Questions tagged [mathematics-social-history]

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2answers
118 views

Why did Richard Bellman, creator of dynamic programing say: 1950s were not good years for maths?

Richard Bellman said : "The 1950s were not good years for mathematical research. We had a very interesting gentleman in Washington named Wilson. He was Secretary of Defense, and he actually had ...
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2answers
201 views

Why are there so few Iberian mathematicians in history?

I have been analysing the rise and fall of the various centres of mathematical excellence, and following how, for example, Ancient Greece gave way to the Arab and Persian world, which inherited from ...
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1answer
144 views

Why is Dirac delta named after Dirac when the concept was already over two centuries old?

Please explain why the Dirac delta function was named after Dirac, who lived in the 20th century, and what was so special about it. I ask this because it is used in Green's function which pre-dated ...
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0answers
87 views

Did Sir Isaac Newton smoke? [closed]

It is just a random thought I had while smoking my cigarette. Did Newton smoke tobacco? Some sites claim that he "smoked immoderately", while others are of the opinion that he never touched ...
3
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1answer
174 views

What mathematical theorems were known in the Americas prior to European contact?

A comment on another site brought the article How Does Race Affect a Student's Math Education? to my attention. In the article, the author observes (emphasis mine), But she’s also constrained by the ...
5
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1answer
381 views

Who was Heinrich Kornblum?

Heinrich Kornblum was a student of Edmund Landau who is known for his generalization of Dirichlet's theorem on primes in arithmetic progressions to function fields. He was born in Wolow, Poland in ...
14
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7answers
3k views

Mathematical results that became known long after their authors passed away

Liouville published Galois' work a decade after the death of this singular mathematician. Are there other cases of results being rescued by the mathematical community long after their authors were ...
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0answers
29 views

Mathematicians working from prison? [duplicate]

I've heard one or two anecdotes about mathematicians that were confined to prison or some kind of detention and still managed to do some serious work. I would like to learn some actual stories about ...
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0answers
51 views

Why is a linear equation in 3 variables called 'linear'? [duplicate]

I have read that an equation of form 0=Ax+By+C is called linear because its graph is a straight line. But why is the equation 0=Ax+By+Cz+D also called linear even though its graph is a straight plane?...
9
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1answer
849 views

How many important logicians did NOT receive doctoral degrees?

I can think of three. Saul Kripke quite famously could only be begrudged to finish his undergraduate degree at Harvard before being hired as a full professor. Donald Martin (the set theorist of Martin'...
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0answers
46 views

Can you suggest good resources for reading about history of science especially physics? [duplicate]

I'm looking for good resources of history of sciences (especially physics) which cover history from the time of Newton and Galileo (or before them) till the modern physics world (21st century).
5
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0answers
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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 ...
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2answers
308 views

What did G.H. Hardy teach Ramanujan?

Ramanujan didn't know modern mathematics. he lacked idea regarding analysis. I found in Wikipedia- Hardy tried his best to fill the gaps in Ramanujan's education and to mentor him in the need for ...
4
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3answers
218 views

Plagiarism at the turn of 20th century

Have there have been any interesting cases of one person stealing another mathematician's results and publishing them as his own? In particular, are there any interesting cases of this happening in ...
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2answers
266 views

Substantiating claimed Fourier quote about “an arbitrarily capricious graph”

The following quote (in English) is fairly widely attributed to Fourier, but I can't substantiate it. An arbitrary function, continuous or with discontinuities, defined in a finite interval by an ...
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1answer
186 views

Where did Mac Lane say he saw Hitler and wished that he had a gun so he could have shot him?

In Saunders Mac Lane's autobiography he described how he visited, I think Königsberg, then the centre of mathematics in Germany. He also reported he that he saw Hitler somewhere and that he wished ...