Abscissa       the x-coordinate of a point: its distance from the y-axis measured parallel to the x-axis
Absolute temperature the scale of temperature measuring thermodynamic activity (molecules) in the substance from none (absolute zero), when nothing is moving and scale moves upward, uses the system of Kelvin
Accurate free from error due to careful measurements
Acute triangle a triangle with internal angles that are smaller than 90° (three acute angles)
Ahmes was an Egyptian scribe who lived around 1680-1620 BC and worked with mathematics
Alchemists a person who practices alchemy
Alchemy In the history of science, alchemy refers to both an early form of the investigation of nature and an early philosophical and spiritual discipline, both combining elements of chemistry, metallurgy (Study of metals), physics, medicine, astrology, semiotics (Study of signs and symbols), mysticism, spiritualism, and art all as parts of one greater force. Alchemy has been practiced in Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, Persia, India, and China, in Classical Greece and Rome, in Muslim civilization, and then in Europe up to the 19th century.
Algebra statements of relations of numbers using symbols and letters to represent values
Analytic geometry a branch of mathematics in which algebraic procedures are applied to geometry and position is represented analytically by coordinates. Also called coordinate geometry.
Angles the shape created when two lines meet
Aperiodic non repeating pattern in tiling
Arbitrary a measurement that could vary based on convenience, location


an ancient Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, astronomer, and philosopher.
Aristotle a Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. He wrote on diverse subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry (including theater), biology and zoology, logic, rhetoric, politics, government, and ethics. Along with Socrates and Plato, Aristotle was one of the most influential of the ancient Greek philosophers.
Assets In business and accounting an asset is any economic resource controlled by an entity as a result of past transactions or events and from which future economic benefits may be obtained. Examples include cash, equipment, buildings, and land.
Asymmetrical the absence of, or a violation of, a symmetry
Atomist Theory any theory in which all matter is composed of tiny discrete finite indivisible indestructible particles; "the ancient Greek philosophers Democritus and Epicurus held atomic theories of the universe"
Azimuth angle from the horizon  toward the zenith (directly above)


Babylonians  the ancient peoples who lived between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers (present day Iraq), a state in southern Mesopotamia  
Bar graph a chart with rectangular bars of lengths usually proportional to the magnitudes or frequencies of what they represent. Bar charts are used for comparing two or more values. The bars can be horizontally or vertically oriented.
Base 60 a unit divided up into sixty equal fractions as in an hour having 60 minutes.
Bilateral symmetry division of an organism into roughly mirror image halves (with respect to external appearance only); reflection symmetry.
Bose, Satyendra a Bengali Indian physicist, specializing in mathematical physics. He is best known for his work on quantum mechanics in the early 1920s, providing the foundation for Bose-Einstein statistics and the theory of the Bose-Einstein condensate. He is honored as the namesake of the boson.
Bose-Einstein Condensate a state of matter that forms below a critical temperature in which all bosons that comprise the matter fall into the same quantum state
Brainstorm to try to solve a problem by thinking intensely about it


Calculus a field of mathematics that builds on analytical geometry that can help you look a either extremely large numbers or very small ones.
Calibration making equipment measure the exact same amount for scientific purposes.
Capacity the amount a container can hold
Cardinal numbers a number that states how many items are in a group
Cartesian coordinates In mathematics, the Cartesian coordinate system is used to determine each point uniquely in a plane through two numbers, usually called the x-coordinate and the y-coordinate of the point. To define the coordinates, two perpendicular lines (the x-axis and the y-axis), are specified, as well as the unit length, which is marked off on the two axes. Cartesian coordinate systems are also used in space.
Cartography Cartography or mapmaking is the study and practice of making maps or globes.
Chaos theory the theory that very small changes in a system can lead to the seemingly random nature of the result this is caused by high error in calculations
Charts a picture used to display data.
Circumference the measurement of the perimeter of a circle
Clepsydra A clepsydra is a vessel with a hole in the bottom and one on the top.
Colloidal suspension a colloid or colloidal dispersion is a substance with components of one or two phases. A colloid mixture is a heterogeneous mixture where very small particles of one substance are distributed evenly throughout another substance. The dispersed phase particles are largely affected by the surface chemistry existent in the colloid. Many familiar substances, including butter, milk, cream, aerosols (fog, smog, and smoke), asphalt, inks, paints, glues, and sea foam are colloids
Compass a tool used to create circles with a central pivot and a drawing point.
Compounds a substance consisting of two or more different chemically bonded elements
Conversions the mathematical formula used to change from one unit (or system) of measurement to another
Cornell, Eric a physicist who, along with Carl E. Wieman, was able to synthesize the first Bose-Einstein condensate in 1995. For their efforts, Cornell, Wieman, and Wolfgang Ketterle shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2001.
Crystallographers a person who studies or practices the science dealing with crystallization and the forms and structure of crystals.
Cube or Hexahedron a three dimensional shape formed by the joining of 6 equal squares to form a box
Cubic units measurement of objects using length, width and height
Cubic the cubic crystal system is a crystal system where the unit cell is in the shape of a cube. This is one of the most common and simplest shapes found in metallic crystals
Cubit the measurement from the elbow to the tip or the middle finger used in ancient times.
Curves Smooth gradual bends in a line.


