Questions tagged [mathematicians]

For questions about those who do mathematics.

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7
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2answers
179 views

Who is Donald L. Webb

In the theory of boolean functions Sheffer's stroke is well-known. It is generalized for k-valued logic and known as Webb function: $$ \mathrm{Webb}(x,y)=\max(x,y)+1; $$ I want to find some ...
20
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20answers
3k views

Literary works authored by mathematicians

At a first glance, Mathematics and Literature look like two completely unrelated subjects. I wonder whether there are examples of acclaimed mathematicians which wrote novels, poems, or other ...
4
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1answer
131 views

Is there an archive of Andre Weil's papers?

Most specifically I wonder if there is any chance that he kept the notebooks he refers to in his autobiography. Probably he did not. But Gauss kept his diary....
8
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5answers
1k views

What was the appeal of numerical analysis before computers?

I'm currently doing a numerical analysis course, and it seems many of the techniques were developed by mathematicians, such as Euler and Newton, who lived before the age of the computer. Why were ...
5
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2answers
269 views

Were ratios of incommensurable magnitudes interpreted as irrational numbers prior to Fibonacci?

I have read that a lost book by Fibonacci (a commentary on Book X of Euclid's Elements) gives a numerical treatment of incommensurable magnitudes. Given that Fibonacci grew up in North Africa and ...
2
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0answers
171 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
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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 ...
1
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1answer
79 views

Reference for “Auszug aus einem Briefe von L. Kronecker an R. Dedekind”

While I was looking for a source about Kronecker's Jugendtraum, I found this document: Auszug aus einem Briefe von L. Kronecker an R. Dedekind vom 15. März 1880. The bottom of the given page has a ...
10
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1answer
1k views

How much does Mathematics change in a generation?

I had an interesting thought where I wondered that if I had a grandparent who had been a mathematician (or at least studied mathematics), how much of modern undergraduate mathematics would they ...
3
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1answer
792 views

Who discovered the fixed point iteration method?

I was working on the area of fixed point iteration. I couldn't find any historical account regarding the subject. Who was the first to use the this method?
1
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1answer
120 views

proofs of mathematical claims in the 16th, 17th and 18th cent

I know that starting from the 19th century the style of mathematical proof was more and more formal and inductive. However, I am trying to find reference (article or books) that analyze the way which ...
9
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2answers
4k views

Why are there no known Roman mathematicans from the Roman Empire?

I know that Roman Empire built some of the most beautiful things for the epoch and also had an incredible culture (law, poetry, ...). However, my question is: Why there are there no known Roman ...
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2answers
1k views

Why is pure mathematics important? More generally, why do some scientists deal with inaplicable notions?

I am a freshman, mathematics. I have a presentation assignment for a class. I am expected to talk about the necessity of abstract sciences. The thesis I need to argue is the following: ''Some people ...
2
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1answer
1k views

What was Karl Weierstrass referring to?

In this quote of his: “When I wrote this, only God and I understood what I was doing. Now, God only knows.” Which piece of Mathematical work was this in reference to?
4
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2answers
998 views

Is there any complete works of Abel, Lagrange, Jacobi and Gauss translated into English?

Is there any source which has the complete works of Abel, Lagrange, Jacobi and Gauss which has been translated into English? I'm asking for separate books for these mathematicians not necessarily a ...
1
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2answers
66 views

History of the word “scales” in graphing

I am curious to know who first used the term "scale" in graphing, and what exactly did they mean. Depending on which dictionary you use, a scale can mean "a coating" or a scale can mean a device for ...
10
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1answer
852 views

Did Cauchy forget or lose mathematical papers aside from Abel's and Galois's?

Augustin-Louis Cauchy was a prolific writer, his writings range widely in mathematics and mathematical physics. As a professor at École Polytechnique he came in contact and reviewed Abel's and Galois' ...
10
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2answers
268 views

Seeking anecdote on Emmy Noether and possibly Emil Artin

I have lost the reference to a story of someone (I believe it was Emil Artin) who found a strategy for understanding Emmy Noether's rapid delivery of new ideas during walks. It was to walk fast ...
4
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2answers
128 views

Galois Biography References

Note: This was first posted in the Mathematics StackExchange, from which I was redirected to here. Forgive me if this violates any crossposting rules I'm not currently aware of. I'm currently ...
2
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1answer
145 views

Are there objective measures for comparing Crelle's Journal to the Annalen circa 1908?

To my eye, the contents of Crelle's Journal (Journal für die reine und angewandte Mathematik) around 1908 (not by chance the year Crelle's published Emmy Noether's dissertation) look very old-...
3
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1answer
357 views

First to enumerate integer partitions?

G.E. Andrews writes, "Leibniz was apparently the first person to ask about partitions. In a 1674 letter he asked J. Bernoulli about the number of “divulsions” of integers. In modern terminology, he ...
4
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2answers
167 views

Did F. P. Ramsey complete a graduate degree?

There are numerous online sources giving biographical sketches of Ramsey's life; E.g., Wikipedia, Cambridge respository, St. Andrews MacTutor. We learn that Ramsey died just before his 27th birthday ...
7
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1answer
317 views

How was Riemann's essay on the foundations of geometry misjudged by Russell?

Jost's recent book on Riemann's famous 1854 essay claims in the introduction that Bertrand Russell misjudged Riemann's work. However, Jost does not elaborate. The index at the end of the book does ...
12
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2answers
663 views

How did Grothendieck encounter and adopt the categorical language?

