The contemplation of the various steps by which mankind has come into possession of the vast stock of mathematical knowledge can hardly fail to interest the mathematician. He takes pride in the fact that his science, more than any other, is an exact science, and that hardly anything ever done in mathematics has proved to be useless.
The chemist smiles at the childish eorts of alchemists, but the mathematician nds the geometry of the Greeks and the arithmetic of the Hindoos as useful and admirable as any research of to-day. He is pleased to notice that though, in course of its development mathematics has had periods of slow growth, yet in the main it has been pre-eminently a progressive science.
The history of mathematics may be instructive as well as agreeable; it may not only remind us of what we have, but may also teach us how to increase our store. Says De Morgan The early history of the mind of men with regard to mathematics leads us to point out our own errors; and in this respect it is well to pay attention to the history of mathematics." Itwarns us against hasty conclusions; it points out the importance of a good notation upon the progress of the science; it discourages excessive