23 votes
Accepted

How did scientists plot complicated graphs in the 19th century?

I do not know how exactly was this picture made, but there are at least two methods. The first one is to compute this potential (which is not too difficult), plot sufficiently many points and connect ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
20 votes

Is Kline right that Cauchy believed that continuous functions must be differentiable?

I do not believe Cauchy wrote anything explicit concerning the extent to which we can deduce differentiability from continuity. However, in many places it seems that Cauchy assumes continuity and then ...
Dave L Renfro's user avatar
18 votes

How did scientists plot complicated graphs in the 19th century?

Adding to Alexandre's answer. My father, educated in the 1930s, used a set of "French curves" like this Secondly ... perhaps the picture in the post was not drawn by Maxwell himself, but by a ...
Gerald Edgar's user avatar
  • 10.3k
12 votes
Accepted

Who was Paul Gerwien?

I have not been able to find any primary sources that confirm that Gerwien's first name was Paul. Gerwien published three papers in Crelle's "Journal für die reine und angewandte Mathematik",...
njuffa's user avatar
  • 6,516
11 votes
Accepted

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

Apparently, Cauchy did not even forget or lose at least the papers of Galois. This is yet another example of how E.T. Bell and his Men of Mathematics, for all its literary virtues, are unreliable ...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 76k
11 votes
Accepted

Source of a Poincaré quote: "Logic sometimes makes monsters..."

McTutor most likely took the passage from Kline's Mathematical Thought From Ancient to Modern Times, v.3, p.973, they reproduced his translation verbatim. Kline references Poincare's essay Dans la ...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 76k
10 votes

Is Kline right that Cauchy believed that continuous functions must be differentiable?

Many mathematicians did believe that continuous functions are mostly differentiable (except for some isolated points perhaps) until Weierstrass made a splash by publishing an example of a nowhere ...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 76k
8 votes
Accepted

Who was Fleury? And what was his first name?

A Google scan of Fleury's article "Deux problèmes de géométrie de situation" can be found here, and identifies the author as "M. Fleury, chef d'institution", where "M." ...
njuffa's user avatar
  • 6,516
8 votes

Why was Évariste Galois killed?

The same Galois gives two different reasons for the duel in its two last letters: In the "Letter to all Republicans": I beg patriots and my friends not to reproach me for dying otherwise than for my ...
Martín-Blas Pérez Pinilla's user avatar
7 votes

Seeking numbers of German mathematics professors in 1890

A relevant source to find answers to this questions is the book (out of print in Germany): [Ferber 1956] Christian von Ferber: Die Entwicklung des Lehrkörpers der deutschen Universitäten und ...
Peter Heinig's user avatar
6 votes

How did Meyer know atomic volumes to plot them just before Mendeleev's periodic table?

Good question. I had to look up his original paper which is freely available on Google Books and Hathi Trust. The paper is "Die Natur der chemischen Elemente als Function ihrer Atomgewichte; von ...
AChem's user avatar
  • 4,034
6 votes

Why was Évariste Galois killed?

My copy of Laura Toti Rigatelli's biography of Galois (Vita Mathematica, Volume 11), gives the following account of Galois's end in Section 4, "To Louis-Philippe!" and Section 5, "A ...
Rivers McForge's user avatar
6 votes

Does anybody know the history of how Peter Gustav Lejeune Dirichlet came up with the “nowhere continuous” Dirichlet function?

Page 169 of his 1829 paper. It arises as the simplest example of a function for which his proof of Fourier’s theorem fails (because it’s not integrable): It would remain for us to consider the ...
Francois Ziegler's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

Seeking numbers of German mathematics professors in 1890

I recommend the authoritative volume "Das Studium der Mathematik an den deutschen Universitäten seit Anfang des 19. Jahrhunderts" by Wilhelm Lorey, published in 1916. This digitalized edition can be ...
Jan Peter Schäfermeyer's user avatar
5 votes

Biography of Galois in English

You can see : Laura Toti Rigatelli, Evariste Galois 1811–1832 (1996). See also : Peter M. Neumann (editor), The Mathematical Writings of Évariste Galois (2011); there is a general Introduction as ...
Mauro ALLEGRANZA's user avatar
5 votes

History of PDE's in the 19th Century

It belonged to both. For example, the most important work on PDE in 19th century was arguably Fourier's Analytic theory of heat. You don't have to read the book, to conclude that this was applied ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
5 votes

Why did pre-17th century mathematics mostly come from Italy but later mathematics came from France, Germany and England?

