Search Results for: geometry

Emanuel Swedenborg Visions of the Afterlife

Emanuel Swedenborg Visions of the Afterlife

On March 29, 1772, Swedish scientist, philosopher, theologian, and mystic Emanuel Swedenborg passed away. He is best known for his book on the afterlife, Heaven and Hell (1758). From Swedenborg’s inventive and mechanical genius came his method of finding terrestrial longitude by the Moon, new methods of constructing docks and even tentative suggestions for the submarine and the airplane. Swedenborg had a prolific career as an inventor and scientist. In 1741, at…
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The Life and Work of Philippe de La Hire

The Life and Work of Philippe de La Hire

On March 18, 1640, French mathematician, astronomer, architect, and key figure in the Académie royale des sciences Philippe de La Hire was born. Educated as an Artist Philippe de La Hire was educated as an artist and became skilled in drawing and painting early. It is believed that de La Hire received no formal education in an official school even though his father was probably teaching him at home. At the age of…
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Lejeune Dirichlet and the Mathematical Function

Lejeune Dirichlet and the Mathematical Function

On February 13, 1805, German mathematician Johann Peter Gustav Lejeune Dirichlet was born. Dirichlet is best known for his papers on conditions for the convergence of trigonometric series and the use of the series to represent arbitrary functions. He also proposed in 1837 the modern definition of a mathematical function. “In mathematics as in other fields, to find one self lost in wonder at some manifestation is frequently the half of a new discovery.”…
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Ernst Kummer and the Introduction of Ideal Numbers

Ernst Kummer and the Introduction of Ideal Numbers

On January 29, 1810, German mathematician Ernst Eduard Kummer was born. One of his major contributions is the introduction of ideal numbers, which are defined as a special subgroup of a ring, extended the fundamental theorem of arithmetic to complex number fields.He also discovered the fourth order surface based on the singular surface of the quadratic line complex. This Kummer surface has 16 isolated conical double points and 16 singular tangent planes.…
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Balthasar Neumann – Refining Baroque Architecture

Balthasar Neumann – Refining Baroque Architecture

On January 27, 1687, German architect and military artillery engineer Balthasar Neumann was born. Neumann developed a refined brand of Baroque architecture, fusing Austrian, Bohemian, Italian, and French elements to design some of the most impressive buildings of the period, including the Würzburg Residence and the Basilica of the Fourteen Holy Helpers (called Vierzehnheiligen in German). By the way, it’s about time to write about Balthasar Neumann, since he has built several…
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Statistical Mechanics with Paul Ehrenfest

Statistical Mechanics with Paul Ehrenfest

On January 18, 1881, Austrian and Dutch theoretical physicist Paul Ehrenfest was born. Ehrenfest made major contributions to the field of statistical mechanics and its relations with quantum mechanics, including the theory of phase transition and the Ehrenfest theorem. “Einstein, my upset stomach hates your theory — it almost hates you yourself ! How am I to provide for my students ? What am I to answer to the philosophers ?” –…
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Johannes Schöner and his Famous Globes

Johannes Schöner and his Famous Globes

On January 16, 1477, German polymath Johannes Schöner was born. He was a priest, astronomer, astrologer, geographer, cosmographer, cartographer, mathematician, globe and scientific instrument maker and editor and publisher of scientific tests. He is well known for making and printing geographical globes, notably his 1515 globe which is one of the earliest surviving globes produced following the discovery of new lands by Christopher Columbus. “Himmelan hat er dein Ziel Selbst hinaufgestellt. Sorg…
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Alfred Tarski and the Undefinability of Truth

Alfred Tarski and the Undefinability of Truth

On January 14, 1902, Polish-American mathematician and logician Alfred Tarski was born. A prolific author he is best known for his work on model theory, metamathematics, and algebraic logic, he also contributed to abstract algebra, topology, geometry, measure theory, mathematical logic, set theory, and analytic philosophy. For my Semantic Web Technologies lecture series I always introduce my students to model-theoretic semantics as means to enable a formal representation of meaning for languages. I…
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Leibniz and the Integral Calculus

Leibniz and the Integral Calculus

On November 11, 1675, German mathematician and polymath Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz demonstrates integral calculus for the first time to find the area under the graph of y = ƒ(x). Integral calculus is part of infinitesimal calculus, which in addition also comprises differential calculus. In general, infinitesimal calculus is the part of mathematics concerned with finding tangent lines to curves, areas under curves, minima and maxima, and other geometric and analytic problems. Today, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz…
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John Vincent Atanasoff and the first Electronic Digital Computer

John Vincent Atanasoff and the first Electronic Digital Computer

On October 4, 1903, American physicist and inventor John Vincent Atanasoff was born. He is best known for being considered as one of the inventors of the electronic digital computer. Even computer scientists most probably haven’t heard anything of this computer pioneer. Of course you will have heard about Alan Turing [5] or John von Neumann,[6] who are traditionally referenced as being the fathers of modern computers. Maybe, in case you are German, then you might…
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