mathematics

Charles Sanders Peirce and Semiotics

Charles Sanders Peirce and Semiotics

Charles Sanders Peirce (1839-1914)Portrait at his Harvard graduation in 1859 On September 10, 1839, mathematician, philosopher and logician Charles Sanders Peirce, the founder of philosophical ‘pragmatism’ was born. Charles Sanders Peirce grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts in a well educated family. His father, himself professor of astronomy and mathematics, always supported his talented son. He even had his own little chemistry laboratory at home and began studying the ‘Critique of Pure Reason’…
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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 Bernoulli described the…
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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 any other…
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David Hilbert’s 23 Problems

David Hilbert’s 23 Problems

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 veil behind which the future…
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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 into a…
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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 in his…
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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, a tax…
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Please Don’t Ignite the Earth’s Atmosphere…

Please Don’t Ignite the Earth’s Atmosphere…

When in 1952 the world’s first thermonuclear fusion bomb was ignited, mathematicians and physicists thought it would be rather unlikely that testing the newly developed device might result in burning all the nitrogen in the earth’s atmosphere. However, the possibility could not be excluded completely. Nevertheless, they have have tested the bomb and fortunately for all of us not the like did happen. One of the key persons behind the development of…
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