Page last modified 22/10/2019


Home Page


See also Computing and IT


Random number/letter generator,

More at

Random word generator,

Prime Numbers up to 1,000,000,

Scientific calculator,

Maths problems explained and worked through,


2018, The largest prime number so far known was calculated by Patrick Laroche. It had 24,862,048 digits.

14/10/2010, French-American mathematician who developed fractal geometry, Benoit Mandelbrot, died aged 85.

1988, Japanese computer scientist Yasumasa Kanada calculated Pi to 201,326,000 decimal places.

1985, The number composed of 1,031 ones in a row was found to be prime.

2/8/1957, John von Neumann, Hungarian-US mathematician, died in Washington DC.

27/4/1936, English mathematician Karl Pearson died in Coldharbour, Surrey.

6/1/1922, Jakob Rosanes, Ukrainian-German mathematician, died.

26/4/1920, Mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan died.

12/2/1916, Julius Wilhelm Richard Dedekind, German mathematician, died in Braunschweig.

28/4/1906, Austrian-US mathematician Kurt Godel was born in Brno, Czechoslovakia.

24/1/1902, Oskar Morgenstern, German-US mathematician, was born in Silesia (Poland).

1896, Jacques Hadamard proved that, for large values of a, the number of primes less than a approximates to a / log a.

1985, The largest-then-known prime number,(2 to the power 216,065) minus 1, with 66,050 digits,was discovered.

26/1/1895, Arthur Cayley, British mathematician, died in Cambridge.

1894, The New York Mathematical Society was formed, later to become the American Mathematical Society.

5/11/1879, James Clerk Maxwell, Scottish mathematician and physicist, died in Cambridge, England.

22/5/1868, Julius Plucker, German mathematician, died in Bonn, Germany.

1865, The London Mathematical Society was founded and began to issue its journal, Proceedings.

1865, German mathematician August Ferdinand Mobius (born Schulpforte 17/11/1790) presented his discovery of a figure that had only one side and one edge, now known as the Mobius Strip.

8/11/1858, George Peacock, mathematician, died in Ely, England.

23/2/1855, Johann Karl Friedrich Gauss, mathematician, died in Gottingen, Germany.

29/4/1854, Jules Henri Poincare, French mathematician, was born in Nantes. In 1895 he effectively founded the science of topology, although some of its principles were already known.

12/4/1852, Ferdinand Lindemann was born in Hannover, Germany. In 1882 he proved that Pi is a transcendental number.

6/4/1829, Neils Abel, Norwegian mathematician (born 1802) died inArendal.

23/2/1826, Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevski (born near Nizhni Novgorod, Russia) gave a paper at Kazan University outlining the principles of non-Euclidean geometry.

2/11/1815, Mathematician George Boole was born in Lincoln, England. In 1847 he published his paper on symbolic logic.

25/1/1812. Mathematician William Shanks was born in Corsenside, England. He attempted a calculation of Pi to 707 places in 1853. However in 1944 it was discovered he had made an error at place 528, causing all digits thereafter to be erroneous.

25/8/1802, Neils Abel, Norwegian mathematician (died 1829) was born in Findoe.

29/10/1783, Jean Alembert, French mathematician, died in Paris.

18/9/1783, Leonhard Euler, Swiss mathematician, died in St Petersburg, Russia.

1777, Euler first used i to denote the square root of minus 1. He did not publish this until 1794, and it was Gauss who gained widespread acceptance for this notation with his work Disquisitiones arithmeticae in 1801.

15/4/1754, Jacopo Riccati, mathematician, died in Treviso, Italy.

1736, The symbol e for natural logarithms, devised by Leonhard Euler  in 1727, first appeared in print.

16/5/1718, Maria Agnesi, Italian mathematician, was born (died 9/1/1799).

1717, Abtaham Sharp calculated the value of Pi to 72 places.

1691, Leibniz first used the mathematical terms coordinate, ordinate and abscissa.

21/11/1675, Leibniz became the first mathematician to use the modern notation of f[x] dx for integration/differentiation.

1665, Isaac Newton worked out a system of ‘fluxions’ – precursor of modern calculus. He also began work on a theory of gravity.

12/1/1665, French mathematician Pierre de Fermat (born 1601) died.

1659, First punblication of the (division) sign, in Teutsche Algebra, written by Johann Heinrich and published long after his death in 1588.

1631, First recorded used of the multiplication sign, by William Oughtred. First use of the signs < and > to mean ‘less than’ and ‘more than’.

