Questions tagged [mathematicians]

For questions about those who do mathematics.

74 questions with no upvoted or accepted answers
Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
17
votes
0answers
727 views

Did Kontsevich start a lecture with "one I will not define, the other nobody knows how to define, and we will be proving that they are equivalent"?

The story was circulating in early 2000s, so presumably it happened in 1990s. Kontsevich, it goes, opened a lecture course on mirror symmetry with:"This course is about two categories. One I will not ...
12
votes
0answers
274 views

What was the typical format of a 16th century mathematical debate?

In The Equation that Couldn't be Solved, Mario Livio writes of academia in 16th century Bologna. Apparently, mathematicians would take part in public debates, sometimes involving solving problems. ...
7
votes
0answers
263 views

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 ...
7
votes
0answers
648 views

About the LOR of John Nash, was there any relationship between Richard Duffin and Solomon Lefschetz?

In Academia SE, there is a question about the credibility of Prof. Richard Duffin, who wrote the notorious letter of recommendation for John Nash, who later received the Nobel Memorial Prize in ...
6
votes
0answers
570 views

What was Gödel's proof that errors in U.S. constitution could allow the U.S. to become a fascist dictatorship?

According to this document, Kurt Gödel had discovered logical inconsistiencies in the U.S. constitution that could theoretically allow it to become a dictatorship. Morgenstern told him not to bring it ...
5
votes
0answers
80 views

Who coined the term: "Directed Graph"?

I found that the term "Digraph" was coined in 1955 by Frank Harary in "The number of linear, directed, rooted, and connected graphs", and that it was a term actually suggested by ...
5
votes
0answers
131 views

Photo of Wilhelm Ackermann

I am writing a text on the Theory of Computation. I am looking for a photo of the mathematician Wilhelm Ackermann. He is well-known in the field, was a student of one of the most famous ...
5
votes
0answers
98 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 ...
5
votes
0answers
109 views

What was Littlewood's quip about Hardy and plagiarism?

I'm searching for a quote by Littlewood about Hardy not giving proper credit. The story (as I remember it) is that Littlewood claimed uncredited authorship of something Hardy wrote, Hardy claimed it ...
5
votes
0answers
94 views

Nature of Fermat's friend Lalouvère's activities as censor?

Fermat had a friend at Toulouse named Lalouvère. Lalouvère was censor, jesuit, and mathematician (in alphabetical order). Antonella Romano writes on page 512 of her book La Contre-Réforme ...
5
votes
0answers
229 views

Who gave you infinitesimal epsilon?

As someone reputed among certain historians to have given you the epsilon Cauchy startled me by using $\varepsilon$ to denote an infinitely small number in his 1826 text on differential geometry; see ...
5
votes
0answers
582 views

Why isn't Aryabhata more famous than Pythagoras?

You saw the question right. Why isn't it so? Aryabhata had done more things than him. Is it because of the 400 or 500 years of difference between their existence? Pythagoras is famous most for his ...
5
votes
0answers
194 views

Reflections in the 18th century

It is well known that the theory of reflections was considerably developed during the 19th century with the development of group theory (e.g. Klein) and the theory of transformations. However, I'm ...
4
votes
0answers
180 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. ...
4
votes
0answers
169 views

How old might Emmy Noether be in this picture?

I have not found bibliographic data to show what age Noether was in this picture: And I cannot estimate well either by her clothes or her face. Can anyone here help me? In the past I have known ...
4
votes
0answers
204 views

Symbolism in illustration for a book by Riccati

Wikipedia has a jpeg of the front cover of the book Opere (1761) by Jacopo Riccati, author of the celebrated Riccati equation. What is the symbolism incorporated in this illustration? See discussion ...
4
votes
0answers
136 views

A Lecture by Polya on Symmetric Algebraic Equations with an Unexpected Conclusion

Sometime in 1980 George Polya gave a lecture at the University of Minnesota about solutions of algebraic equations that have symmetry in the appearance of the variables in the equation (any ...
4
votes
0answers
102 views

Who is the first to give the proof of insolvability of quintic functions using Galois theory?

The first correct proof of the insolvability of the quintic is due to Abel. But my question is who gave the proof of insolvability of the quintic using Galois theory? Does Abel know about Galois ...
3
votes
0answers
55 views

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 ...
3
votes
0answers
140 views

How did Euler obtain this formula from a paper/work in 1748?

I am reading this book on trigonometric series, "Тригонометрические ряды от Эйлера до Лебега" (Trigonometric series from Euler to Lebesgue) , it is in Russian, and my Russian is abysmal. But ...
3
votes
0answers
89 views

How did Kolmogorov came up with his formalization of intuitionistic logic?

According to this article Kolmogorov published a paper in 1925 in which he attempted to formalize Brouwer’s intuitionistic mathematics. In that paper there are the following logical formulas: \begin{...
3
votes
0answers
73 views

How much ground was prepared for Riemann so that he could conjecture Riemann hypothesis?

