Saturday, 1 October 2016

On This Day in Math - October 1



Scientists have one thing in common with children: curiosity. To be a good scientist you must have kept this trait of childhood, and perhaps it is not easy to retain just one trait. A scientist has to be curious like a child; perhaps one can understand that there are other childish features he hasn't grown out of.
~Otto Robert Frisch


The 275th day of the year; 275 is the number of partitions of 28 in which no part occurs only once. (Students might try finding the similar number of partitions for 10, or some smaller number to get a sense for how they grow)

275 is the maximum number. of pieces that can be formed from an annulus with 22 straight lines. 


EVENTS

1386 University of Heidelberg founded. The Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg (Heidelberg University, Ruperto Carola) is a public research university located in Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It is the oldest university in Germany and was the fourth university established in the Holy Roman Empire. A coeducational institution since 1899, today Heidelberg consists of twelve faculties and offers degree programs at undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral levels in some 100 disciplines. *Wik

1610 Lodovico Cigoli writes to Galileo to inform him that Father Christoph Clavius SJ, the senior mathematician at the Collegio Romano, had said that if the telescope revealed four
new ‘planets’ around Jupiter to Galileo, then Galileo must have put them in the telescope to begin with. Two months later, Clavius had observed Jupiter’s moons himself. *Albert Van Helden, Galileo and the telescope, The origins of the telescope, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Amsterdam 2010

1648 In a letter to Samuel Hartlib, Sir Balthazar Gerbier sends a description of Pascal's mechanical calculator. Wikipedia describes Gerbier as "an Anglo-Dutch courtier, diplomat, art advisor, miniaturist and architectural designer." Nathan Kesling ‏@nathan13109

1658 The closing date for Pascal’s prize problems on the cycloid. (T. Christie advised me that some give the date as Oct 2).  A toothache earlier that year caused him to return to mathematics and to study the cycloid. In 1654, late in the evening Pascal experienced a religious ecstasy that called him to give up his intermittent interest in mathematics and to devote his time to religious contemplation. For years he devoted no time to mathematics. Then one night, unable to sleep because of an abscessed tooth, Pascal began to think about some problems about the cycloid. His pain disappeared and he interpreted this as a sign that God was pleased by his mathematical studies. In a brief time he completed the investigationof the cycloid. Then he established a contest about the cycloid with himself and Roberval as the judges. The three problems he asked were:

1. Find the area and the center of gravity of the region BCD bounded by the cycloid, the horizontal line BC and the axis of symmetry AD.
2. Find the volume and center of gravity of the solids obtained by revolving the region BCD about AD and about BC.
3. For the solids in the previous question, find the center of gravity of the solids formed when each is cut by a plane parallel to its axis of revolution.
Only two contestants submitted solutions. No prize was awarded as the judges declared that the solutions were either incomplete or incorrect. Pascal then published his own results in a paper entitled "L'Histoire de la Roulette".  It is worth noting that all these investigations of the cycloid occurred before Newton and Leibnitz' work on the calculus!  *Historical Modules for the Mathematical Classroom There is a famous statue by Pajou in the Louvre of Pascal in which he is contemplating the Roulette (cycloid). (And in this photo, I am contemplating him contemplating the roulette) More on the cycloid, including a close up of the tablet in the statue is here.

1670 James Gregory writes to John Collins, with the first use of what will come to be called the Newton-Gregory interpolation formula. He includes in the letter two enclosures showing how to apply his method to series for sines and logarithms. *Beery & Stedall, Thomas Harriot’s Doctrine of Triangular Numbers, pg 51-52

1752  A letter of Benjamin Franklin written on October 1st, to Mr. Peter Collinson, FRS concerning an electrical kite, was read before the society on Dec 21.  Franklin describes the construction of the kite from two light strips of cedar and a large thin silk  handkerchief, 

1814 The terms "commutative" and "distributive" were used (in French) by François Joseph Servois in a memoir published in Annales de Gergonne (volume V, no. IV) *Jeff Miller, Earliest Known Uses of Some of the Words of Mathematics

1831 Michael Faraday discovers induced electric current using a helix made of two coils each of 203 feet of insulated copper wire. "A sudden jerk was perceived when the battery communication was made and broken... it was one way when made, and the other when broken." *A history of physics in its elementary branches By Florian Cajori

1831 (exact date unkonwn, October ?) Galois, while in prison, writes a preface to his "Memoires". As late as 1906, it had never been published, and Jules Tannery, reviewing the yet unpublished works of Galois, left it out, regarding it as too much like drunken raving. The ending is a fascinating hope for the future of mathematical publishing:
Evariste Galois 1811–1832
By Laura Toti Rigatelli

1842 Arthur Cayley's acceptance to Trinity was announced on this day. He was twenty-one years old and accepted on his first sitting, a rare event. He was the youngest man admitted to Trinity in the 19th Century. * A. J. Crilly, Arthur Cayley: Mathematician Laureate of the Victorian Age

1847 Maria Mitchell sees a comet... the first woman astronomer in the United States discovered a comet. On this night in the Autumn of 1847, Maria looked at the sky through the telescope in her homemade observatory at Nantucket, Mass. and saw a star five degrees above the North Star where there had been no star before. She had memorized the sky and was sure of her observation. It occurred to her that this might be a comet. Maria recorded the presumed comet's coordinates. The next night the star moved again. This time she was sure it was a comet. For this discovery, she was awarded a gold medal by the king of Denmark. She became the first woman elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. *TIS

1861 On Oct 1, a seemingly depressed Charles Darwin writes, "My Dear Lyell, ... I am very poorly today & very stupid & hate everybody & everything. One lives only to make blunders.–... I am
Ever yours
C. Darwin

1891 On Oct 1 Stanford University​ opened its doors after six years of planning and building. The prediction of a New York newspaper that Stanford professors would "lecture in marble halls to empty benches" was quickly disproved. The first student body consisted of 555 men and women, and the original faculty of 15 was expanded to 49 for the second year. The university’s first president was David Starr Jordan​, a graduate of Cornell, who left his post as president of Indiana University​ to join the adventure out West.
The Stanfords engaged Frederick Law Olmsted​, the famed landscape architect who created New York’s Central Park​, to design the physical plan for the university. The collaboration was contentious, but finally resulted in an organization of quadrangles on an east-west axis. Today, as Stanford continues to expand, the university’s architects attempt to respect those original university plans. *Stanford Univ Web page

1895  On the first of October 1895, the first German institute of insurance science was founded at the University of Göttingen, as a result of joint efforts of Felix Klein (1849-1825) and his fellow student Ludwig Kiepert (1846-1934), who was then chairman of the Prussian Civil Service Association (today called Hannover Life Insurance).This was the first institute in Germany in which a curriculum in actuarial mathematics, insurance law, and insurance economics was offered. Successful studies led to the degree “Versicherungsverständiger” (insurance expert). The institute was divided into a mathematical section and an administrative section, and its first chairman was Wilhelm Lexis. *From Center for Statistics, History of Statistics in Gottingen.

1907 Delegates from 310 Esperanto societies throughout the world met to elect a committee to modify the language. Louis Couturat, influenced by Leibniz’s thought on the construction of a logical universal language, was elected one of the secretaries.  *VFR

1934 Paul Erdos stops in Cambridge to visit with mathematical friends, particularly Harrold Davenport and Richard Rado, on his way to a position in Manchester. *Bruce Schechter, My Brain is Open: The Mathematical Journeys of Paul Erdos

1954 IBM announced is 705 EDP, part of its 700 series of mainframe computers. A business-oriented machine, the 705 had magnetic core memory.*CHM

1969 Concorde goes Mach 1 In 1969, the prototype French-built Concorde broke the sound barrier for the first time. The inaugural flight of the aircraft had taken place on 2 Mar 1969 in Toulouse, France, and its first commercial flight was on 21 Jan 1976. It was the first plane in the world to be entirely controlled by computer. As the only supersonic passenger aircraft, the Anglo-French Concorde remains a brilliant technological achievement, though its impact on international air travel has been limited by the high cost of buying and operating the aircraft. There was also widespread opposition from environmental groups on the grounds of the Concorde's noise on takeoff and its fuel consumption. Only British Airways and Air France have operated the aircraft. *TIS

1988   The game Connect Four Solved first by James D. Allen (Oct 1, 1988), and independently by Victor Allis (Oct 16, 1988). First player can force a win. Strongly solved by John Tromp's 8-ply database (Feb 4, 1995). Weakly solved for all boardsizes where width+height is at most 15 (Feb 18, 2006). *Wik


