mathematics

What’s your Erdös Number? – The bustling Life of Mathematician Paul Erdös

What’s your Erdös Number? – The bustling Life of Mathematician Paul Erdös

On September 20, 1996, Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdös passed away. He published more scientific papers than any other mathematician in history, with hundreds of collaborators. Thus, he even created a ‘small world’ of its own, the famous club of people that posess an ‘Erdös Number‘. BTW, my Erdös number is 3, i.e. I have published a paper together with a co-author whose Erdös number is 2. In this little game of numbers,…
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Charles Sanders Peirce – One of the Founders of Semiotics

Charles Sanders Peirce – One of the Founders of Semiotics

On September 10, 1839, mathematician, philosopher and logician Charles Sanders Peirce, the founder of philosophical ‘pragmatism’ was born. “Few persons care to study logic, because everybody conceives himself to be proficient enough in the art of reasoning already.” — Charles Sanders Peirce, [10] Studying Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason Peirce was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the second of five children of Sarah and Benjamin Peirce (1809-1880). His father was professor of astronomy…
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How to Calculate Fortune – Jakob Bernoulli

How to Calculate Fortune – Jakob Bernoulli

The Swiss Bernoulli family is well known for their many offsprings who gained prominent merits in mathematics and physics in the 18th century. Jakob Bernoulli, born in 1654 (or 1655 according to the new Gregorian calendar), is best known for his work Ars Conjectandi (The Art of Conjecture). In this work, published 8 years after his death in 1713 by his nephew Nicholas, Jakob Bernoulli described the known results in probability theory and in…
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It’s Computable – thanks to Alonzo Church

It’s Computable – thanks to Alonzo Church

You know, the fact that you can read your email on a cell phone as well as on your desktop computer or almost any other computer connected to the internet, in principle is possible thanks to mathematician Alonzo Church, who gave the proof (together with Alan Turing) that everything that is computable on the simple model of a Turing Machine, also is computable with any other ‘computer model’. Church studied at Princeton…
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The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time – Bertrand Russell, Logician and Pacifist

The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time – Bertrand Russell, Logician and Pacifist

On July 11, 1906, mathematician and philosopher Bertrand Russell was suspended from Trinity College, Cambridge due to his engagement in pacifist activities. The remarkable Bertrand Russell, a philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic was best known for the famous ‘Principia Mathematica‘, which he published along with Alfred North Whitehead between 1910 and 1913. “Pure mathematics consists entirely of assertions to the effect that, if such and such a proposition is true of…
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Let Us Calculate – the Last Universal Academic Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

Let Us Calculate – the Last Universal Academic Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

On July 1, 1646, one of the last universally interdisciplinary academics, active in the fields of mathematics, physics, history, politics, philosophy, and librarianship was born. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz counts as one of the most influential scientists of the late 17th and early 18th century and impersonates a meaningful representative of the Age of Enlightenment. Moreover, he is also the namesake of the association to which the institute I am working for is a…
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It is not Certain that Everything is Uncertain – Blaise Pascal’s Thoughts

It is not Certain that Everything is Uncertain – Blaise Pascal’s Thoughts

“It is not certain that everything is uncertain.” is one of the many profound insights that philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) published in his seminal work entiteled “Pensées” (Thoughts, published in 1669, after his death). He literally had versatile scientific interests, as he provided influential contributions in the field of mathematics, physics, engineering, as well as in religious philosophy. Blaise Pascal was a child prodigy educated by his father Étienne Pascal, a tax…
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Although I Cannot Prove it… – The Famous Goldbach Conjecture

Although I Cannot Prove it… – The Famous Goldbach Conjecture

On the 7th of June in the year of our Lord 1742, Prussian mathematician Christian Goldbach wrote a letter to his famous colleague Leonard Euler, which should make history. Well, at least in the mathematical world. In this letter Christian Goldbach refined an already previously stated conjecture from number theory concerning primes to his friend Euler, which by today is known as the famous Goldbach conjecture. It states: Every even integer greater…
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Can you solve Rubik’s Cube?

Can you solve Rubik’s Cube?

On June 2, 1980, the world’s most famous puzzle – Rubik’s Cube – started to spread all over the world, infecting the population with addiction and curiosity about its solving. The Rubik’s Cube started to take over Germany in 1980, but its birth lays back in Hungary in the mid 1970’s. The magic cube is named after its creator Ernő Rubik, who is a Hungarian architect and inventor. Between 1971 and 1975…
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Only the Good Die Young – the Very Short Life of Évariste Galois

Only the Good Die Young – the Very Short Life of Évariste Galois

On June 1st, 1832, famous French mathematician Évariste Galois was killed in a duel. He was only 20 years of age. And why did he have to die so young? Just because of a girl… Her name was Stéphanie-Félicie Poterine du Motel, the daughter of a physician. But, there have been rumors that the duel has been set up by his political opponents while this could never be proven. His opponent was a…
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