Questions tagged [biographical-details]

For questions about the details of a particular scientist's life.

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9 views

How did Peano came up with his space filling curve?

Wikipedia cites an earlier result of Cantor as an inspiration but I wonder if there are any previous results of some kind of recursive curve constructions that may have also "inspired" him ...
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Are there any mathematicians who expressed non-trivial sequences of rules on how to do research?

I recently saw a paper where there are presented some rules on how to learn mathematics (and do research) which were firstly articulated by Lagrange. Are there any similar rules that were expressed ...
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Was Paul Nemenyi related to John Von Neumann?

I was looking at an article about the probable father of the former world chess champion Bob Fischer whose family's name was originally Neumann and I was wondering if he had a common ancestor with ...
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79 views

Was Giuseppe Peano one of the greatest mathematicians of his era? [closed]

Besides the Peano axioms which perhaps brought him fame but which are considered a refinement of similar previous axioms Peano seems to have done relatively little original work. Does the rest of his ...
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316 views

Why does Riazuddin not have a last name?

Riazuddin was a Pakistani theoretical physicist, his name looks a little bit different to me from others because he doesn't have a last name. There are some others Pakistani theoretical physicists ...
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66 views

Who was the first to state that scientific theories could be used to make predictions?

It seems to me that very few if any scientists/philosophers stated that science could be used for predictions before the early 1900s. In the scientific context I have only encountered the use of the ...
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It was Edouard Lucas who is the eponym of Lucas Sequence, and not Henry Lucas, yes?

Just making sure of this. I've just found this statement in the Collins Dictionary of Mathematics (E.J. Borowski and J.M. Borwein, 1989) in the entry for "Lucas Numbers". "(Named after ...
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42 views

When did Kolmogorov complexity begin being applied to real world objects and ideas?

I was looking at this paper about "Low complexity art" which involves kolmogorov complexity and I was wondering of when did that complexity theory began being applied to other things that ...
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36 views

Who is the “M.J.M. Hill” as mentioned in the historical introduction to Piaggio's “Differential Equations”?

I am reading H.T.H. Piaggio's "An Elementary Treatise on Differential Equations and their Applications", published 1920 originally; I have the 1952 edition. The first chapter "...
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What did the italian Nobel laureate Riccardo Giacconi think about the Multiverse hypothesis?

Riccardo Giacconi (1931-2018) was an italian astrophysicist who was awarded with the Nobel prize in physics back in 2002 for his important contributions to astrophysics. Since he was an astrophysicist ...
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Was Kolmogorov enraged after learning about the Karatsuba multiplication algorithm?

Some years ago, I read that Kolmogorov was so enraged that Karatsuba disproved one of his conjectures that he terminated the seminar shortly thereafter. This Wikipedia page claims that Kolmogorov was ...
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Was Fred Hoyle’s career due, in part, to the popularity of the static universe in 1950s?

Watching the video So much universe, so little time, I was surprised to hear Fred Hoyle talked about in glowing terms. According to the narrator, by the late 1950’s the big bang model was losing ...
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How did Ruffini manage to extend the methods of Lagrange in order to “prove” the insolvability of the general quintic equation?

Since Lagrange published his Reflections papers during the early 1770s — around 30 years before Ruffini took up and extended the subject — I was wondering if there were any results that were ...
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110 views

What was Newton's road to his discovery of “Puiseux series” and “Newton polygon”?

In my opinion, one of Isaac Newton's greatest achievements in the "purer" aspects of mathematics was his discovery of Puiseux series; power series with fractional exponents. According to p.6 ...
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76 views

Was Lagrange the first to have used generalized coordinates?

I was wondering if Lagrange was the first to use generalized coordinates as defined by their wikipedia article.
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199 views

Einstein visited former teacher/professor who thought he wanted to borrow money: who might that have been?