2012 With God's grace, Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw will awake for her 100th birthday today. Happy Birthday to a Grand-Ol-Dame, and may a puzzle occupy her thoughts. (See 1912 Births below).
(she did indeed greet her 100 th birthday, but Died: August 10, 2014, Didsbury, Manchester, United Kingdom)



BIRTHS

1535 Giambattista della Porta (? Oct 1535 - 4 Feb 1615) Italian natural philosopher, experimenter and mathematician, though he also sought the miraculous or magical. He studied optics, including refraction (De refractione, 1593). Porta did not invent the telescope, regardless of his published claim. He was the first to propose adding a convex lens to the camera obscura, and first to recognize the heating effect of light rays. He wrote on cryptography in De furtivis literarum (1563), and his other books included mechanics, squaring the circle, description of a steam engine in De spiritali (1606). He formed the society, Accademia dei Segreti, dedicated to discussing and studying nature, meeting at his home, until closed by the Inquisition (about 1578). *TIS

1671 Luigi Guido Grandi was an Italian Jesuit who worked on geometry and hydraulics.Grandi was the author of a number of works on geometry in which he considered the analogies of the circle and equilateral hyperbola. He also considered curves of double curvature on the sphere and the quadrature of parts of a spherical surface.
In 1701 Grandi discussed the conical loxodrome, the curve that cuts the generators of a cone of revolution in a constant angle. He studied the curve the Witch of Agnesi in 1703. In fact his work of 1703 is important in introducing Leibniz's calculus into Italy.
In 1728 Grandi published Flores geometrici a work in which he defines the clelie curve. He named the curve after Countess Clelia Borromeo and dedicated his book to her. If the longitude and colatitude of a point P on a sphere is denoted by θ and φ and if P moves so that θ = m φ, where m is a constant, then the locus of P is a clelie. Grandi also applied the term "clelies" to the curves determined by certain trigonometric equations involving the sine function
a sin θ = b sin mφ
a sin θ = a - b sin mφ
Grandi also worked on hydraulics and was involved with a number of projects such as ones to drain the Chiana Valley and the Pontine Marshes. He also published a number of works on mechanics and astronomy. His practical work on mechanics included experimenting with a steam engine. *SAU 
He is noted for the roses that he introduced. His idea was to find a geometrical definition of curves which resemble flowers. These curves are still part of our calculus courses, except now we use polar coordinates to define them.*VFR

1873 Alfreds Arnolds Adolfs Meders (1 Oct 1873 , 1944) Meders worked on differential geometry and mathematical analysis. He often published papers written in German, in German journals. For example he published the following three papers in Crelle's Journal: Über einige Arten Singularer Punkte von Raumkurven (1896); Zur Theorie der singularen Punkte einer Raumkurve (1899); and Analytische Untersuchung singularer Punkte von Raumkurven (1910). In Monatshefte für Mathematik he published: Über die Determinante von Wronski (1906); and Zur Differentiation bestimmter Integrale nach einem Parameter (1911).
Meders was also interested in the history of mathematics and he wrote an important paper Direkte und indirekte Beziehungen zwischen Gauss und der Dorpater Universität (Direct and indirect connections between Gauss and the University of Dorpat) in 1928. His interests went outside mathematics and he sometimes lectured on astronomy, meteorology and biology where he had a special interest in birds. *SAU

1898 Béla Kerékjártó (October 1, 1898, –June 26, 1946) was a Hungarian mathematician who wrote numerous articles on Topology. He earned his Ph.D. degree from the University of Budapest. He taught at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Szeged from 1922, and at the University of Budapest from 1938. In 1923, he published one of the first books on Topology; Hermann Weyl wrote that this book completely changed his views of the subject.*Wik


1904 Otto Robert Frisch (1 Oct 1904; 22 Sep 1979) Austrian-British nuclear physicist, born in Vienna, who, with his aunt Lise Meitner, described the division of neutron-bombarded uranium into lighter elements. He named the process fission, borrowing a term from biology (1939). At the time, Meitner was working in Stockholm and Frisch (1934-39) at Copenhagen under Niels Bohr, who brought their observation to the attention of Albert Einstein and others in the United States. He did research with James Chadwick 1940-43, and was head of the Critical Assembly Group on the Los Alamos project 1943-46. After World War II, Frisch became a science writer on atomic physics for the layman. *TIS

1911 Zhou Weiliang (simplified Chinese: (October 1, 1911– August 10, 1995) was a Chinese mathematician born in Shanghai, known for his work in algebraic geometry.
He was a student in the USA, graduating from the University of Chicago in 1931. In 1932 he attended the University of Göttingen, then transferring to Leipzig where he worked with van der Waerden. They produced a series of joint papers on intersection theory, introducing in particular the use of what are now generally called Chow coordinates (which were in some form familiar to Arthur Cayley).
He married Margot Victor in 1936, and took a position at the National Central University in Nanjing. His mathematical work was seriously affected by the wartime situation in China. He taught at the National Tung-Chi University in Shanghai in the academic year 1946–47, and then went to the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, where he returned to his research. From 1948 to 1977 he was a professor at Johns Hopkins University. *Wik

1912 Dame Kathleen Mary Ollerenshaw, née Timpson, DBE (1 October 1912, August 10, 2014, Didsbury, Manchester, United Kingdom ) is a British mathematician and politician. Deaf since the age of eight, she loved doing arithmetic problems as a child. As a young woman, she attended St Leonards School and Sixth Form College in St Andrews, Scotland where today the house of young male boarders is named after her. At the age of 19, she gained admittance to Somerville College, Oxford to study mathematics. She completed her doctorate at Somerville in 1945 on "Critical Lattices" under the supervision of Theo Chaundy. She wrote five original research papers which were sufficient for her to earn her DPhil degree without the need of a formal written thesis.
Ollerenshaw served as a Conservative Councillor for Rusholme for twenty-six years (1956–1981), was Lord Mayor of Manchester (1975–1976), and the prime motivator in the creation of the Royal Northern College of Music. She was made a Freeman of the City of Manchester and was an advisor on educational matters to Margaret Thatcher's government in the 1980s.
She has published at least 26 mathematical papers, her best-known contribution being to most-perfect pandiagonal magic squares. An annual public lecture at the School of Mathematics, University of Manchester is named in her honour.
An amateur astronomer, Ollerenshaw donated her telescope to Lancaster University, and an observatory there bears her name. She is an honorary member of the Manchester Astronomical Society and held the post of Vice President for a number of years. *Wik A wonderful article about her approaching her 100th birthday is in Scientific American.



DEATHS

1768 Robert Simson (14 October 1687 – 1 October 1768) was a Scottish mathematician and professor of mathematics at the University of Glasgow. The pedal line of a triangle is sometimes called the "Simson line" after him. Edmond Halley suggested to him that he might devote his considerable talents to the restoration of the work of the early Greek geometers, such as Euclid and Apollonius of Perga. These are works that only survive in abbreviated accounts given by later mathematicians such as Pappus of Alexandria. He first studied Euclid's so-called porisms. Playfair's 1792 definition of porism is "a proposition affirming the possibility of finding such conditions as will render a certain problem indeterminate, or capable of innumerable solutions."
Simson's work on Euclid's porisms was published in 1723 in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, and his restoration of the Loci Plani of Apollonius appeared in 1749. Further work of his on porisms and other subjects including logarithms was published posthumously in 1776 by Lord Stanhope at his own expense. Simson also set himself the task of preparing an edition of Euclid's Elements in as perfect a form as possible, and his edition of Euclid's books 1-6, 11 and 12 was for many years the standard text and formed the basis of textbooks on geometry written by other authors. The work ran through more than 70 different editions, revisions or translations published first in Glasgow in 1756, with others appearing in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dublin, London, Cambridge, Paris and a number of other European and American cities. Recent editions appeared in London and Toronto in 1933 under the editorship of Isaac Todhunter, and in São Paolo in 1944. Simson's lectures were delivered in Latin, at any rate at the beginning of his career. His most important writings were written in that language, however, his edition of Euclid, after its first publication in Latin, appeared in English, as did a treatise on conic sections that he wrote for the benefit of his students.
the Simson line does not appear in his work but Poncelet in Propriétés Projectives says that the theorem was attributed to Simson by Servois in the Gergonne's Journal. It appears that the theorem is due to William Wallace.
The University of St Andrews awarded Simson an honorary Doctorate of Medicine in 1746.
In 1753 Simson noted that, as the Fibonacci numbers increased in magnitude, the ratio between adjacent numbers approached the golden ratio, whose value is
(1 + √5)/2 = 1.6180 . . . . *SAU

