We use these skills on a daily basis, but where did they come from? Take this quiz to find your "sum" knowledge of the topic. How well do you "function?" Do you know a lot or just a small "fraction?"

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Question 1 of 20

Euclid collected theorems and proofs about polygons and angles -- creating Euclidean geometry -- in a book called *The* _________.

Chords

Elements

Expansion

Fundamentals

...
Euclid's "The Elements" contains theorems that are still used in contemporary geometry.

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Question 2 of 20

Galileo said that mathematics is the language of ________.

God

life

nature

the world

...
Galileo is quoted as having said, "Mathematics is the language with which God has written the universe."

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Question 3 of 20

The earliest known evidence of mathematics is __________.

angle measurement

counting

matrices

using zero

...
There is evidence of early counting that dates as far back as 30,000 B.C.

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Question 4 of 20

Diophantus of Alexandria is often called the father of _________.

algebra

calculus

geometry

trigonometry

...
Diophantus, who lived during the 3rd century A.D., likely did not create algebra; rather, he refined what ancient Egyptians and Babylonians did almost 2000 years B.C.

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Question 5 of 20

By the 3rd century B.C., people in India were using the number zero. At first it was represented by a blank space. This was confusing, so it was replaced by a/an _______.

circle

dot

inverted v

line

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Indians used a dot to indicate zero. Simultaneously, Mayans were also using zero for their calendar.

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Question 6 of 20

Hipparchus, who was instrumental in the development of trigonometry, was a mathematician and __________.

astronomer

historian

physician

senator

...
During the 2nd century B.C., Hipparchus was a prominent astronomer. In the field of trigonometry, he wrote extensively on chords.

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Question 7 of 20

Isaac Newton developed calculus to solve problems that geometry could not. It was originally called the ________.

convergence

fluxions

harmonic sequence

integral rules

...
Calculus was originally "the method of series and fluxions." Newton and Gottfried Leibniz both created it, independent of each other, in the 1600s.

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Question 8 of 20

In several ancient countries, mathematics was developed simultaneously. What did those countries have in common?

deep religious connections

a relatively warm climate

a strong government

all of the above

...
The earliest developers of mathematics (the warm regions of China, Egypt, India, Mesopotamia), all had strong religious and political organizations.

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Question 9 of 20

Plato believed that mathematics exists _________.

because humans created it

outside of mankind's ability to understand it

whether or not humans understand it

none of the above

...
Plato believed that the configuration of the universe was based on mathematics and that the level of understanding of the universe is reflected by our knowledge of mathematics.

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Question 10 of 20

The fractions used by the ancient Egyptians differed from ours because ________.

most of them used 1 in the numerator

most of them used 1 in the denominator

they were usually mixed fractions

The ancient Egyptians did not use fractions.

...
Ancient Egyptians primarily used "unit fractions," where a 1 is the numerator, except for 2/3 and 3/4.

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Question 11 of 20

The oldest written records of mathematics were originally located in _____.

China

Egypt

India

Mesopotamia

...
Archaeologists have found 4,000-year-old Mesopotamian clay tablets with mathematical markings on them.

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Question 12 of 20

The Greek Zeno is perhaps best remembered today because of his mathematical ________.

calculations

number theory

paradoxes

proofs

...
Zeno created logic problems, such as the idea that any unit is infinitely divisible, making it essentially impossible to divide.

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Question 13 of 20

Leonhard Euler, creator of modern trigonometry, popularized the symbol for _______.

cube root

factorial

inequality

pi

...
The Swiss Euler worked on a wide variety of mathematics (e.g., number theory, discrete mathematics) and created graph theory. He was responsible for the adoption of several symbols, including the one for pi.

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Question 14 of 20

Although they used a wide variety of mathematics, the ancient Babylonians seemed to have had trouble with ________.

algebra

geometry

trigonometry

...
Among other types of mathematics, Babylonians used square roots, fractions, and cubic equations, but there is evidence that their geometry was, at times, flawed.

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Question 15 of 20

The eminent German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss (who worked on theories in such areas as prime numbers and congruence) was hampered in his youth by a lack of __________.

adequate library facilities

ambition

formal schooling

time for study

...
Gauss initially attended Caroline College (1792-1795), but it had a limited library. Consequently, Gauss "discovered" many ideas in mathematics that had already been recognized and written down.

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Question 16 of 20

Which 17th-century philosopher and mathematician invented analytic geometry?

Bacon

Descartes

Hobbes

Spinoza

...
Rene Descartes created analytic geometry as an approach for imagining algebraic functions.

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Question 17 of 20

The earliest known mathematics book, the Chinese *Choupei*, was interesting because it was formatted as __________.

dialogues

puzzles

riddles

tests

...
In approximately 1105 B.C., the text was composed as a series of dialogues, covering such topics as astronomy and measurement.

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Question 18 of 20

It has been suggested that the brilliant mathematician and scientist Archimedes used an early form of __________ in his works.

algebra

calculus

set theory

statistics

...
Archimedes may have used calculus before Newton and Leibniz, although his written work displayed geometric proofs.

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Question 19 of 20

Magic squares, matrices where each column and row adds up to the same sum, probably originated in ancient China. They were first used for ________.

leisure time

magic

medicine

religion

...
Magic circles were religious symbols and later were used in charms and other forms of "magic."

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Question 20 of 20

Aristotle, more a philosopher than mathematician, nonetheless made significant contributions to the way in which mathematics was viewed. For instance, when comparing potential infinity to actually infinity, he stated that ___________.

Infinity as a concept does not really exist.

Only actual infinity exists.

Only potential infinity exists.

Potential and actual infinity are identical.

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Aristotle proposed that there is only a potential infinity, not an actual infinity.

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