Questions tagged [mathematicians]

For questions about those who do mathematics.

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14 views

What did G.H. Hardy teach Ramanujan?

Ramanujan didn't know modern mathematics. he lacked idea regarding analysis. I found in Wikipedia- Hardy tried his best to fill the gaps in Ramanujan's education and to mentor him in the need for ...
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Did Lagrange finish his law degree during the 1750s?

According to this Lagrange enrolled in the University of Turin to study law in the 1750 but eventually shifted to math.
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38 views

Did Lagrange started studying mathematics in 1752 or 1753?

Some articles indicate that he started studying maths "after reading an article by Edmund Halley" in 1753 but in this paper it is claimed that he started studying mathematics in 1752
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34 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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1answer
114 views

Pairs of Mathematicians

In Hilbert by Reid, it is noted that Hilbert and Minkowski were great friends and often worked together on problems, seminars, and lectures. This is a similar relationship to the partnership between ...
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92 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 ...
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91 views

Why didn't Euclid use equations or numerals in his proofs?

I think the Elements would have been a lot more concise if he did.
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178 views

Alexander Grothendieck's “stolen” correspondence in 1985?

On the website that now displays the part of Grothendieck's archives that had been held at the University of Montpellier, it is mentioned that: Dans une lettre adressée à Monsieur Lefranc datée du ...
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substantiating claimed Fourier quote about “an arbitrarily capricious graph”

There is a quote fairly widely attributed to Fourier, but I can't substantiate it. That is, I can't verify that he actually said or wrote it (in any language). Can anyone help me out? Here is the ...
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1answer
72 views

Where to get more biographical information about Fritz Peter?

Fritz Peter (1899–1949) is known mainly as one of the authors of the Peter-Weyl theorem. This theorem appears in a paper (Die Vollständigkeit der primitiven Darstellungen einer geschlossenen ...
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1answer
157 views

Where did Mac Lane say he saw Hitler and wished that he had a gun so he could have shot him?

In Saunders Mac Lane's autobiography he described how he visited, I think Königsberg, then the centre of mathematics in Germany. He also reported he that he saw Hitler somewhere and that he wished ...
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137 views

Did Cauchy ever deal with double or triple integrals?

Did Cauchy ever deal with double or triple integrals? Did he give rigorous proofs of multivariable integral calculus like what came to be called Stokes's theorem, the divergence theorem, etc.?
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44 views

Who first distinguished number theory and numerology? [duplicate]

Who first distinguished number theory and numerology?
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1answer
129 views

First time the unique factorization theorem was called FTA

First of all, a comment, before this gets marked as a duplicate: I have searched this website for the question I’m asking and I’m aware that this exact question has been asked before. However, Eric ...
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83 views

Why isn't François Proth's name used for Gilbreath's conjecture as he discovered & published a proof 80 years earlier?

According to Wikipedia's Gilbreath's conjecture page, The statement is named after mathematician Norman L. Gilbreath who, in 1958, presented it to the mathematical community after observing the ...
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1answer
179 views

How did Hagoromo Fulltouch chalk gain so much popularity among mathematicians in the West?

I recently read Hagoromo, the 'Rolls Royce of chalk,' continues writing its legacy in South Korea article recently, and was fascinated by the huge amount of attention this specific chalk is getting. ...
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Asymptotically Periodic Potentials

Who came up with the idea of solving elliptic equations with periodic potentials and from there solving elliptic equations with asymptotically periodic potentials? I heard it was Pierre Louis Lions, ...
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77 views

Textbooks used by Oliver Heaviside

Oliver Heaviside achieved a very high level in mathematics and physics by self-study, starting from a modest school-level math, and working alone in his room, without a tutor. Is it known what ...
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114 views

Is there a biography of Robert Risch?

The Risch algorithm for computing symbolic integrals was developed by Robert Risch in the 1968-70 time frame. Based on the German Wikipedia article, I know that Risch was awarded a Ph.D. by U.C. ...
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90 views

Is there any general difference between British, French and German mathematicians?

I am recently learning about teaching the history of mathematics. Gradually, impressions about mathematicians in different countries develops in my mind. I just want to ask, whether it is helpful to ...
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154 views

What was the problem that led to Calculus discovery

As far as I remember, Calculus was invented/discover/founded by Newton. But what he was trying to achieve that made him find the limit of of difference approaching zero. how far did he get into ...
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3answers
226 views

Great scientists with chaotic private lives

In the arena of art, it is not uncommon to find great writers, composers or painters who suffer from chaotic personal lives (e.g., lifelong alcoholism, addiction to prostitutes, stormy marriages and ...
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124 views

What was Havil's source for the statement that G.H. Hardy would offer his Savillian chair to whoever could prove irrational?

In Havil's 2003 book Gamma he states that Hardy offered up his chair in Oxford to whoever could prove that the Euler-Mascheroni constant $\gamma$ is irrational. I'm almost positive I had heard a ...
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4answers
177 views

Are there any sources of mathematicians talking about their research methods?

I recall reading this article that was written to explain how Descartes read philosophy effectively. I am wondering if such analogous tips have been made by past mathematicians?
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1answer
83 views

Who coined the term random variable?

Who is the first person defined the concept of a random variable?
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3k views

What does it mean by “d-ism of Leibniz” and “dotage of Newton” in simple English?

I am reading this article by Donald E. Knuth and get stuck by this sentence: Our mathematical language continues to improve, just as “the d-ism of Leibniz overtook the dotage of Newton” in past ...
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82 views

Who first “depressed” the cubic equation?