1924 John Edward Campbell is remembered for the Campbell-Baker-Hausdorff theorem which gives a formula for multiplication of exponentials in Lie algebras. *SAU

1972 Francisco José Duarte (6 Jan 1883, 1 Oct 1972) Duarte's most important work in mathematics was done in algebra, number theory and mathematical analysis. His first work in mathematics was about which he presented to the Paris Academy of Sciences in 1907. He published papers on the general solution of a diophantine equation of the third degree x3 + y3 + z3 - 3xyz = v3, simplified Kummer's criterion and gave a simple proof of the impossibility of solving the Fermat equation x3 + y3 + z3 = 0 in nonzero integers. He also observed that the interpolation formula of Everett is a consequence of the interpolation formula of Gauss. In 1908 he published an article where he calculated π to 200 decimal places.
His main three books are: Monograph on the numbers π and e. Historical and bibliographical notes (Spanish) (Bol. Acad. Cien. Fis. Mat. Nat. 11(1948)), with 27 chapters on 250 pages, which contains more information on π and e than has ever before been collected in one place; Lessons on Infinitesimal Analysis (Caracas 1943, 606 pp.) (Spanish) containing material from courses in analysis at UCV during his first three or four years there; and Bibliography of Euclid, Archimedes, Newton (Acad. Cien. Fis. Mat. Nat., Caracas 1963, 163 pp.) (Spanish) which was also done in the 19th century.
Many mathematicians are interested in recreational mathematics. Duarte also contributed to that part of mathematics and proposed problems and solutions to the American Mathematical Monthly for several years, and also to the journal Ciencia y Ingenieria (Science and Engineering) published in Mérida. *SAU

1990 John Stewart Bell​ FRS (28 June 1928 – 1 October 1990) was a physicist from Northern Ireland (Ulster), and the originator of Bell's theorem, a significant theorem in quantum physics regarding hidden variable theories.*Wik

1996 Herbert Karl Johannes Seifert (May 27, 1907– October 1, 1996) was a German mathematician known for his work in topology.


Credits :
*CHM=Computer History Museum
*FFF=Kane, Famous First Facts
*NSEC= NASA Solar Eclipse Calendar
*RMAT= The Renaissance Mathematicus, Thony Christie
*SAU=St Andrews Univ. Math History
*TIA = Today in Astronomy
*TIS= Today in Science History
*VFR = V Frederick Rickey, USMA
*Wik = Wikipedia
*WM = Women of Mathematics, Grinstein & Campbell

Friday, 30 September 2016

On This Day in Math - September 30


Big whirls have little whirls,
That feed on their velocity;
And little whirls have lesser whirls,
And so on to viscosity.
~Lewis Richardson


The 274th day of the year; 274 is a tribonacci number..The tribonacci numbers are like the Fibonacci numbers, but instead of starting with two predetermined terms, the sequence starts with three predetermined terms and each term afterwards is the sum of the preceding three terms. The first few tribonacci numbers are 0, 0, 1, 1, 2, 4, 7,

274 is also the sum  of five cubes, 23 + 2 3 + 23 + 53 + 53



EVENTS

1717 Colin Maclaurin (1698–1746), age 19, was appointed to the Mathematics Chair at Marischal College, Aberdeen, Scotland. This is the youngest at which anyone has been elected chair (full professor) at a university. (Guinness) In 1725 he was made Professor at Edinburgh University on the recommendation of Newton. *VFR

1810 The University of Berlin opened. *VFR It is now called The Humboldt University of Berlin and is Berlin's oldest university. It was founded as the University of Berlin (Universität zu Berlin) by the liberal Prussian educational reformer and linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt, whose university model has strongly influenced other European and Western universities.*Wik

1890 In his desk notes Sir George Biddell Airy writes about his disappointment on finding an error in his calculations of the moon’s motion. “ I had made considerable advance ... in calculations on my favourite numerical lunar theory, when I discovered that, under the heavy pressure of unusual matters (two transits of Venus and some eclipses) I had committed a grievous error in the first stage of giving numerical value to my theory. My spirit in the work was broken, and I have never heartily proceeded with it since.” *George Biddell Airy and Wilfrid Airy (ed.), Autobiography of Sir George Biddell Airy (1896), 350.

1893 Felix Klein visits Worlds fair in Chicago, then visits many colleges. On this day the New York Mathematical society had a special meeting to honor him. *VFR

1921 William H Schott patented the "hit-and-miss synchronizer for his clocks. The Shortt-Synchronome free pendulum clock was a complex precision electromechanical pendulum clock invented in 1921 by British railway engineer William Hamilton Shortt in collaboration with horologist Frank Hope-Jones, and manufactured by the Synchronome Co., Ltd. of London, UK. They were the most accurate pendulum clocks ever commercially produced, and became the highest standard for timekeeping between the 1920s and the 1940s, after which mechanical clocks were superseded by quartz time standards. They were used worldwide in astronomical observatories, naval observatories, in scientific research, and as a primary standard for national time dissemination services. The Shortt was the first clock to be a more accurate timekeeper than the Earth itself; it was used in 1926 to detect tiny seasonal changes (nutation) in the Earth's rotation rate. *Wik

1939 an early manned rocket-powered flight was made by German auto maker Fritz von Opel. His Sander RAK 1 was a glider powered by sixteen 50 pound thrust rockets. In it, Opel made a successful flight of 75 seconds, covering almost 2 miles near Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany. This was his final foray as a rocket pioneer, having begun by making several test runs (some in secret) of rocket propelled vehicles. He reached a speed of 238 km/h (148 mph) on the Avus track in Berlin on 23 May, 1928, with the RAK 2. Subsequently, riding the RAK 3 on rails, he pushed the world speed record up to 254 km/h (158 mph). The first glider pilot to fly under rocket power, was another German, Friedrich Staner, who flew about 3/4-mile on 11 Jun 1928.*TIS

2010 The ignoble prizes, presented on this date, included an engineering for collecting Whale Snot, and a MANAGEMENT PRIZE: for demonstrating mathematically that organizations would become more efficient if they promoted people at random. See all the 2010 winners here.



BIRTHS

1550 Michael Maestlin (30 September 1550, Göppingen – 20 October 1631, Tübingen) was a German astronomer who was Kepler's teacher and who publicised the Copernican system. Perhaps his greatest achievement (other than being Kepler's teacher) is that he was the first to compute the orbit of a comet, although his method was not sound. He found, however, a sun centerd orbit for the comet of 1577 which he claimed supported Copernicus's heliocentric system. He did show that the comet was further away than the moon, which contradicted the accepted teachings of Aristotle. Although clearly believing in the system as proposed by Copernicus, he taught astronomy using his own textbook which was based on Ptolemy's system. However for the more advanced lectures he adopted the heliocentric approach - Kepler credited Mästlin with introducing him to Copernican ideas while he was a student at Tübingen (1589-94).*SAU The first known calculation of the reciprocal of the golden ratio as a decimal of "about 0.6180340" was written in 1597 by Maestlin in a letter to Kepler. He is also remembered for :
Catalogued the Pleiades cluster on 24 December 1579. Eleven stars in the cluster were recorded by Maestlin, and possibly as many as fourteen were observed.
Occultation of Mars by Venus on 13 October 1590, seen by Maestlin at Heidelberg. *Wik

1715 Étienne Bonnot de Condillac (30 Sep 1715; 3 Aug 1780) French philosopher, psychologist, logician, economist, and the leading advocate in France of the ideas of John Locke (1632-1704). In his works La Logique (1780) and La Langue des calculs (1798), Condillac emphasized the importance of language in logical reasoning, stressing the need for a scientifically designed language and for mathematical calculation as its basis. He combined elements of Locke's theory of knowledge with the scientific methodology of Newton; all knowledge springs from the senses and association of ideas. Condillac devoted careful attention to questions surrounding the origins and nature of language, and enhanced contemporary awareness of the importance of the use of language as a scientific instrument.*TIS

