History of Mathematics
Resources on the Web
Note: Access to resources preceded by is restricted to campus users and authenticated HSU remote users.
- British Society for the History of Mathematics (http://www.dcs.warwick.ac.uk/bshm/)
- Its goals are to "promote research into the history of mathematics and its use at all levels of mathematics education." Links include Web Resources on the History of Mathematics.
- Canadian Society for the History and Philosophy of Mathematics (http://www.cshpm.org)
- Founded in 1974, the society promotes research and teaching in the history and philosophy of mathematics. Many useful resources may be found on the History and Philosophy of Mathematics..
- Famous Problems in the History of Mathematics (http://mathforum.org/isaac/mathhist.html)
- From the Math Forum at Drexel University, the purpose of this site is to present a small portion of the history of mathematics through an investigation of some of the great problems that have inspired mathematicians throughout the ages.
- History of Mathematics (http://www.maths.tcd.ie/pub/HistMath/HistMath.html)
- Web pages on mathematicians from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
- History of Mathematics (http://aleph0.clarku.edu/~djoyce/mathhist/mathhist.html)
- An excellent way to begin researching the history of math. Has lists of resources by subject, resources on regional mathematics, a chronology of mathematicians, etc. Maintained by David Joyce of Clark University.
- Library of Congress Exhibition on Rome Reborn: The Vatican Library & Renaissance Culture - Mathematics (http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/vatican/math.html)
- An exhibit showing that the Scientific Revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries had its foundation in Greek mathematics.
- MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive (http://www-groups.dcs.st- and.ac.uk/~history/)
- Contains the biographies of more than 1000 mathematicians as well as photos of approximately 500 mathematicians -- even has a link to an index of birthplace maps. Has an extensive History Topics page, including Prime numbers, Fermat's last theorem, Development of group theory, etc.
- Math Forum - Math Library - History/Biography (http://mathforum.org/library/topics/history/)
- A searchable collection of links to resources on the history of mathematics, such as the Vatican Exhibit materials on ancient mathematics; Fermat's last theorem; a paper written by George Boole in 1848; etc. The annotations are excellent summaries of what the sites contain.
- Mathematics Archives - Topics in Mathematics - History of Mathematics (http://archives.math.utk.edu/topics/history.html)
- From the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, this site has many links suitable for high school or grade school students but there are some useful links here.
- MathTrek (http://www.maa.org/news/mathtrek.html) and MathTrek Archives (http://www.maa.org/mathland/mathland_archives.html)
- Ivars Peterson's columns (1996 to February 2007) from MAA Online are made available at these two sites. Many columns cover history of mathematics topics and have web links to other resources. More recent columns (March 2007 to date) have the title The Mathematical Tourist.
- Museum of the History of Science at Oxford University (http://www.mhs.ox.ac.uk)
- Covers almost all aspects of the history of science, from antiquity to the early twentieth century -- particularly strong in their collection of scientific instruments, including early mathematical instruments -- Online exhibits include Compass and Rule: Architecture as Mathematical Practice in England, 1500-1750, The Measurers: A Flemish Image of Mathematics in the Sixteenth Century and The Geometry of War, 1500-1750.
- Biographical Dictionary (http://www.s9.com/)
- A Wikipedia-like biographical dictionary includes more than 25,000 notable men and women who have shaped our world from ancient times to the present day. The dictionary can be searched by names, date of birth, date of death, positions held, professions, literary and artistic works, miscellaneous achievements, and other keywords. There is a category for Mathematicians. Very brief information is given on each person and accuracy is questionable because anyone can edit or create an entry.
- Biographies of Women Mathematicians (http://www.agnesscott.edu/lriddle/women/women.htm)
- This ongoing project by students in mathematics classes at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta has produced fully referenced biographical essays on more than 125 women mathematicians. There are a few images and photographs. You may search the site or use the alphabetical and chronological lists.
- Encyclopaedia Britannica Online
- The entire Encyclopaedia Britannica is available in fulltext. The encyclopedia contains over 73,000 articles with accompanying images, multimedia and Internet links. You can use Biography Browse to search for a particular biography..
- Gale Virtual Reference Library
- You may do a combined search of 120 fulltext reference works from Gale Research. Useful for biographical and encyclopedia information in such titles as Encyclopedia of World Biography (2nd edition, 1998-2001). Searching for names using KEYWORD will give the most comprehensive results.
- Galileo Project at Rice University (http://galileo.rice.edu/)
- The Galileo Project is a source of information on the life and work of Galileo Galilei (1564-1642). Its aim is to provide hypertextual information about Galileo and the science of his time to viewers of all ages and levels of expertise.
- History of Mathematics Indexes of Biographies (http://turnbull.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/history/BiogIndex.html)
- From the MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive, this site allows you to perform a keyword search, select from an alphabetic listing or browse the biographies chronologically. You can also browse a listing of female mathematicians.
