Subject: Women in Trig & women of math in Roman times.
Name: Sandra Mills
Who is asking: Student
I am looking for some information about women who have contributed to the discipline of trigonometry. In addition to this I have been asked to choose a subject pertaining to Roman times for my Roman and American Lit class. I wanted to do a project and presentation related to mathematics, but could use some suggestions-- maybe how mathematics were applied as in engineering and the structure of the Roman buildings. Could you please provide some information about the history of mathematics and it's applications in Roman times. I am also open to any other suggestions for topics.

Thank you.

HI Sandra,

You might be able to discover something in one of the recent books about women in mathematics. My guess is that there isn't much that can be said about women in the development of trigonometry -- most of that took place in Greek mathematics, and the first woman's name to appear is Hypatia, who lived after Ptolemy (who wrote the trigonometry book that was unsurpassed until the time of Newton 1500 years later).
   As for Roman mathematicians, there were none. But lots of important Greeks lived during Roman times: Archimedes (made famous by the Roman writer Plutarch, who told the story of his almost single-handedly protected his town of Syracuse from the Roman army and navy), Apollonius, Hipparchus, Heron, Menelaus, and Ptolemy. It might make an interesting story why Greek mathematics died out under the Roman Empire and why nothing took its place. The Romans were outstranding engineers, but I doubt if they used any significant mathematics in their engineering projects.


Footnote: The MacTutor History of Mathematics site, is a great place to find information on the history of mathematics.

The Centralizer


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