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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63 views

Ancient Egyptian Mathematicians

Greek and Muslim Egyptian mathematicians are well known throughout the world. But the only Ancient Egyptian mathematician I know of is Ahmes, who said he's just a scribe. Who were the greatest ...
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When did Zermelo and Fraenkel publish their axioms?

I have googled the heck out of this but cannot find a reference to the year Z&F published their axioms. I'd expected to see an article reference but none that I could find.
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How old is the idea of an Oscullating Circle? [duplicate]

In the second volume of Spivak's Comprehensive introduction to differential geometry, he begins the discussion of curvature by discussing the oscullating circle of a curve in the plane. This leads me ...
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1answer
82 views

Looking for reference for quote

In graduate school, I remember hearing or seeing the rough quote: Good mathematicians know one branch of math. Great mathematicians know two branches. I'm sure I am somewhat misquoting it, but does ...
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1answer
4k views

Did president Garfield make any contributions to Mathematics?

All I know about Garfield and math was that he made an original proof of the Pythagorean theorem. Did he make any other mathematical advancement (big or small)?
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Why did Poincaré call point-set topology a disease? [duplicate]

When looking for Poincaré’s (apocryphal) quote about set theory being a disease, I found this website, which lists a bunch of quotes from Poincaré. I couldn’t help but notice the quote directly above ...
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1answer
92 views

Did Cantor know about Boole's work in logic, and did it influence his work on sets?

We commonly say that sets obey a Boolean algebra. I think that's correct as a stand-alone statement. If true, did Cantor come up with a Boolean algebra on his own, or did he use the work of Boole?
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Articles published without their authors being aware

In 1962, a paper called “Multiplication of Many-Digital Numbers by Automatic Computers”, by Anatoly Karatsuba and Yuri Ofman, was published at the Proceedings of the USSR Academy of Sciences. It was ...
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79 views

Which library in London has the best mathematics and history sections? [closed]

Which library in the greater London area has the largest combination of mathematics and history sections (i.e., the optimal pair)? Otherwise, which has the largest mathematics section?
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113 views

Is the height of Great Pyramid based on the Golden ratio or on Pi? [closed]

The ratio of four over the square root of the Golden Mean is very close to $\pi$. Therefore, if the height of a pyramid of square basis of size 2L is L times the square root of the Golden Mean, the ...
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1answer
223 views

Whose 1930 number theory result is used in characterizing perfect 2-error correcting linear codes?

In Error-Correcting Codes: A Mathematical Introduction (Chapman & Hall, 1998), John Baylis wrote (p.109) Moving on to 2-error correcting linear codes, the condition for perfection of linear codes ...
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1answer
61 views

"Dragon Dice", a historical gambling game involved in the development of probability

"Dragon Dice" was a simple gambling game which rolled a few dice, and 1s were special in some way. A European noble played this game with his friends, who would lose a lot of money to him ...
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318 views

What contributions to mathematics did Napoleon make?

I have watched a video about Napoleon's theorem — maybe it was contributed by Napoleon, maybe not. I also know that Laplace himself said Napoleon was good at mathematics. However, did Napoleon make ...
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132 views

Why did the mathematical community settle on these properties to define a topology?

The following post is long, but I decided to write more rather than less in case it's helpful. I tried to make it clear, quick, and easy to skip to the short version of my question, so the reader can ...
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1answer
78 views

(Where) does Plato define perfect number?

I've read several texts suggesting that Plato defines "perfect number" in his Republic, book VIII 546 b. However, there's no definition as we can see from - for example - this translation: &...
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1answer
92 views

Why was the term random "variable" applied to a mapping?

I think I'm correct in saying a random variable is a mapping from the sample space to the real line (or more generally to $\mathbb{R}^n$. If I'm right then random variable seems a very odd way for a ...
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0answers
67 views

The Picard Group: Origin and History

I've come to the notion of the Picard Group. I was recently linked to this paper paper, which contains the line: The problem of computing the Picard groups of surfaces $S \subset \mathbb{P}_{\mathbb{...
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1answer
96 views

Poisson integral formula

The term Poisson integral formula may refer to any of the related formulas for harmonic (or holomorphic) functions on a disk (or in a ball, half space, etc) in terms of their boundary values. This is ...
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0answers
102 views

Did the ancients construct higher genus curves?

I know that the ancients had several ways to construct geometric shapes. I know two of them: the biggest one, ruler and compass, with which you can build some polygons, bisect an angle, etc, but not ...
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0answers
198 views

How has $\tan(x)$ become more popular than $\operatorname{tg}(x)$?

I know that some Eastern European and Middle Asian countries denote the tangent by $\operatorname{tg}$. For many years, I have used $\tan$ instead, but am currently thinking of changing that notation ...
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1answer
88 views

Where did this idea of proof originate from

Where did this idea of proof originate from, was it the Greeks, Babylons, Egyptians etc? The motivation for this question was basically to feed my own curiosity as mentioned here. This is basically a ...
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2answers
248 views

Origins of proof in Mathematics

Why was the idea of writing, formalising and creating new proofs brought about? For example, why even though we have found hundreds of proofs of the Pythagorean Theorem are we still trying to find ...
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1answer
58 views

History of the Darboux-Froda theorem

I am curious about the history of the so-called Darboux-Froda theorem, which is the following theorem: a monotone function $f:[0,1]\rightarrow \mathbb{R}$ has at most countably many points of ...
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1answer
86 views

Why 360° is assigned to circle full turn ? Not any other number? [duplicate]

Please look at this question https://math.stackexchange.com/posts/comments/9011243?noredirect=1 A user comment this so I thought of asking here You mean why did we decide on using 360 degrees? I don'...
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1answer
993 views

Who is John B. Walsh?