I am not sure in what bio I read this but it was not a new bio -- not Isaacson, for example. The anecdote was simply that he wanted to see an old professor/teacher (as many of us I think might do if ...
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Question about the meaning of an important footnote to entry 109 in Gauss's diary

Entry 109 in Gauss's diary (and the related material in Gauss's Nachlass) is the main subject of David Cox's famous article "The Arithmetic-Geometric mean of Gauss". This entry deals with ...
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Did Galen make any theoretical contributions to the experimental science?

The wikipedia page about experimental research history cites Ibn al-Haytham as an early pioneer of experimental research. Since Galen was the last prominent ancient greek philosophers/doctor and ...
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57 views

When was the earliest usage of diagrams to represent set relations?

According to wikipedia Euler came up with Venn-like diagrams well before Venn but Lull and Leibnitz came up with pictorial representations of set relations even before that. Was Lull the first who is ...
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118 views

How did Yao came up with his minimum spanning tree algorithm?

I recently stumbled upon this text about Yao's algorithm for the minimum spanning tree (MST) and I was wondering if there are some preceding algorithms (other than Sollin's algorithm) that were ...
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57 views

Did Kolmogorov complexity influence the development of communication complexity?

I was reading a wikipedia article about communication complexity and it seems to me that it bears some resemblance to Kolmogorov complexity. Was the founder of communication complexity influenced by ...
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65 views

What are the direct predecessors of Lagrange's theory of quadratic forms?

I was reading Stillwell's Mathematics and its History, where Lagrange's theory of quadratic forms is synoptically presented, and I was wondering of what are the direct predecessors of the theory. ...
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Did Rydberg ever learn of Bohr's quantum-mechanical explanation of his formula?

The Rydberg formula on the wavelengths of a spectral line in chemical elements was first stated empirically in 1888 by Johannes Rydberg. A theoretical explanation of the formula wouldn't arive until ...
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161 views

Did John Von Neumann hate pure mathematics that became too abstract?

John von Neumann wrote the following in his essay The Mathematician: As a mathematical discipline travels far from its empirical source, or still more, if it is a second and third generation only ...
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100 views

What was the content of Sakharov's research into cosmic rays?

According to Wikipedia, Sakharov in his early scientific career investigated cosmic rays. It offers no other details. It claims that it was for this work that he was awarded his doctorate. However ...
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Do you know about this anecdote or its source where the mother reads out the letter to Gauss and made him Gauss, the mathematician?

I remember my brother telling me an anecdote about Carl F. Gauss three-four years ago, I want to know if anybody here also know about it, or can provide the source of it. The anecdote goes like this ...
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248 views

Who is considered the greatest mathematician between the years 400 AD and 1300 AD? [closed]

Some mathematicians are considered the "greatest of their era". For instance, Archimedes is generally considered the greatest mathematician of Antiquity. Is there any mathematician who stood out ...
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What was Legendre's opinion of Lagrange?

Are there any references to Lagrange's character or abilities in Legendre's work or letters?
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100 views

Was Joseph Priestley “isolated”

Joseph Priestley is often said to have discovered Oxygen, or not due to calling it Dephlogisticated air - depending on one's preference. However, regardless of this, it is often said in popular ...
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185 views

What was Gauss' opinion of Lagrange,Laplace and Euler?

Do we have anything of what Gauss thought of these people from his works or anecdotes ?
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67 views

Is there any paper on how Viete may have came up with his algebraic notation?

Is there any indication that Viete read Bombelli or Stifel before he discovered his algebraic notation?
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103 views

What actions and communications did Fibonacci undergo to introduce the Hindu-Arabic Number System to Europe?

Fibonacci is credited with the introduction of Arabic arithmetic to Europe. Did he tried hard to share this knowledge with other mathematicians? With whom? How did they react?
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89 views

Did Lagrange make any noteworthy contribution to the philosophy of mathematics?

I saw a post here about Gauss' contribution to the philosophy of mathematics and I was wondering if Lagrange also made any known contribution to philosophy (of math).
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81 views

When did the study of the rate of convergence of algorithms begin?

