Tuesday, 26 September 2017

On This Day in Math - September 26

"mathematics is not yet ready for such problems"
~Paul Erdos in reference to Collatz's problem

This is the 269th day of the year, (on non-leap years, the 269th day is Sep 26, and the date is written 26/9 in much of Europe. This is the only day of the year which presents itself in this way. (Are there any days that work using month/day?)

269 is a regular prime, an Eisenstein prime with no imaginary part, a long prime, a Chen prime, a Pillai prime, a Pythagorean prime, a twin prime, a sexy prime, a Higgs prime, a strong prime, and a highly cototient number. So many new terms to look up... Well? Look them up.

269 is the smallest natural number that cannot be represented as the determinant of a 10 × 10 (0,1)-matrix

1679 On September 26, 1679, a fierce fire consumed the Stellaburgum — Europe’s finest observatory, built by the pioneering astronomer Johannes Hevelius in the city of Danzig, present-day Poland, decades before the famous Royal Greenwich Observatory and Paris Observatory existed.
And while he rebuilt the observatory, it simply did not compare with the original. He never fully recovered from the loss. His resilience in continuing was in large part fueled by the miraculous salvation of one of his manuscripts — his fixed-star catalog, which contained the results of thousands of calculations of the positions of the stars made over decades of patient observation. The small leather-bound notebook was the sole manuscript to survive the fire, presumably saved by Hevelius’s 13-year-old daughter Katharina Elisabeth, the sole family member in Danzig at the time of the fire, who had a key to her father’s study. Half a millennium later, it was rediscovered. In 1971, it made its way to Utah’s Brigham Young University, becoming the one-millionth acquisition by the institution’s library.
 Nearly two centuries before Maria Mitchell, Elisabeth Hevelius essentially became the first Western female astronomer. After his death, Elisabeth, who had assisted him in the catalog all along, took it upon herself to finish Hevelius’s lifelong quest. She completed the book, dedicating it to the generous Polish monarch. The finished catalog included more than 600 new stars that Johannes and Elisabeth had observed, as well as a dozen new constellations, whose names, as given by Hevelius, astronomers still use today.
*History of Astronomy @HistAstro
*Maria Popova at brainpickings.org

1775 John Adams writes to his wife to entreat her to teach his children geometry and... "I have seen the Utility of Geometry, Geography, and the Art of drawing so much of late, that I must intreat you, my dear, to teach the Elements of those Sciences to my little Girl and Boys. It is as pretty an Amusement, as Dancing or Skaiting, or Fencing, after they have once acquired a Taste for them. No doubt you are well qualified for a school Mistress in these Studies, for Stephen Collins tells me the English Gentleman, in Company with him, when he visited Braintree, pronounced you the most accomplished Lady, he had seen since he left England.—You see a Quaker can flatter, but dont you be proud. *Natl. Archives

1874 James Clerk Maxwell in a letter to Professor Lewis Campbell describes Galton, "Francis Galton, whose mission it seems to be to ride other men's hobbies to death, has invented the felicitous expression 'structureless germs'. " *Lewis Campbell and William Garnett (eds.), The Life of James Clerk Maxwell (1884), 299.

1991 The first two year closed mission of Biosphere 2 began just outside Tucson, Arizona. Four men and four women entered the Biosphere 2 on this day in 1991. For two years, the eight participants lived in this huge glass and steel structure in the Arizona desert completely closed off from the rest of the world. It also contained 4,000 species of plants, animals and microbes. *On This Day in Chemistry

1999 The Kobe meteorite fell on September 26 (local time 20:23), 1999, in Kita-ku in the north of Kobe city, Japan. The meteorite fall was widely observed in Kobe and the surrounding area, and was photographed by an amateur photographer in Imabari city, 200 km southwest of Kobe. The meteorite struck a house with an explosive sound but otherwise caused only minor property damage. The approximately 20 fragments of the meteorite had a total mass of 136 g. *terrapub.co.jp

 2011 Astronauts had this view of the aurora on September 26, 2011. Credit: NASA

We’ve had some great views of the aurora submitted by readers this week, but this one taken from the International Space Station especially highlights the red color seen by many Earth-bound skywatchers, too. Karen Fox from the Goddard Space Flight Center says the colors of the aurora depend on which atoms are being excited by the solar storm. In most cases, the light comes when a charged particle sweeps in from the solar wind and collides with an oxygen atom in Earth’s atmosphere. This produces a green photon, so most aurora appear green. However, lower-energy oxygen collisions as well as collisions with nitrogen atoms can produce red photons — so sometimes aurora also show a red band as seen here. *Universe Today


