mathematics

Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis and Statistics

Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis and Statistics

On June 29, 1893, Indian statistician Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis was born. Mahalanobis is best remembered for the Mahalanobis distance, a statistical measure and for being one of the members of the first Planning commission of free India. He also made pioneering studies in anthropometry in India. He also devised fractile graphical analysis to study socioeconomic conditions. He applied statistics to issues of crop yields and planning for flood control. Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis…
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Aryabhata and Early Indian Mathematics

Aryabhata and Early Indian Mathematics

In 476 CE, Indian mathematician and astronomer Aryabhata was born. Aryabhata is the earliest Indian mathematician whose work and history are available to modern scholars. In his work “Ganita” Aryabhata names the first 10 decimal places and gives algorithms for obtaining square and cubic roots, using the decimal number system. He also came up with an approximation of pi and the area of a triangle. “Aryabhata is the master who, after reaching…
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Oliver Heaviside changed the Face of Telecommunications

Oliver Heaviside changed the Face of Telecommunications

On May 18, 1850, English self-taught electrical engineer, mathematician, and physicist Oliver Heaviside was born. Heaviside adapted complex numbers to the study of electrical circuits, invented mathematical techniques for the solution of differential equations, reformulated Maxwell’s field equations in terms of electric and magnetic forces and energy flux, and independently co-formulated vector analysis. Oliver Heaviside suffered from scarlet fever as a child and had to deal with a hearing impairment since then. He…
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Pafnuty Chebyshev and the Chebyshev Inequality

Pafnuty Chebyshev and the Chebyshev Inequality

On May 16, 1821, Russian mathematician Pafnuty Lvovich Chebyshev was born. Chebyshev is remembered primarily for his work on the theory of prime numbers, including the determination of the number of primes not exceeding a given number. Moreover, he is noted for his work in the fields of probability, statistics, mechanics, and number theory. “To isolate mathematics from the practical demands of the sciences is to invite the sterility of a cow shut…
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Alexis Claude Clairaut and the True Figure of the Earth

Alexis Claude Clairaut and the True Figure of the Earth

On May 13, 1713, French mathematician, astronomer, and geophysicist Alexis Claude Clairaut was born. Clairaut was one of the key figures in the expedition to Lapland that helped to confirm Newton’s theory for the figure of the Earth.[3] In that context, Clairaut worked out a mathematical result now known as “Clairaut’s theorem“. He also tackled the gravitational three-body problem, being the first to obtain a satisfactory result for the apsidal precession of…
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The Instruments of Jean-Charles de Borda

The Instruments of Jean-Charles de Borda

On May 4, 1733, French mathematician, physicist, political scientist, and sailor Jean-Charles de Borda was born. De Borda is noted for his studies of fluid mechanics and his development of instruments for navigation and geodesy, the study of the size and shape of the Earth. He is one of 72 scientists commemorated by plaques on the Eiffel tower. Jean-Charles de Borda grew up in Dax, France, as part of a noble family. With their…
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Jerzy Neyman – Architect of Modern Theoretical Statistics

Jerzy Neyman – Architect of Modern Theoretical Statistics

On April 16, 1894, Polish mathematician and statistician Jerzy Neyman was born. Neyman was one of the principal architects of modern theoretical statistics. He first introduced the modern concept of a confidence interval into statistical hypothesis testing and co-devised null hypothesis testing in collaboration with Egon Pearson. “Statistics is the servant to all sciences.”, Jerzy Neyman Jerzy Neyman was born into a Polish family in Bendery, in the Bessarabia Governorate of the…
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Edward Kasner and how Google got its Name

Edward Kasner and how Google got its Name

On April 2, 1878, American mathematician Edward Kasner was born. Kasner is best remembered for introducing the term “googol” for a very large number, which you might probably already know, at least if you know the story how the search engine “Google” got its name. Moreover, he is known also for the Kasner metric and the Kasner polygon. Edward Kasner was born among eight siblings in New York City, USA, to Fanny…
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Karl Pearson and Mathematical Statistics

Karl Pearson and Mathematical Statistics

On March 27, 1857, English mathematician and biostatistician Karl Pearson was born. Pearson has been credited with establishing the discipline of mathematical statistics. He founded the world’s first university statistics department at University College London in 1911, and contributed significantly to the field of biometrics, meteorology, theories of social Darwinism and eugenics. Karl Pearson was born as second child into a family from Yorkshire Quakers in Islington, London, UK, to William Pearson, a…
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George David Birkhoff and the Ergodic Theorem

George David Birkhoff and the Ergodic Theorem

On March 21, 1884, American mathematician George David Birkhoff was born. Birkhoff is best known for what is now called the ergodic theorem. Birkhoff was one of the most important leaders in American mathematics in his generation, and during his time he was considered by many to be the preeminent American mathematician. George David Birkhoff was born in Overisel Township, Michigan, the son of David Birkhoff, a medical doctor, and Jane Gertrude…
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