From learning to count numbers to budgeting for your next family vacation, math makes the world go round. Math is present in so many aspects of our lives, and you may be using math concepts without even realising it! To celebrate, Spark Math by VISPARK is starting a brand new series, “This Month in Math History.” We will go over some of the biggest stories made possible by math, and cover scientific discoveries to mind-blowing world records. Read on to find out more about the history of math in April!
April is Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month
This month is all about a love for math and statistics. Try and find different ways to use math throughout April in fun and exciting ways. If you’re a sports fan, April is the start of every statistician’s favorite sport, baseball. Follow player stats throughout the season or watch the American biographical sports film “Moneyball” starring Brad Pitt. There are so many ways to see how math and baseball go hand in hand. Find ways that math is used in your favorite sport or hobby.
1 April: Apple Computer Company is formed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak
If you have an iPhone, you’ll find that it undoubtedly comes with the calculator app installed. Math is a huge part of the success of Apple. In fact, Apple founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak have a lot to thank math for.
Steve Wozniak’s passion for math and electronics led him to become a programmer and build one of the first affordable home computers, “The Apple 1”. This passion for math would build more than a computer. It would lead to one of the biggest and most profitable companies in the world.
Many of us have interacted with, or asked Siri to help with a request. This all started with Steve Jobs, who surrounded himself with math geniuses. When Steve Jobs’s physicist friend, Stephen Wolfram, got sick of academia, he worked with Apple to create one of the first, and most powerful math programs, “Mathematica.” Wolfram would use this software to create a computational knowledge engine called “Wolfram Alpha”, or a system that can find the answer to your questions quickly. This system is one of the programs Apple’s Siri uses to help find you the answers you need so fast. Thanks to math and the ingenuity of both Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, we have the powerful iPhone and the Apple company that we know of today.
Quick Math Trivia
10 April is the 100th day of the year (unless it’s a leap year. Then it’s April 9th).
1 – 17 April: Apollo 13 is saved thanks to math and science
In April of 1970, the US spaceflight Apollo 13 left Earth on its way to the moon. After an oxygen tank exploded, the crew was stranded in space and had to find a way to land back on Earth. The astronauts survived using a craft meant to land on the moon. In order to find a way to get back to Earth, they had to figure out how to move their ship in the correct direction to return to Earth, using only a pencil and their math skills.
Commander James Lovell and NASA engineers worked hard to figure out the math to rotate the ship so it was able to return to Earth. They also used their math and science skills, even early skills like creating shapes, to use what was available on the ship to filter oxygen. Through all the hardship of this accident with hard work and knowledge, they were able to get home safe, in part due to math notes written in the “Lunar Module Systems Activation Checklist Book.” This list of calculations was so important to the history of space travel, it eventually would sell for over $300,000 in 2011.
Are you surprised by how much impact math can have on our lives? The next time you’re out and about, try to take note of the things in your surroundings and think of the various ways math is used all around you! If you enjoyed learning about how master problem solvers use math to win games, develop technology and save lives, see how you can nurture your child to be one with Spark Math by VISPARK.