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26 votes
4 answers
8k views

Did Alan Turing know the German language?

In the film "The Imitation Game" Alan Turing, while being interviewed at Bletchley Park, confesses that he doesn't speak German, which almost makes him fail the interview. I think I read ...
bereal's user avatar
  • 363
10 votes
2 answers
3k views

How do we explain the lack of activity in the study of Latin mathematics?

A full professor teaching the history of mathematics at Masters level recently told a friend of mine that there was nothing of interest left to explore in the mathematics written in Latin over the ...
user19422's user avatar
  • 101
3 votes
2 answers
586 views

Did Euler know Ancient Greek?

In a previous question on this website: What was Euler's first language?, Alexandre Eremenko wrote the following about Leonard Euler: There is little doubt that he also learnt French in his ...
user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
210 views

How many languages does Paul Erdős have publications in?

I was flicking through these slides by Prof. Richard Brent, wherein we have: Erdős (1955, in Hebrew) gave an upper bound M(n) = o(n2) as n → ∞. After some encouragement by Linnik and Vinogradov, he ...
Rebecca J. Stones's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
559 views

Was there ever a word for 24 like "dozen" for 12? [closed]

The English language has more than one word for 12 (twelve, dozen) and 12^2 (one hundred and forty-four, gross), but has there ever been a word for 2*12 other than twenty-four? I would also be ...
Improve's user avatar
  • 171
14 votes
3 answers
5k views

Historical example of research papers being misinterpreted due to poor wording and creating controversy?

Is there any example of major controversy in the scientific community caused due to poor wording and/or misinterpretation of words?
Akif Ismail's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
203 views

why do we write `abelian` group instead of `Abelian` group?

Suppose an object (or a concept or ...) is named after the person X, in honor of Mr. or Mrs. X in mathematics: X-ian objects/ <...
Davood's user avatar
  • 149
1 vote
2 answers
694 views

What dialect of ancient Greek was taught to natural philosophers?

Ancient Greek had a large impact on scientific and mathematical language and thinking leading into the Enlightenment period and beyond. But "ancient Greek" could refer to any dialect ...
Sam Gallagher's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
57 views

Is there a reason $⊑$ in CSP is analogous to $⊇$ (as opposed to $⊆$)?

The 'square' subset symbols are sometimes used to express analogous concepts to subsets, like prefixes or suffixes. However their use in CSP seems to be counterintuitive to their shape: $⊑$ appears ...
iacob's user avatar
  • 400
4 votes
1 answer
170 views

When has the notion of "programming language for machines" emerged?

Nowadays, it seems just common sense to write a program in a high-level programming language and let it be compiler (or interpreted) into machine code to run a computer. However, when did the ...
Quora Feans's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
577 views

Origin of arcminutes, arcseconds, "arcthirds," "arcfourths," etc

This section of a Wikipedia article says [Modern time and angle notation] contrasts with the numbers used by Hellenistic and Renaissance astronomers, who used thirds, fourths, etc. for finer ...
holomenicus's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
403 views

Why are permutations ($_nP_r$) called differently in non-English languages ("variations" in German)?

First of all, you should be at least a little familiar with combinatorics to understand that question. Some often used calculator keys in stochastic are the nCr and nPr ones. Edit: I've first asked ...
rugk's user avatar
  • 133
1 vote
2 answers
155 views

Whether Euclid considered squares to be rectangles

When I look up 'that which is right-angled but not equilateral' there are translations that show the word before the above phrase to 'oblong', some that show 'rectangle' and some that show both ...
BCLC's user avatar
  • 297
12 votes
2 answers
244 views

What explanations are there for this strong spike in the use of 'angular momentum' in the 1960s?

A recent comment called my attention to the Google Ngram for 'angular momentum', which shows a very strong and rather sharp peak in the usage of the phrase shortly after 1960, followed by a steady ...
Emilio Pisanty's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
280 views

Where and how did scientists of the 18th and 19th century learn foreign languages?

I'm always amazed by the the apparent amount of foreign languages that scientists in the 18th and 19th centuries seem to have possessed. With the end of Latin as the main scholarly language, ...
openmedi's user avatar
  • 171
1 vote
2 answers
208 views

How many professors can read Latin in 1950 and 2000?

How many professors in EU can still read Latin in 1950? And how about 2000? I know many scientific literature were written in Latin in the past.
poisson's user avatar
  • 407
6 votes
2 answers
1k views

What is the last physics paper or book written in Latin?

What is the last physics paper or book written in Latin? I know Carl Neumann, for example, wrote papers in Latin in the 19th century. Are there any more recently than that?
Geremia's user avatar
  • 5,329
3 votes
1 answer
104 views

Origin of use of "quotient" to describe structures induced by equivalence classes

I'm sure this question has been asked somewhere, but I have been unable to find it. Why is it that when we have some set $X$ with an equivalence relation $\equiv$, and $X$ has some structure (e.g. a ...
AJY's user avatar
  • 301
5 votes
1 answer
153 views

"Number Theoretic" is wrong ? "Arithmetical" is right?

I don't recall the reference, but I read once in a work of Hardy's that "number-theoretic" should not be used when talking about number theory, however tempting it may be. So what do we say? I read ...
user avatar
15 votes
5 answers
2k views

What language was spoken at the International Mathematical Congress?

Over the years, what language was spoken at the International Mathematical Congress? I assume it is English right now, but it was founded by two German mathematicians, so I assume the language was ...
wythagoras's user avatar
  • 3,052