Community Digest

Top new questions this week:

Is there a record of how Newton built his telescope?

Did Newton write down his process of building a reflector telescope? Even with modern knowledge and technology, building one is no easy task so I'm curious of exactly what Newton did.

newton telescope  
asked by Chegon 4 votes
answered by Conifold 5 votes

How did $SU(2)$ came into physics?

It is natural for physicists to consider the group $SO(3)$. Presumably, $SU(2)$ came into physics because of quantum mechanics. How did people realize that when studying rotation of a physical system, ...

physics quantum-mechanics group-theory  
asked by John 3 votes
answered by Alexandre Eremenko 7 votes

Did Jacobi invent the Hungarian algorithm for the assignment problem over a century before Kőnig and Egerváry?

Wikipedia says: In 2006, it was discovered that Carl Gustav Jacobi had solved the assignment problem in the 19th century, and the solution had been published posthumously in 1890 in Latin. The ...

discoveries combinatorics algorithm optimi  
asked by Anton Petrunin 3 votes
answered by Conifold 6 votes

Where did Mac Lane say he saw Hitler and wished that he had a gun so he could have shot him?

In Saunders Mac Lane's autobiography he described how he visited, I think Königsberg, then the centre of mathematics in Germany. He also reported he that he saw Hitler somewhere and that he wished ...

mathematicians mathematics-social-history  
asked by Mozibur Ullah 2 votes
answered by Robert Furber 3 votes

What is the ancient cosmic canon of proportion and its role in the history of science?

Who had direct inside knowledge of the canon through the alleged secret oral tradition? Some possible examples that have been alluded to include Pythagoras, Plato, Euclid, Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, ...

mathematics physics cosmology  
asked by Michael A. Sherbon 1 vote

Greatest hits from previous weeks:

Origin of 360 degrees?

This is by far one of the most challenging and popular HSM questions on the Net. Proofs are, countless discussions about it in math forums. The answers only led to two theories, which Wikipedia does a ...

mathematics archaeoastronomy  
asked by M.A.R. 15 votes
answered by fdb 14 votes

Why didn't Einstein win a second Nobel Prize, for relativity?

Einstein's failure to win a Nobel until 1921, and that prize's not being awarded for his work on relativity, is generally ascribed to these factors: Lack of sufficient experimental proof for the ...

relativity-theory einstein nobel-prize  
asked by kdog 10 votes

What was different about Planck's quantization of light compared to Einstein's?

In describing black body radiation Planck assumed that the energy that can be absorbed or emitted by charges is quantized, i.e. they can only absorb or emit certain quantities of energy. But it was ...

physics biographical-details quantum-mechanics einstein  
asked by Quantum spaghettification 14 votes
answered by Conifold 15 votes

What's the origin of the concept of the five senses?

It is commonly said (to children) that we have five senses: taste, sight, touch, smell, and hearing. The term "sixth sense" refers to something supernatural. But we do have more senses. Balance, for ...

asked by LocalFluff 7 votes
answered by RP_ 10 votes

Who first defined the "equal-delta" or "delta over equal" ($\triangleq$) symbol?

The symbol $\triangleq$ is sometimes used in mathematics (and physics) for a definition. It is instantiated for instance in the Unicode Character 'DELTA EQUAL TO' (U+225C). The notation $t ...

mathematics reference-request terminology notation  
asked by Laurent Duval 12 votes

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 ...

asked by shahed al mamun 14 votes
answered by Conifold 13 votes

Is the "ques­tions that can’t be an­swered over an­swers that can’t be ques­tioned" quote by Feynman authentic?

In a lot of places I find this quote from Feynman: I would rather have ques­tions that can’t be an­swered than an­swers that can’t be ques­tioned. However, I cannot find any source of where it ...

debunking quote  
asked by gigabytes 12 votes
answered by Conifold 6 votes
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