Analysis got a head start in the work of Italian indivisibilists Cavalieri, Torricelli, degli Angeli, and others. However, the budding analysis was viewed with disfavor by some in the Catholic ...
Mikhail Katz's user avatar
  • 5,772
5 votes

Is Kline right that Cauchy believed that continuous functions must be differentiable?

New edition See: Frank Smithies, Cauchy and the creation of complex function theory (1997), page 188: [Cauchy] first contemplates the possibility that a continuous function may fail to have a ...
Mauro ALLEGRANZA's user avatar
5 votes

What was the first "scientific", non-photographic depiction of Earth as seen from outside of Earth?

I don't know, but Images of earth from outside had been made for more than 500 years. A globe of the Earth would seem to count as a "depiction of any kind". The sphericity of the Earth was ...
M.A. Golding's user avatar
  • 1,288
5 votes

Was Fourier inspired by Ptolemy?

Fourier was not inspired by Ptolemy or by mechanics. His work where he developed Fourier series and invented Fourier transform was about heat. He never mentions Ptolemy (or any astronomer). The ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

How accurate was the measurement of the period of Earth's orbit in the 19th Century?

Astronomer Norman Lockyer published The Meteoritic Hypothesis in 1890. By then the age of the Earth was known to be at least several hundred million years from geological evidence, and Darwin’s theory ...
gandalf61's user avatar
  • 436
4 votes

Is it true that Empress Elisabeth of Austria did math?

She didn't do any math. From my research about her, it seems that the user you are referring to is teasing the fact that her nickname was "Sisi" which looks similar to the integrand. I also ...
Kamal Saleh's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

When was "Faraday's Law of Induction" first expressed in a quantified form?

Faraday stated the law more quantitatively in the report titled On Lines of Magnetic Force read to the Royal Society in 1851. He does not specify the direction of the force (and he originally got it ...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 76k
3 votes

($\varepsilon$, $\delta$)-definition of limit by Weierstrass

The issue is that most of W's foundational works was unpublished or scattered into his lectures. See Pierre Dugac, Eléments d'analyse de Karl Weierstrass (AHES, 1973), Appendice II, page 119, with ...
Mauro ALLEGRANZA's user avatar
3 votes

Biography of Galois in English

The classical source is Leopold Infeld, Whom the gods love, https://www.amazon.com/Whom-Gods-Love-mathematics-education/dp/0873531256
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
3 votes

Source of a Poincaré quote: "Logic sometimes makes monsters..."

This text appears in Poincaré's 1909 Science et méthode, starting on p.132. I do not know if he published this passage earlier.
kimchi lover's user avatar
  • 2,555
2 votes

Why did pre-17th century mathematics mostly come from Italy but later mathematics came from France, Germany and England?

This does not apply only to mathematics, but to all ancient culture. It was almost completely forgotten in Europe, and then it was slowly recalled, in the process which is called Renaissance. So, the ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
2 votes

Does anybody know the history of how Peter Gustav Lejeune Dirichlet came up with the “nowhere continuous” Dirichlet function?

History of the modern definition of function is long and very complicated. It begins with a discussion between Euler, Bernoulli and d'Alembert related to what was later called Fourier series. The ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
2 votes

How accurate was the measurement of the period of Earth's orbit in the 19th Century?

Yes, 2 seconds per year decrease of the Earth's revolution period would be easily detected in the 19th century. This is based on the general principle of astronomy, which was used since time ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
2 votes
Accepted

Origin of the term "affixe"/"affix" in the geometric treatment of complex numbers

According to Eduard Study and Élie Cartan [1], it was Cauchy who introduced the term affixe in Sur la quantité géométrique $\mathrm{i} = 1_{\frac{\pi}{2}}$, et sur la réduction d'une quantité ...
Alexey's user avatar
  • 241

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