In his Ars Magna Cardano specifies procedures to "depress" a cubic - a means to convert an equation such as $x^3+6x^2=100$ to $y^3=84+12y$, eliminating the $x^2$ term. Was he the one who discovered ...
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115 views

The convention for speakers to refer to themselves at the board with a single initial

I found an interesting question on Math SE asked by @KCd, but it is over four years old without a clear answer. Since it seems to be more on topic here than on Math SE, I thought to post it here in ...
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1answer
147 views

How did philosophers and scientists in the 18th century view mathematical explanation?

The 18th century saw a rise in the use of mathematical formalisms to account for natural phenomena. Works of Lagrange, Euler, d'Alembert, etc., were groundbreaking in the history of mechanics and ...
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88 views

The minimax theorem from 1928 to 1956

Minimax theorems are beautiful saddle-point results regarding conditions on a function $f$ under which $\max_x \min_y f(x,y) = \min_y \max_x f(x,y)$. In the common "normal form" game case, $x$ and $y$ ...
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237 views

What's that on Euler's head? Does the head covering shown in Emanuel Handmann 1753 painting signify scholarship?

This may be borderline off-topic but this is the only place that I can think of ask this particular question. I've always seen images of Leonhard Euler with a "hat" or head covering that is ...
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238 views

History of various definitions of topology

I have been reading Point Set Topology for a while, and turns out that there are various possible ways to define a topology. Most popular one is using open set axioms. Another one is using closure ...
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163 views

How long would it have taken Cole to multiply the factors of $M_{67}$ on a blackboard?

The famous anecdote of the 1903 announcement of the factorization of $2^{67}-1$ by Frank Nelson Cole has recently been discussed, for example in light of the announcement of another "twitter-sized" ...
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218 views

Did Cambridge change their BSc policy for Ramanujan?

I found this quote at Quora: In March 1916 Ramanujan graduated from Cambridge with a Bachelor of Science by Research (This degree was later renamed as Ph.D. from 1920) for his work on Highly ...
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155 views

Can we fairly assess Ada Lovelace's talent for mathematics?

Dorothy Stein, a biographer of Ada Lovelace, was pretty blunt in her assessment: Lovelace was a mediocre mathematician, for example see here. I wonder if she's fair to her. The fact that Lovelace ...
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71 views

Was multivariable calculus particularly prominent in Italy?

From my classes I don't hear about a lot of italian mathematicians, but two of them, Fubini and Tonelli, are both related to multivariable calculus. Is there a reason for this? Just a coincidence? Or ...
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88 views

Is it the 'd' or 'D' operator?

Philip J. Davis' article on the history of the gamma function (PDF) mentions how Leibniz proposed the iterated differential operator (p. 851 in the upper right corner, or p. 3 of the PDF, about half-...
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116 views

Who first proved that only primes of the form $4k+1$ divide odd integers of the form $n^2+1$?

I am writing a paper and I would like to cite the person(s) who proved that only primes of the form $4k+1$ can evenly divide odd integers of the form $n^2+1$? For example, if $n=8$, $n^2 + 1 = 65$ ...
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1answer
363 views

Why didn't John von Neumann win the Turing Award, Fields Medal or Nobel Prize?

From what I've read in Wikipedia, John von Neumann made a stupendous number of contributions to economics, computer science and mathematics. Why, then, didn't he receive a top award in any of these ...
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Courant (1943) and History of Finite Element Method

I am interested in the history of Finite Element Methods and Methods of Weighted Residuals (MWR), especially reduced quadrature and collocation methods. I have a paper coming out called “Orthogonal ...
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1answer
215 views

Did the author of Alice in Wonderland make any substantial original discoveries in mathematics?

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known by his pen name of Lewis Carroll, was a mathematics lecturer at Oxford University and today is primarily famous for his fanciful stories laced with mathematical ...
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Examples of when the professional scientists or mathematicians were wrong, but the nonprofessionals were right?

What are the most glaring examples -- if any -- of when the professional scientists or mathematicians were wrong, but the nonprofessionals were right?
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81 views

Who came up with a formula expressing the sign function in terms of the absolute value?

I read here and here that Karl Weierstrass used "| |" to indicate absolute value in 1841. The same sources indicate that Leopold Kronecker wrote of the sign function in 1878. Here it is indicated that ...
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101 views

Who was the first person who emphasis the importance of proof?

I think it should be an ancient Greek mathematician who was interested in proving all triangle has inner angles summing to 180 degree? Was it Thales?
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312 views

Why do mathematicians call ~ 'twiddle'?

Every one of my lecturers have always called it this, as do I, despite the fact that I know its properly called 'tilde'. Does anyone have any clue where this convention comes from and why it might ...
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42 views

Modern Views on Pythagoras [duplicate]

I've done a lot of research on Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans and am currently in a state of uncertainty. I do believe Pythagoras existed, but I am unsure if he can be given credit to hardly anything ...
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Irrational numbers math in old Roman age [duplicate]

I know that Hippasus proved that $√2$ is irrational number. My question is how were they doing the mathmatical operations like multiplication for rational numbers like 1.41421356237 I can do ...
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Does anybody know the history of how Peter Gustav Lejeune Dirichlet came up with the “nowhere continuous” Dirichlet function?

So I am writing a research paper on the properties of the Dirichlet function (the function with 1 if x is rational and 0 if x is irrational), and I wanted to include some historical background on how ...
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115 views

Cantor's fortune

Wiki says that his transfinite numbers met opposition: Henri Poincaré referred to his ideas as a "grave disease" infecting the discipline of mathematics,[8] and Leopold Kronecker's public ...
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A portrait of Bombelli

Is there any known portrait of Rafael Bombelli? I don't think so, but if you visit his MacTutor biography, you will see there this picture: It is clear to me that this cannot possibly be a picture of ...