I was reading a book about computational complexity theory and the author made a claim that the study of time complexity of algorithms started with a result on the upper bound on the number of ...
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105 views

Who is this Mathematician from 17th century or earlier?. Possibly the 18th century, but before calculus had spread?

I'm looking for a mathematician from this time period, 17th century or earlier, its probably at a period where trigonometry was the most advanced math that existed. I'm not sure of the exact quote ...
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108 views

When did the concept of probability density explicitly appear in mathematics?

I was reading the wikipedia article about the normal distribution and it's attribution by some historians of science to De Moivre(althought he lacked the concept of the probability density function) ...
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120 views

Did Heisenberg ever accept Schrödinger's formulation of quantum mechanics, or at least did he relax his negative views about it?

Both Heisenberg and Schrödinger found each other's way of formulating Quantum Mechanics quite repellent. My question is: Did any of the two change their views towards each other (specially Heisenberg)...
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129 views

Portrait of Stephen Butterworth

Does anybody know of a portrait of Stephen Butterworth (1885 - 1958), a British physicist?
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145 views

Question about Hermite's 1858 solution to the quintic equation using elliptic modular functions and it's relation to Gauss' and Jacobi's work

The general quintic equation cannot be solved by radicals and is shown in a landmark and far reaching work of Galois from 1832, which became a template of modern Group theory and Galois theory. ...
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43 views

Lawrence and Segre: Further information about relationship

There is a oft-repeated story (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emilio_Segr%C3%A8) about Lawrence, upon discovering that Segre was legally trapped in the USA, unable to return to Italy due to fascist ...
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How did Cramer's work on permutations influence early pre-group theory (particularly the work of Lagrange and Vandermonde)?

In his Réflexions paper, Lagrange is using one of Cramer's results on the Elimination Theory for the proof of a theorem. It seems that Cramer did some early work on the permutations of variables in ...
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228 views

Does the word “God” appear regularly in the works of Joseph Lagrange?

In the Religious opinions section of the Wikipedia article on Laplace, there is an excerpt from Antommarchi's "The Last Moments of Napoleon", in which it is written that the name of God appeared ...
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162 views

Was Tesla the only scientist whose possessions were confiscated by secret services?

Tesla, especially later in his life was constantly monitored by the FBI. When he died all his notes and other belongings were taken and for a very long time nothing was returned to his family. Has ...
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214 views

Were Gauss's 1846 remarks on the distinction between right and left related to orientability of surfaces?

Recently i was striked by a quotation of Gauss from a letter to his student Gerling from the date June 23, 1846. This letter states in very concise words that the distinction between right-handed and ...
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122 views

Where can one find the source of Fourier's recollections of his professors?

This link contains excerpts of Fourier's descriptions of some of his math professors but doesn't really provide any source. What's the name of the original document containing these descriptions?
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Dénes Kőnig vs. König's Lemma

In Hungarian you spell the surname of Dénes Kőnig with a double acute accent, whereas Lemma von König is written in German with an umlaut. Why the difference? Is the reason behind it purely ...
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When was the first recorded occurence of irrational and imaginary number usage in number theory?

I saw a letter of Euler to Lagrange congratulating him on his usage of imaginary numbers in the "analysis devoted to rational numbers alone", was that the first known such usage? What was the likely ...
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29 views

Were Christoffel symbols used by Riemann?

The answer to the question would appear to be "no" looking at the transcription of Riemann's 1854 Ueber die Hypothesen, welche der Geometrie zu Grunde liegen lecture. However, Bernhard Riemann (1826-...
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481 views

Is there any scientist whose work was not recognised during his/her lifetime and was underestimated?

A lot of people have contributed to the development of science (which includes mathematics). I have read that Newton's popularity was powerful enough to dominate the wave-model. Similarly, do we have ...
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2k views

Who discovered pigeonhole principle in mathematics?

The principle was used as early as late 1760s by Lagrange but are there any earlier uses of it in math?

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