mathematics

How to Calculate Fortune – Jakob Bernoulli

How to Calculate Fortune – Jakob Bernoulli

Jakob Bernoulli (1655-1705) on a Swiss stamp 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…
It’s Computable – thanks to Alonzo Church

It’s Computable – thanks to Alonzo Church

Alonzo Church (1903-1995) @ University of Berkeley 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…
David Hilbert’s 23 Problems

David Hilbert’s 23 Problems

David Hilbert (1862-1943) On August 8, 1900 David Hilbert, probably the greatest mathematician of his age,  gave a speech at the Paris conference of the International Congress of Mathematicians, at the Sorbonne, where he presented 10 mathematical Problems (out of a list of 23), all unsolved at the time, and several of them were very influential for 20th century mathematics. “Who of us would not be glad to lift the…
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

Bertrand Russel from the Graphic Novell ‘Logicomix – The Epic Search of Truth’ 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. Bertrand Russel was born…
Let Us Calculate – the Last Universal Academic Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

Let Us Calculate – the Last Universal Academic Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646 – 1716) 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. Leibniz made up his interests concerning philosophy and law studies…
It is not Certain that Everything is Uncertain – Blaise Pascal’s Thoughts

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

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) “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). 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,…
Although I Cannot Prove it… – The Famous Goldbach Conjecture

Although I Cannot Prove it… – The Famous Goldbach Conjecture

Letter of Christian Goldbach to Leonard Euler from June 7th, 1742 (German and Latin) 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,…
Can you solve Rubik’s Cube?

Can you solve Rubik’s Cube?

Ern? Rubik© Julio Cortez On June 2, 1980, the world’s most famous puzzle 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 Ern? Rubik, who is a Hungarian architect and inventor. Between 1971…
Do You Speak Polish… Or Maybe Reverse Polish?

Do You Speak Polish… Or Maybe Reverse Polish?

HP 35s Calculator (1972) 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 Back…
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