Questions tagged [biographical-details]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
10 votes
1 answer
2k views

What is the origin of the negation ( ¬ ) operator from logic?

I'm curious as to what the rationale was, and who the idea occurred to, for the ¬ symbol. I'll grant that more common mathematical symbols like +, −, × and ÷ are also likely unknown, but they seem to ...
0 votes
0 answers
81 views

What is/are Trinity bowls?

In his forward to Hardy's Apology, C. P. Snow remarks that after his (Hardy's) 1939 heart attack, Hardy "recovered enough ... to play his pleasing elaboration (with a complicated set of bisques) ...
4 votes
2 answers
144 views

Who is or was Stephen Barr, author of Experiments in Topology?

This concerns the Stephen Barr who wrote Experiments in Topology in 1964, available from Dover Publications. All I know about him is: He wrote the above book. He was a friend and possibly colleague ...
8 votes
1 answer
815 views

Who was N.M. Stephens who refuted the Stronger Feit-Thompson Conjecture?

The Stronger Feit-Thompson conjecture states that: There exist no distinct prime numbers $p$ and $q$ such that: $\dfrac {p^q - 1} {p - 1}$ and $\dfrac {q^p - 1} {q - 1}$ are not coprime. This was ...
8 votes
1 answer
772 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 ...
20 votes
1 answer
2k views

What hair color did Évariste Galois have?

There is one historic black and white portrait of Évariste Galois that is often used [1]. However there are a number of more recent colorful portraits that imagine him to be anything from straw blond[...
13 votes
2 answers
2k views

Who was Richard Thompson?

There is family of famous groups with unusual group-theoretic properties due to a mathematician called Richard Thompson that are widely studied in group theory. The papers on these groups and the ...
0 votes
1 answer
199 views

Was Kolmorogov really inspired to publish Foundations of the theory of probability because he needed money to repair his dacha?

Background It is well known that Kolmogorov published in 1933 his ground-breaking work on probability theory Grundbegriffe der Wahrscheinlichkeitsrechnung usually known to English speakers as ...
2 votes
0 answers
73 views

Who is Robert H. Cowen, the eponym of Cowen's Lemma?

Context: I have arrived at Section $7$ of chapter $4$ of Smullyan and Fitting's Set Theory and the Continuum Problem during my ongoing self-study odyssey. This section raises and proves Cowen's ...
9 votes
2 answers
558 views

Who was D.A. Millin, the eponym of the Millin Series?

The Millin series is defined as: $$\sum_{n \mathop = 0}^\infty \frac 1 {F_{2^n} }$$ where $F_n$ denotes the $n$th Fibonacci number. It can be shown to equal $\dfrac {7 - \sqrt 5} 2$. But who was the D....
8 votes
1 answer
373 views

Does Blum's speedup theorem have any conceptual predecessors?

Blum's speedup theorem seems to me that bears at least some superficial resemblance to Godels research on the length of proofs under certain axiomatic systems. Does Blum's speedup theorem have any ...
15 votes
3 answers
1k 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 ...
2 votes
0 answers
121 views

Is C.S Peirce really an independent co-discoverer of the first-order logic?

According to this article copies of Frege's Begriffsschrift were both present during the early 1880s (before Peirce published his works on first-order logic) at the Johns Hopkins University, where ...
0 votes
0 answers
228 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 ...
1 vote
0 answers
123 views

Who was G. H. Hardy's Tripos coach?

There is conflicting opinion as to who was Hardy's Tripos coach. The Wikipedia page on Hardy claims it was R. A. Herman, a claim that appears to be backed up by Leonard Roth in his article "Old ...
3 votes
4 answers
687 views

Did Kronecker attribute immutable origin to the integers?

The familiar quote is often incorrectly attributed to Kronecker directly. Actually a colleague of his named Weber claimed after Kronecker's death that Kronecker said this. I have doubts about this ...
0 votes
0 answers
80 views

Cantor's later life

I saw this on Wikipedia: In June 1917, he entered a sanatorium for the last time and continually wrote to his wife asking to be allowed to go home. Georg Cantor had a fatal heart attack on January 6, ...
3 votes
1 answer
341 views

How many mathematical publications containing non-reprinted, original mathematics did John Nash publish?

American Mathematical Society lists 25 according to one of the comments in the thread below: https://mathoverflow.net/questions/207477/john-nashs-mathematical-legacy. However, as indicated in the ...
3 votes
1 answer
416 views

Who was E. Midy, the eponym of Midy's Theorem?

I have just become aware of the 19th century French mathematician E. Midy, who apparently was the first to prove what is now known as Midy's theorem. I can find out nothing about this mathematician ...
2 votes
1 answer
296 views

Grothendieck and Fields medal 1962

We can read as a mathunion excerpt that Grothendieck won the Fields medal in 1966 Built on work of Weil and Zariski and effected fundamental advances in algebraic geometry. He introduced the idea of ...
20 votes
3 answers
677 views

What was the connection between David Hilbert and Stefan Banach?