1614, Logarithms were invented by the Scottish mathematician, John Napier (1550-1617), who in that year published a 97-page work entitled ‘Mirifici Logarithmorum Canonia Descriptio’. He coined the word ‘logarithm from two Greek words meaning ‘ratio’ and ‘number’.

1603, Pietro A Cataldi discovered the 6th and 7th Perfect Numbers, which are 8,859,869,056 and 137,438,691,328.

1588, Italian mathematician Pietro Cataldi discovedred the largest known prime number, 524,287. It remained the largest-known prime for almost two centuries.

5/3/1574, William Oughtred was born in Eton. Around 1621 he invented the slide rule.

1572, Complex numbers were applied to solve equations in Rafael Bombelli’s work, Algebra.

1556, The = sign was created by Robert Recorde, on the basis that nothing can be more equal than a pair of parallel lines.

1524, The first manual of geometry was compiled by the German engraver, Albrecht Durer.

1524, First recorded usage of the modern square root symbol, in Die Coss, by Christoff Rudolff.

1513, The fifth Perfect Number was discovered, 33,350,336. A Perfect Number is one whose factors add up to the number itself, like 6 is the sum of 1, 2 and 3.

1489, The first recorded use of the mathematical symbols + and -, in the book Mental Arithmetic by Johann Wildmann, published in Leipzig. They were used for ‘excess’ and ‘deficiency’, and by the 1500s came to mean ‘add’ and ‘subtract’.

1434, Leone Battista, born in Genoa, Italy, 14/2/1404, published a nook on the geometrical laws of perspective in drawing.

1299, In Florence, Italy, the use of Arabic numerals was banned.

1055, The Arabs introduced decimal notation to Spain.

15/5/1048, The Persian mathematician and poet Omar Khayyam was born at Nisipar. He was the first to solve cubic equations (those containing terms to the power of three).

830, The Arabic text Hisab al jabr w’al muqabalah (The Science of Reunion and Opposition) became the basis of algebra in the West. Renaissance scholars sometimes preferred the Latin term ‘analysis’.

605, Use of decimal notation in India. In China, Pi was calculated to be between 3.1415926 and 3.1415927.

462, Birth of Aryabhata, Indian mathematician who wrote on the powers and roots of numbers.

17/4/485, Proclus, Greek mathematician, died in Athens.

250, Diophantes of Alexandria wrote the first known book on algebra.

200, In China, a polygon of 3072 sides was used to calculate the value of Pi as 3.14159. Chinese mathematicians used powers of 10 to express numbers.

95 BCE, First use of negative numbers, in China.

323 BCE, Euclid published his work ‘Elements’, the standard text on geometry.

395 BCE, Theodorus of Cyrene demonstrated that the square roots of 3,5,6,7,8,10, 12,13,14, 15 and 17 were irrational.

445 BCE, The earliest concept of irrational numbers (numbers like the square root of 2, or Pi, that have infinite decimal places). Hippacos of Metapontium discovered that some magnitudes are ‘not commensurable’, such as the diagonal and sode of a square; they have no common unit. Also at this time Zeno of Elea formulated paradoxes contrasting continuity with discreteness, such as the notion that a faster runner cannot ever catch a tortoise that has a headstart. These questions are still not fully answered today.

465 BCE, The dodecahedron, a solid with 12 faces, was described by Hippasus of Greece.

545 BCE, Death of Thales of Miletus. He derived the ‘Thales Proposition’; that triangles over the diameter of a circle are always right-angled.

628 CE, The Indian astronomer amd mathematician Brahmagupta first described the concept of ‘zero’ as a true number. By 300 BCE use of the number zero was common in Babylonian mathematical texts. The name’zero’cpomes from the Sanskrit ‘sunya’, meaning ‘nothing’; it became ‘sifr’ in Arabic, and was latinised by Leonardo Fibonacci into ‘zephirum’

876 BCE, First known use of a symbol for zero, in India. The actual conceot of zero may have been known earlier than this.

1300 BCE, Decimal numerals in use in China.

1725 BCE, Egyptian geometrical uinderstanding was advanced, with formulae for the volume of a truncated pyramid.

1875 BCE, The Pythagorean Theorem was known in Mesopotamia.

1975 BCE, Quadratic equations, where symbols up to the power of two are used, were known and could be solved in Mesopotamia.

3400 BCE, In Sumeria, clay counting tokens and written mathematical symbols first used.


Back to top