da Vinci,  Leonardo an Italian scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, painter, sculptor, architect, musician, and writer. His most famous works include The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa. His drawings referred to as the secto aurea or the golden section are contained in Luca Pacioli’s work on Divina Proportions.
Degree  a unit of temperature, or 1/360 of a circle 


Democritus was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher. Democritus was a student of Leucippus and co-originator of the belief that all matter is made up of various imperishable, indivisible elements which he called atoma or "indivisible units", from which we get the English word atom. It is virtually impossible to tell which of these ideas were unique to Democritus and which are attributable to Leucippus.
Denominator the part of a fraction below the line, the number of times it splits
Dependent variable are the values, i.e. the "output", of the function. The dependent variable depends on the independent variables.
Descartes, Rene  a highly influential French philosopher, mathematician, scientist, and writer. Dubbed the "Founder of Modern Philosophy", and the "Father of Modern Mathematics" While sick in bed he looked at the tiled ceiling and tried to track the fly by using a coordinate system. His work influenced analytic geometry, calculus, and cartography.

an outline, sketch, or plan, as of the form and structure of a work of art, an edifice, or a machine to be executed or constructed.  

Diameter the measurement from the longest part of a circle from one side to the other
Divisibility ability to be divided evenly
Dodecahedron a three dimensional shape made using 12 faces
Dyne the amount of force needed to move 1 gram of an object 1 centimeter per second squared


Economists An economist is an individual who studies, develops, and applies theories and concepts from economics, and who writes about economic policy.
Egyptians the inhabitants of Egypt
Einstein,  Albert A German-born theoretical physicist. While best known for the theory of relativity (and specifically mass-energy equivalence, E = mc2), he was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics.
Elements A chemical element, or element for short, is a type of atom that is defined by its atomic number; that is, by the number of protons in its nucleus. The term is also used to refer to a pure chemical substance composed of atoms with the same number of protons.
Empedocles a Greek pre-Socratic philosopher and a citizen of Agrigentum, a Greek colony in Sicily. Empedocles' philosophy is best known for being the origin of the cosmogenic theory of the four classical elements (Earth, air, fire, and water.)
English system units of measurement on the base 12 system (inches, feet, yard, mile, etc)
Equations a statement of the equality of two or more mathematical expressions
Equidistant a point on a line that has the same distance from each end or another part of the line
Equilateral triangle a three sided figure where all three sides and angles are equal.
Euclid a Greek mathematician who lived in Alexandria, Egypt around 300BC
Experiments a set of actions and observations, performed in the context of solving a particular problem or question.


Fibonacci number a number in the Fibonacci sequence (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89…..)
Fibonacci an Italian mathematician of the Middle Ages
Five-fold symmetry the division of an object into five equivalent parts
Formula a rule or expression shown in mathematical symbols
Four-fold symmetry the division of an object into four equivalent parts
Fractal a geometric pattern repeated at smaller and smaller scales to form irregular shapes and surfaces that do not look like the original pattern
Fractal Equations an equation that patterns a fractal
Friction the resistance between two touching objects that can produce heat


Gas a substance possessing perfect molecular mobility and the property of indefinite expansion, as opposed to a solid or liquid.
Geometry the branch of math that looks at the measurement of shapes and how they work together

Global Position System

GPS uses the Cartesian Coordinate System to find reference points to compare on a worldwide grid using satellites to find a point

Golden Ratio

the special ratio between two quantities where their ratio is equal to their sum divided by the larger number
Grams the mass of 1 cubic centimeter of water at 4 degrees Celsius
Graph diagram that shows how two sets of numbers are related
Gravitational attraction the amount of pull a large body, such as the earth, has on a smaller body, like a person, on or near its surface


