mathematics

Gaspard de Prony and the Prony Brake

Gaspard de Prony and the Prony Brake

On July 22, 1755, French mathematician and hydraulic engineer Gaspard Clair François Marie Riche de Prony was born. De Prony is best known for his efforts in the mechanization of calculations as well as for his invention of the eponymous “brake” to measure the performance of machines and engines. Gaspard de Prony’s family name was Riche, the de Prony title having been bought by his parents. De Prony was educated…
Jordan Carson Mark and the Development of Thermonuclear Weapons

Jordan Carson Mark and the Development of Thermonuclear Weapons

On July 6, 1913, Canadian mathematician Jordan Carson Mark was born. Mark is best known for his work on developing nuclear weapons for the United States at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. He oversaw the development of new weapons, including the hydrogen bomb in the 1950s. On the hydrogen bomb project he was able to bring together experts like Edward Teller, Stanislaw Ulam and Marshall Holloway despite their personal differences.…
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…
Aryabhata and Indian Mathematics

Aryabhata and 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,…
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…
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. Pafnuty Chebyshev studied mathematical science at the University of Moscow starting from 1937. He later became Chebyshev…
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 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.…
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. Jerzy Neyman was born into a Polish family in Bendery, in the Bessarabia Governorate of the Russian Empire, the fourth of four children…
Edward Kasner and the Googol

Edward Kasner and the Googol

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 Coty, USA,…
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…
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