Monthly Archives: January 2015

Charles Green and his Record Balloon Flight

Charles Green and his Record Balloon Flight

On January 31, 1785, Charles Green was born, who was United Kingdom’s most famous balloonist of the 19th century. He experimented with coal gas as a cheaper and more readily available alternative to hydrogen for lifting power. In 1836, Green set a major long distance record in the balloon “Royal Vauxhall”, flying overnight from Vauxhall Gardens in London to Weilburg, Duchy of Nassau (Germany) a distance of 770 km. This record was not…
Euclid – the Father of Geometry

Euclid – the Father of Geometry

At about 330 BC, Euclid of Alexandria was born, who often is referred to as the Father of Geometry. His Elements is one of the most influential works in the history of mathematics, serving as the main textbook for teaching mathematics (especially geometry) from the time of its publication until the late 19th or early 20th century. In the Elements, Euclid deduced the principles of what is now called Euclidean…
Ernst Kummer and his Achievements in Mathematics

Ernst Kummer and his Achievements in Mathematics

On January 29, 1810, German mathematician Ernst Eduard Kummer was born. One of his major contributions is the introduction of ideal numbers, which are defined as a special subgroup of a ring, extended the fundamental theorem of arithmetic to complex number fields.He also discovered the fourth order surface based on the singular surface of the quadratic line complex. This Kummer surface has 16 isolated conical double points and 16 singular…
Johannes Hevelius and his Selenographia

Johannes Hevelius and his Selenographia

On January 28, 1611, German astronomer Johannes Hevelius was born. From four years’ telescopic study of the Moon, using telescopes of long focal power, Hevelius compiled Selenographia (“Pictures of the Moon”, 1647), an atlas of the Moon with some of the earliest detailed maps. Johannes Hevelius‘ father was a succesful merchant and pushed Johannes to follow his footsteps rather than pursue a scientific career. Hevelius was sent to Poland in order to…
Thomas Willis and the Royal Society

Thomas Willis and the Royal Society

On January 27, 1620, English physician and founding member of the Royal Society Thomas Willis was born, who played an important part in the history of anatomy, neurology and psychiatry. A club of scientists including Robert Boyle, Christopher Wren and John Wilkins met in his rooms in Oxford, which later should become founding members of the Royal Society. Thomas Willis was born the eldest of three sons on his parents‘ small…
Henry Briggs and the Popularization on Logarithms

Henry Briggs and the Popularization on Logarithms

On January 26, 1630, English mathematician and committed puritan Henry Briggs passed away. He is notable for changing the original logarithms invented by John Napier into common (base 10) logarithms, which are sometimes known as Briggsian logarithms in his honour. Henry Briggs was born in Halifax, however, his exact date of birth remains unknown. His early family life is also not too well known, but it is believed that he…
Fabian von Bellingshausen and the Discovery of Antarctica

Fabian von Bellingshausen and the Discovery of Antarctica

On January 25, 1852, Baltic German officer in the Imperial Russian Navy, cartographer and explorer Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen passed away. He was a notable participant of the first Russian circumnavigation and subsequently a leader of another circumnavigation expedition, which discovered the continent of Antarctica. He is remembered in Russia as one if its greatest admirals and explorers, and multiple geographical features and locations in the Antarctic, named in honor of Bellingshausen,…
Oskar Morgenstern and the Game Theory

Oskar Morgenstern and the Game Theory

  On January 24, 1902, German-American economist and mathematician Carl Friedrich Alfred Oskar Morgenstern was born. Morgenstern popularized “game theory” which mathematically analyzes behaviour of man or animals in terms of strategies to maximize gains and minimize losses. He coauthored Theory of Games and Economic Behavior (1944), with John von Neumann, which extended Neumann‘s 1928 theory of games of strategy to competitive business situations. “As far as the use of…
Andrija Mohorovičić and the Mohorovičić Discontinuity

Andrija Mohorovičić and the Mohorovičić Discontinuity

On January 23, 1857, Croatian meteorologist and seismologist Andrija Mohorovičić was born. He is best known for the eponymous Mohorovičić discontinuity, i.e. he boundary between the Earth’s crust and mantle discovered by him – and is considered a founder of modern seismology. Andrija Mohorovičić proved to be a talented student from early age. By the age of 15, he spoke English, French and Italian and learned German, Czech, Latin and Ancient Greek…
Pierre Gassendi and his Trials to reconcile Epicurean atomism with Christianity

Pierre Gassendi and his Trials to reconcile Epicurean atomism with Christianity

You have read the title? I guess, you might be scared now, but Pierre Gassendi was a decent fellow… On January 22, 1592, French philosopher, priest, scientist, astronomer, and mathematician. Pierre Gassendi was born. Gassendi revived Epicureanism as a substitute for Aristotelianism, attempting in the process to reconcile Atomism‘s mechanistic explanation of nature with Christian belief in immortality, free will, an infinite God, and creation.He clashed with his contemporary Descartes on…
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