nwr
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Why didn't Euclid's Elements treat conic sections?
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11 votes

While Elements contains no reference to conic sections it does define angled cones, given as definition 18 of Book XI, and it examines some of their properties in Book XII. History identifies ...

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Why is the Digamma function always denoted with the letter "psi"?
2 votes

According to the French wikipedia page Fonction digamma, it was James Stirling (1730) who first introduced and studied the digamma function, denoting it with the Greek letter digamma (upper case) $\...

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Where can I find Descartes' account of the rainbow?
2 votes

Descartes Discourse on the Method was published with three additional essays: Dioptrics, Meteorology, Geometry. It is difficult to find a PDF of the original meteorology essay complete with its ...

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First use of the term/name "curved exponential family"?
1 votes

According to this paper on the Penn State site, page 5 (PDF page 7/22): The family of distributions $$P(Y=y) = exp\{ \eta(\theta)^tZ(y) - \psi[\eta(\theta)]\} , \theta \in R^q $$ is called the ...

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What did Lobachevsky do?
4 votes

When developing his geometry, Lobachevsky worked exclusively in the (Lobachevskian) plane. It was the Italian mathematician Beltrami who first showed that the geometry of (part of) the Lobachevskian ...

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How did Newton & Raphson's versions of the N-R method differ?
3 votes

According to Peter Deuflhard's A Short History of Newton's Method, Newton began by familiarising himself with the methods of Vieta, which had been simplified by Oughtred. (Vieta's method was already ...

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What did Farcas Bolyai write to his son?
5 votes

The wikiquote site gives the original quote from a letter of 4, April 1820: A parallelákat azon az útan ne próbáld: tudom én azt az utat is mind végig — megmértem azt a feneketlen éjszakát én, és ...

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Information about a statement of Zermelo required
3 votes

The quote is given in section 4.4.5 of Ebbinghaus, Peckhaus titled "The Justification Problem", where The Justification Problem is defined as: the necessity of justifying the existence of (infinite)...

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Stern-Gerlach: oven, or filament?
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7 votes

The following diagram of the original setup is from Stern's private slide collection and was included in Stern and Gerlach's 1924 paper Über die Richtungsquantelung im Magnetfeld. Annalen der Physik, ...

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Thomson's discovery of the electrical deflection of the cathode ray
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2 votes

From CambridgePhysics.org : The gas in Hertz's tube had become ionised by the electric field produced by the plates. The positive ions moved towards the negative plate and the negative ions towards ...

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Why didn't Einstein win a second Nobel Prize, for relativity?
13 votes

The time when experimental evidence supporting relativity began to appear coincided with the rise of antisemitism in Germany following Germany's defeat in WWI. Antisemitism was on the rise in Germany;...

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Who first wrote down $S^6$'s standard almost complex structure? And who first proved that it is not integrable?
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5 votes

According to this arxiv paper by Atiyah, existence and construction dates from 1947; non-integrability from 1951. Here is Atiyah's history: Ehresmann 1947: Introduced the notion of almost complex ...

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Origin of the latitude 36 of Eratosthenes
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4 votes

According to A Short History of Natural Science by Arabella Fisher: He laid down the parallel of latitude in the following manner. He knew that at all places on the equator the day was exactly the ...

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Are there any famous mathematicians who did regular physical workouts?
7 votes

Niels Bohr's brother, Harald Bohr, was a notable mathematician and football (soccer) player. Harald August Bohr (22 April 1887 – 22 January 1951) was a Danish mathematician and football player. ...

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How much contribution did John Nash make to proving Riemann Hypothesis?
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16 votes

Nash was known to have been captivated by RH at an early age after reading E.T. Bell's Men of Mathematics. He had confided in some friends and colleagues that he had an idea that might work involving ...

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When William Herschel discovered Uranus, who else at the time had a comparable telescope?
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4 votes

(Partial answer - and a bit long winded) Regarding comparable telescopes - source : The Herschel Objects and How to Observe Them, by James Mullaney. Herschel's telescopes far surpassed in both ...

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First use of litte $o_p$ (little $o$ in probability) notation?
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4 votes

From Earliest use of mathematical symbols: The convergence in probability symbol plim was introduced by H. B. Mann and A. Wald "On Stochastic Limit and Order Relationships," Annals of Mathematical ...

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Are there examples of influential scientific articles first rejected and later proved to be valid?
11 votes

As user njuffa has commented, my original answer was not strictly to the letter of the OP. Here are some other examples : Fermi's 1933 paper on the weak interaction. Gell-Mann's 1953 paper on the ...

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Which event involving Marie Curie is being referenced here?
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2 votes

Marie Curie died as a result of exposure to radiation. This was, in part, the result of her carrying test tubes of radium in her pockets while doing her research. Source International League of ...

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Inscriptions on a 16th century 3-dimensional permutahedron sundial?
3 votes

From the Museums in Florence site History of Science page, referring to a pair of panels comprising the Horary Quadrant (see below for description) of the Buonsignori sundial: The front of this ...

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Did the ancient Chinese know the earth is a sphere?
12 votes

There appear to be conflicting accounts of when the Chinese came to view the earth as spherical. Chinese sources might suggest the 11th century, while western sources suggest the 17th century. ...

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How did the Arabs determine the longitudes of cities?
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7 votes

Terrestrial longitudes were derived from the astronomical longitudes given in the "Hakimite Tables" of Ibn Yunus (d. 1009). Essentially, during a lunar eclipse (predicted by the astronomical tables) ...

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Poincare Quote Regarding Instability
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5 votes

This quote is taken from Poincaré's Science and Method, first pubished in 1908. The linked webpage from archive.org is an English language translation. The quote appears in section IV (titled Chance)...

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Grassmann Formula
2 votes

Grassman identified the concept of "an algebra" in his book Die lineale Ausdehnungslehre... (The Theory of Linear Extensions). In this book he introduced the concepts used in the referenced formula - ...

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Where was the word "pencil" first used in (projective) geometry and what is the reason behind this curious name?
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6 votes

From the Earliest Known Uses of Some of the Words of Mathematics site : PENCIL OF LINES. Desargues coined the term ordonnance de lignes, which is translated an order of lines or a pencil of lines [...

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Who invented or discovered the hyperbolic numbers?
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7 votes

According to the text Bicomplex Holomorphic Funtions by Luna-Elizarraras, et al, as far as we know Cockle was the first to introduce and study these objects, and their introduction was almost ...

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What was Karl Weierstrass referring to?
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3 votes

According to Quote Investigator, the first written record of the quote is attributed to the German romantic writer Johann Richter, also known as Jean Paul, shortly after his death at a time when ...

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Which paper/book did d'Alembert publish his essay on the theory of winds in?
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3 votes

In 1740, the French Royal Academy of Science lauched a competition regarding the nature of tides, of which Colin MacLaurin was joint winner (I can find no record of who authored the other winning ...

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Einstein's readings of popular sciences as a kid
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6 votes

From Walter Isaacson's Einstein (page 116 of the linked pdf) : Einstein’s greatest intellectual stimulation came from a poor student who dined with his family once a week. It was an old Jewish ...

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Who discovered the Jordan normal form?
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11 votes

According to the following linked text, Weierstrass defined his equivalent form in a memoir presented to the Berlin Academy in 1868, two years prior to Jordan's Traite being published. From Bartel L ...

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