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I remember to have seen an encyclopedia-type-of mathematics book that describes for each topic contained in it when and by who it was invented or when it was first mentioned. I.e. quaternion: Hamilton, Ireland, 1843 ( probably the tree anecdote as well. ) I tried Google Books, Amazon, Google, the Open University Library search, but I can't find it anymore.

Does anyone know which book it could have been? ( It does exist! It was written for an undergraduate audience, if I remember well. )

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What's the tree anecdote? I only know of Brougham Bridge. – t.b. Dec 17 '11 at 12:15
The same, I thought he carved it on a tree, but it was on a bridge, wasn't it. – nilo de roock Dec 17 '11 at 12:20

Are you referring to this:

Mathematics 1001: Absolutely Everything That Matters About Mathematics in 1001 Bite-Sized Explanations

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Not that I recall by name, and I can't preview it on Google books. I vividly remember a comprehensive list of concepts followed by when it first appeared in the literature. – nilo de roock Dec 28 '11 at 10:15
Seen that book now, it is not it, alas. – nilo de roock Jan 2 '12 at 10:05
up vote 0 down vote accepted

The book I was looking for is The Encyclopedia of Mathematics by James Tanton.

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