Questions tagged [biographical-details]

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

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Is there any book or site where Gauss' collected philosophical writings are presented?

From the questions on some of Gauss' philosophical ideas here at HSM stackexchange it's clear that Gauss had some major philosophical ideas that despite their profundity don't seem to have had much ...
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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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Was there a continuation to the Seven Bridges of Königsberg problem between Euler and Hamilton?

Since Euler's result on the Seven Bridges of Königsberg problem appears to be the first known graph theoretical result I was wondering if any mathematicians after Euler and before Hamilton commented ...
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Was C.S Peirce the first philosopher to posit that value belief serves as some sort of guide for scientific belief?

I remember reading something to the effect that the moral and aesthetic preferences influence scientific belief in his collected works. Was C.S Peirce the first philosopher to posit that value belief ...
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Was C.S Peirce in his abductive reasoning influenced by the generalization from special cases that is used by mathematicians?

I am reading some random bits from Peirce's collected works and they give me the impression that Peirce tried to integrate every(or nearly every) major scientific and mathematical concept which he was ...
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What are some facts about Peirce's early precocity?

In some of his online biographies Peirce is described as having showed early signs of precocity. Can someone describe some of these signs of precocity?
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Is there any indication of what mathematics Trotsky studied?

In Isaac Deutscher's, The Prophet Armed: Trotsky 1879-1921, he writes of the youthful Trotsky: His stay in Odessa ended in 1896. A realschule normally had seven forms but St. Paul's had only six so ...
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Did C.S Peirce make any noteworthy contributions to physics or chemistry?

According to this article Peirce was the first to experimentally tie a unit, the meter, to an absolute standard, the wavelength of a spectral line Did C.S Peirce make any other noteworthy ...
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Who is the Göbel who is the eponym of Göbel's Sequence?

Richard K. Guy refers to him as "F. Göbel" in his Unsolved Problems of Number Theory but that's as close as I can get. For reference: https://mathworld.wolfram.com/GoebelsSequence.html
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Are there any accounts of Charles Peirce's character,cognition and physical appearance?

I am interested in any historical account of the following attributes of Peirce:character,cognition and appearance.
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Was Charles Sanders Peirce aware of Charles Babbage's difference engine?

Is there any indication that Charles Peirce was aware of Babbage and his work on mechanical computing?
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Which mathematician traveled to and moved in with each collaborator?

I remember a video, perhaps a Numberphile episode where a mathematician was described who would simply move in to the home of a collaborator with which they were engaged to so that they could work ...
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Who was the 17th century mathematician "André Jumeau, Prior of Sainte-Croix"?

I'm reading Dickson's History on the Theory of Numbers, and find this on page 34: "The third $P_3$ [that is, triperfect number], discovered by André Jumeau, Prior of Sainte-Croix", is ${P_3}^...
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Complete list of publications of Rebecca Barlow

Rebecca Barlow is the discoverer of an interesting surface in algebraic geometry. Is anybody aware of a full list of her contributions? Has she continued working in mathematics in the 21st century?
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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 ...
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How did Peano come 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-obvious sets 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 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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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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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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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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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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17 votes
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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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2 votes
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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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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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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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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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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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1 vote
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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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4 votes
2 answers
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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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2 votes
1 answer
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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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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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2 votes
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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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7 votes
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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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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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2 votes
2 answers
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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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5 votes
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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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5 votes
1 answer
390 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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1 vote
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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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5 votes
1 answer
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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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1 vote
1 answer
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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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4 votes
2 answers
484 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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4 votes
1 answer
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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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3 votes
1 answer
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Portrait of Stephen Butterworth

Does anybody know of a portrait of British physicist Stephen Butterworth (1885-1958)?
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3 votes
1 answer
328 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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1 vote
1 answer
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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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