Why is math called math

mathematics

This old mechanical calculating machine calculated without electricity. You had to operate levers and adjusting wheels and with the help of the crank you got the calculation result. You could only do that if you knew a lot about mathematics.

The word mathematics comes from the Greek and means something like "the art of learning". It is about calculating with numbers and about geometric shapes.

Mathematics is one of the oldest sciences. It is already 3,500 years old. It originated in advanced cultures such as those of the Babylonians, Egyptians and early Greeks. But they also existed in China and in many other countries.

What does math belong to?

A Chinese abacus: Even today there are Chinese, especially outside the big cities, who expect it.

Counting begins in kindergarten and elementary school. The range of numbers is unlimited and numbers include an idea of ​​how much something is approximately. The negative number range is added later. These are the numbers below zero.

Next, the first two basic arithmetic operations, addition and subtraction, are learned, i.e. adding and removing. Multiplication and division are added later. That's the math and the sharing. With large numbers it becomes quite demanding, so there are special techniques for this. That's about as far as you can get in elementary school. Calculating with numbers is also called arithmetic.

A second major field in mathematics is geometry. It's about drawing or measuring lengths and angles. Later it is about the measurement and calculation of simple areas, i.e. triangles, circles, squares and so on. Bodies are added later. These include the cube, pyramid, sphere and so on. You will soon have to go to university for more advanced areas of geometry.

There are so many different explanations for what math is all about. In any case, one can say that mathematics tries to explain many processes in the world logically. To do this, she uses her own type of language, which consists of symbols, numbers and formulas. With the help of this language one can describe or calculate a lot.

Today there is hardly any science that can do without mathematics: Engineers use mathematics to plan the construction of cars or bridges. Biologists calculate how animals reproduce or how quickly they become extinct. Astronomers need mathematics to calculate the course of the celestial bodies and so on.

How do you calculate in mathematics?

A room full of employees with their calculating machines, in 1924. Today all of this is done by a single computer.

Many methods and devices have been invented over time to make arithmetic easier. The easiest way is to use your fingers. But since you only have ten fingers, you don't get too far. An improvement is the counting frame or the abacus. Here pearls are strung on several rods so they can be moved.

Mechanical calculating machines were later developed. They are very complex. The first could only add and subtract, later multiplying and dividing was also possible. The mechanical machines were then replaced by electrical ones. Today we use calculators and computers.

The calculator can be of great help when calculating with numbers. In mathematics, however, calculations are not only made with numbers, but also with letters. These often represent a certain (but unknown) number and are called variables. The calculator is of little help here.

  • In this old picture, arithmetic is compared with numbers and with the abacus.

  • The Mathematikum is a museum in Giessen. There, mathematics is taught in a playful way.