TheHistory of Math
TheHistory of Math
Mathematics,as a subject has evolved for many years through the contributionsmade by different people. Mathematics is a collection of formula,concepts, and problem-solving strategies that require the applicationof simple or complex techniques, such as counting, calculation, ormeasuring (Mastin, 2010). This means that the primary objectives ofmath, including finding solutions to problems and enhancing thelearners’ ability to think in a critical way. This paper willaddress the history of math by focusing on how it has evolved,techniques applied in math, and the significance of algebra.
Mathematicsis one of the key subjects that have been used in the entire historyof human beings to advance the fields of philosophy, science, andengineering. Over the years, mathematics has been advancing steadilyfrom simple measurements, counting, computation, and study ofmotions, shapes, and objects (Mastin, 2010). Although it is believedthat simple mathematical techniques (such as counted) are as old asthe human beings, the evolution of the formal mathematics should onlyfocus on the time when mathematics techniques first documented. Inaddition, communities in different parts of the world starteddocumenting their mathematic techniques in different times. TheBabylonian community adopted formal mathematics in 2000 BC., startingwith the place value system (Connor & Robertson, 2013). This wasfollowed by the development of number challenges (including thePythagorean triples) in 1700 BC (Connor & Robertson, 2013). TheGreeks community then inherited mathematical skills from theBabylonians, before developing their mathematical formula andconcepts in about 450 BC. For example, the paradox of Zeno of Elearesulted in the development of atomic theory, while the conic sectiontheory demonstrates a pure study of mathematics by Apollonius (Connor& Robertson, 2013).
Significantdiscoveries in the field of mathematics, especially in Europe beganin the sixteenth century, when quadratic equations and algebraicequations emerged. In the seventeenth century, Newton managed todevelop on the works of other mathematicians to advance calculus,making it a useful tool for the study of nature (Connor &Robertson, 2013). Other significant advances were made in thenineteenth century. For example, significant progress in the fieldsof synthetic geometry and non-Euclidean geometry was achieved in theearly nineteenth century. The modern mathematical formula andconcepts comprise of the accumulation of bits of contributions madeby many people over a long period. Therefore, it is difficult todetermine the most brilliant discovery in the history of mathematics.
Techniquesof solving problems in mathematics
Thetype of the technique used to solve mathematical problems depends onthe nature of a given mathematical challenge. There are five majorstrategies that can be used to solve mathematical problems. First,drawing a picture is a strategy that helps students who prefer visualeffects in perceiving abstract relationships, which in turn enhancetheir capacity to solve a given mathematical problem (Herndon, 2014).
Secondly,finding a pattern is a problem-solving strategy that can be combinedwith other methods (such as drawing pictures) to mathematicalproblems that the learner to follow some sequence. In that case, astudent can either draw a picture or identify a pattern without anydrawings (Herndon, 2014).
Fourth,guessing and checking is a strategy that students can use to solvedifficult mathematical problems. This strategy is used when a studentis given some numbers and requested to use them to find the unknown.For example, a learner may be required to find the smallest number ofcookies given that, if six of them are put in a box, the left overamounts to 3, but if eight of them are put in the box there will be ashortage of seven cookies (Herndon, 2014).
Third,making a systemic list is a strategy that allows the student toidentify all the possible combinations of solutions to a givenmathematical problem. This is because a systemic list makes itpossible for a student to organize information in any methodical way(Herndon, 2014). The systemic list can be in the form of a tablewhere columns contain information given in the problem, while therows contain the possible combinations.
Fifth,logical reasoning is a strategy that is used to solve mathematicalproblems that are designed to evaluate the learner’s ability toassess, analyze, evaluate, and complete a set of arguments occurringin the ordinary language (Law School Admission Council, 2014).
Algebrais one of the key gateways to higher mathematics that hasapplications in both personal and professional lives. There are fourmajor benefits of learning algebra. First, algebra is a prerequisitesubject that prepares students for advanced training in othersubjects (Math Worksheets Center, 2014). This is because solvingalgebraic problems enhances the learner’s capacity to thinklogically, which is accomplished by improving the student’sconcepts of symbols and letters. Secondly, algebra is veryinstrumental in the process of decision making. It equips learnerswith effective skills (such as the use of graphs) to identify theoptimal solution. Third, algebra has applications in everyday life,which means that the concepts and formula learned in algebra are partof human life. Algebraic techniques are applied in different aspectsof life (such as the calculation of distance and volumes) withouteven realizing that algebra has been applied (Math Worksheets Center,2014). Fourth, algebra is one of the key areas of mathematics thathelp learners in taking shortcuts, instead of detours in the courseof life. This is because algebra imparts learners with the skills todecide on ample opportunities, such as career paths.
Thereare two mathematical areas, namely category and universal algebrathat is used to study the basic algebraic properties. Universalalgebra focuses on structures and not their example while categoryalgebra formalizes mathematical concepts in the form of a collectionof arrows and objects (Geroch, 1985). The two areas of algebra can beapplied in different ways, including the preparation of bills forcustomers, figuring out the company budget, preparation of annualreport for students, determination of different measurements inconstruction among other areas of application.
Mathis one of the subjects that have been evolving throughout humanhistory. Although mathematical techniques have been in existence formany years, the history of mathematics should only focus on theperiod in which these techniques were documented. Based on this fact,the mathematics was started by the Babylonians before being adoptedby other communities. Different techniques (such as guessing andchecking) of solving mathematical problems have been developed overthe years. Learning algebraic techniques help prepares students foradvanced learning, enhances their capacity to make logical decisions,and ability to handle other subjects.
Connor,J. & Robertson, E. (2013). An overview of the history ofmathematics. HistTopics.Retrieved November 7, 2014, fromhttp://www-history.mcs.st-and.ac.uk/HistTopics/History_overview.html
Geroch,R. (1985). Mathematicalphysics.Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Herndon,M. (2014). Whyis algebra so important?Oakland, CA: Great School.
LawSchool Admission Council (2014). Logicalreasoning question.Newtown, PA: Law School Admission Council.
Mastin,L. (2010). Welcome to the story of mathematics. TheStory of Mathematics.Retrieved November 7, 2014, from http://www.storyofmathematics.com/
MathWorksheets Center (2014). Ten everyday reasons why algebra isimportant in your life. MathWorksheets Center.Retrieved November 7, 2014, fromhttp://www.mathworksheetscenter.com/mathtips/algebra.html