Where did math come from? Who thought up all those algebra symbols, and why? What's the story behind ...negative numbers? ...the metric system? ...quadratic equations? ...sine and cosine? The 25 independent sketches in "Math through the Ages" answer these questions and many others in an informal, easygoing style that's accessible to teachers, students, and anyone who is curious about the history of mathematical ideas. Each sketch contains Questions and Projects to help you learn more about its topic and to see how its main ideas fit into the bigger picture of history.

The 25 short stories are preceded by a 56-page bird's-eye overview of the entire panorama of mathematical history, a whirlwind tour of the most important people, events, and trends that shaped the mathematics we know today. ``What to Read Next'' and reading suggestions after each sketch provide starting points for readers who want to pursue a topic further.

Here are the topics covered in the sketches:

1. writing whole numbers

2. where the symbols of arithmetic came from

3. the story of zero

4. writing fractions

5. negative numbers

6. metric measurement

7. the story of pi

8. writing algebra with symbols

9. solving first degree equations

10. quadratic equations

11. solving cubic equations

12. the pythagorean theorem

13. Fermat's last theorem

14. Euclid's plane geometry

15. the platonic solids

16. coordinate geometry

17. complex numbers

18. sine and cosine

19. the non-euclidean geometries

20. projective geometry

21. the start of probability theory

22. statistics becomes a science

23. electronic computers

24. logic and boolean algebra

25. infinity and the theory of sets