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History of expectation of speed of light in optical denser medium

This question is triggered by information in the following article: Shahen Hacyan Refraction, the speed of light and minimal action: from Descartes to Maupertuis through many more First some general ...
Cleonis's user avatar
  • 804
1 vote
0 answers
51 views

Was Euler aware of the general form of the characterization of primes of the form $p=x^2+ny^2$ for arbitrary $n>0$?

If $n$ is a positive integer then there is a monic irreducible polynomial $f(x)$ such that if $p$ is an odd prime not dividing $n$ nor the discriminant of $f$ then $$ p=x^2+ny^2\iff \left(\frac{-n}{p}\...
Croqueta's user avatar
5 votes
0 answers
49 views

How did de Jussieu or Linnaeus practically manage the organization of plants?

In 18th century botany, how did taxonomists such as Carl Linnaeus (Sweden) and Antoine-Laurent de Jussieu (France) manage to practically organize such a large number of plant species? For example, ...
Sam Gallagher's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
57 views

Reconstruction of the details of Gauss-Weber "thermogalvanic chain"

In the physicist chapter of Gauss's bio on encyclopedia.com appears the following statement about Gauss-Weber's unpublished correspondence: Stimulated by Faraday’s discovery of induced current in ...
user2554's user avatar
  • 4,489
12 votes
1 answer
1k views

What is the origin of "two straight lines cannot enclose a space" axiom in Euclid's Elements?

This post is prompted by a recent question on MSE asking about "Axiom 10" of Euclid's Elements, as found in editions by Byrne and Conway: "Two right lines cannot enclose a space". ...
RobinSparrow's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
76 views

What did Gauss think about V. A. Lebesgue's proof of quadratic reciprocity?

The proof can be found here (pdf). It was published in 1838 and Gauss lived until 1855, so I would guess that he read it. Did Gauss say anything about it?
Croqueta's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
192 views

How and why was catastrophe theory brought to its knees?

How applications of catastrophe theory outside mathematics stalled the theory, and why? I know that the theory had its fair share of popularity during the 1970s, with many distinguished mathematicians ...
Prelude's user avatar
  • 201
0 votes
0 answers
45 views

From a Logical Point of View quote, 2nd and 1st editions

I have access to the quote The analogy between the myth of mathematics and the myth of physics is, in some additional and perhaps fortuitous ways, strikingly close. Consider, for example, the crisis ...
Frode Alfson Bjørdal's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
2k views

Use of eigenvalues of operators in quantum mechanics

My very basic understanding of Quantum Mechanics and its history is that first, some physical quantities were thought to be continuous but experiments showed that they only took discrete values. My ...
Weier's user avatar
  • 379
5 votes
1 answer
114 views

What did Quine say on paradox and physics?

I remember that Willard van Orman Quine wrote something to the effect that physics may be paradoxical, in similar ways as naive set theory is paradoxical. May someone help find the quote? Edit 1 - A ...
Frode Alfson Bjørdal's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
65 views

Why is the Bondi-Van der Burg-Metzner-Sachs group often called only Bondi-Metzner-Sachs group?

In general relativity, the Bondi-Van der Burg-Metzner-Sachs (BMS) group is the group of symmetries of future null infinity. To the best of my knowledge, it originated in the works of Bondi, Van der ...
Níckolas Alves's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
54 views

Correct citation of “The method of successive approximation for functional equations” by L. Kantorovich, Leningrad, 1939?

The citation we get from http://projecteuclid.org/journals/acta-mathematica/volume-71/issue-none/The-method-of-successive-approximation-for-functional-equations/10.1007/BF02547750.full says ...
AlMa1r's user avatar
  • 101
4 votes
1 answer
131 views

Who wrote the equation $c=\lambda\nu$ for the first time?

I could not find who wrote the equation $c=\lambda\nu$ for the first time. Neither I found a name for this equation. A user from Physics forum thinks it is too obvious for anyone familiar with ...
Pierpaolo Testavuota's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
971 views

What was Pierre-Simon Laplace's reaction to Young's double slit experiment?

Laplace gave the theory of bodies so heavy that they would not let even light escape. This theory needs light to have a mass and hence is compatible with the corpuscular theory. So how did Laplace ...
Parsec's user avatar
  • 23
3 votes
0 answers
99 views

Which scientist had hard time shortening his paper?

A couple of years ago I read an anecdote (amounting to a few sentences, very similar to this very paragraph) about a prominent scientist (most likely a mathematician or a physicist) who submitted a ...
Leon's user avatar
  • 131
1 vote
0 answers
124 views

Are there alternatives functions for the gamma function that was used as generalisation for the factorials?

