"I do not believe in mathematics!" - quoted the world famous scientist, Albert Einstein. For years, people have puzzled over his quotation - how can a genius Nobel winner like Einstein, who gave the world the relativity theory, claim that he does not understand mathematics? The answer perhaps lies in the fact, that the relativity theory, which is purely a mathematical theory, is so inconsistent with everyday reality,that Einstein himself was at a loss to explain it in simple terms!
Recorded or known history of the world depicts a timeline from 70,000 BC till date, wherein mathematics was first conceptualized as a science and as an art. Hundreds of great mathematicians and scholars have contributed to the mathematics as we know it today. The word comes from Greek language and literally means “knowledge”. Ancient stone tablets and papyrus scrolls found in Egypt, Indus Valley, Mesopotamia, Sumer, Babylon, Middle-East and China, the Sanskrit sutras (compositions) and vedas depict how ancient civilizations attempted to quantify time, how numeric systems were invented, system of weights and measures, decimals (Brahmi numerals), ratios, astronomical calendars, survey calculations for land and water, concept of infinity (stated in Yajur Veda in 8th century BC), squaring a circle and approximate value of Pi was recorded, the Abacus - first calculator invented by Babylonians in 300 BC, the basis for today's computers was invented.
The world has produced many great mathematicians and astronomers till date:
Mathematician in Vedic India, before 1000 BC, gave zero to the world, trignometrical calculations were introduced by him in his works like Aryabhata Siddhanta and Aryabhatiya, sine and cosine tables introduced
Gave solutions to general linear equations, pythagorean triples, Pell's equation in his Shatapatha Brahmana
Contributed to arithmetic, algebra, mathematics of the planets, and spheres, differential calculus
Taught the world about quadratic equations and square roots through his work called Sulba Sutra
Introduced binary numeric system>
Fibonacci sequence laws were first given by this Indian mathematician, even before this concept came to light
In 14th century, was considered father of mathematical analysis
Mathematicians from 400 BC onwards, introduced permutations, combinations and trignometrical theorems
Introduced many basics of trigonometry using a method of chords, it is believed that Indian mathematicians like Aryabhatta took this chord method and developed more sophisticated functions
Introduced many geometrical solutions like the famed Pythagoras Theorem in 530 BC
The Greek mathematician, astronomer and physicist introduced solid geometry, integral calculus, concept of parabola, attempted to approximate value of Pi (like many others before and after him), method of exhaustion to measure circles, cylinders and spheres
Attempted to square the circle and approximate Pi
Considered as father of plain geometry, introduced Euclidean theorem, concept of axiomatic system in geometry
Gave the idea of a point – beginning of a line
Named the ellipse, parabola and hyperbola
Developed the basics of trigonometry, considered father of this discipline
In 820 AD, the Persian mathematician, considered the father of modern Algebra - the term algorithm is named after him
First came up with the concept of reducing geometrical problems to algebraic problems , Rene Descarte also promoted same work (co-relating the two to derive solution)
Extended the concepts of sine, cosine to other trigonometrical ratios like the concept of tangent, secant and inverse trignometrical functions
Introduced the famous formula sin (a + ß) = sin a cos ß + sin ß cos a
In c 1100 AD, classified cubic equations and translated many Greek and Sanskrit works
Chinese scholar in 1050 AD mentions knowledge of Pascal’s triangle even before Pascal’s lifetime
Chinese mathematician in 4th century BC invented calendar for cosmological cycles
Developed some famous logarithms in the 17th century
Created the theory of probability
Discovered many Calculus principles, Newton worked on infinitesimal calculus in 17th century
Developed the Taylor Series in early 18th century
He is considered to be one of the most talented mathematicians in recent history.He had no formal training in mathematics. However, he still made large contributions to number theory, infinite series and continued fractions.
He enjoyed playing with numbers. While travelling in Taxi , he realised that Taxi number 1729 has interesting properties .
Eg :- 1729 = 1×1×1+ 12×12×12 = 9×9×9 + 10×10×10
Eg:-1 + 7 + 2 + 9 = 19
Eg:-19 × 91 = 1729
The trend of generalization and abstraction in mathematics continues in the 20th and 21st centuries - the advent of computers in this field has greatly helped to propose new theorems, solutions and advanced techniques. The work of today's mathematicians is definitely unique, but it borrows basic principles that were already prevalent in the ancient scrolls and scriptures found in Indua Valley, Africa and Middle East and infuses these long known principles into something more advanced and indepth. This si the true beauty of mathematics - it is fathomless, vast and will keep pulling bright young minds of every century towards realms of infinite knowledge.