Timeline of Mathematics


  • c. 3000 BCE: Simple counting and record-keeping systems emerge in Mesopotamia and Egypt.
  • c. 2000-1900 BCE: Babylonians develop sophisticated arithmetic, early forms of algebra, and geometry concepts (Plimpton 322).
  • c. 1800 BCE: Egyptians have a grasp of fractions, basic algebra, and can calculate areas and volumes (Rhind Mathematical Papyrus).
  • c. 600 BCE: Thales of Miletus introduces the concept of deductive reasoning and geometric theorems.
  • c. 530 BCE: Pythagoras and his followers explore the relationship between numbers and geometry, including the famous Pythagorean Theorem.
  • c. 400 BCE: Discovery of irrational numbers poses challenges to the Pythagorean view of the world.
  • c. 300 BCE: Euclid's Elements compiles and systematizes Greek geometrical knowledge, laying the foundation for geometrical reasoning for centuries.
  • c. 250 BCE: Archimedes makes significant discoveries in geometry (calculating areas and volumes), mechanics, and early concepts of calculus.


  • c. 200 CE: Diophantus writes Arithmetica, a major work on early algebra.
  • 5th-6th centuries CE: Indian mathematicians like Aryabhata formalize the decimal system, introduce the concept of zero, and make advances in trigonometry.
  • 700-1200 CE: The Islamic Golden Age sees scholars like Al-Khwarizmi lay the foundations of algebra and algorithms.


  • 1202: Fibonacci introduces Hindu-Arabic numerals and the Fibonacci Sequence to Europe.
  • 1545: Gerolamo Cardano publishes Ars Magna, containing solutions for cubic and quartic equations.
  • 16th century: Development of symbolic notation makes algebraic manipulation easier.
  • 1614: John Napier invents logarithms, revolutionizing calculations.
  • 1637: Rene Descartes publishes La Géométrie, linking algebra and geometry.
  • Mid-17th century: Pierre de Fermat and Blaise Pascal lay the groundwork for probability theory.
  • Late 17th century: Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz independently develop calculus.


  • 18th century: Calculus is rigorously formalized, and applied to solve problems in physics and astronomy. New areas like complex analysis and differential equations emerge.
  • 1736: Leonhard Euler solves the Seven Bridges of Königsberg problem, considered the birth of graph theory.
  • Early 19th century: Carl Friedrich Gauss, the "Prince of Mathematicians", makes contributions across various fields (number theory, geometry, statistics).
  • 1820s: Development of non-Euclidean geometries challenges traditional understanding of space.
  • Late 19th century: Georg Cantor develops set theory, revolutionizing notions of infinity.


  • 1900: David Hilbert poses his famous 23 problems, greatly influencing the direction of mathematical research.
  • Early 20th century: The rise of mathematical logic and work by Gödel, Turing, and Church on computability.
  • 1931: Kurt Gödel demonstrates the limits of formal mathematical systems with his incompleteness theorems.
  • Mid-20th century: The advent of computers revolutionizes computation and opens new areas of study, such as numerical analysis.
  • Late 20th century: Wiles' proof of Fermat's Last Theorem (1994) and the proof of the Poincaré Conjecture (2003) are landmark achievements.