8 Oldest Mathematicians in the World

Mathematics is often hailed as the language of the universe. It has been studied and explored by brilliant minds throughout history. Among these, some individuals stand out not only for their mathematical prowess but also for their longevity.

We will explore their contributions to this timeless field of study in the world of mathematics. From ancient scholars to modern thinkers, their stories offer a glimpse into the enduring power and beauty of mathematics across generations.

1. Girolamo Cardano

Year: 1501-1576 – AD
Country: Italy

Girolamo CardanoPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

Cardano made significant contributions to the field of probability and algebra. His work in probability predates that of Pascal and Fermat.

He was also instrumental in the development of the binomial coefficients and the binomial theorem.

His solutions to cubic and quartic equations marked significant progress in algebra, moving beyond the quadratic equations discussed by his predecessors.

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Apart from his mathematical genius, Cardano was also known for his work in mechanics and hydrodynamics, and he was an accomplished astrologer and physician.

His enduring interest in various scientific and philosophical subjects reflects the Renaissance ideal of a polymath, demonstrating his diverse talents and interests.

2. Leonardo Fibonacci

Year: 1170-1250 AD
Country: Italy

Leonardo FibonacciPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

Fibonacci is most famous for the sequence named after him, which appears in various facets of art, nature, and science. His book “Liber Abaci” introduced Europe to the Hindu-Arabic numeral system, which included the use of zero.

His work with sequences, practical problems of commerce, and linear equations significantly influenced the growth of accounting and mathematics in medieval Europe.

Did You Know?

The Fibonacci Sequence also appears in biological settings, illustrating the mathematical order in nature, such as in the arrangement of seeds in a sunflower or the spirals of a nautilus shell.

Fibonacci’s work shows a unique intersection of nature, art, and mathematics, highlighting the world’s interconnectedness through numbers.

3. Al-Khwarizmi

Year: Circa 780-850 AD
Country: Persia

Al-KhwarizmiPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

Al-Khwarizmi’s seminal work, “Kitab al-Jabr Wa’l-Muqabala,” is one of the first books to introduce the systematic solution of linear and quadratic equations. Hence, he is often considered the father of algebra.

His introduction of the decimal positional number system to the Western world was a landmark achievement that revolutionized mathematics and business calculations.

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The term “algorithm” is derived from the Latinization of his name, Algoritmi. His detailed texts on arithmetic were the primary means through which the Arabic numeral system was transmitted to Europe.

Al-Khwarizmi’s influence is evident in many areas of mathematics and science, proving his works to be monumentally important in the development of scientific thought.

4. Brahmagupta

Year: 598-670 AD
Country: India

Brahmagupta was one of the most prominent Indian mathematicians and astronomers. He wrote the “Brahmasphutasiddhanta,” the first book that systematically used zero as a number and not just as a placeholder in calculations.

His rules on the operations of zero and negative numbers are some of the earliest documented. He also gave solutions to quadratic equations and methods for solving systems of linear equations.

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Brahmagupta’s contributions extend beyond pure mathematics and into astronomy, where he accurately defined many astronomical quantities, including the length of the year.

His work laid the foundations for advanced astronomical computations that were later refined in the Islamic world and Europe, illustrating the global impact of his work.

5. Archimedes of Syracuse

Year: 287-212 BC
Country: Ancient Greece

Archimedes of SyracusePhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

Archimedes is celebrated for his methods, which anticipated modern calculus and analysis by more than 18 centuries.

He developed techniques for calculating areas, volumes, and surface areas of various shapes, which became fundamental in geometry. His formulation of the principle of buoyancy, known as Archimedes’ Principle, is a cornerstone of physics.

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The story of Archimedes’ “Eureka” moment is one of the most famous anecdotes in the history of science. He discovered the principle of displacement while taking a bath and ran naked through the streets of Syracuse in his excitement.

This principle helped him solve a problem posed by the king on whether his crown was pure gold, showing the practical applications of his theoretical insights.

6. Euclid of Alexandria

Year: 300 BC
Country: Ancient Egypt

Euclid of AlexandriaPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

Euclid’s work “Elements” remains one of the most influential works in the history of mathematics, serving as the main textbook for teaching mathematics until the early 20th century.

It consists of 13 books that cover a vast body of mathematical knowledge, from elementary geometry and algebra to the properties of numbers.

Euclid introduced the method of proving mathematical theorems by logical deduction from axioms and definitions, setting a standard for future mathematicians.

Did You Know?

Despite his monumental contributions, very little is known about Euclid’s life. His existence is primarily known from references by later mathematicians and commentators, which adds an air of mystery to his persona.

His work has been studied, analyzed, and expanded upon by countless scholars, maintaining its relevance and importance through the centuries.

7. Pythagoras of Samos

Year: 570-495 BC
Country: Ancient Greece

Pythagoras’ legacy in mathematics extends beyond the famous Pythagorean Theorem. He established the Pythagorean school, where the fundamentals of mathematics were explored and taught.

His school considered numbers as the ultimate reality and explored their properties. The discovery that the square root of two is irrational is attributed to his school, which was a significant philosophical and mathematical revelation at the time.

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Pythagoras’ beliefs extended into the realm of mysticism and philosophy, where he posited that the soul could rise to union with the divine and then return to earth in another form, a belief known as metempsychosis.

His philosophical teachings about the immortality of the soul and the universe as an orderly, harmonious system have influenced various thinkers throughout history.

8. Thales of Miletus

Year: 624-546 BC
Country: Ancient Greece

Thales of MiletusPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

Thales is often regarded as the first true mathematician. His significant contributions include the introduction of geometry to the Greeks, deriving principles from observation and deductive reasoning.

His theorems on triangles are foundational in the field of geometry, specifically proving that a circle is bisected by its diameter. Thales’ use of geometry to solve problems, such as calculating the heights of pyramids and the distances of ships from the shore, was revolutionary for his time.

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Beyond mathematics, Thales had a profound interest in astronomy. He accurately predicted the solar eclipse of 585 BC, which halted a battle between the Medes and Lydians when the day turned unexpectedly into the night.

His prediction not only demonstrates early astronomical knowledge but also how it intersected with historical events in fascinating ways.


The legacies of these eight pioneering mathematicians have profoundly shaped the course of mathematical and scientific thought.

Their contributions, from fundamental geometric and algebraic concepts to the innovative use of numbers, established the groundwork for modern mathematics. Bridging cultures and centuries, their work underscores the universal language of mathematics and its enduring power to explain and enhance our understanding of the world.

As we push forward into new areas of mathematical inquiry, the achievements of these early thinkers continue to inspire and guide us, demonstrating the timeless nature of their discoveries and the continual human pursuit of knowledge.

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