I asked this question on MSE here $$\Gamma(x)= \int_0^ \infty e^{-t}t^{x-1}dt \ \ \ \ \ x>0. $$ Bohr and Mollerup showed that the gamma function is the only positive function $f$ defined on $...
pie's user avatar
  • 263
1 vote
1 answer
73 views

Which people are considered to be the founders of Projective Geometry?

What were the fundamental principles and ideas of projective geometry that made people consider it groundbreaking and separates it from the rest of the geometry? I would love to learn about a good ...
Nate's user avatar
  • 11
2 votes
0 answers
73 views

Who discovered that the Lanczos method can only calculate extremal eigenvalues of large matrices?

The Lanczos tri-diagonalization process is widely or even routinely used today. It is said that it is useful for obtaining the extremal eigenvalues, but useless for medium eigenvalues. But who ...
poisson's user avatar
  • 407
5 votes
1 answer
113 views

Did the ancients know how to construct a correct klepsydra?

The klepsydra is a water clock consisting of a vessel with a hole at the bottom. The height of the water level is used to measure time. For this level to be proportional to time, the vessel has to ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
84 views

Where does Oliver Heaviside fit in the ranks of physicists/mathematicians? [closed]

It seems to me that he was able to reformulate Maxwell's equations in a more understandable form and in fact come up with vector calculus without finishing high school would arguably cause him to be ...
releseabe's user avatar
  • 1,173
0 votes
0 answers
82 views

Which mathematical concepts do not have any obvious origin outside mathematics?

Some mathematical concepts, such as that of number and that of geometrical figure, presumably originate from pre-existing notions already used by at least some non-mathematicians. Others seem to have ...
Speakpigeon's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
71 views

Origin of Einstein quote "Quantum mechanics: Real Black Magic Calculus"

The description of the 1993 English translation of The Quantum Dice, by Ponomarev and Kurchatov, as well as one of the quotes for chapter 2 of Quantum Computation and Quantum Information, by Nielsen ...
elutionary's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
82 views

What was the first human gene sequenced/annotated?

The Human Genome Project was famously declared complete in 2003, and to date there are 6000 genes discovered/annotated. What was the first one discovered and annotated?
imrobert's user avatar
  • 175
2 votes
0 answers
35 views

Why are the terms electrophile/nucleophile used? Are they not identical to Lewis acids/bases?

My understanding is that the above pairs of terms are identical in definition, indicating acceptors/donors of an electron pair. So, why are both used?
imrobert's user avatar
  • 175
1 vote
1 answer
121 views

F = ma -- How was did we come to understand that this compact form expressed what Newton said in words?

My understanding is, Newton in the 17th century did not use this formula but rather said, in words basically that if you apply a force it will cause a mass to accelerate in the direction of that force....
releseabe's user avatar
  • 1,173
6 votes
1 answer
1k views

How come there is no portrait of Legendre?

Besides the famous cartoon, of course, there seems to be no portrait of Legendre. Legendre is well regarded nowadays and he was also quite influential at his time, for example, Jacobi and Abel praised ...
Croqueta's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
55 views

References for converting old units to new units

I am currently looking for references on books that deal with the conversion of old units to new units. I am particularly interested in books that actually have tables of conversion because I need to ...
Lucas Nardi's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
72 views

Who did introduce homomorphism concept for the first time?

I read that: "The term "homomorphism" appeared as early as 1892, when it was attributed to the German mathematician Felix Klein (1849–1925). Homomorphisms of vector spaces are also ...
Iman Mosleh's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
37 views

Why did Kronecker say "the integers are the work of God, the rest is the work of man"? [duplicate]

To me, it seems no number is the work of God, they are all concepts of the mind. However, it seems negative numbers are more artificial than the rest of the numbers out there. So why did he describe ...
Demon's user avatar
  • 63
3 votes
1 answer
67 views

When did they start requiring holotypes for species description?

I know they weren't required in the early 1800s but obviously they are now so just wondering when this started being required and/or who coined holotype. Internet research yielded no good answers.
imrobert's user avatar
  • 175
3 votes
1 answer
170 views

How did Gauss determine the number of primes?

In Brian Conrey's article on Riemann's hypothesis, one reads in the very beginning: On Christmas Eve 1849 Gauss wrote a letter to his former student Encke in which he described his thoughts about the ...
Hans-Peter Stricker's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
173 views

How did Azumaya come up with the Nakayama lemma?

