Skip to main content

Questions tagged [mathematicians]

For questions about those who did mathematics

97 questions with no upvoted or accepted answers
Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
17 votes
0 answers
807 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 ...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 76.1k
12 votes
0 answers
299 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. ...
HDE 226868's user avatar
  • 8,453
9 votes
0 answers
722 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 ...
user4281's user avatar
  • 615
8 votes
0 answers
1k 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 ...
Ooker's user avatar
  • 1,198
5 votes
0 answers
217 views

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 (...
Kroko's user avatar
  • 51
5 votes
0 answers
193 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 ...
Nau's user avatar
  • 233
5 votes
0 answers
141 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 ...
Jim Hefferon's user avatar
5 votes
0 answers
119 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 ...
Matthew Leingang's user avatar
5 votes
0 answers
131 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 ...
David Diaz's user avatar
5 votes
0 answers
95 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 ...
Mikhail Katz's user avatar
  • 5,782
5 votes
0 answers
241 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 ...
Mikhail Katz's user avatar
  • 5,782
5 votes
0 answers
759 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 ...
manshu's user avatar
  • 181
5 votes
0 answers
218 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 ...
David's user avatar
  • 153
4 votes
0 answers
217 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. ...
Brent Baccala's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
191 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 ...
Colin McLarty's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
4k 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 ...
user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
216 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 ...
Tom Copeland's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
142 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 ...
euler1944's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
119 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 ...
albo's user avatar
  • 965
3 votes
0 answers
107 views

What is Cardano trying to say in this passage of his Ars Magna Arithmeticæ?

It is well known that Cardano considered the problem of "dividing 10 into two parts the product of which is 40" in his Ars Magna. This problems leads to the complex solutions $5+ \sqrt{-15}$ ...
Charles Bukowski's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
104 views

Are there any famous female mathematicians who have written in Latin?

I am writing a book on modern mathematics and the Latin language. My main examples are Newton, Euler, Gauss, etc. and some others, but all men. Is there a woman who has written important mathematics ...
Jurep's user avatar
  • 31
3 votes
0 answers
186 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 ...
James Warthington's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
107 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{...
GEP's user avatar
  • 1,515
3 votes
0 answers
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, ...
Pádua's user avatar
  • 31
3 votes
0 answers
156 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 ...
xxavier's user avatar
  • 684
3 votes
0 answers
232 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 ...
Brant's user avatar
  • 155
3 votes
0 answers
114 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 ...
L. Young's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
98 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 ...
José Carlos Santos's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
141 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 ...
user514014's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
262 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 ...
Mikhail Katz's user avatar
  • 5,782
3 votes
0 answers
106 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 ...
Sedumjoy's user avatar
  • 1,223
3 votes
1 answer
214 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 ...
TransfiniteGuy's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
168 views

How did Grothendieck come in contact with Category theory?

Category theory was formalized around 1950s, and Grothendieck made his breakthrough papers about 10-20 years from that time. I wish to know, how was it possible the ideas of Category Theory were so ...
tryst with freedom's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
121 views

Kolmogorov on frequentists versus Bayesians

What was Kolmogorov's attitude regarding the frequentist versus Bayesian statistics controversies? Did he ever write or speak about his own views on Fisher or de Finetti, Jeffreys, etc.? Or were those ...
hyportnex's user avatar
  • 347
2 votes
0 answers
97 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 ...
AChem's user avatar
  • 4,034
2 votes
0 answers
160 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 + ...
Gauss's user avatar
  • 151
2 votes
0 answers
78 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 ...
Butterfly's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
76 views

Kurt Gödel: a biography

I'm looking for a well-written biographical book about Kurt Gödel. Any titles you'd recommend?
mrnld's user avatar
  • 156
2 votes
0 answers
183 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 ...
user2554's user avatar
  • 4,419
2 votes
0 answers
186 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 ...
Mark S's user avatar
  • 223
2 votes
0 answers
170 views

18th and 19th century skeptics of imaginary numbers?

Complex numbers were used in as early as the 16th century to solve cubic equations, but they didn't gain wide acceptance until the late 18th and early 19th century. What is the reason for the 200 year ...
aras's user avatar
  • 189
2 votes
0 answers
190 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.
Henry's user avatar
  • 171
2 votes
0 answers
110 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 ...
user153012's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
103 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 ...
Mikhail Katz's user avatar
  • 5,782
2 votes
0 answers
266 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 ...
copper's user avatar
  • 983
2 votes
0 answers
189 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 ...
Tom Copeland's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
46 views

Did Dedekind's construction of the integers and rational numbers become standard in mathematics textbooks?

I am referring to the construction using pairs of natural numbers in 1858. Since we use pretty much the same construction today in some analysis courses (Analysis 1, Terence Tao), except without the ...
Demon's user avatar
  • 63
1 vote
0 answers
70 views

What does Dedekind mean by "laws characteristic for the concepts"?

I’m slightly confused by what Dedekind means by “characteristic for the concepts they designate” in the quote below: "But [. . . ] these extensions of definitions no longer allow scope for ...
Jerry's user avatar
  • 11
1 vote
0 answers
69 views

Archimedes on hornangles?

Did Archimedes ever discuss hornangles? A hornangle (also known as angle of contingence, etc.) is the "crevice" between the circle and its tangent line at a point (from the modern viewpoint, ...
Mikhail Katz's user avatar
  • 5,782
1 vote
0 answers
72 views

Did the principle of permanence have an influence on mathematicians like Dedekind and Cauchy?

Around the time when mathematics was becoming formal, the notion of detaching from attaching "contextual interpretation" to symbols in algebra, up to the point of avoiding inconsistency (...
Demon's user avatar
  • 63