mathematics

Richard Dedekind and the Real Numbers

Richard Dedekind and the Real Numbers

On October 6, 1831, German mathematician Julius Wilhelm Richard Dedekind was born. He is known for making important contributions to abstract algebra (particularly ring theory), algebraic number theory and the foundations of the real numbers. “Numbers are the free creation of the human mind.” Richard Dedekind Richard Dedekind – Early Years Richard Dedekind, the son of the Braunschweig lawyer and university teacher Julius Dedekind, attended the Martino-Katharineum Braunschweig and studied mathematics at the Collegium…
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Bernard Bolzano and the Theory of Knowledge

Bernard Bolzano and the Theory of Knowledge

On October 5, 1781, Bohemian mathematician, logician, philosopher, theologian and Catholic priest of Italian extraction Bernard Bolzano was born. Bolzano made significant contributions to both mathematics and the theory of knowledge. He provided a more detailed proof for the binomial theorem and suggested the means of distinguishing between finite and infinite classes. His major work, Wissenschaftslehre (1837), contains various contributions to logic and semantics concerning the relations of compatibility, derivability, and consequence,…
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Pierre Louis Maupertuis – The Man who flattened the Earth

Pierre Louis Maupertuis – The Man who flattened the Earth

On September 28, 1698, French mathematician, philosopher and man of letters Pierre Louis Maupertuis was born. Maupertuis made an expedition to Lapland to determine the shape of the Earth. He is also credited with having invented the principle of least action, an integral equation that determines the path followed by a physical system. “Nature always uses the simplest means to accomplish its effects.” – Formulation of the principle of least action, as…
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Read Euler, he is the Master of us all…

Read Euler, he is the Master of us all…

On September 18, 1783, Swiss mathematician and physicist Leonhard Euler passed away. Euler is considered to be the pre-eminent mathematician of the 18th century and one of the greatest mathematicians to have ever lived. He is also one of the most prolific mathematicians. He made important discoveries in fields as diverse as infinitesimal calculus and graph theory. He also introduced much of the modern mathematical terminology and notation, particularly for mathematical analysis,…
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Bernhard Riemann’s innovative approaches to Geometry

Bernhard Riemann’s innovative approaches to Geometry

On September 17, 1826, influential German mathematician Bernhard Riemann was born. Riemann‘s profound and novel approaches to the study of geometry laid the mathematical foundation for Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. He also made important contributions to the theory of functions, complex analysis, and number theory. “Nevertheless, it remains conceivable that the measure relations of space in the infinitely small are not in accordance with the assumptions of our geometry [Euclidean geometry],…
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Giovanni Saccheri and his Problems with Euclidian Geometry

Giovanni Saccheri and his Problems with Euclidian Geometry

On September 5, 1667, Italian Jesuit priest, scholastic philosopher, and mathematician Giovanni Girolamo Saccheri was born. He is primarily known today for his last publication, Euclide Ab Omni Naevo Vindicatus (Euclid Freed of Every Flaw, 1733), now considered the second work in non-Euclidean geometry. First Contact with Euclid’s Elements Saccheri was born in Sanremo to his father Giovanni Felice Saccheri, a lawyer and notary.[6] As a child Saccheri ‘was notably precocious’.[1] He entered the…
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Al-Biruni – Mathematician, Astronomer and Founder of Indology

Al-Biruni – Mathematician, Astronomer and Founder of Indology

On September 4, 973, Muslim scholar Al-Biruni was born. He is regarded as one of the greatest scholars of the medieval Islamic era and was well versed in physics, mathematics, astronomy, and natural sciences, and also distinguished himself as a historian, chronologist and linguist. He is referred to as the founder of Indology for his remarkable description of early 11th-century India. “You well know … for which reason I began searching for a…
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James Joseph Sylvester – Lawyer and Mathematician

James Joseph Sylvester – Lawyer and Mathematician

On September 3, 1815, English mathematician James Joseph Sylvester was born. He made fundamental contributions to matrix theory, invariant theory, number theory, partition theory and combinatorics. He also was the founder of the American Journal of Mathematics. “It seems to be expected of every pilgrim up the slopes of the mathematical Parnassus, that he will at some point or other of his journey sit down and invent a definite integral or two…
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John Venn and the Venn Diagram

John Venn and the Venn Diagram

On August 4, 1834, English logician and philosopher John Venn was born. He is best known for his contribution of the eponymous Venn diagram, used in the fields of set theory, probability, logic, statistics, and computer science. “I began at once somewhat more steady work on the subjects and books which I should have to lecture on. I now first hit upon the diagrammatical device of representing propositions by inclusive and exclusive circles.…
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William Penney and the British Nuclear Programme

William Penney and the British Nuclear Programme

On June 24, 1909, English mathematician William George Penney, Baron Penney , was born. He is acknowledged as having had a leading role in the development of Britain’s nuclear programme, a clandestine programme started in 1942 during World War II which produced the first British atomic bomb in 1952. William Penney – Early Years William Penney was raised in Sheerness, Kent, and attended the local technical school in Colchester where he completed his technical…
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