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63 views

Did Galileo use an erroneous geometrical result in 'Two New Sciences'?

In Thm. 4, Prop. 4 of Galileo's 'Two New Sciences' (pg. 187, Crew Translation), Galileo says the following: "From a single point $B$ draw the planes $BA$ and $BC$, having the same length but ...
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2answers
107 views

Inscribing equilateral triangle in square — mistake in historical work by Abu'l-Wafa Al-Buzjani?

(I asked this question in the general Mathematics forum, but I have been advised to post it here instead -- or as well.) In David Wells's "Curious and Interesting Puzzles", Penguin, 1992, ...
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1answer
113 views

Has any large group of people used a base other than 10, 20 and 60 for ordinary purposes?

Wikipedia's list of numeral systems lists only $10,20,60$ as having been used in history. There are about twenty-five sets of symbols there used by different groups of people, but only three different ...
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84 views

The Roman numeral system continues to lack a zero digit today. Would zero ever get its own Roman numeral digit in the future? [duplicate]

This question is a follow-up to: Why didn't the number zero (0) have a Roman numeral of its own? The number zero did not have an official Roman numeral symbol in the first place, and it still ...
2
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1answer
53 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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1answer
80 views

What was considered Evolutionary Science or Biology proper in 1880-1890 in the US?

I have a question that is more related to the history of evolutionary biology rather than the science itself, namely I am interested in knowing what might have been considered the 'orthodoxy' of the ...
2
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1answer
101 views

What astronomy efforts required multiplication of large numbers around 1600?

I'm reading an article about the history of logarithms and it says: One problem that was plaguing people at the time, especially astronomers, was arithmetic. Astronomical calculations required the ...
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3answers
96 views

How large were the differences in the orbit of Uranus which led to the calculation of the existence of Neptune?

After Uranus was discovered and its orbit calculated, its future orbit was calculated, and its future positions as seen from Earth were calculated. And observers of Uranus began to notice that Uranus ...
3
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1answer
131 views

Why are complex numbers called 'complex'?

I'm a high school teacher, and I was just wondering why complex numbers are called 'complex'. I have read that Gauss coined the term. But I couldn't find any reference where it was explained. I also ...
2
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0answers
48 views

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
174 views

Why was the original typesetting of Number Fields by Marcus so horrible?

Does anyone here know what technology or instrument was used to typeset the first edition of the well-received textbook Number Fields by Daniel A. Marcus? I ask because the original edition looked ...
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1answer
65 views

When and where was Legendre's Conjecture first published?

When and where did Legendre first publish or write about his conjecture that there is a prime between consecutive square numbers? $$n^2 < p < (n+1)^2$$ I have looked through edition 1 and 2 of ...
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0answers
86 views

What did scientific research look like during the colonial era of British America?

Since Europe has had numerous people in various fields make several contributions over the centuries, was the same nature of study and academia reflected in the colonies of the western hemisphere? ...
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2answers
184 views

Nobel Prize for Applied Mathematics

There is no Nobel Prize for mathematics. However, have there been any Nobel Prizes for the use of applied mathematics to model the real world?
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1answer
133 views

Could a “field” have non-commutative multiplication originally?

Today, when the term "field" is defined in algebra, it is almost always stipulated that all fields are commutative. However, the author of these lectures says that this has not always been the case: ...
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231 views

Who first identified $\frac{n}{\ln(n)}$ as an approximation of a prime counting function?

Gauss, in his 1849 letter to Encke, mentions that he noticed the primes have a density approx $\frac{1}{\ln(n)}$. In that letter, he also mentions an integral function for approximating the prime ...
2
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1answer
74 views

What is the history of these prime counting function approximations?

I am reading several sources and there seems to be a lack of clarity, and some contradiction, about the origins of the most recognised prime counting function approximations: $\pi(n) \sim \frac{n}{\...
2
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1answer
41 views

Who was Hans Bauer who worked on the Perron integral?

