When Was Math First Created?
The question of when math was created is a perennial topic. While some people say that it was invented by the Greeks, it is argued that other cultures contributed to its development. The earliest mathematical functions like addition and multiplication appeared many centuries back in China, India, and Mesopotamia. Those cultures are some of the oldest civilizations on the planet, and it is likely that these people were the first to discover mathematical concepts.
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What is Mathematics?
The word mathematics means “the study of numbers” or “the art of computation.” It is a complex subject that includes many subfields. It has been around since the earliest times, and it has helped humans develop new ways of understanding the world.
When was math first created?
The development of mathematics might be seen as an ever-increasing series of abstractions, or alternatively as an expansion of subject matter. Certainly one of the earliest abstractions is the recognition that two apples and two oranges have something in common. This is a great breakthrough in human thought, and prehistoric peoples were already recognizing other abstract quantities, such as time — days, seasons, years.
Another earliest abstraction was geometry, which calculates areas, volumes and angles. Ancient cultures had a keen appreciation for geometry and it is reflected in monuments that testify to their knowledge of the subject.
Geometry was introduced in China and India during the second century BC. The Chinese text The Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art and the Indian astronomer Lagadha’s Vedanga Jyotisha both contain descriptions of the use of geometry for calculations in astronomy.
Eventually, algebra was added to the mix. Persian mathematician Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi wrote the earliest known book on algebra called The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing around 820 A.D.
This book contains a variety of quick methods for multiplying and dividing numbers, which are now known as algorithms. This book is also credited with the discovery of the binomial theorem for integer exponents, which is still used in modern science.
Although algebra and geometry were developed independently, they were often used together. Diophantus, for example, used symbols for unknown numbers in terms of syncopated algebra. Later, Al-Karaji completely freed algebra from geometric operations and replaced them with the arithmetical type of operations that are still at the heart of algebra today. He was the first to define monomials x displaystyle x, x 2 displaystyle x2, x 3 displaystyle x3 and 1 / x displaystyle 1/x, a set of rules that can be used to find the products of any two numbers, which are a fundamental building block for the study of algebra.