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Dr. Math FAQ:
3D and higher
Browse Middle School History/Biography
Stars indicate particularly interesting answers or
good places to begin browsing.
Selected answers to common questions:
About Roman numerals.
- Hebrew Mathematics [09/21/2000]
I need to write a one-page article on the Hebrew mathematics system.
- 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 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 Fractions [12/7/1995]
How did the Babylonians, Ancient Chinese, Egyptians, Greeks, or Hindus
- History of Multiplication [4/18/1996]
I thought it would be interesting if my students found out how other
cultures did multiplication in earlier time periods.
- 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?
- The History of Pentominoes [10/22/1995]
I would like to know who "invented" or developed pentominoes and any
- History of Probability [04/07/1997]
Who first researched probability?
- History of Ratio and Proportion [12/28/2003]
Who discovered ratios and proportions? When did it happen?
- 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 Word 'Exponent' [11/26/2003]
Who came up with the name 'exponent'?
- 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 Long is a Meter? a Second? [09/06/2001]
How is the length of a meter currently determined?
- How Pi Was Derived and Relates to Area of a Circle [03/04/1998]
Using inscribed and circumscribed polygons to derive Pi and circle area.
- 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.
- Impossible Constructions [01/14/1998]
What are the three ancient impossible construction problems of Euclidean
- Incan Quipus [09/30/1999]
Information on the colored ropes the Incas used for counting.
- Invention of the Metric System [02/13/1997]
Who invented the metric system?
- John Napier [06/17/1998]
Why was John Napier's discovery of logarithms a great contribution to the
field of mathematics?
- John Venn and Venn Diagrams [09/04/1998]
Can you give me some information on John Venn and the origin of Venn
- K as an Abbreviation for Thousands [05/29/2002]
I was taught that 30K meant thirty thousand. Is that correct?
- Large Roman Numerals [08/15/1997]
Could you please convert 5000, 1,000,000, and 5,000,000 into Roman
- Lenore Blum [04/21/1997]
Where can I find information on Lenore Blum?
- Letters for Variables [11/19/2001]
Why do we use letters for variables?
- 'Log' Button [01/29/1998]
We have been using the 'log' button on our calculators to solve problems
involving compound interest. What does that button do?
- Ludolph van Ceulen and Pi [11/02/1998]
How did Ludolph van Ceulen estimate pi by inscribing and circumscribing a
circle with squares?
- Maria Agnesi [03/15/1997]
Where can I get information on Maria Agnesi? What is the Witch of Agnesi?
- Math and Music: Harmonic Series [01/09/1998]
Could you supply me with information on how math relates to music?
- Mathematics in Colonial America [11/10/1997]
I am at a loss at how to incorporate pragmatic mathematic lessons into an
early America lesson.
- Math on Africa [01/03/1997]
We're doing an interdisciplinary unit on Africa. My part is to do
something about math...