geometry

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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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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Gaspard Monge and his System of Descriptive Geometry

Gaspard Monge and his System of Descriptive Geometry

On May 10, 1746, French mathematician Gaspard Monge, Comte de Péluse was born. He is best known for being the inventor of descriptive geometry as the mathematical basis of technical drawing, and being the father of differential geometry. During the French Revolution Monge served as the Minister of the Marine, and was involved in the reform of the French educational system, helping to found the École Polytechnique. “Descriptive geometry has two objects: the first is…
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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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Euclid of Alexandria – the Father of Geometry

Euclid of Alexandria – the Father of Geometry

At about 330 BC, Euclid of Alexandria was born, who often is referred to as the Father of Geometry. His Elements is one of the most influential works in the history of mathematics, serving as the main textbook for teaching mathematics (especially geometry) from the time of its publication until the late 19th or early 20th century. In the Elements, Euclid deduced the principles of what is now called Euclidean geometry from…
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August Ferdinand Möbius and the Beauty of Geometry

August Ferdinand Möbius and the Beauty of Geometry

On November 17, 1790, German mathematician and astronomer August Ferdinand Möbius was born. He is best known for his discovery of the Möbius strip, a non-orientable two-dimensional surface with only one side when embedded in three-dimensional Euclidean space. August Ferdinand Möbius – Family Background and Education August Möbius’ father Johann Heinrich Möbius was a dance teacher in Schulpforta, near Naumburg on the Saale River in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. He died…
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Jakob Steiner and Analytical Geometry

Jakob Steiner and Analytical Geometry

On March 18, 1796, Swiss mathematician Jakob Steiner was born. Steiner‘s work was mainly confined to geometry. Moreover, he has been considered the greatest pure geometer since Apollonius of Perga. “Calculating replaces, while geometry stimulates, thinking” -Jakob Steiner (1796-1863) Early Years Steiner was the son of a small farmer, attended the local village school, where he learned to write only at the age of fourteen, and at the age of seventeen went…
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Girard Desargues and Projective Geometry

Girard Desargues and Projective Geometry

On February 21, 1591, French mathematician and engineer Girard Desargues was born. Desargues is considered one of the founders of projective geometry. Desargues‘ theorem, the Desargues graph, and the crater Desargues on the Moon are named in his honour. In his later years, he designed an elaborate spiral staircase, and an ingenious new form of pump, but the most important of Desargues‘ interests was Geometry. He invented a new, non-Greek way of…
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Benoît Mandelbrot and the Beauty of Mathematics

Benoît Mandelbrot and the Beauty of Mathematics

On November 20, 1924, French American mathematician Benoît B. Mandelbrot was born. Mandelbrot worked on a wide range of mathematical problems, including mathematical physics and quantitative finance, but is best known as the popularizer of fractal geometry. He was the one who coined the term ‘fractal’ and described the Mandelbrot set named after him. “Clouds are not spheres, mountains are not cones, coastlines are not circles, and bark is not smooth, nor does…
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It is not Certain that Everything is Uncertain – Blaise Pascal’s Thoughts

It is not Certain that Everything is Uncertain – Blaise Pascal’s Thoughts

On June 19, 1623, French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Catholic theologian Blaise Pascal was born. “A few rules include all that is necessary for the perfection of the definitions, the axioms, and the demonstrations, and consequently of the entire method of the geometrical proofs of the art of persuading.” – Blaise Pascal, The Art of Persuasion (1660) The Son of a Tax Collector “It is not certain that everything is uncertain.”…
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