mathematics

Nicole Oresme – Polymath of the Late Middle Ages

Nicole Oresme – Polymath of the Late Middle Ages

Portrait of Nicole Oresme: Miniature from Oresme’s Traité de l’espere, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, France, fonds français 565, fol. 1r. On July 11, 1382, significant philosopher of the later Middle Ages Nicole Oresme passed away. As for many historic people of the middle ages, his actual birthdate is unknown and can only be fixed to a period between 1325 and 1330. Nicole Oresme besides William of Ockham or Jean Buridan — a French…
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Augustus de Morgan and Formal Logic

Augustus de Morgan and Formal Logic

Augustus de Morgan (1806-1871) On June 27, 1806, British mathematician and logician Augustus De Morgan was born. He formulated De Morgan‘s laws and introduced the term mathematical induction, a method of mathematical proof typically used to establish a given statement for all natural numbers. As a computer scientist, I am of course familiar with De Morgan‘s laws, which are fundamental for Boolean logic. De Morgan‘s laws are merely transformation rules for two of…
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The Phantastic Worlds of M. C. Escher

The Phantastic Worlds of M. C. Escher

Hand with Reflecting Sphereby M.C. Escher On June 17, 1898, Dutch graphic artist Maurits Cornelis Escher, better known as M. C. Escher, was born. He is known for his often mathematically inspired woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints, which feature impossible constructions, explorations of infinity, architecture, and tessellations. M. C. Escher always glanced with his drawing abilities as a child, but also arrested attention with his otherwise poor grades. After school, he enrolled at…
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Carl Friedrich Gauss – The Prince of Mathematicians

Carl Friedrich Gauss – The Prince of Mathematicians

On April 30, 1777, German mathematician and physical scientist Carl Friedrich Gauss was born. He contributed significantly to many fields, including number theory, algebra, statistics, analysis, differential geometry, geodesy, geophysics, electrostatics, astronomy and optics. He is often referred to as Princeps mathematicorum (Latin, “the Prince of Mathematicians”) as well as “greatest mathematician since antiquity”. “Mathematics is the Queen of Science, and Arithmetic is the Queen of Mathematics” – handed down in Wolfgang Sartorius…
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John Napier and his Napier Bones

John Napier and his Napier Bones

On April 4, 1617, Scottish mathematician, physicist, astronomer and astrologer John Napier of Merchiston, the 8th Laird of Merchistoun passed away. John Napier is best known as the discoverer of logarithms. He was also the inventor of the so-called “Napier’s bones“, a kind of abacus for calculation of products and quotients of numbers. Napier also made common the use of the decimal point in arithmetic and mathematics. John Napier grew up in…
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Joseph Fourier and the Greenhouse Effect

Joseph Fourier and the Greenhouse Effect

On March 21, 1768, French mathematician and physicist Jean Baptiste Joseph du Fourier was born. He is probably best known for his work in thermodynamics, where he introduced the concept of the Fourier Analysis, named in honor after him. There, he claimed that every mathematical function of a variable can be expanded to a sum of sines of multiples of that variable. What people most likely don’t know is that Fourier also was the…
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Tycho Brahe – The Man with the Golden Nose

Tycho Brahe – The Man with the Golden Nose

Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) On December 14, 1546, Danish nobleman and astronomer Tycho Brahe, known for his accurate and comprehensive astronomical and planetary observations was born. Tycho Brahe was born into a politically powerful family of noblemen and political advisors. He grew up with his uncle, also a nobleman, who supplied his nephew with a proper education at a Latin school. Tycho began attending university at the age of 12, in favor of…
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George Boole – The Founder of Modern Logics

George Boole – The Founder of Modern Logics

George Boole (1815-1864) On December 8, 1864, British mathematician and logician George Boole passed away. He is best known as the inventor of the prototype of what is now called Boolean logic, which became the basis of the modern digital computer. Thus, Boole also is regarded as one of the founders of the field of computer science. George Boole was born on November 2, 1815 as first of four children to his father…
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Ada Lovelace – The World’s Very First Programmer

Ada Lovelace – The World’s Very First Programmer

Ada Lovelace (1815 – 1852) Portrait by Margaret Sarah Carpenter On November 27, 1852, Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, who is considered to be the world’s very first programmer, passed away. Every student of computer science should have heart of the world’s first programmer, Ada Countess of Lovelace, assistant to Charles Babbage, inventor of the very first programmable (mechanical) computer, the analytical engine. Allthough probably not widely known to the general…
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Benoît Mandelbrot and the Beauty of Mathematics

Benoît Mandelbrot and the Beauty of Mathematics

The Mandelbrot set, named after mathematician Benoite B. Mandelbrot,  has become an iconic figure. 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. So, who of you has…
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