Thanks to Conifold and Chris Leary's comments, I learned that the Nakayama lemma was not first created by a mathematician named Nakayama, but that mathematicians named Azumaya and Krull first created ...
user1274233's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
62 views

Reference to a comment by Arthur C. Clarke

In one of his non-fiction works, probably "Mysterious World" or "World of Strange Powers", Arthur C. Clarke tells an anecdote about an astronomers' expedition to Africa (if I ...
Igor F.'s user avatar
  • 21
18 votes
1 answer
2k views

Emmy Noether's announcement in 1932 ICM

I read a book "a history of abstract algebra"- chapter 6 by Israel Kleiner. And in this book, it is said that Emmy Noether gave a presentation at the ICM congress held in Zurich in 1932, ...
user1274233's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
52 views

Did Democritus predict atoms using sharp phase transitions

In the Wikipedia page for the Ising Model it is written without citations: One of Democritus' arguments in support of atomism was that atoms naturally explain the sharp phase boundaries observed in ...
Diana's user avatar
  • 21
0 votes
1 answer
62 views

Is there a resource about integer constructions and motivations?

I have an assignment about the foundations of mathematics. I am trying to compile a list where I get common construction of integers and a small writing about the constructor and their explanation. ...
Fraser James's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
37 views

References on the history of electromagnetism

I am looking for complete and trustable references on the history of electromagnetism. Does anyone have some good recommendations?
Léo Vacher's user avatar
13 votes
5 answers
5k views

Great battles in the history of mathematics

Could someone list me the most important battles between mathematicians which happened in history, especially such that strong emotions played role in that time? Perhaps the most known one is the ...
Widawensen's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
47 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
30 views

History of Kronecker's Divisorentheorie

I saw André Weil's Weil divisor. So I became curious about the history of the divisor. However, when I searched the history of divisor, I found that Leopold Kronecker announced the beginning of the ...
pokssin's user avatar
  • 309
2 votes
1 answer
343 views

Isn't Descartes' account of refraction wrong?

In his account of refraction, which can be found for example here, Descartes compares it with the motion of a tennis ball. He says that going into a denser medium must reduce the total speed, while ...
thedude's user avatar
  • 121
3 votes
4 answers
150 views

Translated articles of Fatou and Julia

Is there any English translation of the 1918-1920 Memoirs of Fatou and Julia on the iteration of rational functions?
Prelude's user avatar
  • 201
0 votes
1 answer
51 views

The Sun's direction of rotation in the geocentric model [closed]

In what direction does the Sun rotate in the geocentric model? It seems to me that this should rotate in a clockwise direction around Earth (as seen from the north pole), but all the illustrations I'...
Adrien Hingert's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
152 views

When were negative numbers fully accepted into mathematics?

Dedekind gave a construction and explanation of integers and rational in 1858. This was as ordered pairs of natural numbers. I'm not sure if this was the standard view of these objects after this ...
Demon's user avatar
  • 63
3 votes
0 answers
55 views

What can I read to learn the history of multivariable calculus?

People have been doing calculus of several variables since well before the concepts of vectors, matrices, and linear algebra were formalized. Where can I learn about the development of multivariable ...
Dominic Stewart-Guido's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
38 views

History of Observational "Nowruz" (Iranian New Year)

The Iranian New Year unlike most other cultural celebrations of our planet completing a trip around the sun is exact and observational, I am curious exactly when the observational nature of the ...
Bertrand Einstein IV's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
31 views

Did Heinrich Weber have a structural approach to mathematics similar to Dedekind?

So I was reading a History of Mathematics by Katz, and noticed that the first definition of a field came from Weber, who had previously done extensive joint work with Dedekind. His definition was used ...
Demon's user avatar
  • 63
1 vote
1 answer
57 views

Did Dedekind's work directly influence the work of Hilbert?

I am wondering if Dedekind's theory about the structure of deductive science influenced the work of Hilbert. Hilbert obviously favored axioms at the beginnings of a deductive science, whereas Dedekind ...
Demon's user avatar
  • 63
2 votes
1 answer
109 views

History of doubly periodic functions

I am curious about the origin and history of the doubly periodic function. I was looking for the Eisenstein series, and the Eisenstein series is one of the representative examples of a doubly ...
user1274233's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
281 views

Origin of modern definition of a function as a graph

In the past, I came across a very elegant direct definition (below) of a function, which is based on the fundamental concepts of triples, pairs, and sets. However, I find it difficult to search the ...
Kamil Kiełczewski's user avatar

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