Apparently the first mathematical publication of Grothendieck where he uses the terms “functor” and “category” in the technical sense is the Kansas report. From where Grothendieck had knowledge of ...
0
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1answer
264 views

Are there any accounts of famous Mathematicians/Scientists and their dogs, or any pets in general? [closed]

I know this is probably a precise and odd question, but I'm curious to know if any famous Mathematicians or Scientist had pets. I'm really looking for Mathematicians and dogs but I thought it better ...
9
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2answers
384 views

Did Gödel consider himself primarily a philosopher who is interested in mathematics (instead of the other way round)?

Kurt Gödel is one of the "best" logicians of the 20th century. Here, the user "Jeffrey Kegler" states that: Kurt Gödel considered himself a philosopher who did mathematics, rather than as a ...
11
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1answer
253 views

What were Hilbert's weekly 1933 lectures on “matters of general intellectual interest” about?

Saunders Mac Lane says he attended Hilbert's weekly lectures on "matters of general intellectual interest" around 1931 or 1933 (Saunders Mac Lane: A Mathematical Autobiography p. 44). I believe these ...
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1answer
1k views

Did Grothendieck really say that he felt “clumsy, even oafish, wandering painfully up an arduous track”?

Here I found the following quote, attributed to the great Grothendieck: Since then I’ve had the chance in the world of mathematics that bid me welcome, to meet quite a number of people, both among my ...
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1answer
82 views

Who is Father Bertet (correspondent of John Collins)?

John Collins corresponded with numerous mathematicians in Europe in the 17th century. One of his correspondents mentioned in several letters is one Father Bertet. Judging from the letters Bertet was ...
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1answer
113 views

Straight line is the shortest of curves, who proved?

I am curious, when and by whom it was proved that straight line is the shortest of measurable curves connecting two given points.
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1answer
2k views

How did Newton prove the generalised binomial theorem?

Do we have any idea of how Newton proved the generalised binomial theorem?
4
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1answer
278 views

Euler's paper for the theorem $ e^{i\theta} = \cos(\theta) + i\sin(\theta) $?

Which is Leonard Euler's Paper where he proves this central result? The term 'complex number' does not seem to have been used by him. I'm hoping someone could link me to some page in the Euler archive....
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0answers
104 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 ...
6
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0answers
493 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 ...
3
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1answer
181 views

Which ancient mathematician was opposed to “application” of math?

I seem to recall reading about a mathematician from antiquity whose view was, roughly, that to "apply" math was to do it violence (or indeed, to expedite violence) and so looked down on applications. ...
8
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4answers
1k views

Who did first use the Method of Characteristics?

Which mathematician did introduce the Method of Characteristics for solving linear Partial differential equations? I some papers I saw that Saint Venant, Lagrange, Cauchy or Riemann were attributed ...
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0answers
114 views

Felix Klein and the mean value theorem

This is a reference request prompted by some intriguing comments made by Felix Klein. In 1908, Felix Klein formulated a criterion of what it would take for a theory of infinitesimals to be ...
6
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2answers
356 views

Who said “Either you speak maths or you speak nonsense?”

I am in the process of preparing a lecture and remember that some of the Gods (highly esteemed researchers of the past) said, “Either you speak maths or you speak nonsense.” Perhaps is was “Either you ...
0
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1answer
150 views

Biography on Georg Cantor

I am looking for biographical works about Georg Cantor's life. All I have found right now are short encyclopedia-style articles that skim the important points of his life or works mainly focused on ...
0
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0answers
76 views

Cauchy's real line and math philosophy till XIX

I have to write an essay concerning philosophy of mathematics until the end of XIX century. I've heard that the reason why the Cauchy's theorem (if continuous functions $fn→f$ then $f$ is continuous ...
14
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2answers
989 views

Where did John Wallis get the idea for $\infty$?

I read in an offhand comment in Amir Alexander's 2014 book Infinitesimal (p.280), that John Wallis introduced the symbol $\infty$ for infinity. Was there any logic, reason, or precedent for this ...
15
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1answer
525 views

Did du Bois-Reymond invent the diagonal argument before Cantor?

The Wiki article on Cantor's diagonal argument mentions that the first use of a diagonal argument was in the work of Paul du Bois-Reymond in 1875. This would be one year after Cantor's first proof of ...
2
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1answer
118 views

Eulers identity history

How do you think Euler felt when he discovered/invented $e^{ix}=\cos(x)+i\sin(x)$. Do you think he doubted his calculations for a length of time? Was it Readily accepted by the mathematical community ...
2
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0answers
101 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 ...
19
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6answers
2k views

Claims of mathematical breakthroughs while in an altered state of consciousness?

A similar question is found below: Scientific progress claimed to be caused by dreaming Has anyone ever made similar claims regarding other altered states of consciousness, besides dreaming? I know ...
3
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4answers
582 views

Did Kronecker attribute immutable origin to the integers?

The familiar quote is often incorrectly attributed to Kronecker directly. Actually a colleague of his named Weber claimed after Kronecker's death that Kronecker said this. I have doubts about this ...
5
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4answers
1k views

Kronecker vs Cantor — who won?

Now set theory is taught even to kids and it is the foundation of mathematics. Can we say that Cantor won?
5
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1answer
235 views

Who coined kernel in mathematics?

I'm convinced that there is no such a mathematician whose name is "kernel". The wiki article about kernel doesn't include history in its content. So I wonder, who is the first mathematician to use ...
11
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5answers
2k views

Who gets credit for the real numbers?

If Simon Stevin already pioneered the unending decimal representation for every number (rational, surd, etc.) at the end of the 16th century, why do Cantor and Dedekind (who certainly gave a more ...
9
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1answer
529 views

Who was first to differentiate between prime and irreducible elements?

I recently learned about irreducible and prime elements in a commutative ring. However, my professor was not quite sure who was the first to make this distinction, or give an example of an irreducible ...

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