Although I do not doubt in Riemann˙s originality, I would like to know how much complex analysis was developed up to the day when Riemann conjectured what is today called Riemann hypothesis and how ...
3
votes
0answers
53 views

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, ...
3
votes
0answers
128 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
124 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
105 views

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 ...
3
votes
0answers
79 views

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 ...
3
votes
0answers
126 views

How many active mathematicians were there in Euler's time?

It seems that when you play around with the Math Genealogy Project, starting at some contemporary mathematician and going backwards through their advisor, advisor's advisor, etc., you tend to arrive ...
3
votes
0answers
229 views

Priority on lemniscate of Gerono?

The Lemniscate of Gerono is a special case of the Lissajous curves. The dates for the two mathematicians are fairly close: Gerono (1799-1891) and Lissajous (1822-1880). Historically who has priority ...
3
votes
0answers
81 views

What motivated Green to develop his theorem in order to calculate work for a non conservative vector field?

I am somewhat amazed at the depth of the theorem but I believe it involved his work with electricity and magnetism. Additionally I don't think he had a formal education. I have not found much on this ...
3
votes
0answers
2k views

Kakutani's Lemma

I read this story a while ago, and I'm wondering whether there's any proof that it is true or whether it's just made up? One day Shizuo Kakutani…was teaching a class at Yale. He wrote down a ...
3
votes
1answer
159 views

Who formalized integer numbers?

I'm currently working on a thesis about Zermelo's axioms. In my first chapter I'm giving an introduction to the numerical treatment that Cantor gave to infinity. When I was writing something about ...
2
votes
0answers
55 views

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 ...
2
votes
0answers
118 views

How did Hamilton conclude the quaternions had to be four dimensional?

I have seen many times before that Hamilton started off believing he would need a three-dimensional system over the reals in order to describe 3D rotations. He considered numbers of the form $a + bi + ...
2
votes
0answers
63 views

Who first proved that the existence of a Euclidean algorithm implies unique factorization?

In Simachew's "A Survey on Euclidean Number Fields", he said that Gauss used the existence of a Euclidean algorithm in Gaussian integers to prove that it has unique factorization. Also, he ...
2
votes
0answers
134 views

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 ...
2
votes
0answers
162 views

What was Havil's source for the statement that G.H. Hardy would offer his Savillian chair to whoever could prove $\gamma$ 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
177 views

Works of mathematician François Viète

I'm searching for a book or an online copy of complete works of the mathematician François Viète, preferably in English. Any help will be appreciated. Thanks.
2
votes
0answers
105 views

Are there any memorial of Marcel Riesz in Lund?

Marcel Riesz spent most of his career in Lund (Sweden). Are there any memorial of Marcel Riesz in Lund? A plaque or a sculpture? I was looking for information about it, but I didn't find any. I ...
2
votes
0answers
102 views

Is Leibnizian calculus embeddable in first order logic?

We just published an article making what we feel is a plausible case in favor of an affirmative answer in Foundations of Science, see preprint here. The basic argument is that while such a requirement ...
2
votes
0answers
242 views

Why did Lagrange say that Cauchy should learn literature before mathematics?

From Bruno Belhoste's Augustin-Louis Cauchy — A Biography: Even if we should doubt the remark Valson attributed to Lagrange, it is likely that he did advise Louis-François about to his son's ...
2
votes
0answers
164 views

The intersection of history, mathematics, and geography

I was looking for some material on the history of fractional calculus and googled Pincherle Amaldi to find a source. Up popped a map of the environs of the University of Rome and there was the ...
1
vote
1answer
139 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
58 views

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 ...
1
vote
0answers
101 views

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 ...
1
vote
0answers
82 views

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 ...
1
vote
0answers
124 views

Is it true that Mathematicians have a short shelf-life / peak early?

I have always heard this claim that, out of all disciplines, Mathematicians have the shortest 'shelf-life'. More specifically, that they peak early in their twenties (i.e. present their most important ...
1
vote
0answers
37 views

Timeline for the earliest work on Frobenius problems

If $a, b$ are positive and coprime integers, then the set of linear combinations of $a$ and $b$ with nonnegative coefficients is all integers past $(a - 1)(b - 1)$; i.e. $\{ \lambda_1 a + \lambda_2 b :...
1
vote
0answers
56 views

Which mathematical objects retained the names given by their discoverer(s)?

Many mathematical objects and even theories are named after people, and most of the people with mathematical things named after them did not name said things after themselves. There is the famous ...
1
vote
0answers
44 views

Where did the Delannoy numbers make their first appearance?

I am writing a short exposition on the central Delannoy numbers and would like to find the year which Henri Delannoy first introduced them in a formal setting. I believe Delannoy's initial ...