History of Mathematics



585 B.C. - 500 B.C.

Pythagoreans offer mathematical plan of nature


490 B.C.

Discovers light travels with finite velocity


460 BC - 370 BC

Along with Leuccipus, explicit in affirming doctrine of atomism


440 BC

Along with Democritus, explicit in affirming the doctrine of atomism


427 BC - 347 BC

Took over some Pythagorean doctrines. Founded the Academy in Athens. Influential teacher. Insisted on rigorous proof and logical methods


384 BC - 322 BC

Criticized Plato. Believed in material things as the primary source of reality. Development of logic and deductive reasoning


300 BC

Trained students in Alexandria and pulled together geometrical ideas


287 BC - 212 BC

Added several works to Apollonius' Conic Sections

Eratosthenes of Cyrene

284 B.C. - 192 B.C.

made numerous calculations of distances between significant portions of the earth known to Greeks


262 B.C. - 190 B.C.

Carried on Euclid's study of the parabola, ellipse, and hyperbola


0 A.D. - 100 A.D.

Found formula for finding the area of a triangle using its side lengths and method for computing a square root


200 - 284

Analyzed complex algebraic problems to find rational solutions to equations with unknowns.


628 A.D.

Discovered basic mathematical rules for dealing with zero, negative numbers, negative roots of quadratic equations, and found solutions for quadratic equations


1114 - 1185

Leading mathematician of the 12th century. Introduced some preliminary concepts of calculus

Luca Pacioli

1445 - 1517

Published book on arithmetic and geometry and introduced standard symbols.

John Napier

1550 - 1617

Invented natural logarithms.

Rene Descartes

1596 - 1650

Developed Cartesian coordinates and analytic geometry. Also gets credit for the use of exponents.

Pierre de Fermat

1601 - 1665

Extended knowledge of number theory and contributed to probability theory

Blaise Pascal

1623 - 1662

Pioneer of probability theory. Pascal's triangle.

Isaac Newton

1643 - 1727

Development of differentiation and integration. Laid ground work for almost all of classical mechanics, infinite power series, and generalized binomial theorem

Gottfried Leibniz

1646 - 1716

His calculus notation is still used. Created practical calculating machine using binary system. Used matrix to solve linear equations


1707 - 1783

Made important contributions in all fields and discovered links between fields. Developed new methods and proved many theorems


1777 - 1855

Fundamental Theorem of Algebra, least squares approximation method, Gauss distribution, Gauss function, non-Euclidean geometry, Gaussian curve


1792 - 1856

(and Bolyai) Developed theory of hyperbolic geometry


1826 ad - 1866 ad

Non-Euclidean elliptic geometry, Riemann geometry

Georg Cantor

1845 - 1918

Set theory


1906 - 1978

Incompleteness theorems), logic and set theory

Paul Cohen


Proved both axiom of choice and the continuum hypothesis are independent of other Zarmelo-Fraenkel axioms