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