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

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What are the modern connections of the Pentagramma Mirificum studied by Gauss?

In the last years, i read a lot about a mathematical object that was discovered by John Napier in 1620 and explored much more deeply by Gauss, who called this "Pentagramma Mirificum" (latin for "the ...
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71 views

How do you rate Stephen Wolfram's physics papers?

Stephen Wolfram was a child prodigy of sorts who published his first physics papers in peer reviewed journals at 17 at around 1975. His academic work seems very impressive before he apparently quits ...
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101 views

Gauss's anticipation of quaternions and their relation to congruences

Recently i read the article "Hamilton, Rodrigues, Gauss, Quaternions and Rotations: A Historical Reassessment", which can be found freely on the internet. This article is by far the most comprehensive ...
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56 views

Question about Gauss's contributions to the theory of electric circuits

This question is a continuation of my previously-posted question: Several questions about Gauss's contributions to electromagnetism. I wrote it after user vonbrand asked me to split my original ...
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62 views

Query 31 in Newton's opticks and the second law of thermodynamics

Query 31 in Newton's opticks contains the following words: "But by reason of the Tenacity of Fluids, and Attrition of their Parts, and the Weakness of Elasticity in Solids, Motion is much more apt to ...
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1answer
148 views

Do these trigonometric identities belong to Antonio Cagnoli?

I'm new to this stack community, please bear with me as I try to explain my question properly. Recently I came across with these trigonometric identities (where $ \omega + \phi + \psi = 180^\circ $): ...
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95 views

Several questions about Gauss's contributions to electromagnetism

First of all, i appologize if i'm asking too many questions about Gauss (and some will also say "not very interesting questions"); i know i might appear ridiculus - but i really think it's an ...
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117 views

How did Gauss's electrodynamics law preempt the later developement of retarded potentials theory in physics?

My question refers to a fragment on electrodynamics written by Gauss at around 1835. In this short note (see Gauss's werke, volume V, p. 616-617) Gauss wrote down a fundamental equation which ...
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92 views

What was Gauss's theoretical work related to his invention of the “Double-Gauss lens”?

Gauss's contributions (Dioptriche Untersuchungen, 1840) to the "classical" optical theory (Gaussian optics, i.e calculations made under the paraxial approximation) are well known, but long before he ...
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169 views

What were 12 year old Pitts' objections to Principia Mathematica?

In Wikipedia on the page dedicated to Walter Pitts (accesses today), it is written that, He is widely remembered to have spent three days in a library, at the age of 12, reading Principia ...
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1answer
98 views

Was Paul Cohen a student or assistant of Gödel?

In The Man Who Loved Only Numbers, a biography about Paul Erdős, by Paul Hoffman, the author claims that Paul Cohen was "Gödel's former assistant" (p 225). However, I can't find any other sources ...
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40 views

What were Gauss's results on the attraction of homogenous ellipsoids in his paper from 1813?

I'm very curius to learn of the solution to the problem of the gravitational attraction of triaxial ellipsoid, both in his internal and external parts. From what i read, i understood that the solution ...
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1answer
51 views

Summary of Gauss's work on geodesic lines on ellipsoid

The solution to the problem of geodesic lines on a biaxial ellipsoid (when two of the axes are equal) is not very hard and can be solved by mathematical tools that existed prior to Gauss - i.e via ...
6
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1answer
280 views

How did Wittgenstein fulfill eligibility requirements for a PhD in philosophy without having a Bachelor's degree in philosophy?

The Wikipedia article about Wittgenstein says: In Norway it was clear that Moore was expected to act as Wittgenstein's secretary, taking down his notes, with Wittgenstein falling into a rage when ...
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2answers
203 views

Who took 20 minutes to decide that a thing was obvious?

The joke is found on this comment chain on Reddit. In all versions, it's about a professor who was explaining a proof and said, "It's obvious that....." and then looked quizzical and walked out of the ...
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3k views

Is this Einstein rejection letter fake?

So I found this on the internet the other day- Is this fake? Are there any ways to prove that it's fake? Does there, if any, exist any real copy of such a rejection letter?(Was Einstein ever ...
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1answer
144 views

Who influenced Gauss in his abstract approach to mathematics?

