Math History

Learn math alongside the people who invented and discovered it.

Mathematical Stories

Rectangle by Squaring

Egyptian Multiplication

The Prime Sieve


Even Patterns

Perfect Numbers

Mersenne Primes

Course description

This course recounts both stories and specific, mathematical challenges from the lives and research of about a dozen famous—and infamous—mathematicians. All of them made huge mistakes. Many of them struggled to get recognition for some of their best work. And they all died with unanswered questions, many of which we _still_ don't know the answers to. Every single one left behind an astounding mathematical legacy. People from every part of the world and in every century of history have advanced the frontiers of mathematics. The five journeys we'll stick with the longest are those of Nichomachus, Brahmagupta, Al-Khwarismi, Gerolamo Cardano, and Ada Lovelace. The stories of both their lives and research are intriguing and inspiring. Meet some of these people who mapped what we know of the world of mathematics, explore alongside them, and learn from both their success and their failures!

Topics covered

  • Algorithms
  • Bernoulli Numbers
  • Conjecture and Proof
  • Imaginary Numbers
  • Irrational Numbers
  • Multiplication Methods
  • Radicals
  • Perfect Numbers
  • Polynomials
  • Prime Numbers
  • Quadratic Equations
  • Sequences and Patterns
  • Zero

Prerequisites and next steps

A basic understanding of algebra is recommended.

Next steps

  • Logic
  • Computer Science Fundamentals