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Broad Topics > History and Philosophy of Mathematics > History of mathematics

Magic Squares II

Age 14 to 18

An article which gives an account of some properties of magic squares.

Proof: A Brief Historical Survey

Age 14 to 18

If you think that mathematical proof is really clearcut and universal then you should read this article.

Ishango Bone

Age 7 to 18 Challenge Level:

Can you decode the mysterious markings on this ancient bone tool?

The Four Colour Theorem

Age 11 to 16

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. . . .

Babylon Numbers

Age 11 to 18 Challenge Level:

Can you make a hypothesis to explain these ancient numbers?

Keeping it Safe and Quiet

Age 14 to 18

Simon Singh describes PKC, its origins, and why the science of code making and breaking is such a secret occupation.

The Development of Algebra - 1

Age 11 to 18

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

Circles, Circles Everywhere

Age 7 to 14

This article for pupils gives some examples of how circles have featured in people's lives for centuries.

The Secret World of Codes and Code Breaking

Age 7 to 16

When you think of spies and secret agents, you probably wouldn’t think of mathematics. Some of the most famous code breakers in history have been mathematicians.

The History of Negative Numbers

Age 11 to 18

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

Ancient Astronomical Terms

Age 11 to 18

Some explanations of basic terms and some phenomena discovered by ancient astronomers

The History of Trigonometry- Part 1

Age 11 to 18

The first of three articles on the History of Trigonometry. This takes us from the Egyptians to early work on trigonometry in China.

History of Trigonometry - Part 3

Age 11 to 18

The third of three articles on the History of Trigonometry.

The Development of Algebra - 2

Age 11 to 18

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

History of Trigonometry - Part 2

Age 11 to 18

The second of three articles on the History of Trigonometry.

Maths in the Victorian Classroom

Age 7 to 14

What was it like to learn maths at school in the Victorian period? We visited the British Schools Museum in Hitchin to find out.

Galley Division

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Can you explain how Galley Division works?

A Brief History of Time Measurement

Age 11 to 18

Noticing the regular movement of the Sun and the stars has led to a desire to measure time. This article for teachers and learners looks at the history of man's need to measure things.

Shaping the Universe I - Planet Earth

Age 11 to 16

This article explores ths history of theories about the shape of our planet. It is the first in a series of articles looking at the significance of geometric shapes in the history of astronomy.

Shaping the Universe II - the Solar System

Age 11 to 16

The second in a series of articles on visualising and modelling shapes in the history of astronomy.

Negative Numbers

Age 11 to 14

A brief history of negative numbers throughout the ages

History of Morse

Age 7 to 18

This short article gives an outline of the origins of Morse code and its inventor and how the frequency of letters is reflected in the code they were given.

From A Random World to a Rational Universe

Age 7 to 16

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?