1688 Willem 'sGravesande (26 September 1688 – 28 February 1742)was a Dutch mathematician who expounded Newton's philosophy in Europe. In 1717 he became professor in physics and astronomy in Leiden, and introduced the works of his friend Newton in the Netherlands.
His main work is Physices elementa mathematica, experimentis confirmata, sive introductio ad philosophiam Newtonianam or Mathematical Elements of Natural Philosophy, Confirm'd by Experiments (Leiden 1720), in which he laid the foundations for teaching physics. Voltaire and Albrecht von Haller were in his audience, Frederic the Great invited him in 1737 to come to Berlin.
His chief contribution to physics involved an experiment in which brass balls were dropped with varying velocity onto a soft clay surface. His results were that a ball with twice the velocity of another would leave an indentation four times as deep, that three times the velocity yielded nine times the depth, and so on. He shared these results with Émilie du Châtelet, who subsequently corrected Newton's formula E = mv to E = mv2. (Note that though we now add a factor of 1/2 to this formula to make it work with coherent systems of units, the formula as expressed is correct if you choose units to fit it.) *Wik

1754 Joseph-Louis Proust (26 Sep 1754; 5 Jul 1826) French chemist who proved (1808) that the relative quantities of any given pure chemical compound's constituent elements remain invariant, regardless of the compound's source, and thus provided crucial evidence in support of John Dalton's “law of definite proportions,” which holds that elements in any compound are present in fixed proportion to each other. *TIS

1784 Christopher Hansteen (26 Sep 1784; 15 Apr 1873) Norwegian astronomer and physicist noted for his research in geomagnetism. In 1701 Halley had already published a map of magnetic declinations, and the subject was studied by Humboldt, de Borda, and Gay-Lussac, among others. Hansteen collected available data and also mounted an expedition to Siberia, where he took many measurements for an atlas of magnetic strength and declination.*TIS

1854 Percy Alexander MacMahon (26 Sept 1854 , 25 Dec 1929) His study of symmetric functions led MacMahon to study partitions and Latin squares, and for many years he was considered the leading worker in this area. His published values of the number of unrestricted partitions of the first 200 integers which proved extremely useful to Hardy and Littlewood in their own work on partitions. He gave a Presidential Address to the London Mathematical Society on combinatorial analysis in 1894. MacMahon wrote a two volume treatise Combinatory analysis (volume one in 1915 and the second volume in the following year) which has become a classic. He wrote An introduction to combinatory analysis in 1920. In 1921 he wrote New Mathematical Pastimes, a book on mathematical recreations. *SAU

1887 Sir Barnes (Neville) Wallis (26 Sep 1887; 30 Oct 1979) was an English aeronautical designer and military engineer whose famous 9000-lb bouncing "dambuster" bombs of WW II destroyed the German Möhne and Eder dams on 16 May 1943. He designed the R100 airship, and the Vickers Wellesley and Wellington bombers. The specially-formed RAF 617 Squadron precisely delivered his innovative cylindrical bombs which were released from low altitude, rotating backwards at high speed that caused them to skip along the surface of the water, right up to the base of the dam. He later designed the 5-ton Tallboy and 10-ton Grand Slam earthquake bombs (which used on many enemy targets in the later years of the war). Postwar, he developed ideas for swing-wing aircraft. *TIS (His courtship with his wife has been written by his daughter, Mary Stopes-Roe from the actual courtship in the entertaining, but perhaps overpriced book, Mathematics With Love: The Courtship Correspondence of Barnes Wallis, Inventor of the Bouncing Bomb.)

1891 Hans Reichenbach (September 26, 1891, April 9, 1953) was a leading philosopher of science, educator and proponent of logical empiricism. Reichenbach is best known for founding the Berlin Circle, and as the author of The Rise of Scientific Philosophy.*Wik

1924 Jean Hoerni, a pioneer of the transistor, is born in Switzerland. A physicist, Hoerni in 1959 invented the planar process, which, combined with Robert Noyce's technique for placing a layer of silicon dioxide on a transistor, led to the creation of the modern integrated circuit. Hoerni's planar process allowed the placement of complex electronic circuits on a single chip. *CHM

1926 Colin Brian Haselgrove (26 September 1926 , 27 May 1964) was an English mathematician who is best known for his disproof of the Pólya conjecture in 1958. the Pólya conjecture stated that 'most' (i.e. more than 50%) of the natural numbers less than any given number have an odd number of prime factors. The conjecture was posited by the Hungarian mathematician George Pólya in 1919.. The size of the smallest counter-example is often used to show how a conjecture can be true for many numbers, and still be false. *Wik

