Questions tagged [mathematicians]

For questions about those who do mathematics.

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Source of a Quote by M. Stone on Poincaré and Bourbaki

The quote in question is the following: For Bourbaki, Poincaré was the devil incarnate. For students of chaos and fractals, Poincaré is of course God on Earth. The common reference for this quote ...
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Reference for "A manifold is a topological space which satisfies a long series of axioms."

In On teaching mathematics, Vladimir Igorevich Arnold states "What is a smooth manifold? In a recent American book I read that Poincaré was not acquainted with this (introduced by himself) notion ...
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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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First example of regularization

Background: I like to think of L'Hospital as one of the earliest authors of least-squares regression. L'Hospital, G. (1696). L'analyse des infiniment petits pour l'intelligence des lignes courbes. I'm ...
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4 votes
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What book did Maria Gaetana Agnesi write which contained both differential and integral calculus?

Wikipedia says the following about Maria Gaetana Agnesi: She is credited with writing the first book discussing both differential and integral calculus and was a member of the faculty at the ...
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Where did we find Ramanujan's series for the exponential integral?

According to Wikipedia, the following series for the exponential integral $$\operatorname{Ei}(x) = \gamma \ln x + \exp{\frac{x}{2}} \sum_{n=1}^{\infty} \frac{(-1)^{n-1}x^n}{n! 2^{n-1}} \sum_{k=0}^{\...
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Presocratics from the view of mathematicians and physicists

I am interested in a book that has all the fragments of pre-socratics but the notes etc. in the translation are from a mathematician or physicist relating with how each point affected the evolution of ...
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Who, between Cayley and Hamilton, first worked on the theorem that bears their name?

I know that Frobenius is the one who proved the Cayley-Hamilton theorem in all its generality. However, between Cayley and Hamilton, who did first work on the subject? In English: Cayley–Hamilton ...
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When did linear algebra become the study of vector spaces?

All of the concepts and terminology central to linear algebra were established in the late 19th century. Following recent comments by user KCd, that in the early 20th century determinants were the “...
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Doubt on women behind the development of wormhole physics

Ludwig Flamm $[1]$, Albert Einstein-Natan Rosen $[2]$, Hermann Weyl $[3]$, John Wheeler-Fuller $[4,5]$, Homer G. Ellis $[6]$, K. Bronnikov $[7]$, Michael Morris-Kip Thorne$[8]$, M. Visser $[9]$, ...
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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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2 votes
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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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Cantor's Art of proposing a question

There is a rather famous quotation of Cantor: In mathematics the art of proposing a question must be held of higher value than solving it. It was in a thesis he defended for his doctoral examination ...
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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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Did Berkeley's criticism of infinitesimals hobble calculus pedagogy?

I recently read an article that discussed--rather briefly--the issues of infinitesimals and the criticism of them by Berkeley. The author of the article (which, of course, I cannot find, as I read it ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Source of a Poincaré quote from a Busemann paper

In his paper "The geometry of Finsler spaces" (available at https://projecteuclid.org/journals/bulletin-of-the-american-mathematical-society-new-series/volume-56/issue-1.P1/The-geometry-of-...
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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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Ancient Egyptian Mathematicians

Greek and Muslim Egyptian mathematicians are well known throughout the world. But the only Ancient Egyptian mathematician I know of is Ahmes, who said he's just a scribe. Who were the greatest ...
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18 votes
1 answer
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Did president Garfield make any contributions to Mathematics?

All I know about Garfield and math was that he made an original proof of the Pythagorean theorem. Did he make any other mathematical advancement (big or small)?
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10 votes
1 answer
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Why was Hausdorff not able to move to United States from Nazi Germany?

Felix Hausdorff, who was so well known to American mathematicians through his topology book of 1914, Grundzüge der Mengenlehre, committed suicide together with his wife when facing the threat of ...
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What contributions to mathematics did Napoleon make?

I have watched a video about Napoleon's theorem — maybe it was contributed by Napoleon, maybe not. I also know that Laplace himself said Napoleon was good at mathematics. However, did Napoleon make ...
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Are there any portraits of Joseph Fourier other than this one?

Jean-Baptiste Joseph Fourier was a French mathematician and physicist who initiated the investigation of Fourier series. The following is the only portrait of Fourier that I know of. Are there any ...
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Is the response of Sir Oswald Mosley to the letter of Bertrand Russell's 1962 letter recorded?

In 1962, Sir Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Union of Fascists which he founded in 1932 (disbanded in 1940) made overtures towards Bertrand Russell on engaging in a public debate - according to ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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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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Why are there relatively many Eastern European (specifically Hungarian) graph theorists?