The so-called "Hilbert space" is named after mathematician David Hilbert. Later, this was generalized into "Banach spaces" by Stefan Banach. My understanding is that Hilbert was ...
4 votes
0 answers
273 views

Identification of scientists in de Gennes book

Petit Point: A Candid Portrait on the Aberrations of Science is a charming book written by the French physicist Pierre-Gilles de Gennes containing short essays on some of the prominent scientists that ...
3 votes
1 answer
110 views

Biographical details for Paul Wernicke

Paul Wernicke, the eponym of Wernicke's Theorem , discovered during his investigations into the Four Color Theorem. I understand he was born somewhere in the German sphere of influence (i.e. could ...
9 votes
8 answers
472 views

Women in mathematics

I'd like to read something about the history of women in mathematics. I'd love to have reading suggestions of books in English or Italian, of 3 kinds: 1) History of math books, academic style; 2) ...
0 votes
1 answer
75 views

"Political Events" in the Preface to the Second Edition of Spivak's Comprehensive Introduction Volume 2

In the Preface to the second edition to Spivak's A Comprehensive Introduction to Differential Geometry, Vol. 2, on p.vii says: The material in this Volume covers about what I would have completed in ...
5 votes
1 answer
898 views

Did Feynman win the Putnam by a "large margin"

I was reading Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman and came across this section: Image transcribed: "One of Feynman’s fraternity brothers was surprised to see him return home while ...
25 votes
5 answers
5k views

In a popular anecdote, who took 20 minutes to decide that a thing was obvious?

The joke is found on this comment chain on Reddit. One user told the joke: The version I heard is that Pauli was lecturing, and he said "this is obvious". A student raises his hand and says "sorry ...
0 votes
0 answers
46 views

What date is assigned to Hippocratic treatises "On Generation" and "On the Nature of the Child"?

On the nature of the Child is quoted by Galen in his Book "On Semen". I want to know what date is given to these two books, especially "On Generation"?
3 votes
1 answer
330 views

Where did Fermi get the U235 for the first nuclear pile?

I am puzzled as to where or who produced the U235 for the first nuclear pile. I read that graphite was used as a neutron moderator but only .7 % of natural uranium is U235. He must have gotten it ...
0 votes
1 answer
229 views

Was Tesla the only scientist whose possessions were confiscated by security 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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
158 views

Demystifying Nikola Tesla: Scientifically sound, historically accurate biography

As any physicist knows, a lot of amateur science afficionados out there bring up Nikola Tesla in rather fantastical ways. There are indeed a few reasons for his near mythical status in popular culture,...
0 votes
1 answer
156 views

Why theology plays a great role in becoming great mathematicians? [closed]

Why theology play a great role in becoming great mathematicians? I have some confusion about theology with mathematics. I read the biography of Euler and Bernhard Riemann. Both were studying ...
5 votes
1 answer
711 views

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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
192 views

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 ...
2 votes
0 answers
122 views

What were Archimedes's improvements to the screw pump?

In order to understand my motivation to answer this question, I'll remark that Vitruvius said that the screw was inclined by the small angle of a 3:4:5 triangle. So it means that perhaps there was ...
13 votes
1 answer
4k views

How did Jun John Sakurai die?

How did theoretical physicist Jun John Sakurai die? The only result from extensive googling is that he died "suddenly" while working at CERN. Does anyone know anything more specific?
22 votes
22 answers
4k views

Literary works authored by mathematicians

At a first glance, Mathematics and Literature look like two completely unrelated subjects. I wonder whether there are examples of acclaimed mathematicians which wrote novels, poems, or other ...
2 votes
2 answers
664 views

Where can I find Grothendieck's letter of resignation from Bourbaki?

I encountered Grothendieck's resignation letter from Bourbaki along with its English translation not too long ago on the web, but for now it seems it's nowhere to be found. I've scoured through the ...
72 votes
5 answers
13k views

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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
185 views

Why was André Weil in Finland?

E.g. here it says: During the Second World War André Weil was first imprisoned in Finland, accused of spying, then after being returned to France he was put into Rouen prison convicted of being a ...
17 votes
2 answers
3k views

Did Alfred Nobel collect his wealth by selling dynamite?

At the start of my chemistry course, my professor told a story: He said that Alfred Nobel invented dynamite (which is true) and he accumulated his wealth by selling it to both parties A and B (...
3 votes
1 answer
439 views

Portrait of Stephen Butterworth

Does anybody know of a portrait of British physicist Stephen Butterworth (1885-1958)?
4 votes
1 answer
266 views

Did Leibniz sketch a design for a machine capable of solving a system of linear equations?

My question is based on the information on pages 108-109 of the book The Tangled Origins of the Leibnizian Calculus. I know that Leibniz invented the stepped drum and used it to build the stepped ...
10 votes
1 answer
790 views

What is known about Grothendieck's capacity of work?

A lot has been said about Grothendieck's capacity of work, but what we know? (with references if possible) how was the work-day of Grothendieck, how many hours to day, what about his sleep? What is ...
16 votes
3 answers
3k views

Grothendieck's approach to solving problems

Alexander Grothendieck is known to have revolutionized several areas of mathematics. His insights were very deep, original and revolutionary. Time after time he showed that he could see in ways that ...
1 vote
1 answer
107 views

Is there any book or site where John von Neumann's collected philosophical writings are presented?

I was wondering if von Neuman has any philosophical writings beside his writings on the relation of computers to the human mind and vice versa.
0 votes
1 answer
169 views

Did John von Neumann ever go to any Nordic Country? Did Eugene Paul Wigner ever go to any other Nordic country apart from Sweden?

I am researching the presence of important scientists in Nordic countries — Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. I was hoping that someone could help me since I've not been able to find ...
6 votes
1 answer
529 views

Galois quote about his refused work

On page 10 of this article (in Portuguese), I read that Galois used the following phrase when his memoirs weren't accepted by the French Academy of Sciences: Oh! Innocent cherubs! Could someone give ...
8 votes
2 answers
7k views

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. ...
13 votes
2 answers
1k views

Why did Einstein stop publishing so many papers in Annalen der Physik?

In his early years (actually, straight through the early 1910s), Albert Einstein published a lot of papers in Annalen der Phyisk, a very old and prominent German scientific journal. However, this ...

1
2 3 4 5
8