Hexagonal symmetry the division of an object into six roughly equal parts
Hexagonal in geometry, a hexagon is a polygon with six edges and six vertices. The internal angles of a regular hexagon (one where all sides and all angles are equal) are all 120° and the hexagon has 720 degrees. It has 6 lines of symmetry.
Hooke,  Robert an English physicist and mathematician who played an important role in the scientific revolution, through both experimental and theoretical work.
Hooke's Law the linear change in tension with extension in an elastic spring


Icosahedron a three dimensional shape made using 20 faces
Imperial system the units of measurement used in the English colonies around the world during the 1800’s (also called the English system)
Independent variable in mathematics, an independent variable is any of the arguments, i.e. "inputs", to a function.
Indivisible Incapable of being divided without a remainder
Inertia the amount of energy needed to make an object move
Integral calculus a branch of calculus that focuses on figuring out the area and volume of irregular shapes
Irrational a number that extends out to infinity and cannot be represented by a fraction
Isosceles triangle at least two sides are of equal length. An isosceles triangle also has two congruent (or same) angles (namely, the angles opposite the congruent sides). An equilateral triangle is also an isosceles triangle, but not all isosceles triangles are equilateral triangles.



Kilogram 1,000 grams the basic unit of mass in the metric system
Koch snowflake one of the earliest fractals described that begins with a triangle and uses repeating smaller scale triangles around the perimeter.


Lambert , Johann a German mathematician, physicist and astronomer, who in 1768 discovered pi has an infinite number of digits
Law of Buoyancy also called Archimedes’ principle buoyancy is the upward force on an object produced by the surrounding fluid (i.e., a liquid or a gas) in which it is fully or partially immersed, due to the pressure difference of the fluid between the top and bottom of the object.
Leucippus Leucippus was among the earliest philosophers of atomism, the idea that everything is composed entirely of various imperishable, indivisible elements called atoms.
Line graph a diagram of lines made by connected data points which represent successive changes in the value of a variable quantity or quantities.
Linear geometry looking at how angles and basic two dimensional shapes measure
Linear systems simple modeling without changing variables
Linear measurement in a single dimension along a line such as height, length or width
Liters the metric unit for volume equal to 1 cubic decimeter
Logic the system of principles used in any science to make sense of information.
Logical proof by applying scientific and mathematic knowledge
Lorenz, Edward an American mathematician and meteorologist born in 1917 who pioneered chaos theory
Lucas, Eduardo a French mathematician who studied the Fibonacci sequence and determined a formula for finding a given number in the sequence


Mandelbrot set the complex numbers that when put into a given equation have a boundary of a particular pattern
Margin of error  a statistic used to say how close a calculation is to the predicted value by a certain percentage 
Mass The amount of matter and energy in an object
Mathematicians a specialist or expert in math
Matter  the substance of which physical objects are composed. It constitutes the observable Universe. There is a tendency to regard manifestations of energy, such as light and sound, as not being material. However in physics the distinction is difficult to enforce — according to the theory of relativity matter and energy can be converted to one another. Matter is said to have mass and to occupy space, but there are technical problems in physics with both criteria.
Mediterranean the land surrounding the Mediterranean Sea including the southern part of Europe and the northern part of Africa
Meniscus is the curvature of the surface of water when measuring with a graduated cylinders- a tall tube with markings to accurately measure volume
Mesopotamia an ancient region of southwest Asia between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in modern-day Iraq.
Meter the base unit of length in the metric system ~ 39.37 inches
Metric system the first standardized system of measurement created in the1790’s all units evenly divisible by 10
Metrology the science of weights and measures
Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three "ages": the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages and Modern Times. It was a period of great cultural, political, and economic change in Europe typically dated from around 500 AD to approximately 1500 AD. The Middle Ages witnessed the first sustained urbanization of northern and western Europe. Modern European states owe their origins to the Middle Ages, and their political boundaries as we know them are essentially the result of the military and dynastic achievements in this tumultuous period.
Milliliters 1/1000 liter equal to a cubic centimeter
Mirror symmetry one side looks like the other;  bilateral symmetry or reflective symmetry  
Mitchell Fergenbaum a Canadian mathematician born in 1944 who worked with fractals
Modeling to design or copy a problem to predict its outcome
Models  a pattern, plan, representation, or description designed to show the structure or workings of an object, system, or concept.
Money economics offers various definitions for money, though it is now commonly defined as any good or token that functions as a medium of exchange that is socially and legally accepted in payment for goods and services and in settlement of debts. Money also serves as a standard of value for measuring the relative worth of different goods and services.
Monoclinic  in crystallography, the monoclinic crystal system is one of the 7 lattice point groups. A crystal system is described by three vectors. In the monoclinic system, the crystal is described by vectors of unequal length, as in the orthorhombic system. They form a rectangular prism with a parallelogram as base. Hence two pairs of vectors are perpendicular, while the third pair make an angle other than 90°.


