Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science

Degree Discipline



The roots of most mathematical ideas can be traced back several centuries and this is also true of matrices.

James Joseph Sylvester, an English mathematician, is given credit for being the first to write down an oblong arrangement of numbers and called his rectangular array of numbers a matrix. This was in 1850 and before long mathematicians recognized that rectangular arrays were a convenient device for extending the common notions of numbers.

It was the English mathematician Arthur Cayley, in 1858, who used matrix notation for expressing systems of linear equations.

Cayley's matrices were quite radical in that this was a system where AB did not equal BA.

For the next half century, matrices were a plaything of the algebraist. Gradually it was discovered that matrices possessed a utility that extended beyond algebra and into other regions of mathematics. It was also found that they were exactly the means necessary for expressing many ideas in applied mathematics, especially in dealing with systems of linear differential equations, vectors, and other applications.

Today matrices are used wherever there are vast numbers of interlocking relationships that must be handled. As a matter of fact, it has been in the last two or three decades that scientists have used matrices to any extent. The new electronic computers have been very helpful in that they could perform the matrix arithmetic that would have been near impossible to do.

Committee Chair/Advisor

A. D. Stewart


Prairie View Agricultural and Mechanical College


© 2021 Prairie View A & M University

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Date of Digitization


Contributing Institution

John B Coleman Library

City of Publication

Prairie View





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