mathematics

Rudolf Carnap and the Logical Structure of the World

Rudolf Carnap and the Logical Structure of the World

On May 18, 1891, German-born philosopher Rudolf Carnap was born. He was a major member of the Vienna Circle and an advocate of logical positivism and made significant contributions to logic and the philosophy of science. To avoid the ambiguities resulting from the use of ordinary language, he made a logical analysis of language. He believed in studying philosophical issues in artificial languages constructed under the rules of logic and mathematics, which…
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John Charles Fields and the Fields Medal

John Charles Fields and the Fields Medal

On May 14, 1863, Canadian mathematician John Charles Fields was born. He is the founder of the Fields Medal for outstanding achievement in mathematics. First awarded in 1936, the medal has been awarded since 1950 every four years at the International Congress of Mathematicians to two to four recipients under the age of 40. Born in Hamilton, Ontario to Harriet Bowes and John Charles Field, a leather shop owner, Fields was only eleven…
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John Arbuthnot and the Laws of Chance

John Arbuthnot and the Laws of Chance

On April 29, 1667, Scottish physician, satirist and polymath John Arbuthnot was baptized. He is best remembered for his contributions to mathematics, his membership in the Scriblerus Club (where he inspired both Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels as well as Alexander Pope), and for inventing the figure of John Bull. He published Of the Laws of Chance (1692), the first work on probability published in English, being his translation of a work by…
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Frank Stephen Baldwin and the Pinwheel Calculator

Frank Stephen Baldwin and the Pinwheel Calculator

On April 10, 1838, American inventor Frank Stephen Baldwin was born, who invented a pinwheel calculator in 1874. He started the design of a new machine in 1905 and was able to finalize its design with the help of Jay R. Monroe who eventually bought the exclusive rights to the machine and started the Monroe Calculating Machine Company to manufacture it. Baldwin was born in New Hartford, Connecticut. His father Stephen Baldwin…
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Nikolai Lobachevsky – The Copernicus of Geometry

Nikolai Lobachevsky – The Copernicus of Geometry

On February 24, 1856, Russian mathematician and geometer Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky passed away. He is known primarily for his work on hyperbolic geometry. Lobachevsky’s main achievement is the development (independently from János Bolyai) of a non-Euclidean geometry, also referred to as Lobachevskian geometry. Nikolai Lobachevsky was born as one of three children either in or near the city of Nizhny Novgorod in Russia in 1792 to parents of Polish origin. His father…
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Henry Briggs and the Popularization on Logarithms

Henry Briggs and the Popularization on Logarithms

On January 26, 1630, English mathematician and committed puritan Henry Briggs passed away. He is notable for changing the original logarithms invented by John Napier into common (base 10) logarithms, which are sometimes known as Briggsian logarithms in his honour. Henry Briggs was born in Halifax, however, his exact date of birth remains unknown. His early family life is also not too well known, but it is believed that he became very…
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Oskar Morgenstern and the Game Theory

Oskar Morgenstern and the Game Theory

On January 24, 1902, German-American economist and mathematician Carl Friedrich Alfred Oskar Morgenstern was born. Morgenstern popularized “game theory” which mathematically analyzes behaviour of man or animals in terms of strategies to maximize gains and minimize losses. He coauthored Theory of Games and Economic Behavior (1944), with John von Neumann, which extended Neumann‘s 1928 theory of games of strategy to competitive business situations. “As far as the use of mathematics in economics…
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Pierre Gassendi and his Trials to reconcile Epicurean atomism with Christianity

Pierre Gassendi and his Trials to reconcile Epicurean atomism with Christianity

You have read the title? I guess, you might be scared now, but Pierre Gassendi was a decent fellow… On January 22, 1592, French philosopher, priest, scientist, astronomer, and mathematician. Pierre Gassendi was born. Gassendi revived Epicureanism as a substitute for Aristotelianism, attempting in the process to reconcile Atomism‘s mechanistic explanation of nature with Christian belief in immortality, free will, an infinite God, and creation.He clashed with his contemporary Descartes on the possibility…
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The Most Accurate Instruments of Gemma Frisius

The Most Accurate Instruments of Gemma Frisius

On December 9, 1508, physician, mathematician, cartographer, philosopher, and instrument maker Gemma Frisius was born. He created important globes, improved the mathematical instruments of his day and applied mathematics in new ways to surveying and navigation. Reinerus Gemma was born in Dokkum, Friesland, a coastal province in northern Netherlands, of poor parents who died when he was young. He only adopted the name Frisius when he later became a scholar for, like…
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Christine Ladd-Franklin and the Theory of Colour Vision

Christine Ladd-Franklin and the Theory of Colour Vision

On December 1, 1847, American psychologist, logician, and mathematician Christine Ladd-Franklin was born. She is known for contributions to the theory of color vision accounting for the development of man’s color sense which countered the established views of Helmholtz, Young, and Hering. Her position was that color-sense developed in stages. Christine Ladd-Franklin began her higher education at Vassar College, but had to withdraw after only one year due to financial problems. Fortunately,…
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