1775 Robert Adrain (30 September 1775 – 10 August 1843) . Although born in Ireland he was one of the first creative mathematicians to work in America. *VFR Adrain was appointed as a master at Princeton Academy and remained there until 1800 when the family moved to York in Pennsylvania. In York Adrain became Principal of York County Academy. When the first mathematics journal, the Mathematical Correspondent, began publishing in 1804 under the editorship of George Baron, Adrain became one of its main contributors. One year later, in 1805, he moved again this time to Reading, also in Pennsylvania, where he was appointed Principal of the Academy.
After arriving in Reading, Adrain continued to publish in the Mathematical Correspondent and, in 1807, he became editor of the journal. One has to understand that publishing a mathematics journal in the United States at this time was not an easy task since there were only two mathematicians capable of work of international standing in the whole country, namely Adrain and Nathaniel Bowditch. Despite these problems, Adrain decided to try publishing his own mathematics journal after he had edited only one volume of the Mathematical Correspondent and, in 1808, he began editing his journal the Analyst or Mathematical Museum.
With so few creative mathematicians in the United States the journal had little chance of success and indeed it ceased publication after only one year. After the journal ceased publication, Adrain was appointed professor of mathematics at Queen's College (now Rutgers University) New Brunswick where he worked from 1809 to 1813. Despite Queen's College trying its best to keep him there, Adrain moved to Columbia College in New York in 1813. He tried to restart his mathematical journal the Analyst in 1814 but only one part appeared. In 1825, while he was still on the staff at Columbia College, Adrain made another attempt at publishing a mathematical journal. Realising that the Analyst had been too high powered for the mathematicians of the United States, he published the Mathematical Diary in 1825. This was a lower level publication which continued under the editorship of James Ryan when Adrain left Columbia College in 1826. *SAU

1870 Jean-Baptiste Perrin (30 Sep 1870; 17 Apr 1942) was a French physicist who, in his studies of the Brownian motion of minute particles suspended in liquids, verified Albert Einstein's explanation of this phenomenon and thereby confirmed the atomic nature of matter. Using a gamboge emulsion, Perrin was able to determine by a new method, one of the most important physical constants, Avogadro's number (the number of molecules of a substance in so many grams as indicated by the molecular weight, for example, the number of molecules in two grams of hydrogen). The value obtained corresponded, within the limits of error, to that given by the kinetic theory of gases. For this achievement he was honoured with the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1926.*TIS

1882 Hans Wilhelm Geiger  (30 Sep 1882; 24 Sep 1945) was a German physicist who introduced the Geiger counter, the first successful detector of individual alpha particles and other ionizing radiations. After earning his Ph.D. at the University of Erlangen in 1906, he collaborated at the University of Manchester with Ernest Rutherford. He used the first version of his particle counter, and other detectors, in experiments that led to the identification of the alpha particle as the nucleus of the helium atom and to Rutherford's statement (1912) that the nucleus occupies a very small volume in the atom. The Geiger-Müller counter (developed with Walther Müller) had improved durability, performance and sensitivity to detect not only alpha particles but also beta particles (electrons) and ionizing electromagnetic photons. Geiger returned to Germany in 1912 and continued to investigate cosmic rays, artificial radioactivity, and nuclear fission.*TIS

1883 Ernst David Hellinger (1883 - 1950) introduced a new type of integral: the Hellinger integral . Jointly with Hilbert he produced an important theory of forms. *SAU

1894 Dirk Jan Struik (30 Sept 1894 , 21 Oct 2000) Dirk Jan Struik (September 30, 1894 – October 21, 2000) was a Dutch mathematician and Marxian theoretician who spent most of his life in the United States.
In 1924, funded by a Rockefeller fellowship, Struik traveled to Rome to collaborate with the Italian mathematician Tullio Levi-Civita. It was in Rome that Struik first developed a keen interest in the history of mathematics. In 1925, thanks to an extension of his fellowship, Struik went to Göttingen to work with Richard Courant compiling Felix Klein's lectures on the history of 19th-century mathematics. He also started researching Renaissance mathematics at this time.
Struik was a steadfast Marxist. Having joined the Communist Party of the Netherlands in 1919, he remained a Party member his entire life. When asked, upon the occasion of his 100th birthday, how he managed to pen peer-reviewed journal articles at such an advanced age, Struik replied blithely that he had the "3Ms" a man needs to sustain himself: Marriage (his wife, Saly Ruth Ramler, was not alive when he turned one hundred in 1994), Mathematics, and Marxism.
It is therefore not surprising that Dirk suffered persecution during the McCarthyite era. He was accused of being a Soviet spy, a charge he vehemently denied. Invoking the First and Fifth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, he refused to answer any of the 200 questions put forward to him during the HUAC hearing. He was suspended from teaching for five years (with full salary) by MIT in the 1950s. Struik was re-instated in 1956. He retired from MIT in 1960 as Professor Emeritus of Mathematics.
Aside from purely academic work, Struik also helped found the Journal of Science and Society, a Marxian journal on the history, sociology and development of science.
In 1950 Stuik published his Lectures on Classical Differential Geometry.
Struik's other major works include such classics as A Concise History of Mathematics, Yankee Science in the Making, The Birth of the Communist Manifesto, and A Source Book in Mathematics, 1200-1800, all of which are considered standard textbooks or references.
Struik died October 21, 2000, 21 days after celebrating his 106th birthday. *Wik

1905 Sir Nevill F. Mott (30 Sep 1905; 8 Aug 1996) English physicist who shared (with P.W. Anderson and J.H. Van Vleck of the U.S.) the 1977 Nobel Prize for Physics for his independent researches on the magnetic and electrical properties of amorphous semiconductors. Whereas the electric properties of crystals are described by the Band Theory - which compares the conductivity of metals, semiconductors, and insulators - a famous exception is provided by nickel oxide. According to band theory, nickel oxide ought to be a metallic conductor but in reality is an insulator. Mott refined the theory to include electron-electron interaction and explained so-called Mott transitions, by which some metals become insulators as the electron density decreases by separating the atoms from each other in some convenient way.*TIS

1913 Samuel Eilenberg (September 30, 1913 – January 30, 1998) was a Polish and American mathematician born in Warsaw, Russian Empire (now in Poland) and died in New York City, USA, where he had spent much of his career as a professor at Columbia University.
He earned his Ph.D. from University of Warsaw in 1936. His thesis advisor was Karol Borsuk. His main interest was algebraic topology. He worked on the axiomatic treatment of homology theory with Norman Steenrod (whose names the Eilenberg–Steenrod axioms bear), and on homological algebra with Saunders Mac Lane. In the process, Eilenberg and Mac Lane created category theory.
Eilenberg was a member of Bourbaki and with Henri Cartan, wrote the 1956 book Homological Algebra, which became a classic.
Later in life he worked mainly in pure category theory, being one of the founders of the field. The Eilenberg swindle (or telescope) is a construction applying the telescoping cancellation idea to projective modules. Eilenberg also wrote an important book on automata theory. The X-machine, a form of automaton, was introduced by Eilenberg in 1974. *Wik

1916 Richard Kenneth Guy (born September 30, 1916, Nuneaton, Warwickshire - ) is a British mathematician, and Professor Emeritus in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Calgary.
He is best known for co-authorship (with John Conway and Elwyn Berlekamp) of Winning Ways for your Mathematical Plays and authorship of Unsolved Problems in Number Theory, but he has also published over 100 papers and books covering combinatorial game theory, number theory and graph theory.
He is said to have developed the partially tongue-in-cheek "Strong Law of Small Numbers," which says there are not enough small integers available for the many tasks assigned to them — thus explaining many coincidences and patterns found among numerous cultures.
Additionally, around 1959, Guy discovered a unistable polyhedron having only 19 faces; no such construct with fewer faces has yet been found. Guy also discovered the glider in Conway's Game of Life.
Guy is also a notable figure in the field of chess endgame studies. He composed around 200 studies, and was co-inventor of the Guy-Blandford-Roycroft code for classifying studies. He also served as the endgame study editor for the British Chess Magazine from 1948 to 1951.
Guy wrote four papers with Paul Erdős, giving him an Erdős number of 1. He also solved one of Erdős problems.
His son, Michael Guy, is also a computer scientist and mathematician. *Wik

1918 Leslie Fox (30 September 1918 – 1 August 1992) was a British mathematician noted for his contribution to numerical analysis. *Wik




DEATHS

1953 Lewis Fry Richardson, FRS (11 October 1881 - 30 September 1953) was an English mathematician, physicist, meteorologist, psychologist and pacifist who pioneered modern mathematical techniques of weather forecasting, and the application of similar techniques to studying the causes of wars and how to prevent them. He is also noted for his pioneering work on fractals and a method for solving a system of linear equations known as modified Richardson iteration.*Wik

