89 votes
Accepted

What famous theorems or results were proven by female mathematicians?

See at least Emmy Noether : was a German mathematician known for her contributions to abstract algebra and theoretical physics. She was described by Pavel Alexandrov, Albert Einstein, Jean ...
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76 votes
Accepted

What evidence is there that Fermat had a proof for his Last Theorem?

The other answer is correct. In addition, there is significant evidence that Fermat did not have a proof of the theorem now known as Fermat's Last Theorem. First, we should note that Fermat was not a ...
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  • 2,732
57 votes

Examples of when the professional scientists or mathematicians were wrong, but the nonprofessionals were right

It seems ball lightning was disbelieved by scientists until around 1960. See Wikipedia . I knew a geologist who told us how his eye-witness account of ball lightning had been ridiculed. He had ...
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  • 8,242
51 votes

Examples of when the professional scientists or mathematicians were wrong, but the nonprofessionals were right

In 1726's Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift mocked the learned scientists of Britain for not having solved the Longitude problem: Figure out a way to keep track of one's east-west location to within ...
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  • 627
50 votes

Which mathematicians died very young or in a tragic way?

Maryam Mirzakhani, the first Iranian and first woman to win the Fields medal, died of breast cancer in July 2017. She was only 40 years of age.
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44 votes

What famous theorems or results were proven by female mathematicians?

Perhaps because of its youth, the mathematical end of Computer Science has several notable women in its history. Sheila Greibach was a pioneer in the field of formal language theory, particularly in ...
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  • 611
44 votes

Which mathematicians died very young or in a tragic way?

Évariste Galois (1811 - 1832), aged 20, was killed in a duel. He is known for Galois theory and he wrote his most notable results down in the night before the duel. You can also find more information ...
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  • 2,852
41 votes
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What motivated Cantor to invent set theory?

An immediate motivation of Cantor to work on what became set theory was his earlier work on trigonometric series. To solve a problem in that domain he considered the set (a closed set) of zeros of ...
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  • 1,411
37 votes

Which mathematicians died very young or in a tragic way?

Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887 - 1920) died at the age of $32$, according to Wikipedia the cause was: A 1994 analysis of Ramanujan's medical records and symptoms by Dr. D.A.B. Young concluded that it ...
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36 votes
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How was Lagrange appointed professor of mathematics so early?

Lagrange enrolled to the university at the age of 14, to study law. But he quickly switched to mathematics. According to his biography, his mother was surprised when the French ambassador presented ...
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34 votes
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Story of a student who solves an open problem

That's John von Neumann, about whom George Pólya wrote: There was a seminar for advanced students in Zürich that I was teaching and von Neumann was in the class. I came to a certain theorem, and I ...
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33 votes
Accepted

Is the story about Fermat's writing on a margin true?

Yes, it is true. Fermat's own copy was used in the publication of Diophantus by Fermat's son Samuel, and he included Fermat's notes. The original with Fermat's handwriting is lost. https://www.joh.cam....
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32 votes

What evidence is there that Fermat had a proof for his Last Theorem?

There is no way that Fermat could have had anything approaching the now commonly-accepted proof. Almost none of the concepts in that proof were known in any form in Fermat's time. Further, Fermat is ...
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  • 653
32 votes

Which mathematicians died very young or in a tragic way?

Bernhard Riemann (1826–1866) died at the age of 39. Paraphrasing the following from Wikipedia: The son of a poor pastor, he enrolled at age 19 at the University of Göttingen to obtain a degree in ...
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31 votes

What famous theorems or results were proven by female mathematicians?

There is Sophie Germain's theorem, a theorem in number theory, related to Fermat's last theorem and proved by the French mathematician Sophie Germain (1776-1831).
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31 votes

Examples of when the professional scientists or mathematicians were wrong, but the nonprofessionals were right

This isn't a topic I'm familiar with, just something I've read on Quanta, but according to this article, Richard Kershner of Johns Hopkins claimed to have a complete classification of convex pentagon ...
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30 votes
Accepted

How did Ramanujan learn to do mathematics?

First hand testimony and insightful thoughts on Ramanujan's background and way of doing mathematics can be found in Hardy's lecture Indian Mathematician Ramanujan. Hardy is the British mathematician ...
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  • 65.8k
30 votes

What famous theorems or results were proven by female mathematicians?

There is the work by Ada Lovelace. In the annotations, which were called "Notes", Ada Lovelace described how the analytical engine could be programmed and gave what many consider to be the first ...
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  • 432
30 votes
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What does it mean by "d-ism of Leibniz" and "dotage of Newton" in simple English?

It is a play of words by Charles Babbage. Deism was a religious belief or rather a movement promoting the idea that God exists but it does not interfere with whatever happens in this world. This old ...
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  • 2,971
29 votes
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Did Gauss find the formula for $1+2+3+\ldots+(n-2)+(n-1)+n$ in elementary school?

According to an American Scientist article (Gauss' day of reckoning by Brian Hayes, Volume 94 p. 200) mentioned in the comments, the original source for this story, or at least a story very similar to ...
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  • 3,019
28 votes

Examples of when the professional scientists or mathematicians were wrong, but the nonprofessionals were right

I think a famous example is the Monty Hall problem` https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monty_Hall_problem about switching doors. The problem was answered correctly by Marilyn vos Savant, but she got ...
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  • 389
28 votes
Accepted

Did president Garfield make any contributions to Mathematics?

No. The library of Congress has a well-organized website of Garfield's papers, and he did not publish anything on mathematics other than that one note on the Pythagorean theorem in April 1, 1876 issue ...
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  • 65.8k
26 votes
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Who introduced the Principle of Mathematical Induction for the first time?

The issue is thorny ... According to Morris Kline, Mathematical Thought from Ancient to Modern Time. Volume I (1972), page 272 [only entry of the Subject Index regarding : mathematical Induction] : ...
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26 votes
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Was Kolmogorov enraged after learning about the Karatsuba multiplication algorithm?

Karatsuba's own report can be found in his 1995 paper Сложность вычислений (Complexity of computations). The phrasing he uses is "сильно взволновалo", which Google does translate as "...
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  • 65.8k
26 votes
Accepted

Which mathematician traveled to and moved in with each collaborator?

The man is Paul Erdős. As pointed out by the OP in the comments, his "nomadic" lifestyle is briefly mentioned in the Brown Numbers - Numberphile video, 3.05-3.30. It is also concisely ...
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  • 65.8k
25 votes
Accepted

Did Abraham De Moivre really predict his own death?

This is a common claim which has been repeated enough times that one can find many sources claiming it to be true. However, this doesn't seem to be corroborated by accounts of the time or serious ...
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  • 2,732
25 votes

Which mathematicians died very young or in a tragic way?

Eugenio Elia Levi (1883-1917), the one of Levi decomposition in Lie algebras, was killed in action during WWI to which he participated as a volunteer. It is often said that his early death played a ...
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25 votes

Which mathematicians died very young or in a tragic way?

Yutaka Taniyama was a notable Japanese mathematician known for the Taniyama–Shimura or Taniyama–Shimura–Weil conjecture now referred to as the Modularity theorem which "states that elliptic ...
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  • 1,942

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