Drexel dragonThe Math ForumDonate to the Math Forum

Ask Dr. Math - Questions and Answers from our Archives
Associated Topics || Dr. Math Home || Search Dr. Math

Questions About Math

Date: Sat, 26 Nov 1994 23:58:32 -0500
From: Pierre Kerr
Subject: Math Question

Dear Dr.Math,

The Grant Alternative School, (jk to 6) Ottawa, has installed a mailbox
in the library to take "Questions to a Scientist".  The mailbox is a very
popular item, possibly because it has sneakers, the questions slide into
a 5/14" disk drive slot, and its name is IQ, but I think that the students
are sincerely interested in getting an answer to their carefully written
questions. In the first month we received 245 questions!
I am the chairman of the parent's Math, Science and Computer
committee and am responsible for the creation of IO.  I am also
responsible for getting the questions answered.  
You have been chosen to answer the following question.  Your response
would be greatly appreciated and you will get full credit in the
write-up.  Thank you.
Student: Andrew Lucas
Grade: 3 or 4
Teacher: Jeannie Mastine
Question: Who invented math?


Student: Thea Mills
Grade: 5 or 6
Teacher Julie Breeze

Question:  Where did the word Math come from?
Pierre A. Kerr                              

Date: Mon, 5 Dec 1994 19:48:22 -0500 (EST)
From: Dr. Sydney
Subject: Re: Math Question

Dear Andrew,

        Thanks for writing to Dr. Math!  You asked a great question:  Who
invented math?  Unlike physical objects like the lightbulb, the telephone,
and the calculator that were invented by one person or a group of people,
math wasn't really "invented" by anyone in particular.  The theory behind
math has been evolving for a very long time.  People first started doing
math-related things when they counted objects around them.  Math didn't
become a real field of study until sometime around 500 B.C.E. (that is about
2500 years ago!)  I hope this helps answer your question.  Feel free to
write back with any more questions you might have.  

--Sydney, Dr. "Math Rocks"

Date: Mon, 5 Dec 1994 17:36:08 -0500 (EST)
From: Dr. Sydney
Subject: Re: Math Question

Dear Thea,
      Hello!  Thanks for writing Dr. Math!  I am glad you asked where the
word math comes from, because I didn't know, and I found it interesting to
find out.  It turns out that the word, math, has its roots in the Latin word
mathematicus and the Greek word mathematikos which comes from mathema 
(what is learned) and manthanein (to learn).  So, math comes from words that 
mean learning.  Pretty neat, huh?  Thanks for writing, and please write again.

--Sydney, "dr. math"
Associated Topics:
Elementary Math History/Biography

Search the Dr. Math Library:

Find items containing (put spaces between keywords):
Click only once for faster results:

[ Choose "whole words" when searching for a word like age.]

all keywords, in any order at least one, that exact phrase
parts of words whole words

Submit your own question to Dr. Math

[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]

Math Forum Home || Math Library || Quick Reference || Math Forum Search

Ask Dr. MathTM
© 1994-2013 The Math Forum