Questions tagged [biographical-details]

For questions about the lives of historical Scientists or Mathematicians

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9 answers
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Works of scientists, philosophers and mathematicians that (re)surfaced after a long time

Sometimes, for one reason or the other, the works of scholars get lost. In some cases, they're lost forever. This happened to many books during the fire of the library of Alexandria, for instance. ...
Max Muller's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
441 views

Who was the inventor of the 18-electron rule?

According to Wikipedia, the first person who proposed 18-electron rule was American chemist Irving Langmuir, but the rule is widely known by the name Sidgwick's rule. I cannot find any information ...
Seiji's user avatar
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3 answers
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Who are some scientists that were convicted for non-war non-political crimes?

I discovered that John Robert Schrieffer (Nobel Prize in Physics 1972 for superconductivity theory) was in prison after a tragic car accident (1 person died, 7 were injured) where he was driving ...
Mauricio's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
553 views

How do we know Hennig Brand's name?

The story of Hennig Brand discovering the element phosphorous is often repeated without citation, and there doesn't seem to be much scholarship about Brand in particular (although the history of the ...
Sam Gallagher's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
993 views

Did Caroline Herschel know about the discovery of Neptune?

I was reading about the discovery of Neptune when I realised that Caroline Herschel was still alive at the time. Neptune was discovered in September 1846. Caroline died in January 1848, more than a ...
Krishna's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
172 views

How did Emmy Noether become interested in abstract algebra?

Emmy Noether was initially interested in invariant theory. But how did she become interested in abstract algebra? And why did she become particularly interested in ring and ideal theory?
pokssin's user avatar
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25 votes
8 answers
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What scientists and mathematicians were afraid to publish their findings?

Background I am interested in scientists and mathematicians that were afraid to publish their findings during their lifetime, and to what degree such fears hinder scientific progress. So far, I've ...
Max Muller's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
135 views

Is there a comprehensive list of Ancient Greek mathematical writings?

Much of the Ancient Greek's mathematical philosophy texts have survived from antiquity and passed to modern times. Also, texts previously thought to be lost are being occasionally rediscovered (...
0-1's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
439 views

Was Gottlob Frege hospitalized by Russell's Paradox?

After receiving the infamous letter from Bertrand Russell, Gottlob Frege allegedly had a mental breakdown and had to be hospitalized. I've seen various informal references to this, such as: Russell's ...
Ray Butterworth's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
275 views

Was Isaac Newton left handed?

I started to see lists of left-handed scientists and Newton is included in all of them. I checked Westfall but could not find the answer. Are there any proofs that he was left handed? I've seen ...
zeynel's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
115 views

Was Martin Packard of Varian Associates related to David Packard of Hewlett-Packard?

I came across an entry for the Proceedings of the American Physical Society which was published in Phys. Rev. volume 93 page 939 (1954) under the heading "Minutes of the Stanford Meeting December ...
Bryan Hanson's user avatar
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0 answers
163 views

Grothendieck's complete absorption in mathematical research

I have recently been interested in the history of French Mathematics especially in Grothendieck and his school. I have also been fascinated with Grothendieck's personality. It is known that during ...
Luqman Waheeduddin's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
888 views

Who was J. M. Gandhi?

I am looking for more information about J. M. Gandhi who is the creator of Gandhi polynomials. A MathSciNet search finds only one J. M. Gandhi with 35 publications in Number Theory, 3 in Combinatorics,...
Somos's user avatar
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0 answers
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Who is the artist who depicted Tartaglia?

I mentioned in a previous question that I'm writing a young adult novel that explores the discovery of complex numbers. I might want to include an illustration of Tartaglia. All of the illustrations ...
Sue VanHattum's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
448 views

Who was Hans J. Maehly?

During some recent work on the computation of the inverse Langevin function I ran into trouble trying to generate a highly-accurate minimax rational approximation with a variant of the Remez algorithm,...
njuffa's user avatar
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3 votes
7 answers
557 views

Examples of flattering comments from a famous scientist concerning a young colleague

I want to know examples of very flattering comments from famous scientists or mathematicians concerning younger colleagues. Here's an example of what I have in mind (I shall provide more as an answer):...
José Carlos Santos's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
137 views

Did Skolem have any siblings?

The biographies of Thoralf Skolem focus on his scientific achievements. I could not find any data regarding whether he was an only child or had siblings.
user1868607's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
134 views

Who was William Hooper, eponym of "Hooper's Paradox"?

"Hooper's Paradox" is the name given by Martin Gardner (in his Mathematics, Magic and Mystery of 1956) to the apparent paradox that you can apparently dissect a $3 \times 10$ rectangle into ...
Prime Mover's user avatar
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2 answers
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What's the name of P C Gilmore?

