History of Geometry

Geometry is branch of mathematics that deals with the shapes, relative positions of the shapes and properties of space. In other words, it can be said as a science concerned with the studying of lengths, area and volumes. The word Geometry has been taken from the Greek words ‘geos’ meaning earth and the ‘metron’ meaning measures.

History of Geometry is very interesting, in earlier times there were two civilizations i.e. Harappa and Babylonian and both had their own versions of geometry. They had their own way of calculating things. As far as geometry history is concerned, it was confined to finding length, areas, volumes etc. which were used as matter of survey and construction.

It is quite surprising to know that both Babylonians and Egyptians were aware of Pythagorean Theorem 1500 years before the discovery of Pythagorean Theorem. However in history of geometry Pythagorean Theorem was the most important concept. Babylonians gave a table to define concepts of Trigonometry and Egyptians knew the concept of finding the volume of frustum of a pyramid.

Early Egyptians had their own way to find the area of circle which is actually $(\frac{Diameter*8}{9})^2$. This approximation had a slight error which is more than 0.63%. Babylonians surprised more by finding the Area of a Circle which is within an error range of 0.53%.

History of geometry at initial stages is confined to finding lengths, areas and volumes but classical Greek geometry gave concepts like figures, solids, curves, surfaces etc. The initial trial and error methods have been rejected and now logical deductions have taken their place. They found that geometry is a study of eternal forms and abstractions and they developed the idea of axiomatic method which is still very widely used.

Euclid and Archimedes have contributed a lot to geometry. Euclid wrote 13 books on geometry termed as 'Elements of geometry' which is completely based on axiomatic methods and now it is known as 'Euclidian geometry'. Archimedes has also contributed a lot and is named as one of the best of his time along with Sir Isaac Newton and Carl Friedrich Gauss.

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