mathematics

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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Edmund Gunter and his Measuring Devices

Edmund Gunter and his Measuring Devices

On December 10, 1626, English clergyman, mathematician, geometer and astronomer Edmund Gunter passed away. Gunther is best remembered for his mathematical contributions which include the invention of the Gunter’s chain, the Gunter’s quadrant, and the Gunter’s scale. In 1620, he invented the first successful analog device which he developed to calculate logarithmic tangents. Edmund Gunter was born in Hertfordshire in 1581. Edmund attended Westminster School as a Queen’s Scholar, then entered Christ…
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Paul Bernays and the Unified Theory of Mathematics

Paul Bernays and the Unified Theory of Mathematics

On October 17, 1888, Swiss mathematician and logician Paul Isaac Bernays was born. Bernays made significant contributions to mathematical logic, axiomatic set theory, and the philosophy of mathematics. He was an assistant and close collaborator of David Hilbert. Bernays is known for his attempts to develop a unified theory of mathematics. Bernays was born the oldest of five children in London, UK, the son of Julius Bernays, a businessman, and his mother…
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Ivan Matveevich Vinogradov and the Goldbach Conjecture

Ivan Matveevich Vinogradov and the Goldbach Conjecture

On September 14, 1891, Soviet mathematician Ivan Matveevich Vinogradov was born. Vinogradov is best known for his contributions to the analytical theory of numbers, including a partial solution of the Goldbach conjecture proving that every sufficiently large odd integer can be expressed as the sum of three odd primes. Ivan Matveevich Vinogradov was born to Matvei Avraam’evich Vinogradov, a priest in Milolyub, a village in the Velikie Luki district of the Pskov…
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Carl Størmer and the Aurorae

Carl Størmer and the Aurorae

On September 3, 1874, Norwegian mathematician and geophysicist Carl Størmer was born. Carl Størmer is known both for his work in number theory and for studying the movement of charged particles in the magnetosphere and the formation of aurorae. He also contributed both important photographic observations and mathematical data to the understanding of the polar aurora, of stratospheric and mesospheric clouds, and of the structure of the ionosphere. The discovery of the Van Allen…
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Gaspard de Prony and the Prony Brake

Gaspard de Prony and the Prony Brake

On July 22, 1755, French mathematician and hydraulic engineer Gaspard Clair François Marie Riche de Prony was born. De Prony is best known for his efforts in the mechanization of calculations as well as for his invention of the eponymous “brake” to measure the performance of machines and engines. Gaspard de Prony’s family name was Riche, the de Prony title having been bought by his parents. De Prony was educated at the…
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Jordan Carson Mark and the Development of Thermonuclear Weapons

Jordan Carson Mark and the Development of Thermonuclear Weapons

On July 6, 1913, Canadian mathematician Jordan Carson Mark was born. Mark is best known for his work on developing nuclear weapons for the United States at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. He oversaw the development of new weapons, including the hydrogen bomb in the 1950s. On the hydrogen bomb project he was able to bring together experts like Edward Teller, Stanislaw Ulam and Marshall Holloway despite their personal differences. Jordan Carson…
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