I have studied that Gauss was one of the firsts mathematicians to defend this idea, about the Abstract Math and the conception of number, claiming that "What is calculated (in the sense of things ...
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2answers
162 views

What did Fermat do as a lawyer?

Fermat is easily one of the best known mathematicians of all time. We all know about Fermat's Last Theorem, Fermat's Little Theorem, his quadrature rule, his invention of probability theory, etc. ...
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72 views

Laplace's characterization of Gauss as “a super-terrestrial spirit in a human body”

The following words concerning Carl Friedrich Gauss are attributed to Laplace in an article from the Mathematics magazine by Teets and Whitehead (The discovery of Ceres: how Gauss became famous, first ...
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96 views

Did Gauss anticipate Kirchhoff's diffraction formulation in 1836?

Clemens Schaefer says, in his treatise "Über Gauss' physikalische Arbeiten", that for a very short time in the years 1835/1836 Gauss showed interest in the new diffraction experiments of Fresnel and ...
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1answer
87 views

Why is there some doubt whether or not Gauss saw the pseudosphere as the embodiment of hyperbolic geometry?

I read a lot of historical articles that doubt the possibility that Gauss saw in the pseudosphere the realization of hyperbolic geometry; that geodetic triangles on the pseudosphere obey the same ...
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87 views

Nature of Fermat's friend Lalouvère's activities as censor?

Fermat had a friend at Toulouse named Lalouvère. Lalouvère was censor, jesuit, and mathematician (in alphabetical order). Antonella Romano writes on page 512 of her book La Contre-Réforme ...
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367 views

How did Gauss overcome the problem of curvature of sunlight rays when he developed his heliotrope?

My question refers to Gauss's heliotrope - an optical device for projecting sunlight to a distance by a reflecting mirror, that was used in geodetic surveys in order to mark reference points. The ...
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2answers
64 views

Biographies comparing the personal and professional lives of various influential scientists/mathematicians?

There are many biographies that go into detail into the lives of a single, or maybe a couple of scientists. I am wondering, is there a good book that does not focus on an individual, but explicitly ...
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38 views

How to derive from Gauss's result on the volume of orthoscheme tetrahedron the formulas of Lobachevsky and Bolay?

My question is a direct continuation of my already posted question Did Gauss's expression for the differential of the hyperbolic volume of the tetrahedron agree with later results?. I simply didn'...
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2answers
207 views

Did Gauss's expression for the differential of the hyperbolic volume of the tetrahedron agree with later results?

My question is mainly about getting explanation to Gauss's third note (note III) in his writing "Zur Astralgeometrie", (see Cubierung der Tetraeder, pages 228-229), and about placing it in the right ...
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1answer
117 views

Who knows Frank Irvin?

In a German book by Helmut Kracke I found Frank Irvin mentioned. Irvin proved in 1916 the convergence of the harmonic series when all terms containing a 9 were omitted. I would like to include Irvin ...
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0answers
57 views

Why was F. W. Lanchester's first aeronautical paper rejected by the Physical Society?

Lanchester was arguably the first to somewhat accurately describe the physical mechanism for the generation of lift. In 1894, the Birmingham Natural History and Philosophical Society read his paper, ...
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2answers
217 views

Famous messy scientists

Which scientists were known to be messy? I know of Albert Einstein: And of Jean Piaget: Are there other examples?
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104 views

When did William (Bill) Burke, who discovered the first actual bug, live and die?

Grace Hopper is frequently credited with finding the first actual bug. In fact, she just popularized the story of how William (Bill) Burke found the bug in the Mark II computer and documented it. I'...
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86 views

F. Schoblik's announced ''ausführliche Darstellung": a lost wrong proof of the Four Color Theorem?

In (the AMS Chelsea Publishing version of) what is perhaps the first genuine textbook on graph theory ever, Dénes Kőnig on p. 28 gives the illustration and the footnote which when translated says ...
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216 views

What topological ideas did Gauss introduce to his student Möbius?

Recently I found a website with good historical information about the contributions of Gauss to Analysis situs (the old term for topology). The site is in German so I made a Google translate to ...
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1answer
120 views

Did Kepler influence Fermat?

