Åk 6–9
 
English
1.2 History

The word function comes from the latin word, functio, which means ceremony.  A similar verb is fungor, which means to carry out.

When the Babylonian astronomers studied the celestial bodies, they began also studying how they moved in the heavens. They made notations about where they were at different times and tried to find a relation for calculating where they were at a certain point in time.


Bild: Sofia Distansundervisning

They succeeded in finding the relation between the celestial bodies’ position and time, and it was then that the connection of function came into being.  It was at the end of the 1600’s, when the German philosopher and mathematician Leibniz who introduced the term function.  Today’s definition of what consists of a function was created during the first half of the 1800’s by the German Ditrichlet.

The first time the word function was use was used though was by Descartes in the year 1637 when he used the word to describe the powers of variables.  The word function has though a different meaning today.