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Top new questions this week:

Why couldn't Robert Peary use his theodolite at the North pole

Robert Peary writes in his book The North Pole: The instruments used in taking observations for latitude may be either a sextant and an artificial horizon, or a small theodolite. Both these ...

discoveries geometry optics geography navigation  
asked by Frigo 4 votes

Was there a continuation to the Seven Bridges of Königsberg problem between Euler and Hamilton?

Since Euler's result on the Seven Bridges of Königsberg problem appears to be the first known graph theoretical result I was wondering if any mathematicians after Euler and before Hamilton commented ...

biographical-details graph-theory  
asked by GEP 3 votes
answered by Conifold 5 votes

Why did the existential and universal quantifiers in logic took so long to become formalized into symbols after the invention of boolean algebra?

Was there a specific reason that prevented researchers in boolean algebra to invent such quantifiers in the flexible format that are known today earlier? Since the compact symbols for multiplication ...

mathematics philosophy-of-science mathematical-logic  
asked by GEP 2 votes
answered by Mozibur Ullah 0 votes

Where does the term "pivot" come from in the quicksort algorithm?

The quicksort algorithm is based on recursively choosing an element to partition the array. In every modern exposition that I've seen, this element is called the "pivot". However, as far as ...

computer-science algorithm  
asked by Matt Hancock 2 votes
answered by Conifold 4 votes

Is there any book or site where Gauss' collected philosophical writings are presented?

From the questions on some of Gauss' philosophical ideas here at HSM stackexchange it's clear that Gauss had some major philosophical ideas that despite their profundity don't seem to have had much ...

mathematics biographical-details philosophy-of-science  
asked by GEP 2 votes
answered by Mozibur Ullah 1 vote

How did the current physics curriculum came to be?

By far, looking at several curriculums of High School/First-Year Undergraduate physics. The curriculum always starts with Mechanics, moves into Electricity/Electromagnetism and ends with Modern ...

physics  
asked by Jon 2 votes
answered by Ben Crowell 4 votes

History of Mathematical Biology - Resource Recommendations

Biology nowadays is filled with mathematics. Indeed, the field of mathematical biology is huge, and shows no sign of decay. But the mathematisation of biology is, to my knowledge, a recent phenomenon -...

mathematics biology  
asked by Rain 1 vote
answered by Conifold 2 votes

Greatest hits from previous weeks:

What was the historical context of the development of Taylor series?

I knew about linear approximations, quadratic approximations and the use of Taylor polynomials to approximate a function. Furthermore, I was aware of other applications of Taylor polynomials and the ...

mathematics  
asked by shahed al mamun 18 votes
answered by Conifold 16 votes

Who first used the word "calculus", and what did it describe?

This comment cites Wikipedia in stating that, before the development of the modern-day subject of calculus (i.e. analysis), the term "calculus" referred to general mathematics. Who first used the ...

mathematics terminology calculus  
asked by HDE 226868 13 votes
answered by Alan U. Kennington 13 votes

Writing Mathematical Symbols in 20th century

As I was reading some papers written by Schrödinger and Heisenberg back in 1920s, I noticed that the symbols they use such as the integral or summation sign or calligraphic letters are as if printed ...

mathematics physics notation publishing  
asked by Gonenc 39 votes
answered by Chris 37 votes

What does it mean by "d-ism of Leibniz" and "dotage of Newton" in simple English?

I am reading this article by Donald E. Knuth and get stuck by this sentence: Our mathematical language continues to improve, just as “the d-ism of Leibniz overtook the dotage of Newton” in past ...

mathematicians newton leibniz  
asked by Lerner Zhang 17 votes
answered by M. Farooq 29 votes

Did Gauss find the formula for $1+2+3+\ldots+(n-2)+(n-1)+n$ in elementary school?

I heard Gauss's primary school teacher gave some busy-work to his class: to add all the numbers between 1 and 100 up. Gauss immediately wrote 5050. His teacher was shocked, so she told him to add up ...

mathematics mathematicians gauss  
asked by Geremia 40 votes
answered by Jack M 27 votes

What's the famous story about a mathematician who gave a talk without saying a word?

Years ago, I read a story about a mathematician who found a numerical counterexample to some conjecture long believed to be true. He gave a talk during which he didn't utter a single word but simply ...

biographical-details discoveries number-theory  
asked by user4894 55 votes
answered by Conifold 70 votes

Timeline of measurements of the electron's charge

Where can I find a paper or reference that describes the timeline of measurements of the magnitude of the electron's electric charge. For context, Millikan's oil drop experiment in 1908 determined the ...

experimental-physics reference-request bias  
asked by BMS 43 votes
answered by Anonymaus 28 votes

Can you answer this question?

Finding sources for "computers will become so powerful that special functions will become obsolete" as a zeitgeist

In Why are special functions special [Physics Today 54, 11 (2007); eprint], Michael Berry makes the following observations: This continuing and indeed increasing reliance on special functions is a ...

mathematics reference-request mathematical-physics computers  
asked by Emilio Pisanty 1 vote
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