mathematics

God made the integers, all the rest is the work of man – Leopold Kronecker

God made the integers, all the rest is the work of man – Leopold Kronecker

On December 7, 1823, German mathematician Leopold Kronecker was born, who worked on number theory and algebra. He criticized Cantor’s work on set theory, and his most cited quote says, “Die ganzen Zahlen hat der liebe Gott gemacht, alles andere ist Menschenwerk” (traditionally rendered: “God made natural numbers; all else is the work of man“.) Leopold Kronecker – Early Life Leopold Kronecker was born in Liegnitz, Prussia (now Legnica, Poland) in a wealthy Jewish…
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Gerardus Mercator – The Man who Mapped the Planet

Gerardus Mercator – The Man who Mapped the Planet

On December 2, 1594, German cartographer, philosopher and mathematician Gerardus Mercator passed away. He is best known for his work in cartography, particular the world map of 1569 based on a new projection which represented sailing courses of constant bearing as straight lines. He was the first to use the term Atlas for a collection of maps. “Since my youth geography has been for me the primary object of study. When I…
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Norbert Wiener and the Science of Cybernetics

Norbert Wiener and the Science of Cybernetics

On November 26, 1894, American mathematician Norbert Wiener was born. Wiener established the science of cybernetics, a term he coined, which is concerned with the common factors of control and communication in living organisms, automatic machines, and organizations. He attained international renown by formulating some of the most important contributions to mathematics in the 20th century. “Scientific discovery consists in the interpretation for our own convenience of a system of existence which has…
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Eugenio Beltrami and the Consistency of Non-Euclidian Geometry

Eugenio Beltrami and the Consistency of Non-Euclidian Geometry

On November 16, 1835, Italian mathematician Eugenio Beltrami was born. He is most notable for his work concerning differential geometry and mathematical physics. His work was noted especially for clarity of exposition. He was the first to prove consistency of non-Euclidean geometry by modeling it on a surface of constant curvature, the pseudosphere. “Students should learn to study at an early stage the great works of the great masters instead of making their minds sterile through…
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Felix Hausdorff and the Basic Principles of Set Theory

Felix Hausdorff and the Basic Principles of Set Theory

On November 8, 1868, German mathematician Felix Hausdorff was born. He is considered a co-founder of general topology and made significant contributions to general and descriptive set theory, measure theory, functional analysis and algebra. In addition to his profession, he also worked as a philosophical writer and literary figure under the pseudonym Paul Mongré. Felix Hausdorff – Early Years Felix Hausdorff was born in Breslau, Kingdom of Prussion, today Wroclaw in Poland. Hausdorff’s…
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Charles Joseph Minard and the Art of Infographics

Charles Joseph Minard and the Art of Infographics

On October 24, 1870, French civil engineer Charles Joseph Minard passed away. He is best noted for his ground breaking inventions in the field of information graphics. Charles Joseph Minard – Early Years Charles Joseph Minard was born on March 27, 1781, in Dijon, in the parish of Saint-Michel, France, as the son of Pierre Etienne Minard, a clerk of the court and an officer of the secondary school, and his wife…
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Pythagoras and his Eponymous Theorem

Pythagoras and his Eponymous Theorem

One of the founders of Western mathematics was the Greek philosopher Pythagoras of Samos. He is often revered as a great mathematician, mystic, and scientist and is best known for the Pythagorean theorem which bears his name. It was said that he was the first man to call himself a philosopher, or lover of wisdom. Anyway, his eponymous theorem possibly is the best known theorem in mathematics. Pythagoras Accurate facts about the life…
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Thales of Miletus – (possibly) the Father of Greek Mathematics

Thales of Miletus – (possibly) the Father of Greek Mathematics

For today’s blog post, there is no birthday of a popular scientist. Moreover, we want to tackle famous people in the history of science, who don’t have a known birthday. This of course holds for many philosophers, mathematicians, or natural scientists of Antiquity or early Middle Ages. Today, we want to start with the father of ancient Greek mathematics, Thales of Miletus. According to Bertrand Russel, Western philosophy (as well as mathematics)…
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William Friedman and the Art of Cryptology

William Friedman and the Art of Cryptology

On September 24, 1894, US cryptologist William F. Friedman was born. He is considered one of the world’s greatest cryptologists, who helped decipher enemy codes from World War I to World War II. William Friedman – Early Years Friedman was born as Wolfe Frederick Friedman, then part of imperial Russia, now Chisinau, capital of Moldova, as the son of Frederick Friedman, a Jew from Bucharest who worked as a translator and linguist for the Russian Postal Service,…
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William Playfair and the Beginnings of Infographics

William Playfair and the Beginnings of Infographics

On September 22, 1759, Scottish engineer and political economist William Playfair was born. He is generally considered the founder of graphical methods of statistics. William Playfair invented four types of diagrams: line graph, bar chart, pie chart, and circle graph. William Playfair Playfair was born in 1759 in Scotland during the Enlightenment, a Golden Age in the arts, sciences, industry and commerce. He was the fourth son of the reverend James Playfair…
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