1985 Dr. Charles Francis Richter (26 Apr 1900, 30 Sep 1985) was an American seismologist and inventor of the Richter Scale that measures earthquake intensity which he developed with his colleague, Beno Gutenberg, in the early 1930's. The scale assigns numerical ratings to the energy released by earthquakes. Richter used a seismograph (an instrument generally consisting of a constantly unwinding roll of paper, anchored to a fixed place, and a pendulum or magnet suspended with a marking device above the roll) to record actual earth motion during an earthquake. The scale takes into account the instrument's distance from the epicenter. Gutenberg suggested that the scale be logarithmic so, for example, a quake of magnitude 7 would be ten times stronger than a 6.*TIS

2014 Martin Lewis Perl (June 24, 1927 – September 30, 2014) was an American physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1995 for his discovery of the tau lepton.
He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1955, where his thesis advisor was I.I. Rabi. Perl's thesis described measurements of the nuclear quadrupole moment of sodium, using the atomic beam resonance method that Rabi had won the Nobel Prize in Phyics for in 1944.
Following his Ph.D., Perl spent 8 years at the University of Michigan, where he worked on the physics of strong interactions, using bubble chambers and spark chambers to study the scattering of pions and later neutrons on protons.[1] While at Michigan, Perl and Lawrence W. Jones served as co-advisors to Samuel C. C. Ting, who earned the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1976.
Seeking a simpler interaction mechanism to study, Perl started to consider electron and muon interactions. He had the opportunity to start planning experimental work in this area when he moved in 1963 to the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), then being built in California. He was particularly interested in understanding the muon: why it should interact almost exactly like the electron but be 206.8 times heavier, and why it should decay through the route that it does. Perl chose to look for answers to these questions in experiments on high-energy charged leptons. In addition, he considered the possibility of finding a third generation of lepton through electron-positron collisions. He died after a heart attack at Stanford University Hospital on September 30, 2014 at the age of 87. *Wik


Credits :
*CHM=Computer History Museum
*FFF=Kane, Famous First Facts
*NSEC= NASA Solar Eclipse Calendar
*RMAT= The Renaissance Mathematicus, Thony Christie
*SAU=St Andrews Univ. Math History
*TIA = Today in Astronomy
*TIS= Today in Science History
*VFR = V Frederick Rickey, USMA
*Wik = Wikipedia
*WM = Women of Mathematics, Grinstein & Campbell

Thursday, 29 September 2016

On This Day in Math - September 29



Young man, if I could remember the names of these particles, I would have been a botanist.
~Enrico Fermi


The 273rd day of the year; 273oK(to the nearest integer)is the freezing point of water, or 0oC

273 is prime, and 173 is also prime, and the concatenation 173273 is also prime. (How many pairs of three digit primes can be concatenated to make a prime?)

OOOOH wait, 273 = 13*7*3, and 1373 is also prime.. and There are only two sphenic numbers consisting of distinct prime digits, this is the smaller of the two.(sphenic or wedge numbers are products of three distinct primes) *Prime curios

273 is a repdigit in base nine, 111, and in base six, 333.  *Zoo of Numbers by Archimedes Laboratory 



EVENTS

1609  Almost exactly a year after the first application for a patent of the telescope, Giambaptista della Porta, the Neapolitan polymath, whose Magia Naturalis of 1589, well known all over Europe, because of a tantalizing hint at what might be accomplished by a combination of a convex and concave lens: ‘With a concave you shall see small things afar off, very clearly; witha convex, things neerer to be greater, but more obscurely: if you know how to fit them both together, you shall see both things afar off, and things neer hand, both greater and clearly.’sends a letter to the founder of the Accademia dei Lincei, Prince Federico Cesi in Rome, with a sketch of an instrument that had just reached him, and he wrote:" It is a small tube of soldered silver, one palm in length, and three finger breadths in diameter, which has a convex glass in the end. There is another tube of the same material four finger breadths long, which enters into the first one, and in the end. It has a concave [glass], which is secured like the first one. If observed with that first tube, faraway things are seen as if they were near, but because the vision does not occur along the perpendicular, they appear obscure and indistinct. When the other concave tube, which produces the opposite effect, is inserted, things will be seen clear and erect and it goes in an out, as in a trombone, so that it adjusts to the eyesight of [particular] observers, which all differ. *Albert Van Helden, Galileo and the telescope; Origins of the Telescope, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts andSciences, 2010
(I assume that we can safely date the invention of the trombone prior to 1609 also)




1801 Gauss’s Disquisitiones Arithmeticae published. It is a textbook of number theory written in Latin by Carl Friedrich Gauss in 1798 when Gauss was 21 and first published in 1801 when he was 24. In this book Gauss brings together results in number theory obtained by mathematicians such as Fermat, Euler, Lagrange and Legendre and adds important new results of his own.
The book is divided into seven sections, which are :
Section I. Congruent Numbers in General
Section II. Congruences of the First Degree
Section III. Residues of Powers
Section IV. Congruences of the Second Degree
Section V. Forms and Indeterminate Equations of the Second Degree
Section VI. Various Applications of the Preceding Discussions
Section VII. Equations Defining Sections of a Circle.
Sections I to III are essentially a review of previous results, including Fermat's little theorem, Wilson's theorem and the existence of primitive roots. Although few of the results in these first sections are original, Gauss was the first mathematician to bring this material together and treat it in a systematic way. He was also the first mathematician to realize the importance of the property of unique factorization (sometimes called the fundamental theorem of arithmetic), which he states and proves explicitly.
From Section IV onwards, much of the work is original. Section IV itself develops a proof of quadratic reciprocity; Section V, which takes up over half of the book, is a comprehensive analysis of binary quadratic forms; and Section VI includes two different primality tests. Finally, Section VII is an analysis of cyclotomic polynomials, which concludes by giving the criteria that determine which regular polygons are constructible i.e. can be constructed with a compass and unmarked straight edge alone. *Wik

In 1988, the space shuttle Discovery blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., marking America's return to manned space flight following the Challenger disaster. *TIS

1994 HotJava ---- Programmers first demonstrated the HotJava prototype to executives at Sun Microsystems Inc. A browser making use of Java technology, HotJava attempted to transfer Sun's new programming platform for use on the World Wide Web. Java is based on the concept of being truly universal, allowing an application written in the language to be used on a computer with any type of operating system or on the web, televisions or telephones.*CHM



BIRTHS

1561  Adriaan van Roomen (29 Sept 1561 , 4 May 1615) is often known by his Latin name Adrianus Romanus. After studying at the Jesuit College in Cologne, Roomen studied medicine at Louvain. He then spent some time in Italy, particularly with Clavius in Rome in 1585.
Roomen was professor of mathematics and medicine at Louvain from 1586 to 1592, he then went to Würzburg where again he was professor of medicine. He was also "Mathematician to the Chapter" in Würzburg. From 1603 to 1610 he lived frequently in both Louvain and Würzburg. He was ordained a priest in 1604. After 1610 he tutored mathematics in Poland.
One of Roomen's most impressive results was finding π to 16 decimal places. He did this in 1593 using 230 sided polygons. Roomen's interest in π was almost certainly as a result of his friendship with Ludolph van Ceulen.
Roomen proposed a problem which involved solving an equation of degree 45. The problem was solved by Viète who realised that there was an underlying trigonometric relation. After this a friendship grew up between the two men. Viète proposed the problem of drawing a circle to touch 3 given circles to Roomen (the Apollonian Problem) and Roomen solved it using hyperbolas, publishing the result in 1596.
Roomen worked on trigonometry and the calculation of chords in a circle. In 1596 Rheticus's trigonometric tables Opus palatinum de triangulis were published, many years after Rheticus died. Roomen was critical of the accuracy of the tables and wrote to Clavius at the Collegio Romano in Rome pointing out that, to calculate tangent and secant tables correctly to ten decimal places, it was necessary to work to 20 decimal places for small values of sine, see [2]. In 1600 Roomen visited Prague where he met Kepler and told him of his worries about the methods employed in Rheticus's trigonometric tables. *SAU

