number theory

Siméon Denis Poisson’s Contributions to Mathematics

Siméon Denis Poisson’s Contributions to Mathematics

On June 21, 1781, French mathematician, geometer, and physicist Siméon Denis Poisson was born. He is known known for his work on definite integrals, advances in Fourier series, electromagnetic theory, and probability, esp. the eponymous Poisson series, the Poisson integral and the Poisson equation from potential theory. His works also included applications to electricity and magnetism, and astronomy. Simeon Denis Poisson – The Youth of a Mathematician Poisson was born in Pithiviers, Loiret,…
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Emil Artin and Algebraic Number Theory

Emil Artin and Algebraic Number Theory

On March 3, 1898, Austrian mathematician Emil Artin was born. Artin was one of the leading mathematicians of the twentieth century. He is best known for his work on algebraic number theory, contributing largely to class field theory and a new construction of L-functions. He also contributed to the pure theories of rings, groups and fields. Early Years Emil Artin was born in Vienna to parents Emma Maria Artin, a soubrette on…
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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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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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Hermann Minkowski and the four-dimensional Space-Time

Hermann Minkowski and the four-dimensional Space-Time

On June 22, 1864, German mathematician Hermann Minkowski was born. Minkowski developed the geometry of numbers and used geometrical methods to solve problems in number theory, mathematical physics, and the theory of relativity. But he is perhaps best known for his work in relativity, in which he showed in 1907 that his former student Albert Einstein’s special theory of relativity can be understood geometrically as a theory of four-dimensional space–time, since known as the “Minkowski…
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Number Theory, Topology, and Fractals with Wacław Sierpiński

Number Theory, Topology, and Fractals with Wacław Sierpiński

On March 14, 1882, Polish mathematician Wacław Franciszek Sierpiński was born. Sierpiński is known for contributions to set theory, research on the axiom of choice and the continuum hypothesis, number theory, theory of functions and topology. Three well-known fractals are named after him (the Sierpiński triangle, the Sierpiński carpet and the Sierpiński curve), as are Sierpiński numbers and the associated Sierpiński problem. Wacław Sierpiński – Early Years in Russian occupied Poland Wacław…
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Charles Hermite’s admiration for simple beauty in Mathematics

Charles Hermite’s admiration for simple beauty in Mathematics

On December 24, 1821, French mathematician Charles Hermite was born. He was the first to prove that e, the base of natural logarithms, is a transcendental number. Furthermore, he is famous for his work in the theory of functions including the application of elliptic functions and his provision of the first solution to the general equation of the fifth degree, the quintic equation. “There exists, if I am not mistaken, an entire…
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Carl Jacobi and the Elliptic Functions

On December 10, 1804, German mathematician Carl Gustav Jacob Jacobi was born. He made fundamental contributions to elliptic functions, dynamics, differential equations, and number theory. “Any progress in the theory of partial differential equations must also bring about a progress in Mechanics.” – Carl Jacobi, Vorlesungen über Dynamik [Lectures on Dynamics] (1842/3) Carl Jacobi – A Child Prodigy Carl Jacobi was the son of a banker and grew up in a rather…
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God made the integers, all the rest is the work of man – Leopold Kronecker

God made the integers, all the rest is the work of man – Leopold Kronecker

On December 7, 1823, German mathematician Leopold Kronecker was born, who worked on number theory and algebra. He criticized Cantor’s work on set theory, and his most cited quote says, “Die ganzen Zahlen hat der liebe Gott gemacht, alles andere ist Menschenwerk” (traditionally rendered: “God made natural numbers; all else is the work of man“.) Leopold Kronecker – Early Life Leopold Kronecker was born in Liegnitz, Prussia (now Legnica, Poland) in a wealthy Jewish…
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Adrien-Marie Legendre – Providing the Essential Analytical Tools for Mathematical Physics

Adrien-Marie Legendre – Providing the Essential Analytical Tools for Mathematical Physics

On September 18, 1752, French mathematician Adrien-Marie Legendre was born. He is best known for his contributions in number theory, celestial mechanics and elliptic functions. It was in a paper on celestial mechanics concerning the motion of planets (1784) that he first introduced the Legendre Polynomials. Moreover, he served as director of the of the Bureau des Longitudes, standardizing French weights and measures. “All the truths of mathematics are linked to each…
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