Questions tagged [20th-century]

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Reference for "A manifold is a topological space which satisfies a long series of axioms."

In On teaching mathematics, Vladimir Igorevich Arnold states "What is a smooth manifold? In a recent American book I read that Poincaré was not acquainted with this (introduced by himself) notion ...
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When did linear algebra become the study of vector spaces?

All of the concepts and terminology central to linear algebra were established in the late 19th century. Following recent comments by user KCd, that in the early 20th century determinants were the “...
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Can not find reference for "uniform convexity implies existence of unique conjugate" mentioned by Pettis

In A proof that every uniformly convex space is reflexive in footnote 3 (available at that link without a paywall), author Billy Pettis mentions that the first half of Lemma 1 in that paper "was ...
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What were the standard algebra texts used in elite French universities during the 20th century?

France was home to some of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century such as Weil, Serre, Grothendieck, and Deligne, just to name a few. What algebra texts did they study from during their ...
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Origin of the "teakettle principle" joke?

There's a fairly widely known joke about boiling water (one version is below) that pokes fun at how mathematicians like to reduce new problems to known solutions. I've traced it back to a footnote on ...
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What is the "legendary Chicago machine" Rosenfeld refers to in his 1963 paper *On quantization of fields*?

There's a famous paper by L. Rosenfeld (On quantization of fields. Nuclear Physics 40, 353–356 (1963). doi:10.1016/0029-5582(63)90279-7) in which he criticizes the theoretical arguments leading to the ...
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Had Albert Einstein tried to use the Galilean transformation on Maxwell's equations before AE's Special Theory?

I am looking for what motivated Albert Einstein in the direction of his Special Theory. I have read that it is unclear if he was set on that path by the Michelson-Morley experiments. Was AE aware ...
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Whose 1930 number theory result is used in characterizing perfect 2-error correcting linear codes?

In Error-Correcting Codes: A Mathematical Introduction (Chapman & Hall, 1998), John Baylis wrote (p.109) Moving on to 2-error correcting linear codes, the condition for perfection of linear codes ...
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How did the US get enough U235 for "Little Boy"

The answer to a different question (Where did Fermi get the U235 for the first nuclear pile) about U235, was that Fermi used natural uranium for his reactor. This explains, in particular, the origin ...
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How did Alfréd Rényi die?

Alfréd Rényi was a Hungarian mathematician who survived a lot, including a forced labor camp, and was very active in the fields of probability theory, number theory, graph theory, etc. Various ...
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9 votes
2 answers
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How far did the Great Terror reach into Soviet mathematics?

While reading about Borel sets I came across comments regarding the Luzin Affair, when Luzin was the subject of various accusations made by colleagues. These accusations appear to have been both ...
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Soviet atomic bomb development — advantage of knowing it could be done, was this ever said by any Soviet scientist?

I have heard it said that even if Fuchs had not provided details which must have been invaluable — just knowing, for example, that implosion and explosive lenses were employed without any further ...
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How did the Vietnamese manage set up the Vietnamese Mathematical Society during the Vietnam War?

The Vietnamese Mathematical Society was set up in 1965 by Le Van Thiem and Hoang Tuy. Both had studied in Europe, the former in Paris and Germany and the latter in Moscow. By 1965, the Vietnam War, ...
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Heisenberg's Obituary to Pauli

In an interview of Heisenberg by Thomas Kuhn: When Pauli had died, I was asked to write this memorial volume. Weisskopf had asked me. Then, actually, originally I had written an article on Pauli's ...
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Who was Heinrich Kornblum?

Heinrich Kornblum was a student of Edmund Landau who is known for his generalization of Dirichlet's theorem on primes in arithmetic progressions to function fields. He was born in Wolow, Poland in ...
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1 answer
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What insight of Watson and Crick was missed by Franklin?

Their papers were published on the same issue of Nature back to back. Moreover, helix was also mentioned in Franklin's paper. So, what important insight or contribution of Watson and Crick was missed ...
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