Believe it, or not, the term mathematics has nothing to do with numbers, algebra, geometry, or anything like that! It was a term that was first coined a little before 500 BC by the community that studied and lived with Pythagoras in their community at Croton in southern Italy. They developed the term from the Greek word μάθημα (mathema) which meant subject of instruction.
The term mathematics, therefore, meant subjects of instruction … particularly those subjects dealing with patterns and nature. Consequently, by the 16th Century, a scholar studying mathematics at university could expect to study music, astronomy, arithmetic, ballistics, fireworks, chemistry, geometry, the new cossick art (algebra), etc., all under the ‘umbrella’ of mathematics. I am sure students in schools today would enjoy broadening their studies in this way!
Of course, the development of mathematics dates from much earlier. From the time we assessed how much food we had, or whether someone had more than someone else, or whether we had sufficient to last for a period of time, we were using mathematical skills. This page will be steadily populated with anecdotes/stories from the history of mathematics, accounts of some of the amazing people who contributed to our understanding of this art, introductions to some of the famous theorems/concepts upon which our understanding is based, and even some explanation of where our symbols came from!
Our daughter was tutored by Graeme as she was required to sit a maths exam, and complete a maths course, in order to attend college in the USA. Graeme came highly recommended as a brilliant tutor, and he definitely did not disappoint. As a parent of three adult children, I have accessed several tutors over the years, and none of them have come even close to being as helpful and skilful as Graeme. Our daughter, Michaela, particularly liked how Graeme could relate maths concepts to everyday situations, something that helped her immensely. Graeme has extensive knowledge in various areas of maths, and this knowledge combined with his patient, empathic manner, makes him the outstanding tutor that he is. Graeme went above and beyond what would be expected of a tutor. He was truly dedicated to our daughter’s learning and she could not have achieved her goals without him.
Gillian Q (parent, 2013)
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