1803   Jacques Charles-François Sturm (29 Sep 1803; 18 Dec 1855) French mathematician whose work resulted in Sturm's theorem, an important contribution to the theory of equations. .While a tutor of the de Broglie family in Paris (1823-24), Sturm met many of the leading French scientists and mathematicians. In 1826, with Swiss engineer Daniel Colladon, he made the first accurate determination of the velocity of sound in water. A year later wrote a prizewinning essay on compressible fluids. Since the time of René Descartes, a problem had existed of finding the number of solutions of a given second-order differential equation within a given range of the variable. Sturm provided a complete solution to the problem with his theorem which first appeared in Mémoire sur la résolution des équations numériques (1829; “Treatise on Numerical Equations”). Those principles have been applied in the development of quantum mechanics, as in the solution of the Schrödinger equation and its boundary values. *TIS  Sturm is also remembered for the Sturm-Liouville problem, an eigenvalue problem in second order differential equations.*SAU

1812  Gustav Adolph Göpel (29 Sept 1812, 7 June 1847) Göpel's doctoral dissertation studied periodic continued fractions of the roots of integers and derived a representation of the numbers by quadratic forms. He wrote on Steiner's synthetic geometry and an important work, Theoriae transcendentium Abelianarum primi ordinis adumbratio levis, published after his death, continued the work of Jacobi on elliptic functions. This work was published in Crelle's Journal in 1847. *SAU

1895 Harold Hotelling​, 29 September 1895 - 26 December 1973   He originally studied journalism at the University of Washington, earning a degree in it in 1919, but eventually turned to mathematics, gaining a PhD in Mathematics from Princeton in 1924 for a dissertation dealing with topology. However, he became interested in statistics that used higher-level math, leading him to go to England in 1929 to study with Fisher.
Although Hotelling first went to Stanford University in 1931, he not many years afterwards became a Professor of Economics at Columbia University, where he helped create Columbia's Stat Dept. In 1946, Hotelling was recruited by Gertrude Cox​ to form a new Stat Dept at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He became Professor and Chairman of the Dept of Mathematical Statistics, Professor of Economics, and Associate Director of the Institute of Statistics at UNC-CH. (When Hotelling and his wife first arrived in Chapel Hill they instituted the "Hotelling Tea", where they opened their home to students and faculty for tea time once a month.)
Dr. Hotelling's major contributions to statistical theory were in multivariate analysis, with probably his most important paper his famous 1931 paper "The Generalization of Student's Ratio", now known as Hotelling's T^2, which involves a generalization of
Student's t-test for multivariate data. In 1953, Hotelling published a 30-plus-page paper on the distribution of the correlation coefficient, following up on the work of Florence Nightingale David in 1938. *David Bee

1901 Enrico Fermi (29 Sep 1901; 28 Nov 1954) Italian-American physicist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for physics in 1938 as one of the chief architects of the nuclear age. He was the last of the double-threat physicists: a genius at creating both esoteric theories and elegant experiments. In 1933, he developed the theory of beta decay, postulating that the newly-discovered neutron decaying to a proton emits an electron and a particle he called a neutrino. Developing theory to explain this decay later resulted in finding the weak interaction force. He developed the mathematical statistics required to clarify a large class of subatomic phenomena, discovered neutron-induced radioactivity, and directed the first controlled chain reaction involving nuclear fission. *TIS

1925 Paul Beattie MacCready (29 Sep 1925; 28 Aug 2007) was an American engineer who invented not only the first human-powered flying machines, but also the first solar-powered aircraft to make sustained flights. On 23 Aug 1977, the pedal-powered aircraft, the Gossamer Condor successfully flew a 1.15 mile figure-8 course to demonstrate sustained, maneuverable manpowered flight, for which he won the £50,000 ($95,000) Kremer Prize. MacCready designed the Condor with Dr. Peter Lissamen. Its frame was made of thin aluminum tubes, covered with mylar plastic supported with stainless steel wire. In 1979, the Gossamer Albatross won the second Kremer Prize for making a flight across the English Channel.*TIS

1931   James Watson Cronin (29 Sep 1931, ) American particle physicist, who shared (with Val Logsdon Fitch) the 1980 Nobel Prize for Physics for "the discovery of violations of fundamental symmetry principles in the decay of neutral K-mesons." Their experiment proved that a reaction run in reverse does not follow the path of the original reaction, which implied that time has an effect on subatomic-particle interactions. Thus the experiment demonstrated a break in particle-antiparticle symmetry for certain reactions of subatomic particles.*TIS

1935 Hillel (Harry) Fürstenberg (September 29, 1935, ..)) is an American-Israeli mathematician, a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities and U.S. National Academy of Sciences and a laureate of the Wolf Prize in Mathematics. He is known for his application of probability theory and ergodic theory methods to other areas of mathematics, including number theory and Lie groups. He gained attention at an early stage in his career for producing an innovative topological proof of the infinitude of prime numbers. He proved unique ergodicity of horocycle flows on a compact hyperbolic Riemann surfaces in the early 1970s. In 1977, he gave an ergodic theory reformulation, and subsequently proof, of Szemerédi's theorem. The Fürstenberg boundary and Fürstenberg compactification of a locally symmetric space are named after him. *Wik


DEATHS

1939 Samuel Dickstein (May 12, 1851 – September 29, 1939) was a Polish mathematician of Jewish origin. He was one of the founders of the Jewish party "Zjednoczenie" (Unification), which advocated the assimilation of Polish Jews.
He was born in Warsaw and was killed there by a German bomb at the beginning of World War II. All the members of his family were killed during the Holocaust.
Dickstein wrote many mathematical books and founded the journal Wiadomości Mathematyczne (Mathematical News), now published by the Polish Mathematical Society. He was a bridge between the times of Cauchy and Poincaré and those of the Lwów School of Mathematics. He was also thanked by Alexander Macfarlane for contributing to the Bibliography of Quaternions (1904) published by the Quaternion Society.
He was also one of the personalities, who contributed to the foundation of the Warsaw Public Library in 1907.*Wik

1941 Friedrich Engel (26 Dec 1861, 29 Sept 1941)Engel was taught by Klein who recognized that he was the right man to assist Lie. At Klein's suggestion Engel went to work with Lie in Christiania (now Oslo) from 1884 until 1885. In 1885 Engel's Habilitation thesis was accepted by Leipzig and he became a lecturer there. The year after Engel returned to Leipzig from Christiania, Lie was appointed to succeed Klein and the collaboration of Lie and Engel continued.
In 1889 Engel was promoted to assistant professor and, ten years later he was promoted to associate professor. In 1904 he accepted the chair of mathematics at Greifswald when his friend Eduard Study resigned the chair. Engel's final post was the chair of mathematics at Giessen which he accepted in 1913 and he remained there for the rest of his life. In 1931 he retired from the university but continued to work in Giessen.
The collaboration between Engel and Lie led to Theorie der Transformationsgruppen a work on three volumes published between 1888 and 1893. This work was, "... prepared by S Lie with the cooperation of F Engel... " 
In many ways it was Engel who put Lie's ideas into a coherent form and made them widely accessible. From 1922 to 1937 Engel published Lie's collected works in six volumes and prepared a seventh (which in fact was not published until 1960). Engel's efforts in producing Lie's collected works are described as, "... an exceptional service to mathematics in particular, and scholarship in general. Lie's peculiar nature made it necessary for his works to be elucidated by one who knew them intimately and thus Engel's 'Annotations' completed in scope with the text itself. "
Engel also edited Hermann Grassmann's complete works and really only after this was published did Grassmann get the fame which his work deserved. Engel collaborated with Stäckel in studying the history of non-euclidean geometry. He also wrote on continuous groups and partial differential equations, translated works of Lobachevsky from Russian to German, wrote on discrete groups, Pfaffian equations and other topics. *SAU

1955 L(ouis) L(eon) Thurstone (29 May 1887, 29 Sep 1955)  was an American psychologist who improved psychometrics, the measurement of mental functions, and developed statistical techniques for multiple-factor analysis of performance on psychological tests. In high school, he published a letter in Scientific American on a problem of diversion of water from Niagara Falls; and invented a method of trisecting an angle. At university, Thurstone studied engineering. He designed a patented motion picture projector, later demonstrated in the laboratory of Thomas Edison, with whom Thurstone worked briefly as an assistant. When he began teaching engineering, Thurstone became interested in the learning process and pursued a doctorate in psychology. *TIS

2003 Ovide Arino (24 April 1947 - 29 September 2003) was a mathematician working on delay differential equations. His field of application was population dynamics. He was a quite prolific writer, publishing over 150 articles in his lifetime. He also was very active in terms of student supervision, having supervised about 60 theses in total in about 20 years. Also, he organized or coorganized many scientific events. But, most of all, he was an extremely kind human being, interested in finding the good in everyone he met. *Euromedbiomath

2010 Georges Charpak (1 August 1924 – 29 September 2010) was a French physicist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1992 "for his invention and development of particle detectors, in particular the multiwire proportional chamber". This was the last time a single person was awarded the physics prize. *Wik



Credits :
*CHM=Computer History Museum
*FFF=Kane, Famous First Facts
*NSEC= NASA Solar Eclipse Calendar
*RMAT= The Renaissance Mathematicus, Thony Christie
*SAU=St Andrews Univ. Math History
*TIA = Today in Astronomy
*TIS= Today in Science History
*VFR = V Frederick Rickey, USMA
*Wik = Wikipedia
*WM = Women of Mathematics, Grinstein & Campbell

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

On This Day in Math - September 28


But in the present century, thanks in good part to the influence of Hilbert, we have come to see that the unproved postulates with which we start are purely arbitrary. They must be consistent, they had better lead to something interesting.