I'm referring to the Hans Bauer who is the author of this article from 1915 (H. Bauer, "Der Perronsche Integralbegriff und seine Beziehung auf Lebesguesschen" Monatsh. Math. Phys. , 26 (1915) pp. 153–...
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1answer
100 views

What is the source of Einstein's quote “spooky action at a distance”? [duplicate]

Einstein's attribution of 'spooky action at a distance' to the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics is obviously in wide use as a quote. However, I've been googling the issue for a while and ...
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3answers
241 views

What problem was solved by introducing the dimension of a vector space?

In linear algebra, we care a lot about dimensions. I get why it’s useful but not why it’s such a big deal. So I wondered what problem was solved historically by introducing a rigorous definition of ...
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67 views

How was mathematics used in World War II to “act on the right amount of intelligence”?

In the movie "The Imitation Game", Alan Turing along with his team crack the German encryption machine Enigma but advises his superiors to not act on all decrypted intelligence, as that might lead to ...
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1answer
135 views

Why didn't French people take the decimal positional system? [closed]

I heard that mathematics in France is very hard because it didn't follow the decimal positional system (promoted by Leonardo Fibonacci in Europe), and I searched and found from Wikipedia that: ...
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55 views

How and when Einstein started to build Special Theory of Relativity? [duplicate]

I somewhere read that Einstein wanted to do some modifications in Lorentz Transform. How he started to build a theory and what challenges were in front of him?
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65 views

What was Legendre's opinion of Lagrange?

Are there any references to Lagrange's character or abilities in Legendre's work or letters?
5
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1answer
142 views

How did the principle of explosion come up and was developed historically? [closed]

I am looking for some background information on the principle of explosion. When was it first formulated, how was it justified, and how did it affect interpretation and development of logic? Please ...
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0answers
54 views

Why is faithful actions called faithful and who first called it faithful?

This is a cross post from MSE I want to know why is faithful actions called faithful and who first called it faithful? Definition: An action $G$ on $X$ is faithful when ${g_1 \neq g_2 \Rightarrow ...
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1answer
44 views

What is the history of electricity [closed]

Could someone please explain how the concept of electricity was originally conceived and how it became connected with time? Also how did people come about the relationship between time and electricity?...
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1answer
184 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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1answer
67 views

How did the initial scientists conclude the new moon phase is not an eclipse?

My apologies if this is too naive a question. I keep wondering what steered people away from assuming the new moon to be an eclipse and hence go on to figure the angular difference in the orbital ...
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3answers
130 views

Why were early electronic computers mutually incompatible?

At the beginning of the electronic computing era in the 1950s, computers were mutually incompatible both in terms of hardware and software. It was impossible to use peripherals (e.g. punched card or ...
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1answer
62 views

How did Jenner and his contemporaries understand vaccination before germ theory of disease?

Edward Jenner was a British doctor in the 18th century who in 1798 developed "vaccination," that is exposing humans to cow pox in order to prevent them from acquiring small pox. Vaccination was ...
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83 views

Is there any historical evidence of this quote E.T. Bell attributed to C.G.J. Jacobi?

I read Men of Mathematics by E.T. Bell long ago, and this quote he attributed to Jacobi stuck with me: Certainly I have sometimes endangered my health from overwork, but what of it? Only cabbages ...
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104 views

Who is this Mathematician from 17th century or earlier?. Possibly the 18th century, but before calculus had spread?

I'm looking for a mathematician from this time period, 17th century or earlier, its probably at a period where trigonometry was the most advanced math that existed. I'm not sure of the exact quote ...
5
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1answer
304 views

Did Ptolemy and other Greek scientists actually measure the distance to the Sun?

According to Subhash C. Kak: Early Theories on the Distance to the Sun: “Pancavimsa Brahmana states that the heavens are 1000 earth diameters, de, away from the earth. The sun was also taken to be ...
3
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1answer
128 views

When is the first use of Newton's method for root finding?

