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Mathematicians: Making numerous contributions

A mathematician is described as someone who uses logic or theory to solve problems. Mathematicians and their craft have been making milestones in history ever since the Neanderthal man became homo – sapiens and began communicating, with the use of speech. The first period of time in the history of mathematics is known as the Chinese / Egyptian / Babylonian Period. This era starts in 50,000 B. C. , and reaches to 601 B. C. During this primitive age, man used notches in bones, and clay tokens for counting. Sundials were used as a method of telling time and keeping track of the days.

The most infamous mathematician from this time was Ahmes of papyrus. Ahmes was the author of the Egyptian scribe “The Rhind papyrus”; it is one of the oldest mathematical documents in existence. The Greek Period (600B. C. – 499 A. D. ) took mathematics far beyond the realm of counting and measuring time. The Greeks brought a variety of great minds to life, including Thales of Miletus, Archimedes, Apollonius, Euclid, and Democritus. They began using logic to explore new mathematical concepts. Pythagoras of Samos was one of the foremost logical minds of this age.

He is the inventor of abstract mathematics, and the founder of the “Pythagoras Theorem”. This theorem is still used today, in modern geometric equations The Hindu / Arabian Period (500A. D. – 1199A. D. ), gave us Aryabhata the Elder and Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khowarizmi. Al-Khowarizmi wrote a very important Egyptian book titled “Al-jabr” His book helped to advance the study of algebra, and is responsible for coining the term we now know as algebra. This time period donated very few mathematical masterminds, however the contributions of this period are equally important Some of the more renowned names in the Transition Period (1200A. D. 599A. D. ) are John Napier, Ludolf van Ceulen, Robert Recorde, and Simon Stevin.

Leon Alberti wrote a revolutionary book, it described a method of achieving a more logical perspective in a mathematical manner. His book was a forerunner of projective geometry. In the 1500s many great astronomers such as Galileo, Copernicus, and Kepler showed that mathematics could be used to analyze the movements of the heavens. This discovery helped to make several breakthroughs in the following period. Within the time Shakespeare began writing his first play, and the pilgrims landed in the new Plymouth Colony, the Century of Enlightenment (1600A.D. -1699A. D. ) was dawning.

It is during this period that Rene Descartes and Pierre de Fermat discovered how to solve geometric problems with algebra. This discovery gave birth to analytic geometry. Fermats other accomplishments also include the development of a theory on prime numbers. This theory and other theories helped to generate the probability theory. Late in the 17th century, Gottfried Leibnez was hard at work on the development of differential and integral calculus He published his work in 1684. Isaac Newton independently made the same discovery. However, he did not publish his findings until a later date.

This is what started the biggest mathematical battle of this period. It was later proven that Sir Isaac Newton was truly the founder of calculus. The Modern period (1700A. D. – present) is often referred to as the golden age of mathematics. This era has given birth to a handful of new branches in mathematics, including abstract algebra, transformational geometry, and topology. The 19th century is the source of numerous advances in calculus, algebra, and (fractal) geometry. In the 1840s George Boole and Gottlob Frege establish the science of measurement, symbols, and numbers thru the use of algebra.

This science is now known as symbolic logic or “Boolen” algebra. The history of mathematics would not be complete if I excluded the most prominent mathematician and physicist of all time, Albert Einstein. His career brought a new light to every aspect of our world, and our universe. Mr. Einstein wrote five landmark papers that cover Brownian motion, the photoelectric effect, and his theory of relativity. It was with his relativity theory that he devised his most famous mathematical formula of all time, E=mc. There are very few people who qualify for the term genius, and in my opinion Albert Einstein most definitely qualifies.

Mathematics is a disciplined field. It is used in the study of all the sciences. In addition to contributing to the invention of nuclear energy, it has played an important role in the development of the automobile, television, and space exploration. They have been helpful in advancing research and experimental efforts in sociology, psychology, and education, among others. Mathematicians are always contributing new ideas. There are many opportunities in mathematics. Mathematicians may choose to start a career in teaching. The two most widespread areas of opportunity in math are called theoretical and applied.

