# The Evolution of Mathematical Symbols

TLDR Mathematical symbols have evolved over time, with ancient civilizations like the Babylonians and Sumerians using their own system of writing to solve complex mathematical problems. Modern symbols such as the plus sign, minus sign, multiplication symbol, division symbol, and equal symbol were later introduced by mathematicians.

### Timestamped Summary

00:00
Mathematical symbols, which were historically a recent invention, were not used by mathematicians in the past, including the ancient Babylonians and Sumerians, who were able to do reasonably complicated mathematics using their uniformed system of writing.

01:30
The ancient Babylonians and Sumerians were able to solve complex mathematical problems without the use of mathematical symbols, but they did lack a zero and symbolic expressions for equations.

02:49
The plus sign and minus sign were first used by German mathematician Johannes Wittmann, while the multiplication symbol, which is not actually the letter X, was first used by Scottish mathematician John Napier.

04:18
The dot and asterisk are sometimes used as multiplication symbols, while the obelisk is an outdated symbol for division that is rarely used.

05:36
The solidus (/) is now commonly used as a division symbol, while the equal symbol (=) was created in 1557 to avoid writing "is equal to" repeatedly in equations.

07:09
The modern division symbol was created in 1525 and the greater than and less than symbols were created in 1631, while the infinity symbol dates back to the seventh or eighth century and the symbol for pi began with the use of the Greek letters delta and pi.

08:32
Mathematical symbols, like emojis, are a way to convey complex thoughts in a single character, and they continue to be created as new branches of mathematics develop.