I saw this from Wikipedia. The name "Newton's method" is derived from Isaac Newton's description of a special case of the method in De analysi per aequationes numero terminorum infinitas (written in ...
2
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1answer
55 views

When was the Laguerre's method first used to approximate roots?

Is there a specific date when Laguerre published his root finding method? I found his 1880 note Résolution des équations numériques, but I am not sure if this is the source because I can not read ...
2
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4answers
174 views

Did scientists at some point believe that *everything* is made out of atoms?

Did scientists at some point believe that everything is made out of atoms? Or were atoms always accompanied by other "elementary particles"? I myself did not realize that there existed other "...
2
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0answers
222 views

First paper introducing the concept of four-vectors

I'm trying to find the first paper in which the concept of four-vectors was introduced. I read "Principle of Relativity" by H. Minkowski but he only presents the notion of metric and invariant space-...
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46 views

Can you suggest good resources for reading about history of science especially physics? [duplicate]

I'm looking for good resources of history of sciences (especially physics) which cover history from the time of Newton and Galileo (or before them) till the modern physics world (21st century).
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2answers
103 views

What is the reasoning behind using “moment” in the “moment of inertia”?

Linear inertia is called mass. Rotational inertia is called moment of inertia. Moment of inertia is an odd choice for the term for this property. It doesn't seem to "fit" with the style or pattern of ...
5
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1answer
110 views

When did trigonometry start using negative numbers?

I'm asking this question looking at the unit circle, and thinking that greek mathematicians didn't use negative numbers. Maybe that can give enough insight into what I'm asking?
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1answer
221 views

What were the not-so-convincing reasons for using the word “power” for power sets?

A footnote of Enderton's Elements of Set Theory (1977, page 4) for the definition of power set states that the reasons for using the word "power" in this context are not very convincing, but the ...
2
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1answer
44 views

Where did Krull dimension and zero-dimensional ideals come from?

I am trying to comprehend an article about primary decomposition of ideals. Zero - dimensional ideals are quite emphasized there. I wonder where zero - dimensional ideals come from, what is the ...
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2answers
166 views

What technology did researchers use to write scientific papers before the computer?

As I'm reading a scientific paper from 1964, I'm wondering how researchers were able to write papers without the use of a computer. Cursive fonts, different font sizes, math, etc. are all present in ...
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0answers
56 views

Any idea on how Lagrange came up with similar functions concept in (proto)group theory?

Lagrange defines "similar functions" as functions of the roots of an equation where they change values only at the same kind of permutations of the roots. What's a possible predecessor of the idea of ...
5
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1answer
106 views

When did Dehn start to work on Hilbert's third problem?

According to this wiki article, Dehn solved Hilbert's third problem within a year. Did Dehn start to work on the third problem after Hilbert's talk? Since Dehn is Hilbert's student, they were likely ...
5
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4answers
3k views

Are there widely accepted math symbols using non-Latin alphabets or characters other than Greek and Hebrew?

We have $\pi$ and $\aleph_0$ borrowed from Greek and Hebrew alphabets. Are there widely accepted math symbols using non-Latin alphabets or characters other than Greek and Hebrew? A related question ...
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2answers
110 views

Have orthogonal complex matrices appeared in the literature?

According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orthogonal_matrix, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unitary_matrix, and Friedberg et al.'s Linear Algebra (4th edition), a matrix $A\in F^{n\times n}$ is ...
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1answer
109 views

Why positive definite matrix rather than positively definite matrix? [duplicate]

"Positive definite matrix" is a standard term in mathematics, espeically linear algebra. Are there grammatical, linguistic, or historical reasons why it was not called "positively definite matrix"?
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158 views

Why do we call it a “positive definite matrix” rather than a “positively definite matrix”?

The term positive definite matrix is a standard one used in mathematics, especially in linear algebra. Are there grammatical, linguistic, or historical reasons why it was not called a positively ...