Negative numbers a positive number is a number that is less than zero. On a number line all positive numbers are always to the left.
Newton, Sir Isaac an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer and natural scientist who lived between 1643-1727
Newtons the amount of force needed to move 1 kilogram of an object 1 meter per second squared
Nilometer a device used to measure the flooding on the Nile River.
Nonlinear systems a system that does not add up to all of its parts,
Null hypothesis  in statistics, a null hypothesis is a hypothesis set up to be nullified or refuted in order to support an alternative hypothesis. When used, the null hypothesis is presumed true until statistical evidence in the form of a hypothesis test indicates otherwise. In classical science, the null hypothesis is used to test differences in treatment and control groups, and the assumption at the outset of the experiment is that no difference exists between the two groups for the variable being compared
Number line a number line is a one-dimensional picture in which the integers are shown as specially-marked points evenly spaced on a line. Although this image only shows the integers from -9 to 9, the line includes all real numbers, continuing "forever" in each direction. It is often used as an aid in teaching simple addition or subtraction, especially involving negative numbers.
Number theory the study of the properties of numbers
Number is a quantity associated with a symbol
Numeral the symbol for a number
Numerator the part of a fraction above the line, the number to be divided


Obtuse triangle a triangle with one internal angle larger than 90° (an obtuse angle).
Octahedron a three dimensional shape made with 8 triangles
Ordinal numbers a number that says where an item is ordered in a group (such as days of a month)
Ordinate the y-coordinate of a point: its distance from the x-axis measured parallel to the y-axis.
Origin the center of a graph. (0,0) are the coordinates used to represent the distance on the x-axis and the y-axis.
Orthorhombic in crystallography, three unequal axes all at right angles to each
Ounces 1/16 of a pound


Pacioli,  Luca an Italian mathematician and Franciscan friar, collaborator with Leonardo da Vinci, and seminal contributor to the field now known as accounting. His work on Divina Proportions captured the imagination of mathematicians, artists, architects, scientists, and mystics.
Pattern repeating design
Pentagon a five-sided polygon
Pentagonal symmetry the division of an object into five roughly equal parts
Pentagram the shape of a five-pointed star drawn with five straight strokes.
Percentage a way of expressing a number as a fraction of 100 (per cent meaning "per hundred").
Perimeter the length of the outside of a circle or shape

at right angles


vertical; straight up and down; upright. In Geometry perpendicular means meeting a given line or surface at right angles.


a mathematical constant ~ 1.6180339887

Pie graph

A pie chart is a circular chart divided into sections, illustrating relative magnitudes or frequencies.

Plane symmetry

plane symmetry means a symmetry of a pattern in the Euclidean plane; that is, a transformation of the plane that carries lines to lines and preserves distances


a flat polygon

Platonic solids

three dimensional shapes that have equal sides, angles and face


a two dimensional shape made with three or more sides


a three dimensional shape with four or more sides

Positive numbers a number that is greater than zero. On a number line all positive numbers are always to the right.

English system of measuring weight equal to 453.59237 grams


strictly following a pattern, standard or convention


a polyhedron with two or more faces in parallel planes


the question you have when doing a scientific experiment.


the reason a certain statement is true using known theorems.


characteristics that an object or thing has


the equality of two ratios such as 4/2= 10/5


a tool, usually in the shape of a half circle, used to measure angles

Pythagorean Theorem

the formula used to find an unknown length of a right angled triangle, the two sides that meet to form the right angle equal to the long side connecting them.  a2 + b2 = c2



any of the four areas into which a plane is divided by the reference axes in a Cartesian coordinate system, designated first, second, third, and fourth, counting counterclockwise from the area in which both coordinates are positive.


pertains to or is concerned with quality or qualities.


