History of Geometry Timeline

Sam Heinrich

Ancient Geometry

First Egyptian Pyramid

2900 BC

First Egyptian Pyramid constructed, requiring knowledge of how to build pyramids with square bases out of blocks of stone.

Area of Triangle

2000 BC

The earliest known method of calculating the area of a triangle.

Moscow Papyrus

1800 BC

The Moscow Papyrus is written containing 25 examples of Egyptian math.

Rhind Papyrus

1700 BC

The Rhind Papyrus is written (approximate date). The Papyrus is 1 foot tall and 18 feet wide. It contains 87 math problems mostly dealing with fractions.

Greek Geometry

Thales of Miletus

624 BC - 547 BC

Thales studies similar triangles and wrote the proof that corresponding sides of similar triangles are proportional. He also takes geometry from the level of measurement to the level of writing proofs

Pythagoras of Samos

569 BC - 475 BC

Pythagoras is regarded as the first pure mathematician to logically deduce geometric facts. However, Pythagoras didn't invent the theorem that is named after him and historians aren't completely sure he existed.

Zeno's Paradoxes

455 BC

Zeno writes his paradoxes for example the Rabbit and the Hare.

Greeks Use Numerals

450 BC

Greeks begin to use written numerals.

Plato's Polyhedra

387 BC

Plato founds the Academy in Athens. He identifies five polyhedra now known as Platonic bodies.

Eudoxus Irrational/Rational Comparison

360 BC

Eudoxus makes a definition allowing the possibility of using irrational lengths and comparing them with rational lengths by using cross multiplication.

Euclid and Euclidean Geometry

325 BC - 265 BC

is considered to be one of the three greatest mathematicians of all time. He discovered Euclidean geometry which use his axioms and theorems as they relate to plane and solid figures.

The Elements

300 BC

Euclid writes The Elements, a book discussing Euclidean geometry. The Elements is a collection of 13 books of definitions, postulates, and axioms. It became the 3rd most popular book in the world, after the Koran and the Bible.


287 BC - 212 BC

Archimedes is regarded as the greatest Greek mathematician. He invented 3 simple machines, the pulley, screw, and lever. The Archimedes screw, a device used for raising water, is still in use today. He also analyzed the area of a circle and discovered how to calculate volumes and surface areas of spheres and cylinders.

Volume of a Cylinder

250 BC

Archimedes discovers the formula for how to calculate the volume of a cylinder.

The Earth's Circumference

235 BC

Eratosthenes estimates the circumference of the Earth, only missing by about 15%.

Medieval Geometry

Area of an Encircled Quadrilateral

January 1, 628 AD - January 2, 628 AD

Brahmagupta created a formula for finding the area of a quadrilateral, with sides a,b,c,d, enclosed by a circle: A = The Sq. Root of (s-a)(s-b)(s-c)(s-d). S is the semiperimeter, is found by the formula s=(a+b+c+d)/2

Synthesis of Algebra and Geometry

January 1, 853 AD - January 2, 853 AD

Medieval Muslims synthesized algebra and geometry by placing points on a coordinate plane.

Modern Age Geometry

Rene Descartes

1596 AD - 1650 AD

Descartes synthesized algebra and geometry by placing points on a coordinate plane.

Carl Friedrich Gauss

1777 AD - 1855 AD

Gauss developed the Gauss method for adding large amounts of consecutive numbers when he was six. However, his most important creation is that of non-Euclidean geometry. Non-Euclidean geometry is geometry not based on the postulates of Euclid. This includes times when the parallel postulate isn't true. Parallel Postulate - Through a given point not on a line, there is one and only one line parallel to it.


1826 AD - 1866 AD

**Lifetime of Georg Friedrich Bernhard Riemann. Riemann was one of the foremost geometers in the development of Non-Euclidean Geometry. He also was a lecturer at the University of Gottingen**

The Fractal Geometry of Nature

1982 AD

In 1982, Benoit Mandelbrot publishing The Fractal Geometry of Nature, a book popularizing fractal geometry. Fractal geometry deals with fractioned dimensions.