I noticed that a large number of theories within graph theory are from Eastern European graph theorists, specifically Hungarian graph theorists. What is the relation between Eastern Europe (...
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Where did this idea of proof originate from

Where did this idea of proof originate from, was it the Greeks, Babylons, Egyptians etc? The motivation for this question was basically to feed my own curiosity as mentioned here. This is basically a ...
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Origins of proof in Mathematics

Why was the idea of writing, formalising and creating new proofs brought about? For example, why even though we have found hundreds of proofs of the Pythagorean Theorem are we still trying to find ...
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9 votes
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How far did the Great Terror reach into Soviet mathematics?

While reading about Borel sets I came across comments regarding the Luzin Affair, when Luzin was the subject of various accusations made by colleagues. These accusations appear to have been both ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Did Jacques Tits have a middle name?

Every single web reference I have seen for Jacques Tits gives no indication that he had a middle name. All except one, which suggests his initials may have been J.L.. If this is so, what was his ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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Who is John B. Walsh?

Stochastic Partial Differential Equations (SPDEs) have received much attention in recent years, culminating in the fields medal of Martin Hairer. A rigorous mathematical starting point for the studies ...
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Armstrong numbers - who is or was Armstrong?

According to Wolfram's MathWorld article "Narcissistic Number", such numbers are also called "Armstrong numbers". Such a number is an $n$-digit number $N$ such that: $$N = {d_1}^n +...
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2 votes
0 answers
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History of circulant matrices for convolution

Discrete linear convolution $$ y[k]=h[n] * x[n]=\sum_{i=-\infty}^{\infty} x[i] h[k-i] $$ can be done with circulant matrices with appropriate zero padding. Is anyone aware of the name of the ...
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How long have all the mathematicians working in the respective fields known the theory of categories

Vague the question: how long have all the mathematicians working in the respective fields known the theory of categories? More specific questions: Is it true that all modern working algebraic ...
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8 votes
3 answers
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What was Richard Courant's saying about mathematical research apart from applications?

I remember reading somewhere (perhaps in The Mathematical Experience) that Richard Courant wrote something to the effect that, without applications to guide the river of mathematical discovery, ...
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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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1 answer
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Who is Donald Fisk?

In stochastic calculus, the name Stratonovich appears all over the place. However, even though Donald Fisk supposedly obtained similar results, his name appears nowhere. Who was Donald Fisk? I cannot ...
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Historicity of Euclid. Looking for the references of Euclid in ancient texts that has survived [duplicate]

The general consensus is that Euclid was a real historical figure. Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euclid concludes on the hypothesis that Euclid was not a real person, "This hypothesis ...
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1 answer
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Did Egon Pearson have a PhD?

Did the statistician Egon Pearson have a PhD? If not, to what extent did he write a dissertation?
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1 vote
1 answer
197 views

Source of L’Hôpital’s 1696 Calculus textbook

A calculus textbook I’m using references a calculus book of L’Hôpital in which he illustrates his rule, which is taught in many calculus classes. Does anyone have a source as a scanned PDF? I’d love ...
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1 vote
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Magic Squares at the beginning of 20th century

I am doing research on the Ottoman Engineer and Mathematician Aram Margossian (1853-?) (in Turkish sources Margosyan is also used) He published a book, De l’ordonnance des nombres dans les carrés ...
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7 votes
2 answers
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What are some famous mathematicians that disappeared?

In physics there is this famous history facts about Ettore Majorana, brilliant student of Enrico Fermi that predicted the neutron and developed the idea of Majorana fermions, that suddenly disappeared....
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11 votes
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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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What monograph on celestial mechanics did Jürgen Moser coauthor the 2nd and considerably expanded English language edition of with Carl Ludwig Siegel?

Comments under the Space SE question How do orbits around Jacobi ellipsoids behave? include: Periodic orbits around a rotating ellipsoid "This paper extends results obtained during the ...
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Does Anthony Bloch have a kinship with Felix Bloch?

I would like to know whether Anthony Bloch is a descendant of Felix Bloch or not. The Anthony Bloch's page on The Mathematics Genealogy Project only shows his advisory relationships, not kinships. ...
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XIX century Russian math prodigies who published in Crelle

I recall there being two Russian math prodigies who published a joint paper in the Crelle's journal at the age of 18 or so. I think they lived in the XIX century. What were their names? I can't ...
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How did Fermat find tangent lines of Folium of Descartes?

The wikipedia article about Folium of Descartes says: Descartes challenged Pierre de Fermat to find the tangent line to the curve at an arbitrary point since Fermat had recently discovered a method ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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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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Was Fourier inspired by Ptolemy?

Ptolemy invented a system to describe the periodic motion of the planets by epicycles. Fourier did something similar for periodic motion in mechanics. Every such motion can be thought of as ...
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What paradoxes did David Hilbert propose?

Google just won't tell me about any other than "the grand hotel". I know of the Turing paradox but did he propose any other? If yes, which?
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