I have several times come across the name P C Gilmore, and even made use of a publication by her, or him, viz. "The consistency of partial set theory without extensionality", which was ...
Frode Alfson Bjørdal's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
239 views

Motivating several of Gauss's suggestions for prize problems in the years 1830, 1834

P. 220-221 of volume 12 of Gauss's werke contain a complete list of the prize problems which Gauss suggested to the Goettingen university in the years 1830, 1834, 1842 and 1849. Those prize problems ...
user2554's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
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Is Koestler's ‘The Sleepwalkers’ still well regarded? Is there a more recent similar source?

Arthur Koestler's The Sleepwalkers is well-known as both a group biography of Copernicus, Brahe, Kepler and Galileo and an account of the revolutionary turn in astronomy that, in Koestler's phrasing, ...
Norman Gray's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
200 views

Why did Einstein's teacher say that Einstein's presence alone undermined his authority?

Based on the excellent answer from @njuffa in the post Is it true that Albert Einstein was kicked out of high school due to his "peacefulness"? there is a quote from what the "home-room ...
Brain's user avatar
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22 votes
1 answer
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Is it true that Albert Einstein was kicked out of high school due to his "peacefulness"?

In an interview I recently saw with Joseph Agassi he said that: ...The teachers that kicked him out asked that it be written in his [Einstein's] report card that they have no complaint against him. ...
Amit's user avatar
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5 votes
0 answers
187 views

On Bryce Seligman DeWitt's Name Change

Weinberg, in his memoir on Bryce Seligman DeWitt (available at https://www.nasonline.org/publications/biographical-memoirs/memoir-pdfs/dewitt-bryce.pdf) states that In 1950 two major but totally ...
Alp Uzman's user avatar
  • 347
1 vote
3 answers
189 views

Biographical info on Alan Earnshaw (Chemistry of the Elements)

I'm looking for any bio/info/obit on Alan Earnshaw, who was a co-author of Norman Greenwood (who has a wiki page and an online obit). FYI, I tried several different Google searches, but the best I ...
guest's user avatar
  • 13
2 votes
1 answer
295 views

Has Penrose ever acknowledged criticism of the Penrose-Lucas argument?

So, Roger Penrose is a bright guy, I mean, he won the Nobel Prize, but the Penrose-Lucas argument that the human mind is a hypercomputer based on Godel's Second Incompleteness Theorem is laughably bad....
Thomas Anton's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
75 views

Biographical details on Otto Zoll

Zoll's surfaces are a special kind of surfaces generalizing the spheres, in that all of their geodesics are closed and of the same length. I've tried to gather some biographical details on Otto Zoll ...
Nicola Ciccoli's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
2k views

Inscriptions on Newton's tomb

Whiteside in "The Mathematical Principles underlying Newton's Principia Mathematica" wrote .. if we can give credence to an account in The Postboy of 12 April 1731, his tomb in Westminster ...
Tom Copeland's user avatar
5 votes
6 answers
753 views

Are there any well known mathematicians who were fascists?

I only recently learned that Pascual Jordan, a well known physicist, with significant contributions to the development of early quantum mechanics was a paid up member of the Nazi Party. He in fact ...
Mozibur Ullah's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
1k views

Did John von Neumann solve any unsolved problem in mathematics?

I have searched and examined legendary stories of the problem-solving skills of von Neumann in mathematics. With George Polya With Dantzig Maybe there are other stories showing that he is a great ...
SG Kwon's user avatar
  • 31
5 votes
1 answer
133 views

Who is/was R. Alter, who reported 1375298099 can be expressed as the sum of 3 fifth powers in 2 different ways?

David Wells, in his entertaining but non-scholarly Curious and Interesting Numbers (1986, 2 ed. 1997) reports that the positive integer $1 \, 375 \, 298 \, 099$ can be expressed as the sum of $3$ ...
Prime Mover's user avatar
  • 1,237
4 votes
1 answer
211 views

Who was A.M. Nesbitt, the eponym of Nesbitts Inequality?

Nesbitt's Inequality can be found all over the internet: $$\frac{a}{b+c}+\frac{b}{a+c}+\frac{c}{a+b}\geq\frac{3}{2}$$ This appears to have been first published in 1902 in Education Times, by A.M. ...
Prime Mover's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
498 views

Who was Antoine Appert, the eponym of the Appert Topology and Appert Space?

Antoine Appert is mentioned in the bibliography of Steen & Seebach's Counterexamples in Topology, but miscited as "Q. Appert". Haven't a clue what Q would stand for so assuming this is a ...
Prime Mover's user avatar
  • 1,237
0 votes
0 answers
95 views

What is/are Trinity bowls?

In his forward to Hardy's Apology, C. P. Snow remarks that after his (Hardy's) 1939 heart attack, Hardy "recovered enough ... to play his pleasing elaboration (with a complicated set of bisques) ...
Chris Leary's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
2k views

What is the origin of the negation ( ¬ ) operator from logic?

