Questions tagged [19th-century]

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Did Maxwell discuss charge quantization?

I once read in Wikipedia that James Clerk Maxwell included the possibility that charge could be both quantified and continuous. Since the electron hadn't been discovered in 1873, does Maxwell discuss ...
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1 vote
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What were some 19th century objections to the existence of absolute zero?

William Thomson (Lord Kelvin) proposed the existence of an absolute zero in 1848(1) by linearly extrapolating the experimentally determined volume-temperature law for gases. I recently learned that ...
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2 answers
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How accurate was the measurement of the period of Earth's orbit in the 19th Century?

There was a section on my textbook on history of theories of sun's energy source. It talks about how the Meteorite Theory was dismissed, as it would decrease the period of Earth's orbit by 2 seconds ...
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XIX century Russian math prodigies who published in Crelle

I recall there being two Russian math prodigies who published a joint paper in the Crelle's journal at the age of 18 or so. I think they lived in the XIX century. What were their names? I can't ...
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Was Fourier inspired by Ptolemy?

Ptolemy invented a system to describe the periodic motion of the planets by epicycles. Fourier did something similar for periodic motion in mechanics. Every such motion can be thought of as ...
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2 votes
0 answers
330 views

Is it true that Empress Elisabeth of Austria did math?

I have encountered a user on Math Stack Exchange with writing in his bio that Empress Elisabeth of Austria ("Sisi") did some math and she was famous for an unsolvable integral: $$\int_{0}^{1}...
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6 votes
2 answers
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How did Meyer know atomic volumes to plot them just before Mendeleev's periodic table?

Back to 1868, Mendeleev's periodic table has not been published yet, but we are quite there. As a scientist, you're still struggling to identify very clearly these elements with limited means. ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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When was "Faraday's Law of Induction" first expressed in a quantified form?

An often used definition of "Faraday's Law of Induction" goes something like this (found in Wikipedia) The electromotive force around a closed path is equal to the negative of the time rate ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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($\varepsilon$, $\delta$)-definition of limit by Weierstrass

I am looking for the original ($\varepsilon$, $\delta$)-definition of limit by Weierstrass, but I cannot find an exact quote or a reference. I saw that somewhere it was claimed that this definition ...
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1 answer
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Who was Paul Gerwien?

The famed Wallace–Bolyai–Gerwien theorem has got its name from three mathematicians who proved it independently. More precisely speaking Farkas Bolyai first formulated the question. Gerwien proved ...
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4 votes
1 answer
278 views

Who was Fleury? And what was his first name?

One of the algorithms for finding Eulerian paths and circuits in graphs that have them is due to Fleury. Lucas mentioned this in his 1892 recreational mathematics collection, referring to "M. ...
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Contagion, astrology and witchcraft

In 1849, The Economist declared that The belief in contagion, like the belief in astrology and witchcraft, seems destined to die out; and as we have got rid of all regulations for consulting the ...
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4 votes
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What was the first "scientific", non-photographic depiction of Earth as seen from outside of Earth?

For a long time now, I've been thinking about this: when was the first painting, illustration or depiction of any kind where our planet Earth is seen as a sphere in space? Possibly even from the Moon? ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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What was considered Evolutionary Science or Biology proper in 1880-1890 in the US?

I have a question that is more related to the history of evolutionary biology rather than the science itself, namely I am interested in knowing what might have been considered the 'orthodoxy' of the ...
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Origin of the Fourier transform (1878)

I located Joseph Fourier's book, Analytical Theory of Heat (1878), but at first glance it looks like it is all about heat. What did Fourier call the Fourier transform? When did he first use it?
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1 answer
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Where in Gauss's nachlass did he pose the problem of connectedness of a surface?

On p.98 of the book "Mathematics of the 19th Century: Geometry, Analytic Function Theory", the authors mention a note written by Gauss in 1840: In 1840 Gauss wrote a note in which he introduced the ...
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6 votes
2 answers
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Does anybody know the history of how Peter Gustav Lejeune Dirichlet came up with the “nowhere continuous” Dirichlet function?

So I am writing a research paper on the properties of the Dirichlet function (the function with 1 if x is rational and 0 if x is irrational), and I wanted to include some historical background on how ...
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Did Gauss reply to Galois?

It is believed by many that Galois penned down his ideas in a letter to his friend the day before his death. He even asked his friend to take that letter to the great Gauss, not to verify its contents ...
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Seeking numbers of German mathematics professors in 1890

Is there a source collecting data on the numbers of Mathematics professors (I mean with rank of Ordinarius, or ordentlicher Professor) in German Universities around 1890? To see how clearly both the ...
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1 vote
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History of PDE's in the 19th Century (part 2)

This is a follow up to this question: History of PDE's in the 19th Century The question I have been given to answer is: The history of partial differential equations in the 19th Century belongs ...
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3 votes
2 answers
858 views

History of PDE's in the 19th Century

I've been asked to write an essay on whether the work on PDE's in the 19th century belonged to applied or pure mathematics. Does anyone know of any useful sources I could use?
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12 votes
1 answer
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Did Cauchy forget or lose mathematical papers aside from Abel's and Galois's?

Augustin-Louis Cauchy was a prolific writer, his writings range widely in mathematics and mathematical physics. As a professor at École Polytechnique he came in contact and reviewed Abel's and Galois' ...
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Biography of Galois in English

Note: This was first posted at Mathematics Stack Exchange, from which I was redirected here. Forgive me if this violates any crossposting rules I'm not currently aware of. Currently, I'm starting ...
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26 votes
2 answers
1k views

How did scientists plot complicated graphs in the 19th century?

I am wondering how did Maxwell in the 19th century draw such figures as the one shown? What tools or procedures did he need? Is it all compass and ruler drawing?
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12 votes
4 answers
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Is Kline right that Cauchy believed that continuous functions must be differentiable?

Morris Kline, in Mathematical Thought from Ancient to Modern Time, writes in chapter 40 (The Installation of Rigor in Analysis), "Though Bolzano and Cauchy had rigorized (somewhat) the notions of ...
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11 votes
2 answers
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Did Evariste Galois create the entire group structure concept?

Did Evariste Galois create the entire group structure concept? If yes, were "super-sets" of groups (e.g. rings or vector spaces) created on top of Galois's work? When and by who? If no, did Galois ...
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5 votes
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Physics Curricula of 19th Century French Universities?

What were the physics curricula for 19th century French universities? I am looking for something akin to this distribution of courses at the École Polytechnique, but for other French universities, ...
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72 votes
5 answers
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Why was Évariste Galois killed?

It is well known that Évariste Galois died a young man. I have heard that he died in a duel. What was the duel about? More rather what is the back story behind his death and did he really write down ...
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