Top 10 Greatest Moments in Math History

Want to bring a little math history into math class? These 10 top math moments get student imaginations churning about mathematicians and great math moments of the past. Bringing these stories into math class is sure to captivate students!

There have been a lot of great moments in Math history and your list may be different from mine. (In that case I'd love for you to add your top moments to the comments!) 

One of my all time favorite graduate classes was taught by rockstar professor Oliver Knill. The class was called Teaching Math with a Historical Perspective. We looked into the history of math and where our different theorems and beliefs originated. As a final project, I wrote a paper on the Top 10 Greatest Moments in Math History that started this blog series.

You can click on an individual top moment below to read more about it. 

1:  Zero

8:  Infinity

9:  Enigma


  1. I am always talking to my class about the development of math. I say "way back when"... but now I can actually put a time frame and a name! I knew all of this at one time but have not taken the time to gather the information again. Thank you so much for doing this and sharing.

    1. Thank you for your comment! I read a really great book recently called Zero. It was about the number zero and also brought in so much cool math history! I thought I'd mention it in case you hadn't read it. Another one that was recommended was Fermat's Last Theorem. I just started reading it and can already tell it'll be a good read, too.

  2. Thank you for doing this! I struggled to find concise history to teach my students. In my elective class called Math in the Universe, they want to learn the history. Are there any books you recommend?

    1. Zero: A Biography of a Dangerous Idea was an amazing book. It's not only about zero; it brings in a whole lot of math history. I can't recommend it enough!