Discovery Science: History of Mathematics – Practical Application

History of Mathematics – Practical Application

Many scientific areas take advantage of applied mathematics. Modern technological advances, in particular, would not have been possible without mathematics.

Astronomy, physics, geodesy, and economics have always contributed to mathematical advances and, vice versa, mathematics has been the basis for advances in these scientific areas. Isaac Newton, for example, developed infinitesimal calculus, which is the basis of analysis for mathematically describing the physical law that force equals rate of change in momentum.

While studying heat propagation in solid objects, Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier also re- searched wave equations which describe the expansion of waves. Not only did he deduct these equations but he also found an approach for a solution, the so-called Fourier series, which is applied in many mathematical areas, for example, statistics.

Theories for the digital age

Mathematicians have also developed theories which were later applied in other areas. Complex numbers that were developed in the 16th century have now become the basis for mathematically describing electromagnetics, quantum mechanics, and so on.

Another example is Boolean algebra, which is the basis for digital technology, control engineering for machines and plants and all computer programming languages. Even areas in architecture are based on mathematical principles including constructional engineering, material physics, and design applications to test the practicality of a plan.


Due to the continued development of numerical technology and computer performance, many aspects of society are now mathematized and computerized. Almost all high-tech applications are directly related to applied mathematics.

Examples include electronic chips, design of planes and high-speed trains, exploration of fossil fuel and natural gas sources, and other high-tech areas.


Boolean algebra is named after the English mathematician George Boole (1815-1864). It is the basis of logical connectors.

They are the calculation basis in dual arithmetics, which is based on the application of four arithmetic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) using the dual-number system, that is the binary numbers zero and one.

They connect two input values with one output value using three basic functions: AND gate, OR gate, and NOT gate.