I'm curious as to what the rationale was, and who the idea occurred to, for the ¬ symbol. I'll grant that more common mathematical symbols like +, −, × and ÷ are also likely unknown, but they seem to ...
Michael Macha's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
253 views

Who is or was Stephen Barr, author of Experiments in Topology?

This concerns the Stephen Barr who wrote Experiments in Topology in 1964, available from Dover Publications. All I know about him is: He wrote the above book. He was a friend and possibly colleague ...
Prime Mover's user avatar
  • 1,237
8 votes
2 answers
1k views

Who was N.M. Stephens who refuted the Stronger Feit-Thompson Conjecture?

The Stronger Feit-Thompson conjecture states that: There exist no distinct prime numbers $p$ and $q$ such that: $\dfrac {p^q - 1} {p - 1}$ and $\dfrac {q^p - 1} {q - 1}$ are not coprime. This was ...
Prime Mover's user avatar
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15 votes
3 answers
2k views

Who was Richard Thompson?

There is family of famous groups with unusual group-theoretic properties due to a mathematician called Richard Thompson that are widely studied in group theory. The papers on these groups and the ...
Anthony Quas's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
99 views

Who is Robert H. Cowen, the eponym of Cowen's Lemma?

Context: I have arrived at Section $7$ of chapter $4$ of Smullyan and Fitting's Set Theory and the Continuum Problem during my ongoing self-study odyssey. This section raises and proves Cowen's ...
Prime Mover's user avatar
  • 1,237
2 votes
0 answers
148 views

Is C.S Peirce really an independent co-discoverer of the first-order logic?

According to this article copies of Frege's Begriffsschrift were both present during the early 1880s (before Peirce published his works on first-order logic) at the Johns Hopkins University, where ...
GEP's user avatar
  • 1,515
1 vote
0 answers
140 views

Who was G. H. Hardy's Tripos coach?

There is conflicting opinion as to who was Hardy's Tripos coach. The Wikipedia page on Hardy claims it was R. A. Herman, a claim that appears to be backed up by Leonard Roth in his article "Old ...
Chris Leary's user avatar
11 votes
2 answers
624 views

Who was D.A. Millin, the eponym of the Millin Series?

The Millin series is defined as: $$\sum_{n \mathop = 0}^\infty \frac 1 {F_{2^n} }$$ where $F_n$ denotes the $n$th Fibonacci number. It can be shown to equal $\dfrac {7 - \sqrt 5} 2$. But who was the D....
Prime Mover's user avatar
  • 1,237
0 votes
0 answers
110 views

Cantor's later life

I saw this on Wikipedia: In June 1917, he entered a sanatorium for the last time and continually wrote to his wife asking to be allowed to go home. Georg Cantor had a fatal heart attack on January 6, ...
183orbco3's user avatar
  • 101
3 votes
1 answer
496 views

Who was E. Midy, the eponym of Midy's Theorem?

I have just become aware of the 19th century French mathematician E. Midy, who apparently was the first to prove what is now known as Midy's theorem. I can find out nothing about this mathematician ...
Prime Mover's user avatar
  • 1,237
3 votes
1 answer
481 views

Grothendieck and Fields medal 1962

We can read as a mathunion excerpt that Grothendieck won the Fields medal in 1966 Built on work of Weil and Zariski and effected fundamental advances in algebraic geometry. He introduced the idea of ...
user234212323's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
162 views

Biographical details for Paul Wernicke

Paul Wernicke, the eponym of Wernicke's Theorem , discovered during his investigations into the Four Color Theorem. I understand he was born somewhere in the German sphere of influence (i.e. could ...
Prime Mover's user avatar
  • 1,237
2 votes
1 answer
287 views

Was Kolmorogov really inspired to publish Foundations of the theory of probability because he needed money to repair his dacha?

Background It is well known that Kolmogorov published in 1933 his ground-breaking work on probability theory Grundbegriffe der Wahrscheinlichkeitsrechnung usually known to English speakers as ...
mdewey's user avatar
  • 586
0 votes
1 answer
82 views

"Political Events" in the Preface to the Second Edition of Spivak's Comprehensive Introduction Volume 2

In the Preface to the second edition to Spivak's A Comprehensive Introduction to Differential Geometry, Vol. 2, on p.vii says: The material in this Volume covers about what I would have completed in ...
Alp Uzman's user avatar
  • 347
7 votes
2 answers
5k views

Did Feynman win the Putnam by a "large margin"?

From James Gleick's Genius: the life and science of Richard Feynman: One of Feynman’s fraternity brothers was surprised to see him return home while the examination was still going on. Feynman ...
theicfire's user avatar
  • 231
0 votes
0 answers
53 views

What date is assigned to Hippocratic treatises "On Generation" and "On the Nature of the Child"?

On the nature of the Child is quoted by Galen in his Book "On Semen". I want to know what date is given to these two books, especially "On Generation"?
Abhishek Yadav's user avatar

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