Welcome to woollymathematics! Thank you for your interest in this project. Here are some frequently asked questions and suggestions about how to use this website effectively.

__Q: What is woollymathematics?
__

A: It is a database of mathematical problems from the British periodical the *Educational Times* (ET) and its
companion
*Mathematical Questions* (MQ). Some of these problems are fairly elementary, while others have significant
mathematical
content. The website contains problem statements as well as solutions to most of the problems.

__Q: What functionality is available on the website?__

A: The main functionality is a Database tab. This enables you to
search
the extensive database of the *Education Times* mathematical problems. You can search by problem number,
author, journal date, and tags (categories of the questions). There is
also an All Problems tab that allows you to
browse all the problems in chronological order. Finally, in Extras you
can find separate notes from MQ, links to
digitalized journals, the story of Joseph Wolstenholme, and more.

__Q: I don't know much about 19th century mathematics, and most authors are not familiar to me. Where should I
start?
__

A: We recommend starting with the story of Joseph Wolstenholme and the trigonometry of tetrahedra, which you can
read here. This is the story that inspired the
project.
Next, try looking at tags like ‘Philosophy’ or ‘Knot
Theory’ under Database. The problems contributed by Sylvester and
Cayley also make a good starting point.

__Q: Were there any female contributors?
__

A: Maths in that period was very much a male-dominated activity, but there were over 40 female contributors and
you can find the full list here. In fact, one of the editors [1902-1915] was a woman, Constance I. Marks.

__Q: Where did the indexing structure and categorization came from?__

A: The first attempt to index the *Educational Times* problems was made in the 1940s and '50s by
mathematician
Raymond Clare Archibald (1875-1955). Decades later, historian of mathematics James Tattersall, Jr. took up
the
gauntlet. Tattersall shared the resulting spreadsheets with historian of mathematics Sloan Despeaux, who,
with
her
colleague Mark Holliday, asked computer science and history students to upload the indices at
https://educational-times.wcu.edu/.
The categorization and
indexing of our database is based on this.

Above, you will find a photo showcasing boxed index cards created by Archibald and discovered years later by Tattersall in the Brown University Science Library and one of the index cards.

__Q: How can I access the scans of the original journals?
__

A: The link to various versions of the digitized journals can be found on the Extras tab. We are especially grateful to the UCL Special Collections for giving us
permission to use their materials.

__Q: What do ET and MQ stand for?
__

A: ET stands for the *Educational Times*. MQ stands for *Mathematical Questions with their solutions from
the
“Educational Times”*, the companion journal published between 1863 and 1918, which contained solutions,
notes, and
in some cases even additional problems. Problems 18140-18769 were published in MQ only.

__Q: Why do some of the problems have negative numbers?
__

A: The *Education Times* uses continuous numeration for the problems. However, the numeration starts with
Volume 2, Issue 23. We use negative numbers for earlier problems.

__Q: Why do some problems have fractional numbers?
__

A: In some cases, different problems were published under the same number in the *Educational Times*. In
these
cases, we added .5 to the number of the problem which appeared later. Number 2109 appeared three times and we
denoted the corresponding problems 2109, 2109.5, 2109.7.

__Q: How accurate is the data on the website?
__

A: We are aiming at the highest possible level of accuracy. We have checked the accuracy of all the problem
statements. Checking the accuracy of the solutions and author data is an ongoing project.

__Q: So why is this project called woollymathematics?
__

A: First, for us woolly mathematics means unthreatening mathematics: down to earth (though do check out the
‘Astronomy’ tag) and a little bit peculiar. Some of the problem statements are ‘woolly’ in the sense of vague, and
can thus be difficult for a modern reader to make sense of. The level of rigor in some of the solutions can also
be very different from modern standards.
The name itself is inspired by the story of Joseph Wolstenholme who was called “The Woolly One” by Virginia Woolf
and her cousins. That story is outlined here.

__Q: How I can get in touch with the project team?
__

A: Email us at [email protected].