See also the
Dr. Math FAQ:
Browse High School History/Biography
Stars indicate particularly interesting answers or
good places to begin browsing.
- Galley or Scratch Method of Division [12/08/2002]
In the 15th century, what was the method for performing division?
- Gallons and Cubic Inches [09/04/2001]
I know that 1 gallon is 231 cubic inches, based on the old English "wine
gallon" unit. Why was the number 231 used?
- Garfield's Pythagorean Theorem Proof [02/27/1997]
Which President of the United States wrote a proof of the Pythagorean
Theorem? On what did he base his proof?
- Geometry History [8/8/1996]
I'm looking information about the history of Geometry.
- Golden Rectangle History [9/7/1996]
What is the history of the golden rectangle? When was it discovered and
- Halving and Halving Again - Zeno's Paradox [8/22/1996]
Since we can never really get to zero by reducing something by halves,
does that mean that we are floating on air?
- Harmonic Mean [12/15/1996]
What is the harmonic mean and how do you use it?
- Hebrew Mathematics [09/21/2000]
I need to write a one-page article on the Hebrew mathematics system.
- History and Applications of the Natural Logarithm [03/02/1998]
I'm so surprised at how often the number e comes up. Where did it come
from? Who first derived it? Why is it so common in the field of biology?
- History and Discovery of Imaginary Numbers [02/28/2006]
How do mathematicians decide to create something like imaginary
numbers and the square root of -1 being (i)?
- History and Origination of the Metric System [08/13/2005]
Who invented the metric system?
- History of Calculating Pi [05/20/1998]
How have the formulas for pi evolved throughout mathematical history?
- History of Circle Area Formula [03/19/2007]
Do we know who figured out that pi*r^2 gives the area of a circle?
- History of Complex Numbers [12/12/2005]
Why were complex numbers invented?
- History of DeMoivre's Theorem [11/14/1997]
What is the history behind DeMoivre's theorem - did he base it on the
work of predecessors?
- History of Exponent Notation [11/03/2003]
Why is the symbol for exponents a smaller number above the base? How
did it become this? What is the history of it?
- History of Imaginary Numbers [03/09/2001]
Who invented imaginary numbers?
- The History of Numbers and Numerals [12/08/1998]
Can you give me some information on the history of numbers? How were they
developed and where are they used?
- History of Numerals and Counting: Bibliography [11/18/1996]
Where do I find information on different systems of measurements?
- History of Numerals and Symbols [06/22/1998]
Why and when did the change from Roman to Hindo-Arabic numerals occur?
What is the history of +, -, =, /, etc.?
- History of Odd and Even Numbers [02/12/2004]
Who invented the names 'odd' and 'even' numbers? When did they first
start being used?
- History of Properties [12/11/2001]
Who invented the properties? For example, the distributive property and
the associative property.
- History of the Fraction Bar [09/01/2005]
What is the original name of the fraction bar? I know it is called the
vinculum, but was that the original name? If not, what was it
- History of the Mile [08/25/2002]
Why are there 5,280 feet in a mile?
- History of the Order of Operations [11/22/2000]
Can you give me some facts and conjectures about when, where, and why the
order of operations was established?
- History of the Radical Sign [04/17/1997]
Who invented the radical sign?
- History of the Root of an Equation [11/01/2007]
Why are solutions to equations referred to as roots?
- History of the Word 'Exponent' [11/26/2003]
Who came up with the name 'exponent'?
- History of the Word "Polynomial" [10/18/2006]
My teacher asked me to find the meaning of "mials" in the word
polynomials. I know "poly" means "many" but what is the meaning of
"mials" or "nomials"? And from which language did it come?
- History of the y-intercept [03/18/2002]
Why does the variable 'b' represent the y-intercept?
- History of Writing Decimals and Number Lines [10/28/1998]
Why, on a number line, are the negative numbers are on the left? When you
deal with decimals, why are the whole numbers are on the left?
- History of Zero and Place Value [02/17/1999]
Where were zero and place value invented or discovered?
- How Can a Line Have Length? [04/14/1998]
If a Euclidean point has no length, how can a union of Euclidean points
form a Euclidean line segment with length?
- How Did Socrates Teach the Boy to Double the Area of a Square? [06/15/2010]
Reading Plato's Meno leaves a student confused about how the ancient Greeks scaled
squares. Doctor Rick walks through this story of Socrates and his method,
emphasizing that they would have approached this puzzle -- as well as the
Pythagorean Theorem -- geometrically.
- How Long is a Meter? a Second? [09/06/2001]
How is the length of a meter currently determined?
- How to Use a Chinese Abacus [06/24/2004]
An introduction to how the abacus works and examples of entering,
reading and adding numbers using it.
- How Was the Pythagorean Thoerem Proved? [06/05/2006]
How did Pythagoras derive the Pythagorean Theorem?
- Imaginary Numbers [10/11/1997]
Who invented the imaginary number?
- Impossibility of Constructing a Regular Nine-Sided Polygon [04/07/1998]
Can you construct a regular 9 sided polygon with just a compass and
- Impossible Constructions [01/14/1998]
What are the three ancient impossible construction problems of Euclidean