mathematics

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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Do You Speak Polish… Or Maybe Reverse Polish?

Do You Speak Polish… Or Maybe Reverse Polish?

I guess almost nobody except a few mathematicians and computer scientists have ever heard of the Australian computer scientist Charles Leonard Hamblin, who passed away on May 14, 1985. And also most of my fellow computer scientists might not have heard of him. But, one of his major contributions to computer science was the introduction of the so-called Reverse Polish Notation. Does that ring a bell? Interrupted by the Second World War…
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Ramon Llull and the Tree of Knowledge

Ramon Llull and the Tree of Knowledge

Probably in 1232, philosopher, logician, Franciscan tertiary and Catalan writer Ramon Llull (Anglicised Raymond Lully, Raymond Lull; in Latin Raimundus or Raymundus Lullus or Lullius) was born. He is credited with writing the first major work of Catalan literature Recently surfaced manuscripts show his work to have predated by several centuries prominent work on elections theory. He is also considered a pioneer of computation theory, especially given his influence on Leibniz.[2] “For…
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Kurt Gödel Shaking the Very Foundations of Mathematics

Kurt Gödel Shaking the Very Foundations of Mathematics

On April 28, 1906, Kurt Gödel was born. He was one of the most significant logicians of all time. Gödel made an immense impact upon scientific and philosophical thinking in the 20th century, a time when many, such as Bertrand Russell, A. N. Whitehead and David Hilbert, were pioneering the use of logic and set theory to understand the foundations of mathematics. “Either mathematics is too big for the human mind, or the human…
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Kolmogorov and the Foundations of Probability Theory

Kolmogorov and the Foundations of Probability Theory

On April 25, 1903, Soviet mathematician Andrey Nikolaevich Kolmogorov was born. He was one of the most important mathematicians of the 20th century, who advanced various scientific fields, among them probability theory, topology, intuitionistic logic, turbulence, classical mechanics, algorithmic information theory and computational complexity. “The epistemological value of probability theory is based on the fact that chance phenomena, considered collectively and on a grand scale, create non-random regularity.” Andrey Kolmogorov, Limit Distributions for…
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The Important Theorem of Thomas Bayes

The Important Theorem of Thomas Bayes

On April 17, 1761, English mathematician and Presbyterian minister Thomas Bayes passed away. He is best known as name giver of the Bayes’ theorem, of which he had developed a special case. It expresses (in the Bayesian interpretation) how a subjective degree of belief should rationally change to account for evidence, and finds application in in fields including science, engineering, economics (particularly microeconomics), game theory, medicine and law. Thomas Bayes was born into…
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Joseph-Louis Lagrange and the Celestial Mechanics

Joseph-Louis Lagrange and the Celestial Mechanics

On April 10, 1813, Italian mathematician and astronomer Joseph-Louis Lagrange passed away. Lagrange made significant contributions to the fields of analysis, number theory, and both classical and celestial mechanics. Lagrange was born on January 25, 1736 as Giuseppe Ludovico Lagrangia in Turin, previously capital of the duchy of Savoy, but became the capital of the kingdom of Sardinia in 1720. His father was Giuseppe Francesco Lodovico Lagrangia, Treasurer of the Office of…
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