Suffolkmaths Homepage

Mathematical History

Great site with an extensive range of materials and links - Click here

The BBC website has a section on Historical and Cultural aspects of Mathematics - Click here

Some superb FREE resources on GSFMaths can be found here

For a lovely matching exercise to be used as part of an ICT based research task - Click here

For some images to display as a timeline - Click here

For a research task instruction sheet - Click here

For a PowerPoint identifying some ways of bring the history of Maths into the classroom - Click here

For a research paper on the teaching of the History of Maths in Higher Education - HistoryofMaths.pdf

For a research task about Egyptian Maths - Click here

For a PowerPoint looking at Egyptian Fractions - Click here     NRICH Task - Click here

For a range of task related to Pyramids - Click here

For a range of projects with a historical link - click here

Leo Rogers - Oxford University

To investigate some mathematical developments including Magic Squares, The Number System and  Multiplication - Click here

To explore the uses of ratio and proportion from a practical and historical aspect using instruments such as the quadrant - Click here

For links to a wide range of websites to explore historical maths topics - Click here

For a list of a wide range of reading material to explore the History of Maths - Click here

For information on links to museums dealing with the History of Maths - Click here

The area of study known as the history of mathematics is primarily an investigation into the origin of new discoveries in mathematics and, to a lesser extent, an investigation into the standard mathematical methods and notation of the past.

Before the modern age and the worldwide spread of knowledge, written examples of new mathematical developments have come to light only in a few locales. The most ancient mathematical texts available are Plimpton 322 (Babylonian mathematics ca. 1900 BC), the Moscow Mathematical Papyrus (Egyptian mathematics ca. 1850 BC), the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus (Egyptian mathematics ca. 1650 BC), and the Shulba Sutras (Indian mathematics ca. 800 BC). All of these texts concern the so-called Pythagorean theorem, which seems to be the most ancient and widespread mathematical development after basic arithmetic and geometry.

Egyptian and Babylonian mathematics were then further developed in Greek and Hellenistic mathematics, which is generally considered to be one of the most important for greatly expanding both the method and the subject matter of mathematics. The mathematics developed in these ancient civilizations were then further developed and greatly expanded in Islamic mathematics. Many Greek and Arabic texts on mathematics were then translated into Latin in medieval Europe and further developed there.

One striking feature of the history of ancient and medieval mathematics is that bursts of mathematical development were often followed by centuries of stagnation. Beginning in Renaissance Italy in the 16th century, new mathematical developments, interacting with new scientific discoveries, were made at an ever increasing pace, and this continues to the present day.

For a look at the development of number systems - Click here

Click here for a timeline of the major developments in Mathematics

Great piece on some of the great Mathematicians - including picture on left - Click here

Click here for an extensive list of Mathematicians which can be used to highlight achievements across the world by both males and females in the field of Mathematics.  This is a summary document from a website that includes biographies which can be found at 

For a pdf Document listing Famous Mathematicians - Click here

Archimedes -ppt: Click here       Word Doc: Click here
Banneker    -ppt: Click here       Word Doc: Click here
Pythagoras -ppt: Click here       Word Doc: Click here
Gauss        -ppt: Click here  

For a series of short quizzes on different mathematicians - Click here 

Click here for a site which explores the impact different cultures had on the development of Mathematics

also look at the following American site which looks at female Mathematicians.  


St. Andrews MacTutor History of Mathematics
This site contains biographies of mathematicians, a chronology (timeline) of important events in the history of mathematics, and an interactive index of famous curves.

Trinity College, Dublin, History of Mathematics archive
This site contains a wealth of information concerning Sir Isaac Newton and Bernhard Riemann (including excerpts from their original works), as well as accounts of the lives and works of many 17th and 18th century mathematicians adapted from W.W. Rouse Ball's A Short History of Mathematics. There are also links to more than 200 other web sites relevant to the history of mathematics.

British Society for the History of Mathematics
This site contains well-annotated links to more than 70 sites organized into 16 categories.

David Joyce's History of Mathematics Web Resources
This site is valuable not only for its links to various web resources, but also for its extensive bibliographies of sourcebooks and other books on the history of mathematics.

Jeff Miller's History of Mathematical Notation
This site gives the earliest uses of various mathematical symbols, including those of calculus, and the contexts in which they occurred.

Jeff Miller's History of Mathematical Words
This site shows the earliest known uses of some of the words of mathematics, some with direct quotations from the mathematicians who coined them.

Recommended Books: Click here

Articles on nrich website: Click here

Cryptography Project: Click here

PowerPoint Presentation showing Mathematical Developments put together by Year 10 Set 1 from St Alban's 2008-9
Mathematical Timeline


Open University Course
This 10-week online course follows the BBC Four programme The story of maths presented by Professor Marcus du Sautoy. It traces the development of mathematics – from its origins in Egypt and Mesopotamia 4000 years ago to twentieth-century Europe and the US. You’ll explore mathematical ideas in an historical and cultural context that are explained in an entertaining and accessible way. Click here

Why should pupils and students learn history of mathematics?

Why should teachers use history of mathematics in schools?
How can it be done?
How can it improve the public image of mathematics?