or

tape, forerunner of programmable computer.

1792- Nikolai Russian Developed theory of hyperbolic geometry and curved spaces

1856 Lobachevsky independendly of Bolyai

1802- Niels Henrik Norwegian Proved impossibility of solving quintic equations, group theory,

1829 Abel abelian groups, abelian categories, abelian variety

1802- Jnos Bolyai Hungarian Explored hyperbolic geometry and curved spaces

1860 independently of Lobachevsky

1804- Carl Jacobi German Important contributions to analysis, theory of periodic and

1851 elliptic functions, determinants and matrices

1805- William Irish Theory of quaternions (first example of a non-commutative

1865 Hamilton algebra)

1811- variste Galois French Proved that there is no general algebraic method for solving

1832 polynomial equations of degree greater than four, laid

groundwork for abstract algebra, Galois theory, group theory,

ring theory, etc

1815- George Boole British Devised Boolean algebra (using operators AND, OR and

1864 NOT), starting point of modern mathematical logic, led to the

development of computer science

1815- Karl German Discovered a continuous function with no derivative,

1897 Weierstrass advancements in calculus of variations, reformulated calculus

in a more rigorous fashion, pioneer in development of

mathematical analysis

1821- Arthur Cayley British Pioneer of modern group theory, matrix algebra, theory of

1895 higher singularities, theory of invariants, higher dimensional

geometry, extended Hamilton's quaternions to create

octonions

1826- Bernhard German Non-Euclidean elliptic geometry, Riemann surfaces,

1866 Riemann Riemannian geometry (differential geometry in multiple

dimensions), complex manifold theory, zeta function, Riemann

Hypothesis

1831- Richard German Defined some important concepts of set theory such as similar

1916 Dedekind sets and infinite sets, proposed Dedekind cut (now a standard

definition of the real numbers)

1834- John Venn British Introduced Venn diagrams into set theory (now a ubiquitous

1923 tool in probability, logic and statistics)

1842- Marius Sophus Norwegian Applied algebra to geometric theory of differential equations,

1899 Lie continuous symmetry, Lie groups of transformations

1845- Georg Cantor German Creator of set theory, rigorous treatment of the notion of infinity

1918 and transfinite numbers, Cantor's theorem (which implies the

existence of an infinity of infinities)

1848- Gottlob Frege German One of the founders of modern logic, first rigorous treatment of

1925 the ideas of functions and variables in logic, major contributor

to study of the foundations of mathematics

1849- Felix Klein German Klein bottle (a one-sided closed surface in four-dimensional

1925 space), Erlangen Program to classify geometries by their

underlying symmetry groups, work on group theory and

function theory

1854- Henri Poincar French Partial solution to three body problem, foundations of modern

1912 chaos theory, extended theory of mathematical topology,

Poincar conjecture

1858- Giuseppe Italian Peano axioms for natural numbers, developer of mathematical

1932 Peano logic and set theory notation, contributed to modern method of

mathematical induction

1861- Alfred North British Co-wrote Principia Mathematica (attempt to ground

1947 Whitehead mathematics on logic)

1862- David Hilbert German 23 Hilbert problems, finiteness theorem,

1943 Entscheidungsproblem (decision problem), Hilbert space,

developed modern axiomatic approach to mathematics,

formalism

1864- Hermann German Geometry of numbers (geometrical method in multi-

1909 Minkowski dimensional space for solving number theory problems),

Minkowski space-time

1872- Bertrand British Russells paradox, co-wrote Principia Mathematica (attempt

1970 Russell to ground mathematics on logic), theory of types

1877- G.H. Hardy British Progress toward solving Riemann hypothesis (proved infinitely

1947 many zeroes on the critical line), encouraged new tradition of

pure mathematics in Britain, taxicab numbers

1878- Pierre Fatou French Pioneer in field of complex analytic dynamics, investigated

1929 iterative and recursive processes

1881- L.E.J. Brouwer Dutch Proved several theorems marking breakthroughs in topology

1966 (including fixed point theorem and topological invariance of

dimension)

1887- Srinivasa Indian Proved over 3,000 theorems, identities and equations,

1920 Ramanujan including on highly composite numbers, partition function and

its asymptotics, and mock theta functions

1893- Gaston Julia French Developed complex dynamics, Julia set formula

1978

1903- John von Hungarian/ Pioneer of game theory, design model for modern computer

1957 Neumann American architecture, work in quantum and nuclear physics

1906- Kurt Gdel Austria Incompleteness theorems (there can be solutions to

1978 mathematical problems which are true but which can never be

proved), Gdel numbering, logic and set theory

1906- Andr Weil French Theorems allowed connections between algebraic geometry

1998 and number theory, Weil conjectures (partial proof of Riemann

hypothesis for local zeta functions), founding member of

influential Bourbaki group

1912- Alan Turing British Breaking of the German enigma code, Turing machine (logical

1954 forerunner of computer), Turing test of artificial intelligence

1913- Paul Erds Hungarian Set and solved many problems in combinatorics, graph theory,

1996 number theory, classical analysis, approximation theory, set

theory and probability theory

1917- Edward Lorenz American Pioneer in modern chaos theory, Lorenz attractor, fractals,

2008 Lorenz oscillator, coined term butterfly effect

1919- Julia Robinson American Work on decision problems and Hilbert's tenth problem,

1985 Robinson hypothesis

1924- Benot French Mandelbrot set fractal, computer plottings of Mandelbrot and

2010 Mandelbrot Julia sets

1928- Alexander French Mathematical structuralist, revolutionary advances in algebraic

2014 Grothendieck geometry, theory of schemes, contributions to algebraic

topology, number theory, category theory, etc

1928- John Nash American Work in game theory, differential geometry and partial

2015 differential equations, provided insight into complex systems in

daily life such as economics, computing and military

1934- Paul Cohen American Proved that continuum hypothesis could be both true and not

2007 true (i.e. independent from Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory)

1937- John Horton British Important contributions to game theory, group theory, number

Conway theory, geometry and (especially) recreational mathematics,

notably with the invention of the cellular automaton called the

"Game of Life"

1947- Yuri Russian Final proof that Hilberts tenth problem is impossible (there is

Matiyasevich no general method for determining whether Diophantine

equations have a solution)

1953- Andrew Wiles British Finally proved Fermats Last Theorem for all numbers (by

proving the Taniyama-Shimura conjecture for semistable

elliptic curves)

1966- Grigori Russian Finally proved Poincar Conjecture (by proving Thurston's

Perelman geometrization conjecture), contributions to Riemannian

geometry and geometric topology

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