The history of science
and math are interrelated. The people who shaped science are also
important in mathematics. As in science, the early history
of mathematics is sketchy. We know that the lunar and solar cycles
were counted by the Babylonians and Egyptians in an organized fashion.
Early Indian mathematicians are credited with many astronomical observations
as well as the beginning of algebra. The use of decimals and numbers
with 9 figures and a zero are also attributed to the Indians. Their
work spread to the Arabic nations, where the term Arabic numbers (compared
to Roman numerals) first emerged.
The Chinese are credited with
the inventions of spills and abacus, which are both counting machines.
Multiplications tables were used at least from the 6th century BC.
Chinese mathematics were used for the solutions of practical problems in
engineering and business. Although the Chinese had advanced algebra,
western scholars seemingly were ignorant of much of this work.
Starting in the 6th century
BC, Greek mathematicians documented many discoveries in geometry.
The Greeks' conception of numbers as the elements of all things and of
the heavens, made mathematical relationships a respected field of study.
The philosophy of Pythagoras, Plato and Aristotle reflected the almost
"god-like" respect the Greeks gave to the interrelationship of numbers
with the universe.
Mathematics is a tool of science,
but understanding why mathematical formulas work is a science all by itself.
This activity should be used as a homework assignment or library
search. A good dictionary is also helpful.
- The internet
has many great sites on mathematics. In order to complete the worksheet
have students do a search on different mathematics sites. Use the
“key” mathematical term to start the search.
Algebra deals with general
statements of relations, utilizing letters and other symbols to represent
different values. Used in science to develop formulas to find an
Geometry deals with deduction
of properties, measurements, and relationships of points, lines, angles,
and figures in space. It includes many different disciplines that
try to describe the world. Used in science to observe and describe.
Euclidean geometry deals with
a flat world that states that parallel lines are always parallel and never
intersect. Euclidean geometry is our way of measuring on Earth.
Used in science to observe and describe things on Earth.
Riemannian Geometry deals with
a spherical world that says parallel lines will intersect. This takes
into consideration, the Universe may be a closed surface. Used
in science to observe and describe throughout the Universe.
Trigonometry deals with the
relationship between angles and sides. Used in science to help determine
where the location of certain events are, like earthquakes, planets, stars,
and many other things that we cannot directly measure.
Calculus refers to a large branch
in mathematics that can solve many ways to measure (like volume or area)
using complicated surfaces. It is used in most branches of science
to derive answers that cannot be measured directly.