Questions tagged [biographical-details]

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

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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) ...
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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 ...
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4 votes
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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 ...
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8 votes
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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....
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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, ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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"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 ...
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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 ...
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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"?
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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,...
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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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2 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
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Does Arnold say that Hardy is responsible for Ramanujan's untimely death?

Mathematician Vladimir Arnold in his book Yesterday and Long Ago, Springer (2007) writes: When I resided at Cambridge as a senior fellow of Trinity College, Indian colleagues told me some details ...
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Where can I read Cauchy's terrible poems?

I hope that the slightly abrasive title is forgivable, as the judgement on this poetry is not mine, but Hans Freudenthal's. Here is the background: in the Dictionary of Scientific Biography, there is ...
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20 votes
1 answer
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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[...
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What was the poetic duel Einstein had with Lilly Rona about?

Felix Ehrenhaft was married to Lilly Rona. Einstein and Ehrenhaft regularly met and discussed about magnetic poles or fractional charges. Einstein didn't agree and used his authority to keep Ehrenhaft ...
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4 votes
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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 ...
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What is the largest academic genealogy tree that we know of?

Many famous scientists are connected by their doctorate advisor-student relations. I wonder if we know which is the largest continuous chain of famous researchers. I have checked pages like ...
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Was Becquerel's discovery of radioactivity inspired by his father?

Becquerel was awarded the Nobel prize for his discovery of radioactivity. He was researching phosphoresence and decided one day to place the stuff he used in a drawer to keep it out of the sun. He put ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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When were Hermann Amandus Schwarz and Marie Elizabeth Kummer married?

Wikipedia says that Schwarz (b. 1843) marrid Kummer in 1912 at the age of 69, had six children, then died in 1921 at the age of 78. I'm surprised (not against!). According to https://sprague.one-name....
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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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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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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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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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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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4 votes
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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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4 votes
1 answer
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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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2 votes
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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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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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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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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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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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What were the likely lives of the highly creative or intellectually gifted people in declining or primitive civilizations?

People living in certain regions throughout history produced little to none recorded intellectual achievements. Assuming that highly creative individuals existed in these regions, are there any ...
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Did Ibn al-Haytham write anything about his experiments that is general enough to be seen as prefiguring the scientific method?

Ibn al-Haytham is considered one of the first experimenters. Since he was also a kind of philosopher did he write anything close in meaning and generality to the scientific method?
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Who was Fleury? And what was his first name?

One of the algorithms for finding Eulerian paths and circuits in graphs that have them is due to Fleury. Lucas mentioned this in his 1892 recreational mathematics collection, referring to "M. ...
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What were C.S Peirce's contributions to theory of relations?

In my study of Peirce I came across a number statements that he extended De Morgan's relation algebra. What exactly are his contributions to relation algebra?
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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 ...
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Did Leibniz ever express any opinion about Aristotle, Plato or Archimedes?

Since Leibniz is known to have expressed opinions about Descartes' and Newton's abilities maybe he did the same for the prominent thinkers of antiquity. Did Leibniz ever express any opinion about ...
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What was the first randomized experiment that was ever conducted?

C.S Peirce is credited by wikipedia with the invention of randomized experiments. What was C.S Peirce's contribution to randomized experiments exactly if there were such experiments before Peirce? How ...
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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.
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Do we know how Feynmans religious views changed throughout his life?

According to Feynman, there was a quota for Jews at American Universities and when he was accepted on a graduate programme - I think at Princeton - they were told "he's Jewish but he doesn't act ...
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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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