the ability to give a value to an action or thing to better model it


Radial symmetry the most symmetrical, no matter how you cut an object with radial symmetry it will divide it into equal images
Radium a radioactive element, which has the symbol Ra and atomic number 88.
Ratio the mathematical relationship between two or more numbers
Rational a number that can be represented by a fraction or ratio
Relative not absolute, related to something else
Researchers scientists who study the effects of various things to expand our scientific knowledge
Rhombohedral three dimensional parallelogram or rectangle
Riemannian geometry as two seemingly parallel lines continue eventually they will meet
Right triangle a right triangle has one 90° internal angle (a right angle). The side opposite to the right angle is the hypotenuse; it is the longest side in the right triangle. The other two sides are the legs of the triangle.  
Rotational symmetry an object that looks the same after a certain amount of rotation. An object may have more than one rotational symmetry
Ruler a straight edge with markings used to measure length
Rules a regulating feature


Scalene triangle a triangle with all sides of different lengths and angles
Scientific method the techniques used to investigate phenomena and acquiring new knowledge, based on gathering observable and measurable evidence, subject to specific principles of reasoning.
Six-fold symmetry the division of an object into six equivalent parts
Slugs the mass unit in the English system ~ 32.17405 pound-mass
Solid geometry looks at how three dimensional shapes interact with their sides
Solid a state of matter when all atoms are arranged in a structured form
Solutions a step in scientific method and means the answer to or disposition of a problem.
Specific properties Specific properties of a substance are derived from other intrinsic and extrinsic properties; for example, the density of steel (a specific and intrinsic property) can be derived from measurements of the mass of a steel bar (an extrinsic property) divided by the volume of the bar (another extrinsic property)
Spring constant in Hooke’s experiment the spring constant is the measure of stiffness multiplied by the distance the end of the spring moved. 
Statistics a mathematical science pertaining to the collection, analysis, interpretation or explanation, and presentation of data. It is applicable to a wide variety of academic disciplines, from the physical and social sciences to the humanities. Statistics are also used for making informed decisions – and misused for other reasons – in all areas of business and government.
Surface area the area of the outside of an object or the area contained in a shape
Symbol a sign used in writing and printing to represent an action
Symmetry the divisibility of an object after changing its perspective


Temperature the measurement of the hotness or coldness of an object
Tessellation a tessellation is a group of polygons that fills the plane with no overlaps and no gaps and is repeatable.
Tetragonal in crystallography, the tetragonal crystal system is one of the 7 lattice point groups. Tetragonal crystal lattices result from stretching a cubic lattice along one of its lattice vectors, so that the cube becomes a rectangular prism with a square base and height
Tetrahedron a shape formed by having four sides, all triangles
Theorem a formula or statement that is proven by other formulas
Three dimensional the measurement of something in three directions such as length width and height
Three-fold symmetry the division of an object into three equivalent parts
Tiling another term for tessellation, used when describing actual tiles or bricks and when describing periodic and aperiodic tiling.
Time the period when events occur
Trade the voluntary exchange of goods, services, or both. Trade is also called commerce. A mechanism that allows trade is called a market. The original form of trade was barter, the direct exchange of goods and services. Modern traders instead generally negotiate through a medium of exchange, such as money.
Transformation change into something else
Translation symmetry in physics and mathematics, continuous translational symmetry is the invariance of a system of equations under any translation. Discrete translational symmetry is invariance under discrete (quantized) translation.
Triclinic in crystallography, the triclinic crystal system is one of the 7 lattice point groups. A crystal system is described by three basis vectors. In the triclinic system, the crystal is described by vectors of unequal length, as in the orthorhombic system.
Trigonometry the relationship between angles and sides and the formulas to find them
Two dimensional the measurement of something in two directions such as length and width or latitude and longitude, flat looking


Unit Cell the smallest building block of a crystal, consisting of atoms, ions, or molecules, whose geometric arrangement defines a crystal's characteristic symmetry and whose repetition in space produces a crystal lattice (an arrangement in space of isolated points in a regular pattern, showing the positions of atoms, molecules, or ions in the structure of a crystal.)
Unit a given amount used for measurement (meter, liter, gram, pound)


Vertex the point where two lines (in polygons) or three faces (in polyhedrons) meet and connect
Volume the amount of space a three dimensional object takes up, measured in cubic meters or liters
von Koch, Helge  a Swedish mathematician who lived from 1870-1924 who modeled one of the best fractals known


Weight the measurement of the effect of gravity on an object
Wieman, Carl a Nobel-prize winning American physicist at the University of British Columbia who (with Eric Allen Cornell), in 1995, produced the first true Bose-Einstein condensate. Wieman joined the University of British Columbia physics faculty on January 1st, 2007 and is heading a well-endowed science education program there; he retains a 20% appointment at CU to head the science education project he founded in Colorado.




Zenith the place directly above someone or thing in relation to the horizon