mathematics

Christian Wolff and the German Enlightenment

Christian Wolff and the German Enlightenment

On January 24, 1679, German philosopher Christian Wolff was born. One of the most important philosophers of the Enlightenment between Leibniz and Kant, he is one of the most important representatives of natural law and is regarded as the actual founder of 19th-century jurisprudence on concepts. German philosophy owes its terminological foundation to him; many of the terms he defined, such as consciousness, meaning, or attention, were later adopted into everyday language.…
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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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Every Set can be Well Ordered – Ernst Zermelo

Every Set can be Well Ordered – Ernst Zermelo

On July 27, 1871, German logician and mathematician Ernst Zermelo was born. Zermelo’s work had major implications for the foundations of mathematics. He is known for his role in developing Zermelo–Fraenkel axiomatic set theory and his proof of the well-ordering theorem. “…self-evidence … must not be confused with … provability.” – Ernst Zermelo The Son of a Grammar School Professor Zermelo was the son of a grammar school professor and attended the…
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The Beautiful Mind of John Forbes Nash

The Beautiful Mind of John Forbes Nash

On June 13, 1928, American mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr. was born. Nash made fundamental contributions to game theory, differential geometry, and the study of partial differential equations. His work has provided insight into the factors that govern chance and decision-making inside complex systems found in everyday life. John Nash is the only person to be awarded both the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences and the Abel Prize. “You don’t have…
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Ludwig Boltzmann and Statistical Mechanics

Ludwig Boltzmann and Statistical Mechanics

On February 20, 1844, Austrian physicist and philosopher Ludwig Boltzmann was born. His greatest achievement was in the development of statistical mechanics, which explains and predicts how the properties of atoms determine the physical properties of matter. “Who sees the future? Let us have free scope for all directions of research; away with dogmatism, either atomistic or anti-atomistic!” — Ludwig Boltzmann, “Lectures on Gas Theory”, translated by Stephen George Brush (1971), p.…
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Nicolaus Copernicus and the Heliocentric Model

Nicolaus Copernicus and the Heliocentric Model

On February 19, 1473, Renaissance mathematician and astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus was born, who established the heliocentric model, which placed the Sun, rather than the Earth, at the center of the universe. With the publication of his research he started the so-called Copernican Recolution, which started a paradigm shift away from the former Ptolemaic model of the heavens, which postulated the Earth at the center of the universe, towards the heliocentric model with the…
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Ramon Llull and the Tree of Knowledge

Ramon Llull and the Tree of Knowledge

Probably in 1232, philosopher, logician, Franciscan tertiary and Catalan writer Ramon Llull (Anglicised Raymond Lully, Raymond Lull; in Latin Raimundus or Raymundus Lullus or Lullius) was born. He is credited with writing the first major work of Catalan literature Recently surfaced manuscripts show his work to have predated by several centuries prominent work on elections theory. He is also considered a pioneer of computation theory, especially given his influence on Leibniz.[2] “For…
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Joseph-Louis Lagrange and the Celestial Mechanics

Joseph-Louis Lagrange and the Celestial Mechanics

On April 10, 1813, Italian mathematician and astronomer Joseph-Louis Lagrange passed away. Lagrange made significant contributions to the fields of analysis, number theory, and both classical and celestial mechanics. “I cannot say whether I will still be doing geometry ten years from now. It also seems to me that the mine has maybe already become too deep and unless one finds new veins it might have to be abandoned. Physics and chemistry…
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Cogito Ergo Sum – The Philosophy of René Descartes

Cogito Ergo Sum – The Philosophy of René Descartes

On March 31, 1596, French philosopher, mathematician, and writer René Descartes was born. The Cartesian coordinate system is named after him, allowing reference to a point in space as a set of numbers, and allowing algebraic equations to be expressed as geometric shapes in a two-dimensional coordinate system. He is credited as the father of analytical geometry, the bridge between algebra and geometry, crucial to the discovery of infinitesimal calculus and analysis.…
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Karl Weierstrass – the Father of Modern Analysis

Karl Weierstrass – the Father of Modern Analysis

On February 19, 1897, German mathematician Karl Theodor Wilhelm Weierstrass passed away. Weierstrass often is cited as the “father of modern analysis“. He formalized the definition of the continuity of a function, proved the intermediate value theorem and the Bolzano–Weierstrass theorem, and used the latter to study the properties of continuous functions on closed bounded intervals. “… it is true that a mathematician who is not somewhat of a poet, will never be a…
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