Theoretical mathematicians deal with abstract and pure math concepts. They do not deal in the practical use of mathematics, such as the use of everyday problems. They may teach in a college, university or work in the research department of a business or government office. They are concerned with forwarding mathematical knowledge, the logical development of mathematical systems, and the study and examination of relationships among the mathematical structure. “Pure” Mathematicians focus mainly on problems dealing with the investigation and development of mathematical principles and reasoning.

Applied mathematicians develop and apply mathematical knowledge to practical and research problems in the social, physical, life and earth sciences. Business, Industry, and Government rely on applied mathematicians, particularly on their research and development programs. It is necessary for these mathematicians to have some knowledge of their employer’s operations and products, as well as competence in their own field. Applied mathematicians work on problems ranging from the effects of new drugs on disease to rockets.

The applied and theoretical aspects of mathematicians’ work are not always clearly defined. Their positions usually deal with the application of mathematics but they may become involved in both aspects. In addition to having general knowledge about modern computer equipment, mathematicians need some basic experience in computer programming and operation of the rapidly expanding reliance on computers. Specialty fields of applied mathematicians include: Computer -application engineers, Engineering analysts, Operations research analysts, financial analysts, weight analysts, and mathematics teachers.

Computer applications engineers design mathematical models and develop computer systems to solve scientific and engineering problems. Engineering analysts apply logical thinking to scientific, engineering and other problems. They convert these problems to mathematical terms to be solved by digital computers. Operations research analysts use the same methods as engineering analysts to solve management and operational problems. Financial Analysts use statistics to analyze information concerning the investment programs of public, industrial, and financial institutions, such as banks, insurance companies, and brokerage and investment houses.

The interpret data, construct charts and graphs and summarize their findings in terms of investment trends, risks and economic influences. Weight analysts are concerned with weight, balance, loading and operational functions of ships, aircraft, space vehicles, missiles, research instrumentation and commercial and industrial products and systems. These mathematicians use computers to analyze weight and work with design engineering personnel to coordinate their qualifications with other phases of product development.

Mathematics teachers at the middle and high school levels may be general teachers, instructing in numerous school subjects or they may specialize in mathematics. In high school they may provide instruction in more complex mathematics such as algebra, geometry, trigonometry, pre-calculus and calculus. College mathematics teachers provide instruction to future mathematicians. They often teach courses at various levels of difficultly. To pursue a career as a mathematician the basic education requirement is a bachelor’s degree with a major in mathematics. Your undergraduate program will need to include work in all areas of mathematics.

In addition to these courses you may need to take various social, physical and life sciences. Many colleges and universities require that if you major in math you must also take classes in another related area such as computer science, engineering, physical science or economics. Some of the requirements of a mathematician may depend on where you chose to work. To be a mathematician requires abilities in abstract reasoning, analyzing, and interpreting mathematical ideas. You should also be able to visualize spatially. Speed and accuracy with numbers are necessary skills, too.

Communication skills are important because you will often need to interact with others on your job. Government positions usually require that the applicants take a civil service examination in addition to meeting certain specified requirements. These requirements may vary according to the type and level of position. As a mathematician, your income will vary with your level of training and the work setting you are hired for. In the late 1990’s, those with a bachelors degree in an entry-level position can expect a starting salary of approximately $31,800. 00 annually, with a masters degree $38,300. annually.

Starting salaries offered in industry are often higher than those offered in government and educational positions. The average annual salary for a government mathematician is $62,000; for mathematical statisticians, $65,660 In conclusion, “Good mathematicians do not rush in to apply a formula or an equation. Instead, they try to understand the problem situation; they consider alternative representations and relations among variables. Only when satisfied that they understand the situation and all the variables in a qualitative way do they start to apply the quantification. “

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