mathematics

Richard Brauer and the Theory of Algebra

Richard Brauer and the Theory of Algebra

On February 10, 1901, German and American mathematician Richard Dagobert Brauer was born. Brauer worked mainly in abstract algebra, but made important contributions to number theory. He was the founder of modular representation theory. Richard Brauer – Early Years Richard Brauer was born in Charlottenburg, a district of Berlin, Germany, which was not incorporated into the city until 1920, to Max Brauer, a well-off businessman in the wholesale leather trade, and his wife…
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Giambattista della Porta – Natural Magic and the Academy of Secrets

Giambattista della Porta – Natural Magic and the Academy of Secrets

On February 4, 1615, Italian scholar, polymath and playwright Giambattista della Porta passed away. Besides occult philosophy, astrology, alchemy, mathematics, meteorology, and natural philosophy, della Porta worked on cryptography and also on optics. He claimed to be the inventor of the telescope although he does not appear to have constructed one before Galileo [4]. “Having observed the forces of all things natural and celestial and having examined by painstaking investigation the sympathy among…
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Lodovico Ferrari and the quartic equations

Lodovico Ferrari and the quartic equations

On February 2, 1522, Italian mathematician Lodovico Ferrari was born, who was the first to find an algebraic solution to the biquadratic, or quartic equation. Lodovico Ferrari – Early Years Born in Bologna, Italy, Lodovico’s grandfather, Bartholomew Ferrari, was forced out of Milan to Bologna. Lodovico settled in Bologna, Italy and by chance, he was able to start his career as servant of one of the most famous mathematicians of the time,…
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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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Leonid Kantorovich and the Optimal Allocation of Scarce Resources

Leonid Kantorovich and the Optimal Allocation of Scarce Resources

On January 19, 1912, Soviet mathematician and economist Leonid Vitaliyevich Kantorovich was born. Kantorovich shared the 1975 Nobel Prize for Economics with Tjalling Koopmans for their work on the optimal allocation of scarce resources. “In our time mathematics has penetrated into economics so solidly, widely and variously, and the chosen theme is connected with such a variety of facts and problems that it brings us to cite the words of Kozma Prutkov…
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Camille Jordan and the Cours d’Analyse.

Camille Jordan and the Cours d’Analyse.

On January 5, 1838, French mathematician Marie Ennemond Camille Jordan was born. Jordan is known both for his foundational work in group theory and for his influential Cours d’analyse. “[I was advised] to read Jordan’s ‘Cours d’analyse’; and I shall never forget the astonishment with which I read that remarkable work, the first inspiration for so many mathematicians of my generation, and learnt for the first time as I read it what…
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Hermann Weyl – between Pure Mathematics and Theoretical Physics

Hermann Weyl – between Pure Mathematics and Theoretical Physics

On November 9, 1885, German mathematician, theoretical physicist and philosopher Hermann Weyl was born. Weyl was one of the most influential mathematicians of the 20th century. His widely varied contributions in mathematics linked pure mathematics and theoretical physics. He made significant contributions to quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity. He attempted to incorporate electromagnetism into the geometric formalism of general relativity. “In these days the angel of topology and the devil of abstract…
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Gottlob Frege and the Formula Language of Pure Thinking

Gottlob Frege and the Formula Language of Pure Thinking

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 [7] and Bertrand Russell [8] introduced his work to later generations of logicians and philosophers. Unless…
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Eudoxus and the Method of Exhaustion

Eudoxus and the Method of Exhaustion

Eudoxus of Cnidus 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. The Life of Eudoxus of Cnidus Eudoxus of Cnidus was born around 408 BC as the son of Aischines of Cnidus. His name Eudoxus means…
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