- History of Mathematics Links: Sites relating to Individual Mathematicians (http://www.maths.tcd.ie/pub/HistMath/Links/People.html)
- A list of sites or sections of sites related to the life and work of individual mathematicians. From David R. Wilkins of Trinity College in Dublin. His Biographies of Mathematicians page links to sites that have biographies of "a substantial number of mathematicians."
- Mathematicians of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (http://www.maths.tcd.ie/pub/HistMath/People/RBallHist.html)
- Accounts of the lives and works of mathematicians of the seventeenth and first half of the eighteenth century, adapted from "A Short Account of the History of Mathematics" by W. W. Rouse Ball (4th edition, 1908).
- The Ada Project (TAP): Tapping Internet Resources for Women in Computer Science (http://women.cs.cmu.edu/ada)
- Has links to information on "women of computing - past and present", a photo gallery of women and computers, etc. TAP was named after Ada Byron, Lady Lovelace. See the drawing of the first computer bug! (Grace Murray Hopper originated this term when she found a dead moth in a computer.)
- Women in Mathematics (http://www.onlineuniversity.net/people-and-societies/history/women-in-mathematics/)
- This resource from the Open University has links to biographies of several notable women mathematicians.
- Charles Babbage Institute Home Page (http://www.cbi.umn.edu/index.html)
- A research center at the University of Minnesota dedicated to promoting the study and preservation of the history of information processing. Includes an oral history database.
- John W. Mauchly and the Development of the ENIAC Computer (http://www.library.upenn.edu/exhibits/rbm/mauchly/jwmintro.html)
- An exhibition in the Department of Special Collections of Van Pelt Library, University of Pennsylvania, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the ENIAC computer. Portrays a history of the emergence of modern computing as seen through the eyes of one of its two principal inventors, John W. Mauchly (1907-1980), who worked at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, between 1941 and 1946.
- Museum of HP Calculators (http://www.hpmuseum.org/)
- Mathematical history of the early Hewlett Packard calculators primarily models from 1968 to 1986 (page is not affiliated with the corporation). There are also sections on calculating machines and slide rules -- very interesting site!
- Turing Digital Archive (http://www.turing archive.org)
- Alan Turing was a pioneer of modern computing who helped decipher the code created by German Enigma machines in the Second World War. This site contains nearly 3,000 images of letters, photographs, newspaper articles, and unpublished papers by or about Alan Turing.
- Virtual Museum of Computing (http://museums.wikia.com/wiki/VMoC)
- An eclectic collection of web links to sources on the history of computing as well as online exhibits, corporate histories, computer-related museums, etc.
- Archimedes Home Page (http://www.cs.drexel.edu/~crorres/Archimedes/contents.html)
- Chris Rorres of the University of Pennsylvania maintains this web site which is "a collection of Archimedean miscellanea under continual development."
- Common Book of Pi (http://personal.bgsu.edu/~carother/pi/Pi1.html)
- You will find here, among other things, a brief "precomputer" history of extended precision approximations of pi, including Archimedes' method for estimating pi, formulas used to estimate pi over the centuries, and a brief look at a modern algorithm used to compute pi . Also includes a list of references for further reading and a list of other pages devoted to pi on the Web. By Neil Carothers, professor of mathematics at Bowling Green State University.
- Earliest Known Uses of Some of the Words of Mathematics (http://jeff560.tripod.com/mathword.html)
- These pages attempt to show the first uses of various words used in mathematics. Research for these pages is ongoing, and the uses cited should not be assumed to be the first uses that occurred unless it is stated that the term was introduced or coined by the mathematician named.
- Earliest Uses of Various Mathematical Symbols (http://jeff560.tripod.com/mathsym.html)
- These pages show the names of the individuals who first used various common mathematical symbols, and the dates the symbols first appeared.
- Fermat's Last Theorem: The Proof (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/proof/)
- From NOVA, the PBS series. For over 350 years, some of the greatest minds of science struggled to prove what was known as Fermat's Last Theorem -- the idea that a certain simple equation had no solutions. Site includes an interview with Andrew Wiles (the man who spent seven years of his life cracking the problem) and the story of Sophie Germain (an 18th century woman mathematician who hid her identity in order to work on Fermat's Last Theorem).
- Flatland: A romance of many dimensions
- Edwin Abbott's classic geometrical story about a two-dimensional square who visits one- and three-dimensional worlds. (HSU Library also has a print copy. The call number is QA 699 A13 1991. A newer edition with notes and commentary by William F. Lindgren and Thomas F. Banchoff has the call number QA699 .A13 2010.)
- Mathematical Quotations Server (http://math.furman.edu/~mwoodard/mquot.html)
- This collection of mathematical quotations from many sources may be searched by keyword. You may also browse by name of person who orginated the quotation.
See Articles and Databases: Mathematics for recommended databases to search for articles and other research on the history of mathematics.