Stochastic Partial Differential Equations (SPDEs) have received much attention in recent years, culminating in the fields medal of Martin Hairer. A rigorous mathematical starting point for the studies ...
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0answers
77 views

History of supremum with parameters

I had the following 'history of mathematics' question: Who first used the notion of supremum explicitly involving parameters? Let me provide a positive example of the latter notion: Baire defines 𝑀(𝑓...
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1answer
109 views

Armstrong numbers - who is or was Armstrong?

According to Wolfram's MathWorld article "Narcissistic Number", such numbers are also called "Armstrong numbers". Such a number is an $n$-digit number $N$ such that: $$N = {d_1}^n +...
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1answer
148 views

A Survey of Modern Algebra, 1st Edition (Birkhoff and Mac Lane): The Direct Product

Background information: I recently asked a question about the history of the concepts of the direct sum and the tensor product in group and module theory, and was given a very concise and thorough ...
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2answers
141 views

First Use of the Short Exact Sequence

A question I've been curious about for a long period of time and tried to find the answer to myself a number of times (but apparently never been able to figure out just the right thing to type into ...
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1answer
131 views

Is multiplication postulated axiomatically in Peano arithmetic?

I figured this question is better suited to this stackexchange. I give some mathematical details, but this is primarily an HSM question. According to this post, the existence of multiplication in ...
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Were all the branches of Mathematics always considered part of a single discipline "Mathematics"?

I've read arguments and statements in internet arguing about Mathematics being a science or a language. To me, certain branches of Mathematics fit more with the definition of language and others with ...
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2answers
207 views

History of Direct Sums and Direct Products

So I like to get down into the details of how certain mathematical concepts came to be, and purely as a matter of curiosity, I was wondering if anyone know which mathematician first gave the ...
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1answer
135 views

How long have all the mathematicians working in the respective fields known the theory of categories

Vague the question: how long have all the mathematicians working in the respective fields known the theory of categories? More specific questions: Is it true that all modern working algebraic ...
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1answer
195 views

Who said that math or statistics is not free from class interest?

I'm not 100% sure this is the right site for this question, but here it goes. An already dead professor said in a lecture that Stalin (or perhaps another communist leader) wrote once something along ...
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1answer
126 views

What is the origin of the "problem of Brahmagupta" of constructing inscribed quadrangle with given sides?

I am looking for a source of the following construction problem: Construct an inscribed quadrangle with given sides. I know it under the name problem of Brahmagupta, but I do not know any evidence ...
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3answers
1k views

What was Richard Courant's saying about mathematical research apart from applications?

I remember reading somewhere (perhaps in The Mathematical Experience) that Richard Courant wrote something to the effect that, without applications to guide the river of mathematical discovery, ...
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145 views

Why is “h” used for height? [closed]

In Mathematics, it is common to use $h$ for height in various languages, including those whose word for height does not start with h. Why is that?
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158 views

Why was the cubic specifically so hard to solve?

I'm a huge fan of the history of Algebra and, recently, I've noticed a bit of an oddity. Degree one equations have been known (and solved) for as long as human history. For degree two equations, we ...
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85 views

Where can I find a copy of Dieudonné's 'Infinitesimal Calculus'?

I found a copy of the French version 'Calcul infinitésimal' online but the English edition seems to only be available on Amazon for a very hefty price, or in American libraries which I do not have ...
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5answers
6k views

What makes the right angle special enough to be distinguished in the French metric system?

When introducting the metric system, the French tried to decimalise the degrees used for angles. They defined the right angle to contain 100 gradians. Why was the right angle chosen? A somewhat ...
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1answer
90 views

Why two words "summation" and "addition" do exist in literature?

We all come across these two words in literature: summation, addition. I personally do not know any difference between them and I view both of them the same in all mathematical aspects. Is there any ...
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1answer
569 views

Was a mathematical connection involved when introducing "graph" of a function and "graph" in graph theory?

A colleague and I were having a discussion about mathematical similarities between graphs of functions and graphs as used in graph theory: Simple graphs can be defined in terms of pair (of vertices), ...
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1answer
197 views

History of the definition of complex derivative

Almost all of modern complex analysis (Cauchy residue theorem, analytic continuation, etc) depend on the definition of a complex derivative. That definition requires the derivative at a point $z_0$ is ...
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2answers
593 views

Where can I find Grothendieck's letter of resignation from Bourbaki?

I encountered Grothendieck's resignation letter from Bourbaki along with its English translation not too long ago on the web, but for now it seems it's nowhere to be found. I've scoured through the ...
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1answer
148 views

Who is Donald Fisk?

In stochastic calculus, the name Stratonovich appears all over the place. However, even though Donald Fisk supposedly obtained similar results, his name appears nowhere. Who was Donald Fisk? I cannot ...
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74 views

When and how did signal processing reach the core of functional analysis?

Functional analysis and signal processing have a strong bond and I am trying to understand how and when it all started. Technically, signal processing is heavily based on Fourier analysis, which helps ...
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3answers
5k views

Historical example of research papers being misinterpreted due to poor wording and creating controversy?

Is there any example of major controversy in the scientific community caused due to poor wording and/or misinterpretation of words?
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75 views

Historical example of research papers being misinterpreted due to poor wording and creating controversy? [duplicate]

Is there any example of major controversy in the scientific community caused due to poor wording and/or misinterpretation of words?
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263 views

Why was solving polynomial equations historically considered so interesting?

From reading a few accounts of the unsolvability of the quintic, I am told that, e.g., there were public contests in which people competed to solve polynomial equations, and that over the course of ...
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2answers
3k views

When did they begin to make left and right shoes?

In the memoirs of the Polish mathematician Hugo Steinhaus ("Mathematician for all seasons", vol. I, English translation, Springer, 2015) he recollects a conversation with Henri Lebesgue in ...

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