Questions tagged [biographical-details]

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

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65 views

Is there relation between certain astrological aspects and talent for mathematics? [closed]

I did some modest research on relation between talent for mathematics and some astrological aspects, namely: the positive aspect of Mercury and Saturn, the positive aspect of Mercury and Uranus, ...
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3answers
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Did Richard Feynman ever meet Stephen Hawking or comment on Hawking radiation?

I was just curious what Richard Feynman thought of Stephen Hawking's Hawking Radiation. Feynman was one of the developers of quantum field theory and Hawking's work would have been cutting edge on the ...
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107 views

Is there any relation between strabismus and mathematical or scientific ability?

By looking at the portraits of prominent mathematicians and scientists of the previous centuries it seems like they have a higher incidence of strabismus than the general population of today. Are ...
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1answer
515 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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322 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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How is it possible that Pierre and Marie Curie's daughter Ève was so healthy?

I know that problems caused by radiation are pretty much random and unexpected at low levels of exposition but this randomness begins to be more probable when the exposition grows and this makes me ...
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232 views

How did Yao come 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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1k views

How did Archimedes's water clock work?

I read that several principles of Al-Jazari's monumental water clocks were based upon earlier designs of water clocks by Archimedes, for example the use of valves, feedback system and flow control ...
3
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1answer
118 views

What was the influence of Gauss on the understanding of the importance of non-Euclidean geometry?

As is known, Gauss came to similar conclusions as Lobachevskii in the problem of fifth postulate, but I don't know whether Gauss had any impact to the contemporaries in that story. Can anybody ...
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1answer
224 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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1answer
758 views

Notation for Christoffel symbols

In Christoffel's 1869 paper in which he introduced the Christoffel symbols on the 3rd and 4th pages, they are written as $\left[\substack{ij \\ k}\right]$ and $\{\substack{ij \\ k}\}$. The notation $...
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638 views

Meaning of passages by Gauss on the “convergence of expansions (in infinite series) of the (elliptical) equation of the center”?

Yesterday I took my time to look again into Schlesinger's essay on Gauss's contributions to analysis, and I found something new I didn't know about (so it caught my eye) in the last subsection of the ...
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Was Landau interested in the interpretations of quantum mechanics?

I am interested in Lev Landau. I was trying to find what was his approach to the interpretation of quantum mechanics, I am unable to find any particular source were this is discussed. Was he an ...
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1answer
131 views

How did Charles Sanders Peirce react to his stigmatization?

Do we have any evidence on how Charles Sanders Peirce reacted to his stigmatization by various academics? By stigmatization, I mean denying him tenure at Johns Hopkins, leaving the house when they ...
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1answer
268 views

Fraenkel's appointment at Göttingen

Abraham Fraenkel grandpère writes on page 127 of his book recently translated into English: My professional career began in March 1919 with... an invitation to Göttingen to Privy Counselor Felix ...
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1answer
169 views

What were Gauss's contributions to capillarity?

I am writing a Wikipedia article (in a certain language) in which I intend to include a summary of Carl Friedrich Gauss's contributions to capillarity. I know that Gauss derived the Young-Laplace ...
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2answers
662 views

How did Grothendieck encounter and adopt the categorical language?

Apparently the first mathematical publication of Grothendieck where he uses the terms “functor” and “category” in the technical sense is the Kansas report. From where Grothendieck had knowledge of ...
3
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1answer
98 views

Who was E. Busche?

Donald E. Knuth reports in his: TAOCP: Volume 1: Fundamental Algorithms (3rd ed.) in $\S1.2.4$: Integer Functions and Elementary Number Theory: Exercise 38 that this result: $$\sum_{0 \mathop \le k \...
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1answer
115 views

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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1answer
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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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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Scientists with exceptionally good or bad memory

I'd like to know about examples of prominent scientists having exceptionally good memory, with anecdotes if possible, and how it affected their work. It would also be interesting to see examples of ...
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1answer
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Did Grothendieck really say that he felt “clumsy, even oafish, wandering painfully up an arduous track”?

Here I found the following quote, attributed to the great Grothendieck: Since then I’ve had the chance in the world of mathematics that bid me welcome, to meet quite a number of people, both among my ...
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284 views

Alexander Grothendieck's “stolen” correspondence in 1985?