On page 347 in his "Mathematical Thought, volume 1", Morris Kline writes: "The work on the third class of problems, finding the maxima and minima of functions, may be said to begin with an ...
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1answer
89 views

Name of a XIXth-century German scientist from the University of Berlin

In December 1892, the french mathematician Charles Hermite had a jubilee celebration. He received a number of letters and telegrams. One of them is from the members of the University of Berlin, see ...
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99 views

When did Grace Murray Hopper say “The wonderful thing about standards is that there are so many of them to choose from?”

When did Grace Murray Hopper say "The wonderful thing about standards is that there are so many of them to choose from?" This quote is attributed to her in many places (including in one of my books), ...
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1answer
117 views

Was Gauss aware of the non-euclidean implications of his work on moduler forms?

Until recently, i thought that the first to observe the connection between modular forms and the hyperbolic plane (a model of non-euclidean geometry) was Felix Klein. But in the last week i read the ...
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220 views

Great physicists with no mentors

I often check biographies of physicists and at one point or another in the beginning of their careers they have the opportunity to be mentored by other and often also great scientists. But, I know for ...
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2answers
124 views

Citation of Brouwer needed

In a letter to Zeilberger the late Alexander Zenkin states that Brouwer called set theory "a pathological incident in history of mathematics from which future generations will be horrified". (See ...
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75 views

What was the mechanical principle of Leibniz's “integraph”?

For a very long time i've searched in the internet what was the actual integrating device which Leibniz designed in 1693. Yesterday i found the answer - the instrument which Leibniz deviced is the ...
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69 views

Did Leibniz also design analog computers?

My question is based on the information that appears in several websites, according to which i found three examples of a kind of instrument that was probably an analog computer. The first one ...
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148 views

Did Gauss know Jacobi's four squares theorem?

In p. 283-285 of volume 2 of Dickson's “history of the theory of numbers” appear several formulas of striking similarity: some of them are stated by Gauss (p.283) and some are stated by Jacobi (p.285);...
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109 views

History of the origins and development of problems of finding maximum and minimum values of quantities

I am aware that perhaps the earliest source concerning problems of maximum and minimum values occurs in Euclid's Elements. After Euclid, Archimedes of Syracuse and Apollonius of Perga seem to consider ...
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1answer
92 views

Summary of Gauss's contributions to differential geometry, conformal mappings, and geodesy

G. Waldo Dunnington in his biography of Gauss states (on p. 165):"only a portion of his results in the field of curved surfaces was presented in the Disquisitiones generalis, and a second memoir on ...
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68 views

What was C.F Gauss's work on the problem of the volume of tetrahedron in hyperbolic geometry?

My question is a continuation of this posted question: Why did Gauss recommend Janos Bolyai to find the volume of a tetrahedron in hyperbolic geometry?. The issue is that since i asked the previous ...
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1answer
178 views

Did Gauss know the residues theorem in complex analysis in 1811?

My question refers to Gauss's 1811 letter to Friedrich Bessel, which contains a statement of Cauchy integral theorem. I have access to the letter, but I'm unable to read it. I know that Gauss gives ...
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87 views

Was Newton aware of a nascent inverse function theorem?

More specifically, was Newton aware that given an inverse pair of functions $f$ and $h$ such that $$f(h(x)) = x = h(f(x))$$ about the origin that, for $$(x,y)=(h(y),f(x)),$$ the derivatives satisfy ...
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179 views

What results did C. F. Gauss add to Euler’s dioptrics?

I’m a fan of C. F. Gauss but I have to be objective — I don’t understand why the classical theory of lenses is called “Gaussian optics”. I think so since it seems that almost all the results of Gauss’...
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222 views

Best books/papers on Newton and his mathematical physics

In your opinion, what are some of the best books/papers on Newton and his work that accurately cover the connections between his geometric proofs in the Principia and his development of the calculus ...
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2answers
376 views

Did Poincaré say that set theory is a disease?

This question has been discussed on several sites including MathOverflow but with not definite result. Presumely HSE is best suited. Jeremy Gray denies that Poincare said, "Later generations will ...
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1answer
119 views

Why did Gauss recommend Janos Bolyai to find the volume of a tetrahedron in hyperbolic geometry?

My question is based on Dunnington's biography of Gauss: Gauss: titan of science. In it Dunnington mentions that Gauss, in his response to Janos Bolyai's paper, sent him a synthetic proof of the ...