mathematics

Ada Lovelace – The World’s First Programmer

Ada Lovelace – The World’s First Programmer

On November 27, 1852, Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace passed away, who is considered to be the world’s very first computer programmer. Every student of computer science has most probably heart of Ada Countess of Lovelace, assistant to mathematician Charles Babbage, [1] inventor of the very first programmable (mechanical) computer, the analytical engine. Although probably not widely known to the general public, there are Ada Lovelace tuition programs for girls, a programming language called…
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Benoît Mandelbrot and the Beauty of Mathematics

Benoît Mandelbrot and the Beauty of Mathematics

On November 20, 1924, French American mathematician Benoît B. Mandelbrot was born. Mandelbrot worked on a wide range of mathematical problems, including mathematical physics and quantitative finance, but is best known as the popularizer of fractal geometry. He was the one who coined the term ‘fractal’ and described the Mandelbrot set named after him. “Clouds are not spheres, mountains are not cones, coastlines are not circles, and bark is not smooth, nor does…
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Jean Baptiste le Rond d’Alembert  and the Great Encyclopedy

Jean Baptiste le Rond d’Alembert and the Great Encyclopedy

On November 16, 1717, French mathematician, mechanician, physicist, philosopher, and music theorist Jean Baptiste le Rond d’Alembert was born. He was one of the most important mathematicians and physicists of the 18th century and a philosopher of the Enlightenment.  Probably he is best known as co-editor with Denis Diderot of the famous Encyclopédie, edited between 1751 and 1772.[5] “Nothing is more incontestable than the existence of our sensations; …” — Jean Baptiste le Rond d’Alembert,…
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Wilhelm Schickard and his Calculating Clock

Wilhelm Schickard and his Calculating Clock

On October 23, 1635, German astronomer and mathematician Wilhelm Schickard, who constructed the very first mechanical calculator, passed away. His famous calculator was able to perform additions and subtractions. For more complicated operations, it provided so-called Napier bones, named after the Scottish mathematician John Napier,[1] who came up with the idea of logarithms. Although it is widely believed that the first mechanical calculating device was created by the French mathematician Blaise Pascal in…
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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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