mathematics

Emmy Noether and the Love for Mathematics

Emmy Noether and the Love for Mathematics

On April 23, 1882, German mathematician and physicist Emmy Noether was born, who is best known for her groundbreaking contributions to abstract algebra and theoretical physics. Albert Einstein called her the most important woman in the history of mathematics, as she revolutionized the theories of rings, fields, and algebras. “My methods are really methods of working and thinking; this is why they have crept in everywhere anonymously.” Letter to Helmut Hasse (1931)…
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Georg Cantor and the Beauty of Infinity

Georg Cantor and the Beauty of Infinity

On March 3, 1845, German mathematician Georg Cantor, creator of the set theory was born. Set Theory is considered the fundamental theory of mathematics. He also proved that the real numbers are “more numerous” than the natural numbers, which was quite shocking for his contemporaries that there should be different numbers of infinity. “In mathematics the art of asking questions is more valuable than solving problems.” Georg Cantor, Doctoral thesis (1867) Georg Cantor…
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Karl Weierstrass – the Father of Modern Analysis

Karl Weierstrass – the Father of Modern Analysis

On February 19, 1897, German mathematician Karl Theodor Wilhelm Weierstrass passed away. Weierstrass often is cited as the “father of modern analysis“. He formalized the definition of the continuity of a function, proved the intermediate value theorem and the Bolzano–Weierstrass theorem, and used the latter to study the properties of continuous functions on closed bounded intervals. “… it is true that a mathematician who is not somewhat of a poet, will never be a…
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Lewis Carroll – Mathematician and Creator of the Wonderland

Lewis Carroll – Mathematician and Creator of the Wonderland

On January 27, 1832, British mathematician, photographer, and children’s book author Lewis Carroll, creator of the stories about ‘Alice in Wonderland’, was born. The English all round talented Carroll was first home schooled and confronted with challenging works like ‘The Pilgrim´s Progress‘ – a Christian allegory written by John Bunyan, regarded as one of the most significant works of religious English literature – from early years on. When being transferred to grammar…
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Arthur Cayley and the Love for Pure Mathematics

Arthur Cayley and the Love for Pure Mathematics

Arthur Cayley (1821-1895) On January 26, 1895, British mathematician Arthur Cayley passed away. He was the first to define the concept of a group in the modern way and helped to found the modern British school of pure mathematics. Arthur Cayley was born in Richmond, London, England, on 16 August 1821 to his father Henry Cayley, a descended from an ancient Yorkshire family, who settled in Saint Petersburg, Russia, as a merchant. Arthur…
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Pierre de Fermat and his Last Problem

Pierre de Fermat and his Last Problem

On January 12, 1665, French lawyer and amateur mathematician Pierre de Fermat, famous for his research in number theory, analytical geometry and probability theory, passed away. He is best known for Fermat’s Last Theorem, which he described in a note at the margin of a copy of Diophantus’ Arithmetica.[4] Born on August 17, 1601, into a wealthy French family, Pierre de Fermat grew up in Beaumont de Lomagne and later attended the…
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Donald Knuth and the Art of Programming

Donald Knuth and the Art of Programming

Donald E. Knuth, photo: October 25, 2005 by Jacob Appelbaum On January 10, 1938, computer scientist Donald Knuth, developer of the seminal computer science textbooks ‘The Art of Computer Programming‘, was born. He is also widely known for his development of the TeX typesetting framework and the METAFONT font definition language. Actually, Donald Knuth is one of my personal heroes in computer science. The very day I started to study this subject, his…
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Standing on the Shoulders of Giants – Sir Isaac Newton

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants – Sir Isaac Newton

Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727), Portrait by Sir Godfrey Kneller (1689) On January 4, 1643 [N.S.] (25 December 1642 [O.S.]), Sir Isaac Newton, famous physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist and theologian, was born. With his Principia Newton laid the foundation of modern classical mechanics. Besides he constructed the very first reflecting telescope and independent of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz developed differential and integral calculus [10]. “We are to admit no more causes of natural…
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The Celestial Mechanics of Anders Johann Lexell

The Celestial Mechanics of Anders Johann Lexell

On December 24, 1740, Finnish-Swedish astronomer, mathematician, and physicist Anders Johann Lexell was born. Lexell made important discoveries in polygonometry and celestial mechanics; the latter led to a comet named in his honour. La Grande Encyclopédie states that he was the prominent mathematician of his time who contributed to spherical trigonometry with new and interesting solutions, which he took as a basis for his research of comet and planet motion. His name…
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Sophus Lie and the Lie Theory

Sophus Lie and the Lie Theory

On December 17, 1842, Norwegian mathematician Sophus Lie was born. Lie largely created the theory of continuous symmetry and applied it to the study of geometry and differential equations. He made significant contributions to the theories of algebraic invariants, continuous groups of transformations and differential equations. Lie groups and Lie algebras are named after him. Marius Sophus Lie was born in Nordfjordeid, near Bergen, Norway, to his father Johann Lie, pastor in…
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