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Lately I've wondered how I could learn about the history of mathematical symbols in the order they were introduced in the chain of human being. For example the symbol for Union in set theory (∪) is taught as if it were universal, but the date of it's first inscription is obscure.

I would like to read something which shows the timeline of historical unfolding of mathematical symbols (their use and application) to frame it within it's historical background so to provide a more rapid introduction to everything, including computers in the present day.

PS: I am vision impaired and struggle with symbols because text-to-speech programs do not vocalize them. However, I have no problem hearing sentences. However, the time is out of joint, sentences surrounding symbols alone (historical knowledge) is tricky to find. I am looking for a great list or a great book.

Thank you

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Check out Florian Cajori, "A History of Mathematical Notations."

https://www.amazon.com/History-Mathematical-Notations-Dover-Mathematics/dp/0486677664

This question might also get good answers on the History of Science and Math stackexchange.

https://hsm.stackexchange.com/

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  • $\begingroup$ I appreciate this answer, but the format for this text in pdf form is very poorly scanned. I wish there was something a lot more compact. $\endgroup$
    – starcat
    Jan 14, 2021 at 17:36

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