30000 BC

Paleolithic people record numbers by notching tallies on animal bones, ivory and stone.

3400 BC

Egyptians develop a symbol for the number 10, simplifying the representation of large numbers.

2600 BC

The Abacus

The Abacus

The Chinese introduce the abacus. It was used in China for calculating the census as recently as A.D 1982.

300 BC

Euclid’s Elements Book

Euclid’s Elements Book

Euclid’s Elements summarizes all the mathematical knowledge of the Greek. It is used for the next 2,000 years.

260 BC

The Maya develop a sophisticated base-20 system of mathematics that includes zero.

200 BC

The Astrolabe

The Astrolabe

The astrolabe is an elaborate analog calculator, historically used by astronomers and navigators to measure the inclined position in the sky of a celestial body, day or night.  An early astrolabe was invented in the Hellenistic civilization by Apollonius of Perga between 220 and 150 BC. Astrolabes were further developed in the medieval Islamic world, where Muslim astronomers introduced angular scales to the design, adding circles indicating azimuths on the horizon. It was widely used throughout the Muslim world, chiefly as an aid to navigation and as a way of finding the Qibla, the direction of Mecca. Eighth-century mathematician Muhammad al-Fazari..Read More

87 BC

The Antikythera Mechanism

The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient Greek analogue computer used to predict astronomical positions and eclipses for calendar and astrological purposes decades in advance. The Antikythera mechanism is generally referred to as the first known analogue computer. Credit: Wikipedia