Monthly Archives: August 2013

Giuseppe Peano and the Axiomatization of Mathematics

Giuseppe Peano and the Axiomatization of Mathematics

Giuseppe Peano (1858-1932) On August 27, 1858, Italian mathematician and philosopher Giuseppe Peano was born. He is he author of over 200 books and papers, and is considered the founder of mathematical logic and set theory. The standard axiomatization of the natural numbers is named the Peano axioms in his honor. These axioms have been used nearly unchanged in a number of metamathematical investigations, including research into fundamental questions of consistency and…
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The Exploration of Saturn

The Exploration of Saturn

True color picture of Saturn, assembled from Voyager 2 images obtained Aug. 4, 1981 On August 25, 1981, American space probe Voyager 2 passed Saturn and transmitted stunning pictures of the ring planet. The space probe had been launched by NASA on August 20, 1977 to study the outer Solar System and eventually to push forward into interstellar space. Until today, operating for more than 30 years the spacecraft still receives routine…
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Augustin-Louis Cauchy and the Rigor of Analysis

Augustin-Louis Cauchy and the Rigor of Analysis

On August 21, 1789, French mathematician Augustin-Louis Cauchy was born. He is considered one of the greatest mathematicians during the nineteenth century. There are 16 concepts and theorems named for Cauchy, more than for any other mathematician. Cauchy was one of the most prolific mathematicians of all times. Cauchy wrote 789 papers, a quantity exceeded only by Euler and Cayley, which brought precision and rigor to mathematics. Actually, Cauchy was one of…
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The Contraceptive Pill – One of the Most Influential Inventions of the 20th Century

The Contraceptive Pill – One of the Most Influential Inventions of the 20th Century

Different kinds of birth control pillsImage: Ceridwen On August 18, 1960, the first contraceptive pill Enovid went on public sale in the U.S. But the contraceptive pill was not available to married women in all states of the U.S. until 1972. Especially the Roman Catholic Church holds a strong position against the contraceptive pill, because according to her teachings artificial contraception distorts the nature and purpose of sex. According to the Economist,…
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Johann Valentin Andreae and the Legend of the Rosicrucians

Johann Valentin Andreae and the Legend of the Rosicrucians

On August 17, 1586, German theologian and author Johann Valentin Andreae was born. He claimed to be the author of the Chymische Hochzeit Christiani Rosencreutz anno 1459 (1616, Strasbourg, the Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz), one of the three founding works of Rosicrucianism, a philosophical secret society said to have been founded in late medieval Germany by Christian Rosenkreutz. Rosicrucianism holds a doctrine or theology “built on esoteric truths of the ancient…
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Paul Dirac and the Quantum Mechanics

Paul Dirac and the Quantum Mechanics

On August 8, 1902, English theoretical physicist Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac was born. Dirac is best known for his fundamental contributions to the early development of both quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics. “The aim of science is to make difficult things understandable in a simpler way; the aim of poetry is to state simple things in an incomprehensible way. The two are incompatible.” — Paul Dirac Paul Dirac was born in Bristol, Gloucestershire,…
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Johann Friedrich Struensee – A Royal Affair

Johann Friedrich Struensee – A Royal Affair

Johann Friedrich Struensee(1735 – 1772) On August 5, 1735, German physician Johann Friedrich Struensee was born. He became royal physician to the mentally ill King Christian VII of Denmark and a minister in the Danish government, where he tried to carry out widespread reforms. His affair with Queen Caroline Matilda caused his downfall and dramatic death. Johann Friedrich Struensee was born in Halle, Prussia and started his career as a doctor in…
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