mathematics

James Gregory and the Gregorian Telescope

James Gregory and the Gregorian Telescope

In November 1638, Scottish mathematician and astronomer James Gregory was born. Gregory described an early practical design for the reflecting telescope – the Gregorian telescope – and made advances in trigonometry, discovering infinite series representations for several trigonometric functions. James Gregory – Youth and Education James Gregory was born at Drumoak, Aberdeenshire, UK, the youngest of the 3 children of John Gregory, an Episcopalian Church of Scotland minister. Initially he was educated at…
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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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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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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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Making Measurements accurate – Pierre Vernier and the Vernier Scale

Making Measurements accurate – Pierre Vernier and the Vernier Scale

On August 19, 1580, French mathematician and instrument inventor Pierre Vernier was born. He is best known for having invented the eponymous vernier scale, which enabled instruments to make more accurate linear or angular measurements. Pierre Vernier – Early Years Vernier was born in Ornans, Franche-Comté, in 1580. Being born in Franche-Comté (Free Country) meant that Vernier (and his father) were involved, not with the government of France but with that of…
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Archimedes lifted the world off their Hinges

Archimedes lifted the world off their Hinges

Without knowing his exact date of birth or even death, we focus today on one of the leading scientists in classical antiquity: the ancient Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer Archimedes of Syracuse, who was born around 287 BC and died at about 212 BC. Only a few details of his life are known, but he is considered the greatest mathematician of antiquity and one of the greatest of all time. Archimedes…
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Hero of Alexandria and his Amazing Experiments

Hero of Alexandria and his Amazing Experiments

Hero of Alexandria was a Greek mathematician and engineer who was active in his native city of Alexandria, Roman Egypt in the first century AD. He is considered the greatest experimenter of antiquity. Among his most famous inventions was a windwheel, constituting the earliest instance of wind harnessing on land, as well as the well recognized description of a steam-powered device called an aeolipile. The Problem with the Date A major difficulty…
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Abraham de Moivre and the Doctrine of Chances

Abraham de Moivre and the Doctrine of Chances

On May 26, 1667, French mathematician Abraham de Moivre was born. De Moivre is best known for de Moivre‘s formula, one of those that link complex numbers and trigonometry, and for his work on the normal distribution and probability theory. He was a friend of Isaac Newton, Edmond Halley, and James Stirling. De Moivre wrote a book on probability theory, The Doctrine of Chances, said to have been prized by gamblers. He…
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