mathematics

Walter Pitts and the Mathematical Model of a Neural Network

Walter Pitts and the Mathematical Model of a Neural Network

On April 23, 1923, American logician Walter Harry Pitts, Jr. was born. Pitts worked in the field of computational neuroscience. He proposed landmark theoretical formulations of neural activity and generative processes that influenced diverse fields such as cognitive sciences and psychology, philosophy, neurosciences, computer science, artificial neural networks, cybernetics and artificial intelligence. Moreover, he proposed the first mathematical model of a neural network. The unit of this model, a simple formalized neuron,…
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Rudy Rucker – Infinity and the Mind

Rudy Rucker – Infinity and the Mind

On March 22, 1946, American mathematician, computer scientist, science fiction author, and philosopher Rudolph von Bitter Rucker, better known as Rudy Rucker, was born. He is also one of the founders of the cyberpunk literary movement. “The space of our universe is the hypersurface of a vast expanding hypersphere.” – Rudy Rucker, The Sex Sphere (1983) Youth and Education Rucker was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, where his father Embry Cobb Rucker,…
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Jakob Steiner and Analytical Geometry

Jakob Steiner and Analytical Geometry

On March 18, 1796, Swiss mathematician Jakob Steiner was born. Steiner‘s work was mainly confined to geometry. Moreover, he has been considered the greatest pure geometer since Apollonius of Perga. “Calculating replaces, while geometry stimulates, thinking” -Jakob Steiner (1796-1863) Early Years Steiner was the son of a small farmer, attended the local village school, where he learned to write only at the age of fourteen, and at the age of seventeen went…
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Girard Desargues and Projective Geometry

Girard Desargues and Projective Geometry

On February 21, 1591, French mathematician and engineer Girard Desargues was born. Desargues is considered one of the founders of projective geometry. Desargues‘ theorem, the Desargues graph, and the crater Desargues on the Moon are named in his honour. In his later years, he designed an elaborate spiral staircase, and an ingenious new form of pump, but the most important of Desargues‘ interests was Geometry. He invented a new, non-Greek way of…
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Wilhelm Weinberg and the Genetic Equilibrium

Wilhelm Weinberg and the Genetic Equilibrium

On January 13, 1908, German physician and obstetrician-gynecologis Wilhelm Weinberg delivered an exposition of his ideas on the principle of genetic equilibrium in a lecture before the Verein für vaterländische Naturkunde in Württemberg. He developed the idea of genetic equilibrium independently of British mathematician G. H. Hardy. Scientific Background Wilhelm Weinberg studied medicine at the Universities of Berlin, Tübingen, and Munich, Germany. He returned to his birth town, Stuttgart in 1889, where he…
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Ada Lovelace – The World’s First Programmer

Ada Lovelace – The World’s First Programmer

On November 27, 1852, Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace passed away, who is considered to be the world’s very first computer programmer. Every student of computer science has most probably heart of Ada Countess of Lovelace, assistant to mathematician Charles Babbage, [1] inventor of the very first programmable (mechanical) computer, the analytical engine. Although probably not widely known to the general public, there are Ada Lovelace tuition programs for girls, a programming language called…
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Benoît Mandelbrot and the Beauty of Mathematics

Benoît Mandelbrot and the Beauty of Mathematics

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. “Clouds are not spheres, mountains are not cones, coastlines are not circles, and bark is not smooth, nor does…
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Jean Baptiste le Rond d’Alembert  and the Great Encyclopedy

Jean Baptiste le Rond d’Alembert and the Great Encyclopedy

On November 16, 1717, French mathematician, mechanician, physicist, philosopher, and music theorist Jean Baptiste le Rond d’Alembert was born. He was one of the most important mathematicians and physicists of the 18th century and a philosopher of the Enlightenment.  Probably he is best known as co-editor with Denis Diderot of the famous Encyclopédie, edited between 1751 and 1772.[5] “Nothing is more incontestable than the existence of our sensations; …” — Jean Baptiste le Rond d’Alembert,…
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Wilhelm Schickard and his Calculating Clock

Wilhelm Schickard and his Calculating Clock

On October 23, 1635, German astronomer and mathematician Wilhelm Schickard, who constructed the very first mechanical calculator, passed away. His famous calculator was able to perform additions and subtractions. For more complicated operations, it provided so-called Napier bones, named after the Scottish mathematician John Napier,[1] who came up with the idea of logarithms. Although it is widely believed that the first mechanical calculating device was created by the French mathematician Blaise Pascal in…
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What’s your Erdös Number? – The bustling Life of Mathematician Paul Erdös

What’s your Erdös Number? – The bustling Life of Mathematician Paul Erdös

On September 20, 1996, Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdös passed away. He published more scientific papers than any other mathematician in history, with hundreds of collaborators. Thus, he even created a ‘small world’ of its own, the famous club of people that posess an ‘Erdös Number‘. BTW, my Erdös number is 3, i.e. I have published a paper together with a co-author whose Erdös number is 2. In this little game of numbers,…
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