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History of mathematics

A proof from Euclid's Elements, widely considered the most influential textbook of all time.[1] The area of study known as the history of mathematics is primarily an investigation into the origin of discoveries in mathematics and, to a lesser extent, an investigation into the 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 arePlimpton 322 (Babylonian mathematics c. 1900 BC),[2] the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus (Egyptian mathematics c. 2000-1800 BC)[3] and the Moscow Mathematical Papyrus (Egyptian mathematics c. 1890 BC). All of these texts concern the so-calledPythagorean theorem, which seems to be the most ancient and widespread mathematical development after basic arithmetic and geometry. The study of mathematics as a subject in its own right begins in the 6th century BC with the Pythagoreans, who coined the term "mathematics" from the ancient Greekμάθημα (mathema), meaning "subject of instruction".[4]Greek mathematics greatly refined the methods (especially through the introduction of deductive reasoning andmathematical rigor in proofs) and expanded the subject matter of mathematics.[5] Chinese mathematics made early contributions, including a place value system.[6][7] TheHindu-Arabic numeral system and the rules for the use of its operations, in use throughout the world today, likely evolved over the course of the first millennium AD in Indiaand was transmitted to the west via Islamic mathematics.[8][9] Islamic mathematics, in turn, developed and expanded the mathematics known to these civilizations.[10] Many Greek and Arabic texts on mathematics were then translated into Latin, which led to further development of mathematics in medieval Europe. From ancient times through the Middle Ages, bursts of mathematical creativity were often...
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