~ Julian Lowell Coolidge


The 272nd day of the year; 272 = 24·17, and is the sum of four consecutive primes (61 + 67 + 71 + 73).

272 is also a Pronic or Heteromecic number, the product of two consecutive factors, 16x17 (which makes it twice a triangular #).

And 272 is a palindrome, and the sum of its digits, 11, is also a palindrome. (can you find the next?)


EVENTS

490 B.C. In one of history’s great battles, the Greeks defeated the Persians at Marathon. A Greek soldier was dispatched to notify Athens of the victory, running the entire distance and providing the name and model for the modern “marathon” race. *VFR

1695 After fitting several comets data using Newton's proposal that they followed parabolic paths, Edmund Halley was "inspired" to test his own measurements of the 1682 comet against an elliptical orbit. He writes to Newton, "I am more and more confirmed that we have seen that Comet now three times since Ye Year 1531." *David A Grier, When Computer's Were Human

1791 Captain George Vancouver observed this Wednesday morning a partial solar eclipse. He went on the name the barren rocky cluster of isles, by the name of Eclipse Islands. *NSEC

1858, Donati's comet (discovered by Giovanni Donati, 1826-1873) became the first to be photographed. It was a bright comet that developed a spectacular curved dust tail with two thin gas tails, captured by an English commercial photographer, William Usherwood, using a portrait camera at a low focal ratio. At Harvard, W.C. Bond, attempted an image on a collodion plate the following night, but the comet shows only faintly and no tail can be seen. Bond was subsequently able to evaluate the image on Usherwood's plate. The earliest celestial daguerreotypes were made in 1850-51, though after the Donati comet, no further comet photography took place until 1881, when P.J.C. Janssen and J.W. Draper took the first generally recognized photographs of a comet*TIS “William Usherwood, a commercial photographer from Dorking, Surrey took the first ever photograph of a comet when he photographed Donati’s comet from Walton Common on the 27th September 1858, beating George Bond from Harvard Observatory by a night! Unfortunately, the picture taken by Usherwood has been lost.” *Exposure web site 

1917 Richard Courant wrote to Nina Runge, his future wife, that he finally got the opportunity to talk to Ferdinand Springer about “a publishing project” and that things looked promising. This meeting led to a contract and a series of books now called the "Yellow Series". *VFR

1938 Paul Erdos boards the Queen Mary bound for the USA. Alarmed by Hitler's demands to annex the Sudatenland, Erdos hurriedly left Budapest and made his way through Italy and France to London. He would pass through Ellis Island on his way to a position at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study on October 4. * Bruce Schechter, My Brain is Open: The Mathematical Journeys of Paul Erdos

1969 Murchison meteorite , a meteorite fell over Murchison, Australia. Only 100-kg of this meteorite have been found. Classified as a carbonaceous chondrite, type II (CM2), this meteorite is suspected to be of cometary origin due to its high water content (12%). An abundance of amino acids found within this meteorite has led to intense study by researchers as to its origins. More than 92 different amino acids have been identified within the Murchison meteorite to date. Nineteen of these are found on Earth. The remaining amino acids have no apparent terrestrial source. *TIS

1980 "We are Star-Stuff." On this day in 1980 the program Cosmos: A Personal Voyage with Carl Sagan premiered. The series was first broadcast by the Public Broadcasting Service in 1980, and was the most widely watched series in the history of American public television for a decade. As of 2009, it was still the most widely watched PBS series in the world. The series is notable for its groundbreaking use of special effects, which allow Sagan to seemingly walk through environments that are actually models rather than full-sized sets. *WIK

2009: mathoverflow.net goes online. *Peter Krautzberger, 

2011 President Barack Obama announced that Richard Alfred Tapia was among twelve scientists to be awarded the National Medal of Science, the top award the United States offers its researchers. Tapia is currently the Maxfield and Oshman Professor of Engineering; Associate Director of Graduate Studies, Office of Research and Graduate Studies; and Director of the Center for Excellence and Equity in Education at Rice University. He is a renowned American mathematician and champion of under-represented minorities in the sciences. *Wik



BIRTHS

551 B.C. Birthdate of the Chinese philosopher and educator Confucius. His birthday is observed as “Teacher’s Day” in memory of his great contribution to the Chinese Nation. His most famous aphorism is: “With education there is no distinction between classes or races of men.” *VFR

1605 Ismael Boulliau (28 Sept 1605 , 25 Nov 1694) was a French clergyman and amateur mathematician who proposed an inverse square law for gravitation before Newton. Boulliau was a friend of Pascal, Mersenne and Gassendi and supported Galileo and Copernicus. He claimed that if a planetary moving force existed then it should vary inversely as the square of the distance (Kepler had claimed the first power), "As for the power by which the Sun seizes or holds the planets, and which, being corporeal, functions in the manner of hands, it is emitted in straight lines throughout the whole extent of the world, and like the species of the Sun, it turns with the body of the Sun; now, seeing that it is corporeal, it becomes weaker and attenuated at a greater distance or interval, and the ratio of its decrease in strength is the same as in the case of light, namely, the duplicate proportion, but inversely, of the distances that is, 1/d2. *SAU

1651 Johann Philipp von Wurzelbau (28 September 1651 in Nürnberg; 21 July 1725 Nürnberg )was a German astronomer.
A native of Nuremberg, Wurzelbauer was a merchant who became an astronomer. As a youth, he was keenly interested in mathematics and astronomy but had been forced to earn his living as a merchant. He married twice: his first marriage was to Maria Magdalena Petz (1656–1713), his second to Sabina Dorothea Kress (1658–1733). Petz bore him six children.
He first published a work concerning his observations on the great comet of 1680, and initially began his work at a private castle-observatory on Spitzenberg 4 owned by Georg Christoph Eimmart (completely destroyed during World War II), the director of Nuremberg's painters' academy. Wurzelbauer was 64 when he began this second career, but proved himself to be an able assistant to Eimmart. A large quadrant from his days at Eimmart's observatory still survives.
After 1682, Wurzelbauer owned his own astronomical observatory and instruments, and observed the transit of Mercury, solar eclipses, and worked out the geographical latitude of his native city. After 1683, he had withdrawn himself completely from business life to dedicate himself to astronomy.
By 1700, Wurzelbauer had become the most well-known astronomer in Nuremberg. For his services to the field of astronomy, he was ennobled in 1692 by Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor and added the von to his name. He was a member of the French and the Prussian academies of the sciences.
The crater Wurzelbauer on the Moon is named after him. *Wik

1698 Pierre-Louis Moreau de Maupertuis (28 Sep 1698; 27 Jul 1759)French mathematician, biologist, and astronomer. In 1732 he introduced Newton's theory of gravitation to France. He was a member of an expedition to Lapland in 1736 which set out to measure the length of a degree along the meridian. Maupertuis' measurements both verified Newton's predictions that the Earth would be an oblate speroid, and they corrected earlier results of Cassini. Maupertuis published on many topics including mathematics, geography, astronomy and cosmology. In 1744 he first enunciated the Principle of Least Action and he published it in Essai de cosmologie in 1850. Maupertuis hoped that the principle might unify the laws of the universe and combined it with an attempted proof of the existence of God.*TIS

1761 François Budan de Boislaurent (28 Sept 1761, 6 Oct 1840) was a Haitian born amateur mathematician best remembered for his discovery of a rule which gives necessary conditions for a polynomial equation to have n real roots between two given numbers. Budan is considered an amateur mathematician and he is best remembered for his discovery of a rule which gives necessary conditions for a polynomial equation to have n real roots between two given numbers. Budan's rule was in a memoir sent to the Institute in 1803 but it was not made public until 1807 in Nouvelle méthode pour la résolution des équations numerique d'un degré quelconque. In it Budan wrote, "If an equation in x has n roots between zero and some positive number p, the transformed equation in (x - p) must have at least n fewer variations in sign than the original." *SAU (Sounds like a nice followup extension to Descartes Rule of signs in Pre-calculus classes. Mention the history, how many times do your students hear about a Haitian mathematician?)

