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Broad Topics > History and Philosophy of Mathematics > Famous mathematicians

History Mystery

Stage: 2, 3 and 4 Challenge Level:

Can you identify the mathematicians?

The Cantor Set

Stage: 3 Challenge Level:

Take a line segment of length 1. Remove the middle third. Remove the middle thirds of what you have left. Repeat infinitely many times, and you have the Cantor Set. Can you picture it?

The Four Colour Theorem

Stage: 3 and 4

The Four Colour Conjecture was first stated just over 150 years ago, and finally proved conclusively in 1976. It is an outstanding example of how old ideas can be combined with new discoveries. prove. . . .

The History of Negative Numbers

Stage: 3, 4 and 5

This article -useful for teachers and learners - gives a short account of the history of negative numbers.

What Did Turing Do for Us?

Stage: 2, 3, 4 and 5

Dr James Grime takes an Enigma machine in to schools. Here he describes how the code-breaking work of Turing and his contemporaries helped to win the war.

Women in Maths

Stage: 3, 4 and 5

Most stories about the history of maths seem to be about men. Here are some famous women who contributed to the development of modern maths and prepared the way for generations of female. . . .

The Development of Algebra - 2

Stage: 3, 4 and 5

This is the second article in a two part series on the history of Algebra from about 2000 BCE to about 1000 CE.

Shaping up with Tessellations

Stage: 2 and 3

This article describes the scope for practical exploration of tessellations both in and out of the classroom. It seems a golden opportunity to link art with maths, allowing the creative side of your. . . .

Going Places with Mathematicians

Stage: 2 and 3

This article looks at the importance in mathematics of representing places and spaces mathematics. Many famous mathematicians have spent time working on problems that involve moving and mapping. . . .

Fibonacci's Three Wishes 2

Stage: 2 and 3

Second of two articles about Fibonacci, written for students.

Pythagoras

Stage: 2 and 3

Pythagoras of Samos was a Greek philosopher who lived from about 580 BC to about 500 BC. Find out about the important developments he made in mathematics, astronomy, and the theory of music.

Maurits Cornelius Escher

Stage: 2 and 3

Have you ever noticed how mathematical ideas are often used in patterns that we see all around us? This article describes the life of Escher who was a passionate believer that maths and art can be. . . .

From A Random World to a Rational Universe

Stage: 2, 3 and 4

In the time before the mathematical idea of randomness was discovered, people thought that everything that happened was part of the will of supernatural beings. So have things changed?

Stage: 3, 4 and 5

Infinity is not a number, and trying to treat it as one tends to be a pretty bad idea. At best you're likely to come away with a headache, at worse the firm belief that 1 = 0. This article discusses. . . .

The Dangerous Ratio

Stage: 3

This article for pupils and teachers looks at a number that even the great mathematician, Pythagoras, found terrifying.

History of Trigonometry - Part 2

Stage: 3, 4 and 5

The second of three articles on the History of Trigonometry.

The Development of Algebra - 1

Stage: 3, 4 and 5

This is the first of a two part series of articles on the history of Algebra from about 2000 BCE to about 1000 CE.

From One Shape to Another

Stage: 2

Read about David Hilbert who proved that any polygon could be cut up into a certain number of pieces that could be put back together to form any other polygon of equal area.

Pi, a Very Special Number

Stage: 2 and 3

Read all about the number pi and the mathematicians who have tried to find out its value as accurately as possible.

The Moving Planets

Stage: 2 and 3

Mathematics has always been a powerful tool for studying, measuring and calculating the movements of the planets, and this article gives several examples.

Leonardo of Pisa and the Golden Rectangle

Stage: 2, 3 and 4

Leonardo who?! Well, Leonardo is better known as Fibonacci and this article will tell you some of fascinating things about his famous sequence.

Fibonacci's Three Wishes 1

Stage: 2 and 3

First or two articles about Fibonacci, written for students.

Clever Carl

Stage: 2 and 3

What would you do if your teacher asked you add all the numbers from 1 to 100? Find out how Carl Gauss responded when he was asked to do just that.