mathematics

Vito Volterra and Functional Analysis

Vito Volterra and Functional Analysis

On May 3, 1860, Italian mathematician and physicist Vito Volterra was born. He is known for his contributions to mathematical biology and integral equations. Moreover, he is considered as one of the founders of functional analysis. “Empires die, but Euclid’s theorems keep their youth forever” — Vito Volterra Youth and Education Vito Volterra was born in Ancona, then part of the Papal States, as son of Abramo Volterra, a cloth merchant, into…
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John Arbuthnot and the Laws of Chance

John Arbuthnot and the Laws of Chance

On April 29, 1667, Scottish physician, satirist and polymath John Arbuthnot was baptized. He is best remembered for his contributions to mathematics, his membership in the Scriblerus Club (where he inspired both Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels as well as Alexander Pope), and for inventing the figure of John Bull. He published Of the Laws of Chance (1692), the first work on probability published in English, being his translation of a work by…
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Georg Joachim Rheticus and the Copernican Revolution

Georg Joachim Rheticus and the Copernican Revolution

On February 16, 1514, mathematician, cartographer, navigational-instrument maker, medical practitioner, and teacher Georg Joachim Rheticus was born. He is perhaps best known for his trigonometric tables and as Nicolaus Copernicus’s [4] sole pupil, who facilitated the publication of his master’s famous work De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres). Georg Joachim Rheticus – Youth and Education Georg Joachim Rheticus was born in Feldkirch, the county of Tyrol in the Holy Roman Empire,…
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Sir George Stokes and Fluid Dynamics

Sir George Stokes and Fluid Dynamics

On February 1, 1903, Irish mathematician, physicist, politician and theologian Sir George Gabriel Stokes, 1st Baronet, passed away. Stokes made seminal contributions to fluid dynamics, optics, and mathematical physics including the first version of what is now known as Stokes’ theorem. “It is very difficult for us, placed as we have been from earliest childhood in a condition of training, to say what would have been our feelings had such training never…
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Pierre Gassendi and his Trials to reconcile Epicurean Atomism with Christianity

Pierre Gassendi and his Trials to reconcile Epicurean Atomism with Christianity

You have read the title? I guess, you might be scared now, but Pierre Gassendi was a decent fellow… On January 22, 1592, French philosopher, priest, scientist, astronomer, and mathematician. Pierre Gassendi was born. Gassendi revived Epicureanism as a substitute for Aristotelianism, attempting in the process to reconcile Atomism‘s mechanistic explanation of nature with Christian belief in immortality, free will, an infinite God, and creation.He clashed with his contemporary Descartes on the possibility…
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Cavalieri’s Principle

Cavalieri’s Principle

On November 30, 1648, Italian mathematician Bonaventura Cavalieri passed away. He is known for his work on the problems of optics and motion, work on the precursors of infinitesimal calculus, and the introduction of logarithms to Italy. Cavalieri’s principle in geometry partially anticipated integral calculus. “Rigor is the concern of philosophy not of geometry.” (Bonaventura Cavalieri) Bonaventura Cavalieri – The Youth of a Mathematician Born at Milan, Cavalieri was given the name Francesco…
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Eudoxus and the Method of Exhaustion

Eudoxus and the Method of Exhaustion

Eudoxus, Lunar Crater As for many people from antiquity, we also have no birthdate for Eudoxus of Cnidus, who was a Greek astronomer, mathematician, scholar and student of Plato. All of his works are lost or have survived as fragments in the texts of other classical writers. He is best known for having developed the method of exhaustion, a precursor to the integral calculus. Eudoxus of Cnidus was born around 408 BC…
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Richard Dedekind and the Real Numbers

Richard Dedekind and the Real Numbers

On October 6, 1831, German mathematician Julius Wilhelm Richard Dedekind was born. He is known for making important contributions to abstract algebra (particularly ring theory), algebraic number theory and the foundations of the real numbers. “Numbers are the free creation of the human mind.” Richard Dedekind Richard Dedekind was the son of an administrator at Collegium Carolinum in Braunschweig. His family was known as pretty influential and the young Richard enrolled in 1848 at…
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Florence Nightingale – The Lady with the Lamp

Florence Nightingale – The Lady with the Lamp

On May 12, 1820, celebrated British social reformer and statistician Florence Nightingale was born. She is best known for being the founder of modern nursing. She came to prominence while serving as a nurse during the Crimean War, where she tended to wounded soldiers. She was known as “The Lady with the Lamp” after her habit of making rounds at night. Youth and Education It is known that Florence Nightingale was a…
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Gottlob Frege and the Begriffsschrift

Gottlob Frege and the Begriffsschrift

Gottlob Frege (1848-1925) On November 8, 1848, German mathematician, logician and philosopher Gottlob Frege was born. He is considered as one of the fathers of modern mathematical logic and has developed the Begriffsschrift, an approach to put classical philosophical logic into a formal mathematical language. While he was mainly ignored by the intellectual world when he published his writings, Giuseppe Peano and Bertrand Russell introduced his work to later generations of logicians…
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