1927 Brian Griffiths (26 Sept 1927 , 4 June 2008) He was deeply involved in the 'School Mathematics Project', he served as chairman of the 'Joint Mathematical Council', and chaired the steering group for the 'Low Attainers Mathematics Project' from 1983 to 1986. This project became the 'Raising Achievement in Mathematics Project' in 1986 and he chaired this from its foundation to 1989. *SAU


1766 Giulio Carlo Fagnano dei Toschi died. He is important for the identity
\pi = 2i\log{1 - i \over 1 +i}
and for his rectification of the lemmiscate. *VFR An Italian mathematician who worked in both complex numbers and on the geometry of triangles.*SAU
The lemniscate is of particular interest because, even if it has little relevance today, it
the catalyst for immeasurably important mathematical development in the 18th and 19th centuries. The figure 8-shaped curve first entered the minds of mathematicians in 1680, when Giovanni Cassini presented his work on curves of the form, appropriately known as the ovals of Cassini. Only 14 years later, while deriving the arc length of the lemniscate, Jacob Bernoulli became the first mathematician in history to define arc length in terms of polar coordinates.
The first major result of work on the lemniscate came in 1753, when, after reading Giulio Carlo di Fagnano’s papers on dividing the lemniscate using straightedge and compass, Leonhard Euler proved that:

Jacobi called December 23,1751 "the birthday of elliptic functions", as this was the day that Euler began reviewing the papers of Fagnanao who was being considered for membership in the Berlin Academy. *Raymond Ayoub, The lemniscate and Fagnano's contributions to elliptic integrals

1802 Jurij Vega (23 Mar 1754, 26 Sept 1802) wrote about artillery but he is best remembered for his tables of logarithms and trigonometric functions. Vega calculated π to 140 places, a record which stood for over 50 years. This appears in a paper which he published in 1789.
In September 1802 Jurij Vega was reported missing. A search was unsuccessful until his body was found in the Danube near Vienna. The official cause of death was an accident but many suspect that he was murdered. *SAU

1867 James Ferguson (31 Aug 1797, 26 Sep 1867) Scottish-American astronomer who discovered the first previously unknown asteroid to be detected from North America. He recorded it on 1 Sep 1854 at the U.S. Naval Observatory, where he worked 1848-67. This was the thirty-first of the series and is now known as 31 Euphrosyne, named after one of the Charites in Greek mythology. It is one of the largest of the main belt asteroids, between Mars and Jupiter. He was involved in some of the earliest work in micrometry was done at the old U.S. Naval Observatory at Foggy Bottom in the midst of the Civil War using a 9.6 inch refractor. He also contributed to double star astronomy. Earlier in his life he was a civil engineer, member of the Northwest Boundary Survey, and an assistant in the U.S. Coast Survey *TIS

1868 August Ferdinand Mobius died. He discovered his famous strip in September 1858. Johann Benedict Listing discovered the same surface two months earlier.*VFR (It is somewhat amazing that we call it after Mobius when Listing discovered it first and published, and it seems, Mobius did not. However Mobius did seem to have thought on the four color theorem before Guthrie, or anyone else to my knowledge.)

1877 Hermann Günther Grassmann (15 Apr 1809, 26 Sep 1877) German mathematician chiefly remembered for his development of a general calculus of vectors in Die lineale Ausdehnungslehre, ein neuer Zweig der Mathematik (1844; "The Theory of Linear Extension, a New Branch of Mathematics"). *TIS

1910 Thorvald Nicolai Thiele (24 Dec 1838, 26 Sept 1910) He is remembered for having an interpolation formula named after him, the formula being used to obtain a rational function which agrees with a given function at any number of given points. He published this in 1909 in his book which made a major contribution to numerical analysis. He introduced cumulants (under the name of "half-invariants") in 1889, 1897, 1899, about 30 years before their rediscovery and exploitation by R A Fisher. *SAU

1976 Paul (Pál) Turán (18 August 1910, 26 September 1976) was a Hungarian mathematician who worked primarily in number theory. He had a long collaboration with fellow Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdős, lasting 46 years and resulting in 28 joint papers. *SAU

1978 Karl Manne Georg Siegbahn (3 Dec 1886, 26 Sep 1978) Swedish physicist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1924 for his discoveries and investigations in X-ray spectroscopy. In 1914 he began his studies in the new science of x-ray spectroscopy which had already established from x-ray spectra that there were two distinct 'shells' of electrons within atoms, each giving rise to groups of spectral lines, labeled 'K' and 'L'. In 1916, Siegbahn discovered a third, or 'M', series. (More were to be found later in heavier elements.) Refining his x-ray equipment and technique, he was able to significantly increase the accuracy of his determinations of spectral lines. This allowed him to make corrections to Bragg's equation for x-ray diffraction to allow for the finer details of crystal diffraction. *TIS

