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Questions tagged [mathematics]

For questions about the quantitative study of topics such as numbers, structure, space, and change, carried out by investigating patterns.

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0answers
4 views

How do surreal numbers relate to surrealism? [on hold]

Surrealism is an art movement that invokes dreamlike imagery; what do surreal numbers have in common with surrealism?
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1answer
53 views

What was the chain of theories that led to relativity? [closed]

Can you briefly sketch the sequence of math theories that were necessary for Einstein to figure out a convincing background for relativity?
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2answers
2k views

Who discovered the covering homomorphism between SU(2) and SO(3)?

Who discovered this? It is quite nontrivial and very important in quantum mechanics.
3
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1answer
69 views

Who first proved that the spectrum of an operator is contained in the closure of its numerical range?

We have recently proven in our functional analysis II lecture that the spectrum of an operator is contained in the closure of its numerical range. On the German wikipedia page for the numerical radius ...
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0answers
65 views

Who first proved Fubini's theorem $n$th order integrals?

Who first proved a generalized Fubini theorem for integrals of order $≥3$? An $n$th order integral is $$\underbrace{\underset{x_n}\int\underset{x_{n-1}}\int\ldots\underset{x_1}\int}_{n} f(x_1,x_2,\...
5
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1answer
125 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.?
8
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1answer
39 views

Seven bridges of Königsberg - did people know that it was impossible? [duplicate]

I'm not sure if this is the most suitable site for the question. Please feel free to modify or move my post! I have heard that people really walked a lot in Königsberg, trying to solve that seven ...
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1answer
37 views

Who first distinguished number theory and numerology? [duplicate]

Who first distinguished number theory and numerology?
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0answers
63 views

Who first explained why there are 7 days in a week?

Who first explained why there are 7 days in a week?
4
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1answer
121 views

Are Euclid's theorems and proofs due to Euclid?

Some appear to argue that much of the Elements by Euclid is a compilation of knowledge handed down to Euclid from his predecessors. On the other hand, some credit the proof, of the Pythagorean theorem ...
3
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72 views

Where does the notion of “three crises of mathematics” come from? [duplicate]

Update: It can be traced back to Fraenkel-Bar-Hillel's Foundations of Set Theory, originally published in 1958. Further discussions can be seen at the linked question. The notion of "three crises of ...
5
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1answer
131 views

When did mathematicians transition from peg and rope to straightedege and compass?

In the 19th and 20th centuries, the student of classical Greek geometry used "straight edge and compass". A. Seidenberg uses the terminology "peg and cord" in proposing that altar construction ...
2
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1answer
120 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 ...
1
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1answer
144 views

I can't comprehend the sentence in Euclid Elements [closed]

I am Korean, and I thought I can understand majority of english sentences, but this is really hard to translate literally for me. Even though I asked it to my English teacher, he did not know either. ...
3
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98 views

Reference Request: Comment about Contradictions Proof Method Related to John G. Thompson

I read in a PDF document where the author made a comment that it is “dangerous” to use indirect proof method/contradiction proof method (as far as I can remember, and of course I am paraphrasing) as ...
0
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1answer
294 views

Why 1 was source of numbers even though ancient Greeks knew about irrational number?

In Ancient Greek, most people like Pythagoras thought 1(monad, unity) is no number, but it is ruler and beginning of all other numbers. And Pythagoras thought everything is number. But they found ...
3
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1answer
122 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. ...
3
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1answer
94 views

Origin of the “law of quadratic reciprocity”

Today, "reciprocity" is the standard mathematical word used for quadratic reciprocity and its generalizations. I found that the name dates back to no later than 1832, when a paper of Dirichlet (...
0
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1answer
48 views

Did Isaac Barrow also discover the other thing about the inverse relation between area and tangent?

Barrow surely discovered that the tangent to the area curve of a function at a point equals the value of the function at that point. Also, I’ve seen geometric proofs of this. But did he also discover ...
6
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1answer
198 views

What is the origin of the Chinese Stick Multiplication method?

A while back I came across an interesting method to do multiplication. I don't know what it's called and am interested in when (and who) developed this method. I don't know if it's a mathematical ...
7
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2answers
168 views

Reference Request: Did Descartes leave solving the quintic as an exercise to his readers?

In this document by Jim Brown it is claimed (on Section 3, pg 5) that: [Descartes] believed that all polynomials of degree $>4$ could be solved with the same methods as had been applied to the ...
2
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0answers
58 views

On Trigonometric Methods Available to Aristarchus

Approximately 2300 years ago, Aristarchus proposed a method for determining the relative distances of the sun and the moon in relation to the earth. Specifically, he asserted that when the moon is in ...
5
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0answers
192 views

How was this equation for pi derived by Ramanujan?

Have we figured out how this series was derived by Ramanjuan? $$\frac{1}{\pi}=\frac{\sqrt{8}}{9801}\sum_{n=0}^{\infty}\frac{(4n)!}{(n!)^4}\frac{26390n+1103}{396^{4n}}$$
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1answer
72 views

Why was Indicial equations named so?

In ODE, in Frobenius method, there's an equation called "Indicial Equation." Is there any particular contextual/historical reason that it is named so?
6
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1answer
101 views

Who invented the gradient descent algorithm?