On the website that now displays the part of Grothendieck's archives that had been held at the University of Montpellier, it is mentioned that: Dans une lettre adressée à Monsieur Lefranc datée du 13 ...
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1answer
213 views

What was the reaction to Kepler's *Somnium* when it was published?

Kepler's Somnium ("The Dream") is a work of fiction that is sometimes regarded as the first example of science fiction (e.g. by Carl Sagan). In it, Kepler describes a journey to the Moon and various ...
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88 views

Did Einstein know about Laplace's query into whether gravity is instantaneous?

Here it states, In 1776, Laplace published a memoir in which he first explored the possible influences of a purported luminiferous ether or of a law of gravitation that did not act instantaneously. ...
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1answer
148 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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422 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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816 views

Who are the top mathematicians who were ignored due to their unconventional approach?

A perfect example would be Srinivasa Ramanujan. It is known that the conventional community throughout history have been close-minded towards great men of science and mathematics (e.g., Galileo). ...
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4answers
490 views

Physicists who were criticised for their works but later celebrated by the people

Life of Galileo Galilei was not simple, predictable, or rational. Being as great as he was, Galileo, for example, did not accept Kepler's laws of planetary motion. At the same time, he believed with ...
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1answer
247 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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1answer
227 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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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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1answer
60 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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95 views

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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65 views

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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62 views

Was Paul Nemenyi related to John Von Neumann? [closed]

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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1answer
755 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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126 views

Textbooks used by Oliver Heaviside

Oliver Heaviside achieved a very high level in mathematics and physics by self-study, starting from a modest school-level math, and working alone in his room, without a tutor. Is it known what ...
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49 views

Kurt Gödel: a biography

I'm looking for a well-written biographical book about Kurt Gödel. Any titles you'd recommend?
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380 views

Who are the mathematicians Cammaille and Schouder, mentioned by Heisenberg when recalling mathematicians who died during the Second World War?

I found there (on page 98) the following quote : Heisenberg: During the war I had five calls for help in cases where people were murdered by our people. One was Soloman, Hoffman's son-in law. I ...
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266 views

Who predicted the existence of the muon neutrino?

The Wikipedia article on the muon neutrino says: The muon neutrino is a lepton, an elementary subatomic particle which has the symbol $\nu_\mu$ and no net electric charge. Together with the muon it ...
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Why did Einstein oppose quantum uncertainity?

Einstein always believed that everything is certain, and we can calculate everything. That's why he rejected quantum mechanics, due to its factor of uncertainty. But still quantum physics was right. ...
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1answer
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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 his seminar shortly thereafter. This Wikipedia page claims that Kolmogorov was ...
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1answer
330 views

Several questions about Gauss's mathematical conception of braids

I'm trying to figure out several things about Gauss's thoughts concerning a certain four-strand braid. The reference my questions are based on is mainly Moritz Epple's excellent article "orbits ...
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49 views

Did the brain anatomists and psychophysicists of the early to mid 1800s make any philosophical speculations on the nature of emotions and cognition?

I was wondering if the psychophysicists and brain anatomists from 1800 up until 1860s made any novel, noteworthy philosophical speculations about the emotions and cognition.If they did is there any ...
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178 views

Who were the mathematicians who hated teaching in class or disliked teaching?

Who were the mathematicians who hated teaching in class or disliked teaching? From this Article: Gauss hated teaching, and believed some students robbed him of his time. From this Article: Perelman ...
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What is the difference between Calculus of Newton and that of Leibniz?

Are there any differences between the study of Calculus done by Newton as compared to that done by Leibniz? If yes, please mention point by point.
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1answer
60 views

Heyting and Lugano

I read in Wikipedia that Arend Heyting, logician, died in Lugano while all the biographies focus on his career in Amsterdam and nearby. Do we know if he lived in Lugano or not, and why died there?
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78 views

How well did Cardano understand elementary probabilities, as shown from his writings?

I was recently reading a paper on the historical development of probability theory where Cardano is presented as having discovered some elementary laws of probability in the 1550s. But he is described ...

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