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Want to Learn Some Math History?

More and more math-related videos are showing up on the web. Some good and some laborious...and some to avoid.

Gresham College offers a great set of videos. They are connected with the series of free public talks that Gresham College has offered within London for over 400 years.

The following are some available videos that form the lecture series Shaping Modern Mathematics, given 2012-2013:

  1. The The Queen of Mathematics video focuses on number theory via the properties of prime numbers...leading up to Bernhard Riemann posing one the greatest unsolved problem in mathematics - the Rieman Hypothesis.
  2. The Ghosts of Departed Quantities: Calculus and Its Limits video focuses on the work and achievements of Newton and Leibniz, as well as their "squabbling"...even the contributions of Bishop Berkeley and Cauchy in their fight for rigor.
  3. The Polynomials and Their Roots video focuses on the historical quest for a formula like the quadratic but useful for equations of degree three, four five, etc....ending with the work of Abel and Galois in the 19th century.
  4. The From One to Many Geometries video focuses on the development of non-Euclidean geometries plus the use of geometrical techniques to conceive of geometries in higher dimensions...leading to the Einstein's development of the theory of General Relativity.
  5. The Are Averages Typical video focuses on how the 19th century efforts of Florence Nightingale, Adolphe Queteller and Karl Pearson et al on describing and quantifying variation and uncertainty laid the foundations for statistics.
  6. The Modelling the World video focuses on how the 19th century British mathematics William Thompson (later Lord Kelvin), Peter Guthrie Tait, George Stokes and James Clerk Maxwell succeeded in applying mathematics to understanding the physical world.
Again, these lectures are part of a series, with possibly more to follow. The common speaker is Raymond Flood, former Lecturer at Oxford University and current Professor of Geometry at Gresham College. Also, he is the Past President of the British Society for the History of Mathematics.