mathematics

Pythagoras and his Eponymous Theorem

Pythagoras and his Eponymous Theorem

One of the founders of Western mathematics was the Greek philosopher Pythagoras of Samos. He is often revered as a great mathematician, mystic, and scientist and is best known for the Pythagorean theorem which bears his name. It was said that he was the first man to call himself a philosopher, or lover of wisdom. Anyway, his eponymous theorem possibly is the best known theorem in mathematics. Pythagoras Accurate facts about the life…
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Thales of Miletus – (possibly) the Father of Greek Mathematics

Thales of Miletus – (possibly) the Father of Greek Mathematics

For today’s blog post, there is no birthday of a popular scientist. Moreover, we want to tackle famous people in the history of science, who don’t have a known birthday. This of course holds for many philosophers, mathematicians, or natural scientists of Antiquity or early Middle Ages. Today, we want to start with the father of ancient Greek mathematics, Thales of Miletus. According to Bertrand Russel, Western philosophy (as well as mathematics)…
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William Friedman and the Art of Cryptology

William Friedman and the Art of Cryptology

On September 24, 1894, US cryptologist William F. Friedman was born. He is considered one of the world’s greatest cryptologists, who helped decipher enemy codes from World War I to World War II. William Friedman – Early Years Friedman was born as Wolfe Frederick Friedman, then part of imperial Russia, now Chisinau, capital of Moldova, as the son of Frederick Friedman, a Jew from Bucharest who worked as a translator and linguist for the Russian Postal Service,…
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William Playfair and the Beginnings of Infographics

William Playfair and the Beginnings of Infographics

On September 22, 1759, Scottish engineer and political economist William Playfair was born. He is generally considered the founder of graphical methods of statistics. William Playfair invented four types of diagrams: line graph, bar chart, pie chart, and circle graph. William Playfair Playfair was born in 1759 in Scotland during the Enlightenment, a Golden Age in the arts, sciences, industry and commerce. He was the fourth son of the reverend James Playfair…
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Adrien-Marie Legendre – Providing the Essential Analytical Tools for Mathematical Physics

Adrien-Marie Legendre – Providing the Essential Analytical Tools for Mathematical Physics

On September 18, 1752, French mathematician Adrien-Marie Legendre was born. He is best known for his contributions in number theory, celestial mechanics and elliptic functions. It was in a paper on celestial mechanics concerning the motion of planets (1784) that he first introduced the Legendre Polynomials. Moreover, he served as director of the of the Bureau des Longitudes, standardizing French weights and measures. “All the truths of mathematics are linked to each…
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Marin Mersenne – Mathematics and Universal Harmony

Marin Mersenne – Mathematics and Universal Harmony

On September 8, 1588, French polymath Marin Mersenne was born. He is perhaps best known today among mathematicians for Mersenne prime numbers. He also developed Mersenne’s laws, which describe the harmonics of a vibrating string. “Philosophy would long ago have reached a high level if our predecessors and fathers had put this into practice; and we would not waste time on the primary difficulties, which appear now as severe as in the…
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Antoine Cournot and the Mathematical Theory of Economics

Antoine Cournot and the Mathematical Theory of Economics

On August 28, 1801, French philosopher and mathematician Antoine-Augustin Cournot was born. He is considered being the first economist who applied mathematics to the treatment of economic questions. In 1838, he published Recherches sur les principes mathématiques de la théorie des richesses (Researches into the Mathematical Principles of the Theory of Wealth) which was a treatment of mathematical economics. “So far we have studies how, for each commodity by itself, the law…
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Giuseppe Peano and the Axiomatization of Mathematics

Giuseppe Peano and the Axiomatization of Mathematics

On August 27, 1858, Italian mathematician and philosopher Giuseppe Peano was born. He is the 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 completeness of number…
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E.F. Codd and the Success of the Relational Database Model

E.F. Codd and the Success of the Relational Database Model

On August 23, 1923, English computer scientist Edgar Frank “Ted” Codd was born. His main achievement besides many contributions to computer science was the invention of the relational model for database management, the theoretical basis for relational databases. “At the time, Nixon was normalizing relations with China. I figured that if he could normalize relations, then so could I.” — E. F. Codd [5] When you talk about databases today, usually you…
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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. Cauchy throughout my Maths Lectures…
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