1824 George Johnston Allman (28 September 1824 – 9 May 1904) was an Irish professor, mathematician, classical scholar, and historian of ancient Greek mathematics.*Wik

1873  Julian Lowell Coolidge. (28 Sep 1873; 5 Mar 1954) After an education at Harvard (B.A. 1895), Oxford (B.Sc. 1897), Turin (with Corrado Serge) and Bonn (with Eouard Study, Ph.D. 1904), he came back to Harvard to teach until he retired in 1940. He was an enthusiastic teacher with a flair for witty remarks. [DSB 3, 399] *VFR
He published numerous works on theoretical mathematics along the lines of the Study-Segre school. He taught at Groton School, Conn. (1897-9) where one of his pupils was Franklin D Roosevelt, the future U.S. president. From 1899 he taught at Harvard University. Between 1902 and 1904, he went to Turin to study under Corrado Segre and then to Bonn where he studied under Eduard Study. His Mathematics of the Great Amateurs is perhaps his best-known work. *TIS

1881 Edward Ross studied at Edinburgh and Cambridge universities. After working with Karl Pearson in London he was appointed Professor of Mathematics at the Christian College in Madras India. Ill health forced him to retire back to Scotland. *SAU

1901 Kurt Otto Friedrichs (September 28, 1901 – December 31, 1982) was a noted German American mathematician. He was the co-founder of the Courant Institute at New York University and recipient of the National Medal of Science.*Wik

1925 Martin David Kruskal (September 28, 1925 – December 26, 2006) was an American mathematician and physicist. He made fundamental contributions in many areas of mathematics and science, ranging from plasma physics to general relativity and from nonlinear analysis to asymptotic analysis. His single most celebrated contribution was the discovery and theory of solitons. His Ph.D. dissertation, written under the direction of Richard Courant and Bernard Friedman at New York University, was on the topic "The Bridge Theorem For Minimal Surfaces." He received his Ph.D. in 1952.
In the 1950s and early 1960s, he worked largely on plasma physics, developing many ideas that are now fundamental in the field. His theory of adiabatic invariants was important in fusion research. Important concepts of plasma physics that bear his name include the Kruskal–Shafranov instability and the Bernstein–Greene–Kruskal (BGK) modes. With I. B. Bernstein, E. A. Frieman, and R. M. Kulsrud, he developed the MHD (or magnetohydrodynamic) Energy Principle. His interests extended to plasma astrophysics as well as laboratory plasmas. Martin Kruskal's work in plasma physics is considered by some to be his most outstanding.
In 1960, Kruskal discovered the full classical spacetime structure of the simplest type of black hole in General Relativity. A spherically symmetric black hole can be described by the Schwarzschild solution, which was discovered in the early days of General Relativity. However, in its original form, this solution only describes the region exterior to the horizon of the black hole. Kruskal (in parallel with George Szekeres) discovered the maximal analytic continuation of the Schwarzschild solution, which he exhibited elegantly using what are now called Kruskal–Szekeres coordinates.
This led Kruskal to the astonishing discovery that the interior of the black hole looks like a "wormhole" connecting two identical, asymptotically flat universes. This was the first real example of a wormhole solution in General Relativity. The wormhole collapses to a singularity before any observer or signal can travel from one universe to the other. This is now believed to be the general fate of wormholes in General Relativity.
Martin Kruskal was married to Laura Kruskal, his wife of 56 years. Laura is well known as a lecturer and writer about origami and originator of many new models.[3] Martin, who had a great love of games, puzzles, and word play of all kinds, also invented several quite unusual origami models including an envelope for sending secret messages (anyone who unfolded the envelope to read the message would have great difficulty refolding it to conceal the deed).
His Mother, Lillian Rose Vorhaus Kruskal Oppenheimer was an American origami pioneer. She popularized origami in the West starting in the 1950s, and is credited with popularizing the Japanese term origami in English-speaking circles, which gradually supplanted the literal translation paper folding that had been used earlier. In the 1960s she co-wrote several popular books on origami with Shari Lewis.*wik

1925 Seymour R. Cray (28 Sep 1925; 5 Oct 1996) American electronics engineer who pioneered the use of transistors in computers and later developed massive supercomputers to run business and government information networks. He was the preeminent designer of the large, high-speed computers known as supercomputers. *TIS Cray began his engineering career building cryptographic machinery for the U.S. government and went on to co-found Control Data Corporation​ (CDC) in the late 1950s. For over three decades, first with CDC then with his own companies, Cray consistently built the fastest computers in the world, leading the industry with innovative architectures and packaging and allowing the solution of hundreds of difficult scientific, engineering, and military problems. Many of Cray's supercomputers are on exhibit at The Computer Museum History Center. Cray died in an automobile accident in 1996.*CHM

1961 Enrique Zuazua Iriondo (September 28, 1961 'Eibar, Gipuzkoa, Basque Country, Spain - ) is a Research Professor at Ikerbasque, the Basque Foundation for Science in BCAM - Basque Center for Applied Mathematics that he founded in 2008 as Scientific Director. He is also the Director of the BCAM Chair in Partial Differential Equations, Control and Numerics and Professor in leave of Applied Mathematics at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM).
His domains of expertise in Applied Mathematics include Partial Differential Equations, Control Theory and Numerical Analysis. These subjects interrelate and their final aim is to model, analyse, computer simulate, and finally contribute to the control and design of the most diverse natural phenomena and all fields of R + D + i.
Twenty PhD students got the degree under his advice and they now occupy positions in centres throughout the world: Brazil, Chile, China, Mexico, Romania, Spain, etc. He has developed intensive international work having led co-operation programmes with various Latin American countries, as well as with Portugal, the Maghreb, China and Iran, amongst others. *Wik


DEATHS

1694 Gabriel Mouton was a French clergyman who worked on interpolation and on astronomy.*SAU

1869 Count Guglielmo Libri Carucci dalla Sommaja (1 Jan 1803, 28 Sept 1869) Libri's early work was on mathematical physics, particularly the theory of heat. However he made many contributions to number theory and to the theory of equations. His best work during the 1830s and 1840s was undoubtedly his work on the history of mathematics. From 1838 to 1841 he published four volumes of Histoire des sciences mathématiques en Italie, depuis la rénaissanace des lettres jusqu'à la fin du dix-septième siècle. He intended to write a further two volumes, but never finished the task. It is an important work but suffers from over-praise of Italians at the expense of others. *SAU

1953 Edwin Powell Hubble (20 Nov 1889, 28 Sep 1953)American astronomer, born in Marshfield, Mo., who is considered the founder of extragalactic astronomy and who provided the first evidence of the expansion of the universe. In 1923-5 he identified Cepheid variables in "spiral nebulae" M31 and M33 and proved conclusively that they are outside the Galaxy. His investigation of these objects, which he called extragalactic nebulae and which astronomers today call galaxies, led to his now-standard classification system of elliptical, spiral, and irregular galaxies, and to proof that they are distributed uniformly out to great distances. Hubble measured distances to galaxies and their redshifts, and in 1929 he published the velocity-distance relation which is the basis of modern cosmology.*TIS

1992 John Leech is best known for the Leech lattice which is important in the theory of finite simple groups.*SAU

2004 Jacobus Hendricus ("Jack") van Lint (1 September 1932, 28 September 2004) was a Dutch mathematician, professor at the Eindhoven University of Technology, of which he was rector magnificus from 1991 till 1996. His field of research was initially number theory, but he worked mainly in combinatorics and coding theory. Van Lint was honored with a great number of awards. He became a member of Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1972, received four honorary doctorates, was an honorary member of the Royal Netherlands Mathematics Society (Koninklijk Wiskundig Genootschap), and received a Knighthood.*Wik


Credits :
*CHM=Computer History Museum
*FFF=Kane, Famous First Facts
*NSEC= NASA Solar Eclipse Calendar
*RMAT= The Renaissance Mathematicus, Thony Christie
*SAU=St Andrews Univ. Math History
*TIA = Today in Astronomy
*TIS= Today in Science History
*VFR = V Frederick Rickey, USMA
*Wik = Wikipedia
*WM = Women of Mathematics, Grinstein & Campbell