In connection to the question "Who invented the gradient?", I want to know who invented the gradient descent algorithm?
7
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2answers
589 views

On the history of Haar measure

Haar measure is a well-known concept in measure theory. Many books are perfectly dedicated to present its existence and uniqueness such as measure theory for D. Cohn. I am looking for a good ...
0
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3answers
86 views

Does Heliocentrism predate Copernicus?

I have seen this mentioned on the interwebs a few times. people have mentioned that some Greek thinkers and Islamic astronomers came up with heliocentrism before Copernicus and that Copernicus copied ...
0
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1answer
65 views

Was there a more intuitive early proof of the generalized mean value theorem?

I am interested in the early proofs of the theorem. It is often called Cauchy mean value theorem, so perhaps Cauchy proved it first. In all the proofs that I have seen we construct a contrived ...
4
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1answer
143 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 ...
3
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1answer
131 views

Were people aware of the “mistakes” in Euclid's Elements before the start of the formalization of Mathematics?

For example, in proposition 1, Euclid assumes that the instersection of the two circles exist, when he shouldn't have. This, among many other things, was corrected quite recently (by Hilbert and ...
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195 views

Were ancients really so bad at computations before Arab numerals?

It is often said that Romans (see below) had a terrible number system, which made a computations a mess. I do believe this, but I'm really suspicious of the claim that nobody had better ways to do ...
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30 views

On the Origin of the Concept of Aliasing & the Discrete Fourier Transform Frequency Axis

The development of fast Fourier transform is attributed to Cooley & Tukey, both have written a lot about it is historical development. However, I am searching early publications which showed how ...
0
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1answer
66 views

Logarithm tables vs multiplication tables

When John Napier and Joost Burgi developed logarithms in the 16th century, they succeeded in replacing long, tedious, error-prone multiplications with table-look-up and addition, giving other ...
6
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2answers
127 views

Why are “join” and “meet” named as they are?

In the context of partially ordered sets, why are the words for supremum and infimum "join" and "meet"? I find the nomenclature puzzling, especially since the English words "join" and "meet" are ...
2
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0answers
117 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 ...
5
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1answer
172 views

What are some of the unsolved mathematical problems posed and stated clearly prior to the year 1900?

I chose year 1900 because of: "Hilbert's problems are twenty-three problems in mathematics published by German mathematician David Hilbert in 1900. The problems were all unsolved at the time, and ...
3
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1answer
608 views

Who came up with the convolution theorem?

I am looking for the earliest reference which proposed the convolution theorem which is often utilized in signal processing (i.e., convolution becomes a multiplication in the Fourier domain). The ...
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0answers
175 views

Entry in Gauss' Mathematisches Tagebuch (Mathematical Diary)

Does someone have a reference or further explanation on Gauß' entry from May 24, 1796 in his mathematical diary (Mathematisches Tagebuch, full scan available via https://gdz.sub.uni-goettingen.de/id/...
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2answers
2k views

What triggered jesuits' ban on infinitesimals in 1632?

... since the very idea of infinitesimal was foreshadowed by Cavalieri ( "limit") in 1635, then put forward in an indirect way by John Wallis ($1/\infty$) in 1655, and then formalized by Newton ( "$o$...
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2answers
124 views

The relationship between solvability of ruler and compass problems and solvability of algebraic equations by radicals

Galois obtained necessary and sufficient conditions for an algebraic equation (in one variable) to be solvable by extraction of a chain of square roots. A beautiful application of this is to the ...
3
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4answers
166 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?
3
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1answer
78 views

Who coined the term random variable?

Who is the first person defined the concept of a random variable?
4
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3answers
637 views

Were tables of square roots ever in use?

Before the advent of calculators they had useful ready made tables for the main functions:sines,cosines logs etc..., do you know if tables of square roots were ever produced or in use? I never heard ...
7
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0answers
157 views

Who first defined polynomials as sequences?

Question 1. When did the modern definition of a polynomial (as a sequence of coefficients, with multiplication defined by $\left(ab\right)_n = \sum\limits_{k=0}^n a_k b_{n-k}$) emerge? Let me clarify:...
2
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0answers
69 views

I am searching for a book of this form and content, is there any?

I would like to know is there a book that is both a history of mathematics and a collection of open problems? I know that there exist many books that cover either larger or smaller periods of the ...
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2answers
125 views

What are the great works of Richard Phillips Feynman? [closed]

What are the prerequisites to read his book? Why Richard Phillips Feynman is so famous? What are great works of Richard Phillips Feynman?
0
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1answer
85 views

When did trigonometry move away from treating chord as primitive?

I remember reading that in a couple of places that ancient trigonometry, particularly Ancient Greek trigonometry, used the chord as the primitive concept instead of sine and cosine. I can't tell ...
6
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1answer
99 views

Euler's Derivation of Euler's Method for ODEs

I am looking for an English translation of Euler's derivation of Euler's method for ODEs, namely the update $$ y_{n+1} = y_n + h f(y_n, t_n) $$ What motivated Euler to consider this problem, and how ...
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0answers
81 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 ...
1
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1answer
100 views

Why is Robinson arithmetic “Q”?

I see Peano arithmetic so often abbreviated as "P" or "PA". Why is Robinson Arithmetic "Q"? Following the obvious pattern, I would have expected R" or "RA".