Mathematicians Are People, Too!
updated March 7, 2010

A Mathematical Chronology
from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland


Mathematicians Are People, Too: Stories from the Lives of Great Mathematicians

Pyramids, Olives, and Donkeys. Thales
Ratios & Proportions, Patterns


The Teacher Who Paid His Student. Pythagoras
Triangles, Square Numbers, Geometric Solids

  • demonstrate angles (right, acute, obtuse)
  • demonstrate right angle triangle
  • demonstrate square numbers with short bead chains
  • demonstrate square numbers with graph paper
  • demonstrate Pythagorean Theorem (or use lesson plans below)
    easiest to show with a=3, b=4, c=5
    show it again with a=5, b=12, c=13
    if students design their own, be prepared to get into decimals!
  • follow with Geometric Sticks
  • follow with Constructive Triangles
  • follow with Short Bead Chains
  • follow with Geometric Solids
  • Pythagorean Theorem Lesson Plan - let students discover it for themselves!
  • Do You Like Your Job? - an unusual WebQuest assignment based on the Pythagorean Theorem and real-life applications (used for assessment purposes)


The Man Who Concentrated Too Hard. Archimedes
Levers, Pulleys, Exponents, Pi, Volume of a Sphere, Buoyancy, Water Screw


A Woman of Courage. Hypatia
Astrolable, Distilling Water


Magician or Mathematician? John Napier

Seeing Isn't Believing. Galileo Galilei

Count on Pascal. Blaise Pascal

The Short Giant. Isaac Newton

The Blind Man Who Could See. Leonhard Euler

The Professor Who Did Not Know. Joseph Louis Lagrange

Mathematics at Midnight. Sophie Germain

The Teacher Who Learned a Lesson. Carl Friedrich Gauss

"Don't Let My Life Be Wasted!" Evariste Galois

Life on an Obstacle Course. Emmy Noether

Numbers Were His Greatest Treasure. Srinivasa Ramanujan


Mathematicians Are People, Too: Stories from the Lives of Great Mathematicians, Vol. 2

There's Only One Road. Euclid

A Fortune Shared. Omar Khayyam

Lean on the Blockhead. Leonard of Pisa (Fibonacci)

The Conceited Hypochondriac. Girolamo Cardano

The Stay-in-Bed Scholar. Rene Descartes

An Amateur Becomes a Prince. Pierre de Fermat

The Gift of Sympathy. Maria Agnesi

The Shy Sky Watcher. Benjamin Banneker

The Computer's Grandfather. Charles Babbage

The Mystery of X and Y. Mary Somerville

The Overlooked Genius. Neils Abel

Conducting the Computer Symphony. Ada Lovelace

The Lessons on the Wall. Sonya Kovalevsky

The Compass Points the Way. Albert Einstein

The Master Problem Solver. George Polya



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