Pythagoras to Present Day:
Math’s Greatest Hits

Mondays at 7:00 pm ET (New York)
September 14 and 21
October 5, 19, and 26
November 2, 16, and 23

Join MoMath’s 2020-2021 Distinguished Visiting Professor for the Public Dissemination of Mathematics, Alex Kontorovich, for an eight-week mini-course studying the twists and turns of mathematical ideas throughout history, including a fresh look at the K to 12 curriculum and beyond.

The lecture series will be a broad overview of some of the most important developments over the last two to four millennia, focusing on how ancient ideas propagated to modern times.  Each lesson can stand alone.  Join for individual sessions or the entire series!

Please note that the following topics are subject to change:

  • Lecture 1: The Nature of Number
    • Development of our understanding of “number,” from counting to algorithms to algebraic, p-adic, etc.
  • Lecture 2: Quadrature
    • Ancient problems in geometry, in particular the “Big Three”: squaring a circle, doubling a cube, and trisecting an angle
  • Lecture 3: (Non-)Euclidean Geometry
    • Study of Euclid’s Elements, the famous “Parallel Postulate,” and modern re-interpretations
  • Lecture 4: The Birth of Trigonometry
    • Measuring the heavens in antiquity
  • Lecture 5: Archimedes
    • His mathematics, engineering, and discovery of the universality of pi
  • Lecture 6: Algebra
    • In particular the story of the cubic equation and Galois theory
  • Lecture 7: Analysis
    • The development of calculus, Newton/Leibniz, the Bernoulli family, Cauchy, Riemann, and Lebesgue
  • Lecture 8: The Birth of Analytic Number Theory
    • Euler, Dirichlet, Riemann, and Selberg/Erdős

The lectures are aimed at a general (non-mathematician) audience, but during the course of discussions, we’ll inevitably touch on interesting topics you wouldn’t typically see unless you were in graduate school or beyond!