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Mathematics, as a science, is the study of numbers, patterns, shapes and space. It's reach is far beyond simple calculations, it includes deductive reasoning, logical proofs and algebraic expressions. Some topics within mathematics hinge very loosely on numbers at all, such as polynomials. This all encompassing science incorporates diverse topics from geometry to number sets, from measurement to linear relationsand from the exponent laws to Pythagorems Theorem.

Some people have gone as far as to conclude that mathematics is infact the universal language. While the symbols and characters are somewhat difference across the world the method of logical thinking and problem solving is similar in every culture. The history of mathematics is quite vast. It's humble beginnings are found with prehistoric humans (counting, calendar), the ancient egyptians (pyramids) and ancient greeks (Euclid and Pythagoras). The mathematics actually comes from a greek word whose translation means roughly learning, study, science.

History of Mathematics

Mathematics in the Real World

The usefullness of mathematics is not limited to the classroom or lecture hall. Everyday people all over the planet do math both as part of their jobs and part of their leisure activities. Many normal situations involve math without one's knowledge. Telling time on a non-digital clock requires the use of the five times multiplication tables. Figuring out your average on a test requires simple numbersense. Anything to do with money involves a degree of mathematics also.

While many individuals quickly look to discount the fact that their profession does not require math, there are very few jobs for which this is true. Retail jobs require their staff to be able to give correct change, to estimate the final price after taxes or to apply a discount without the use of a calculator. Electricians need mathematics not only for complex electrical calculations but also to measure how much wire they will need to complete a circuit. Big name corporations need to look at sales figures, data trends, employee benefit costs. A pizza maker needs to consider the amount of surface area that is going to be covered by cheese or pepperoni. The list could go on and on.

Many idividuals also use mathematics for fun. Sudoku is one of the new popular activities that requires participants to
complete mathematical crosswords. Popular games such as Brainage and Big Brain Acadamy require the recognition of patterns. Even the sport of baseball is full of mathematics. Concepts such as batting averages, ERA's, on base percentages and team records require math.

Who knew? The everyday world is highly dependant on math.

Famous Mathematicians

Pythagoras - Pythagorean Theorm (c² = a² + b²)
Albert Einstein - Theory of Relativity (E=mc²)
Sir Issac Newton - Three Laws of Motion (Inertia)
Carl Gauss - Probability and Theory
Blaise Pascal - Pascal's Triangle (Probability)
John Nash - Economics (A Beautiful Mind)

Math Jokes

1) Q: Why is six afraid of seven?
A: Because seven eight nine.

2) Q: What did the zero say to the eight?
A: Hey nice belt.


American Heritage Dictionary. (2000). Mathematics. Retrieved October 21, 2008, from http://www.bartleby.com/61/8/M0150800.html

Gibbs, J. W. (1903). What is Math?. Retrieved October 21, 2008, from http://www2.bc.cc.ca.us/math/what_is_math.htm

Mathematics (2008). Retrieved October 21, 2008, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mathematics

MIT Alumni Association (2006). MIT Club of Princeton. Retrieved October 21, 2008, from http://alumweb.mit.edu/clubs/princeton/BrowseWeb.do?webSiteId=SI000337&webPageId=P008&eventId=3147

Raza, A. (2007). Pythagoras. Retrieved October 21, 2008, from http://3quarksdaily.blogs.com/3quarksdaily/2007/02/pythagoras_1.html

Shipely, K., & Shin, A. (2004). Cool Mathematicians. Retrieved October 21, 2008, from http://home.byu.net/ashin/Famous_Mathematicians.html