 General History General History Forum  General history questions and discussions 
January 8th, 2017, 09:43 PM

#1  Hellenist
Joined: Jan 2010 From: Eugene, Oregon Posts: 4,120  Top Ten Equations that Changed the World
We face many problems today, and few of us know how dramatically math has changed the course of history, so we may lack hope of resolving our problems. I don't think math can resolve every problem, only that knowing how it changed the course of history might give us inspiration for what we can do.
There is a you tube video explaining this, and I posted it, then noticed it began with a message of it being for personal use only. Not sure if that means it can not be posted here without permission, I thought it prudent to edit it out. Considering I can not delete this thread, I am not sure what to do.
May be after resting I can figure what to say next, or maybe one of you can make a statement about how math has changed the course of history?

Last edited by athena; January 8th, 2017 at 09:51 PM.

 
January 8th, 2017, 10:35 PM

#2  Historian
Joined: Mar 2013 From: . Posts: 2,545 
I can't think of 10 equations that changed the world maybe 2 or 3 but system of calculation that changed the world there are many!
 
 
January 9th, 2017, 01:07 AM

#3  Citizen
Joined: Dec 2011 From: PyrénéesOrientales, France Posts: 23 
Do you mean mathematical equations or scientific principals expressed mathematically? I suspect you mean the latter.
One can start with the circular and conic expressions, pi etc and Pythagoras' equation (which are all purely mathematical expressions demonstable as true by various empirical methods) and from these starting points develop the mathematics of sine waves, trigonometric expressions, logarithms, calculus, imaginary numbers etc... and this is independent of the method of calculation (although admittedly when using say Roman numerals, just doing division and expressing the answer is tricky until one develops the concept of zero). But all those mathematical expressions are just the language which can then be used to describe scientific principals, eg E=mc^2 or force= mass x acceleration etc. All good science should be reductable to being expressed in mathematical terms.
So are you really asking what are the most significant scientific discoveries or principals?

Last edited by Meles meles; January 9th, 2017 at 01:16 AM.

 
January 9th, 2017, 03:30 AM

#4  Dilettante
Joined: Sep 2013 From: Wirral Posts: 3,421  Quote:
Originally Posted by Ichon I can't think of 10 equations that changed the world maybe 2 or 3 but system of calculation that changed the world there are many!  Off the top of my head
Newton's Laws and equations  that's three already
Boyle's Laws of Gases and Pressures
ClerkMaxwell ElectroMagnetic stuff
E = Mc2 of course
Laws of Thermodynamics
The basic electrical volts, amps, ohms stuff
 
 
January 9th, 2017, 06:42 AM

#5  Hellenist
Joined: Jan 2010 From: Eugene, Oregon Posts: 4,120  Quote:
Originally Posted by Ichon I can't think of 10 equations that changed the world maybe 2 or 3 but system of calculation that changed the world there are many!  The video started with Pythagoras therm. The idea goes, focusing on math proofs changed our thinking in a fundamental way. I believe this is what separated the West from the East because it is a different logic. I believe Athens developed a linear logic of cause and effect, that made our technological advancement possible. While others stayed with a cyclical logic and religion.
The difference being this idea of proving something is true.
Could we say while other civilizations were religious in nature, with their explanations and justifying everything, with religious myth, Athens became intent on reasoning that could be proven? Not that they had it all figured out. Aristotle was not perfect, but Athens got things moving in the direction of proves.
For our enjoyment can say more about calculus changed things?
 
 
January 9th, 2017, 06:43 AM

#6  ShoRyuKen
Joined: Apr 2010 From: T'Republic of Yorkshire Posts: 27,399 
I like pi.
 
 
January 9th, 2017, 07:08 AM

#7  Hellenist
Joined: Jan 2010 From: Eugene, Oregon Posts: 4,120  Quote:
Originally Posted by Meles meles Do you mean mathematical equations or scientific principals expressed mathematically? I suspect you mean the latter.
One can start with the circular and conic expressions, pi etc and Pythagoras' equation (which are all purely mathematical expressions demonstable as true by various empirical methods) and from these starting points develop the mathematics of sine waves, trigonometric expressions, logarithms, calculus, imaginary numbers etc... and this is independent of the method of calculation (although admittedly when using say Roman numerals, just doing division and expressing the answer is tricky until one develops the concept of zero). But all those mathematical expressions are just the language which can then be used to describe scientific principals, eg E=mc^2 or force= mass x acceleration etc. All good science should be reductable to being expressed in mathematical terms.
So are you really asking what are the most significant scientific discoveries or principals?  I am really asking for post just like yours. I do not know enough about the language of math to speak of it as eloquently as others who have posted here. I just know if we are going to decide how to treat the homeless, how big to build the hospital, if we should invest in wheat or corn, and hundreds of other decisions we face, it is better to approach them with a knowledge of math than with one's favorite religion, and this is fundamentally extremely different thinking.
All the religious arguments will get us nowhere and we need to increase an understanding of what math has done for us. I think a better future means one where the media uses much more math (reasoning oriented) in reporting the news, because the masses are thinking in mathematical terms, rather than religious ones. If the unemployment rate is 7% how many people can not make their house payment or pay rent? If there is a growing homeless population, why is this so? Give me the math, not your prejudiced opinion. How many of them are schizophrenic, medically needy, disabled, elderly, etc. Discussing what we should do about the problem of homelessness without the numbers, is not very intelligent.
If we put a holy book on one side of a scale, and math on another, which has done the most in ending evils? Why is math important?
 
 
January 9th, 2017, 07:14 AM

#8  Hellenist
Joined: Jan 2010 From: Eugene, Oregon Posts: 4,120  Quote:
Originally Posted by Naomasa298 I like pi.  It is so awesome! What we can do with imaginary numbers and pi is totally mind blowing.
I think the people of India have an advantage because their religion includes a love of math. Isn't this quote the coolest ever  
 
January 9th, 2017, 07:16 AM

#10  Hellenist
Joined: Jan 2010 From: Eugene, Oregon Posts: 4,120  Quote:
Originally Posted by GogLais Off the top of my head
Newton's Laws and equations  that's three already
Boyle's Laws of Gases and Pressures
ClerkMaxwell ElectroMagnetic stuff
E = Mc2 of course
Laws of Thermodynamics
The basic electrical volts, amps, ohms stuff  Excellent. Now for those who have ignored math can you say something about why all that is important to us?
If we were to create an exhibit for a children's science center, what picture would represent each one of these, and what the explanation be?

Last edited by athena; January 9th, 2017 at 07:19 AM.

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