mathematics

Donald Knuth and the Art of Programming

Donald Knuth and the Art of Programming

On January 10, 1938, computer scientist Donald Knuth, developer of the seminal computer science textbooks ‘The Art of Computer Programming‘, was born. He is also widely known for his development of the TeX typesetting framework and the METAFONT font definition language. Actually, Donald Knuth is one of my personal heroes in computer science. The very day I started to study this subject, his textbooks had already become a sort of ‘holy bible’ when…
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Émile Borel and the Infinite Monkey Problem

Émile Borel and the Infinite Monkey Problem

On January 7, 1871, French mathematician Félix Édouard Justin Émile Borel was born. Borel is known for his founding work in the areas of measure theory and probability. In one of his books on probability, he proposed the thought experiment that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard will – with absolute certainty – eventually type every book in France’s Bibliothèque nationale de France (National Library). This is now…
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Standing on the Shoulders of Giants – Sir Isaac Newton

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants – Sir Isaac Newton

On January 4, 1643 [N.S.] (25 December 1642 [O.S.]), Sir Isaac Newton, famous physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist and theologian, was born. With his Principia Newton laid the foundation of modern classical mechanics. Besides he constructed the very first reflecting telescope and independent of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz developed differential and integral calculus [10]. “We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to…
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Jacques Hadamard and the Description of Mathematical Thought

Jacques Hadamard and the Description of Mathematical Thought

On December 8, 1865, French mathematician Jacques Salomon Hadamard was born. Hadamard made major contributions in number theory, complex function theory, differential geometry and partial differential equations. Moreover, he is also known for his description of the mathematical though process in his book Psychology of Invention in the Mathematical Field. “It is important for him who wants to discover not to confine himself to one chapter of science, but to keep in…
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G. H. Hardy and the aesthetics of Mathematics

G. H. Hardy and the aesthetics of Mathematics

On December 1, 1947, English mathematician G. H. Hardy passed away. Hardy is known for his achievements in number theory and mathematical analysis, but also for his 1940 essay on the aesthetics of mathematics, A Mathematician’s Apology, and for mentoring the brilliant Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. “A mathematician … has no material to work with but ideas, and so his patterns are likely to last longer, since ideas wear less with time…
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Lewis Fry Richardson and the accurate Weather Forecast

Lewis Fry Richardson and the accurate Weather Forecast

On October 11, 1811, English mathematician, physicist, meteorologist, psychologist and pacifist Lewis Fry Richardsen was born. Richardson pioneered modern mathematical techniques of weather forecasting, and the application of similar techniques to studying the causes of wars and how to prevent them. He is also noted for his pioneering work concerning fractals and a method for solving a system of linear equations known as modified Richardson iteration. Lewis Fry Richardson – Early Years Lewis Fry Richardson…
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Eratosthenes and the Circumference of the Earth

Eratosthenes and the Circumference of the Earth

Eratosthenes of Cyrene was a Greek mathematician, geographer, poet, astronomer, and music theorist. He was a man of learning, becoming the chief librarian at the Library of Alexandria. He invented the discipline of geography, including the terminology used today. He is best known for being the first person to calculate the circumference of the Earth. “Eratosthenes of Cyrene, employing mathematical theories and geometrical methods, discovered from the course of the sun the…
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Maurice René Fréchet and the Theory of Abstract Spaces

Maurice René Fréchet and the Theory of Abstract Spaces

On September 2, 1878, French mathematician Maurice René Fréchet was born. Fréchet is known chiefly for his contribution to real analysis. He is credited with being the founder of the theory of abstract spaces, which generalized the traditional mathematical definition of space as a locus for the comparison of figures; in Fréchet‘s terms, space is defined as a set of points and the set of relations. He also made several important contributions…
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Carl Runge and the Early Days of Numerical Mathematics

Carl Runge and the Early Days of Numerical Mathematics

On August 20, 1856, German mathematician, physicist, and spectroscopist Carl Runge (Carl David Tolmé Runge) was born. He was co-developer and co-eponym of the Runge–Kutta method , a single-step method for the approximate solution of initial value problems in numerical mathematics. Carl Junge – Youth and Education Carl Runge was born in Bremen, Germany, the son of the merchant Julius Runge and his wife Fanny Tolmé, who was from England. He spent…
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