1990 Lothar Collatz​ (July 6, 1910, , September 26, 1990) was a German mathematician. In 1937 he posed the famous Collatz conjecture, which remains unsolved. The Collatz-Wielandt formula for positive matrices important in the Perron–Frobenius theorem is named after him. *Wik The Collatz conjeture is an iteration problem that deals with the following algorithm..
If a number n is odd, then f(n)= 3n+1
if n is even, then f(n) = 1/2 (n)
Each answer then becomes the new value to input into the function. The problem, or should I say problems, resolve around what happens to the sequence of outcomes when we keep putting the answer back into the function. For example if we begin with 15 we get the following sequence, also called the orbit of the number:
15, 46, 23, 70, 35, 106, 53, 160, 80, 40, 20, 10, 5, 16, 8, 4, 2, 1...
One of the unproven conjectures is that for any number n, the sequence will always end in the number 1. This has been shown to be true for all numbers up to just beyond 1016. A second interesting question is how long it takes for a number to return to the value of 1. For the example above, the number 15 took 17 steps to get back to the unit value. Questions such as which three (or other n) digit number has the longest orbit. There are many vairations of the problem, but if you are interested in a good introduction, check this link from Simon Fraser University"
Collatz's Problem is often also called the Syracuse Algorithm, Hasse's problem, Thwaite's problem, and Ulam's problem after people who have worked and written on the problem. It is unclear where the problem originated, as it seems to have had a long history of being passed by word of mouth before it was ever written down. It is often attributed to Lothar Collatz from the University of Hamburg who wrote about the problem as early as 1932. The name "Syracuse Problem" was applied by after H. Hasse, an associate of Collatz, visited and discussed the problem at Syracuse University in the 1950's. During the 1960's Stan Ulam circulated the problem at Los Alamos laboratory. One famous quote about the problem is from Paul Erdos who stated, "mathematics is not yet ready for such problems". *Personal notes

Credits :
*CHM=Computer History Museum
*FFF=Kane, Famous First Facts
*NSEC= NASA Solar Eclipse Calendar
*RMAT= The Renaissance Mathematicus, Thony Christie
*SAU=St Andrews Univ. Math History
*TIA = Today in Astronomy
*TIS= Today in Science History
*VFR = V Frederick Rickey, USMA
*Wik = Wikipedia
*WM = Women of Mathematics, Grinstein & Campbell

Monday, 25 September 2017

On This Day in Math - September 25

I am undecided whether or not the Milky Way​ is but one of countless others all of which form an entire system. Perhaps the light from these infinitely distant galaxies is so faint that we cannot see them.

~ Johann H Lambert

This is the 268th day of the year, 268 is the smallest number whose product of digits is 6 times the sum of its digits. (A good classroom exploration might be to find numbers in which the product of the digits is n x the sum of the digits for various values of n.. more generally, for what percentage of numbers is the sum a factor of the product at all?)

268 is the sum of two consecutive primes, 268 = 131 + 137


1493 Columbus set sail on his second voyage to America.

1513 Balboa discovered the Pacific.

1608 The oldest written mention of the telescope: In a letter of introduction from the Council of Zeeland to Zeeland’s Delegates to the States General (the Netherlands parliament) in Den Haag asking them to organise an audience with Prince Maurice of Nassau for a spectacle maker from Middelburg who had invented a “…certain device by means of which all things at a very great distance can be seen as if they were nearby, by looking through glasses…”; the oldest written mention of the telescope. On an unknown day between 25th and 29th September: Hans Lipperhey (1570 – 1619) the spectacle maker from Middelburg (who was actually a German from Wesel) demonstrates his new invention at the court of Prince Maurice, where a peace conference in the Dutch-Spanish War is taking place along with the first visit to Europe of the Ambassador of Siam. Lipperhey’s demonstration is described in detail in a French flyer describing the Ambassadors visit and the news of the new invention is thus spread rapidly throughout Europe. *Renaissance Mathematicus,

1654 Fermat writes to Pascal defending his combinatorial method that Pascal had previously regarded as incorrect.*VFR

1820 Arago announces electromagnetism ... Francois Arago announced that a copper wire between the poles of a voltaic cell, could laterally attract iron filings to itself (Ann. de Chim. et de Physique., xv. p.93). His discovery came in the same year that Oersted discovered that an electric current flowing in a wire would deflect a neighbouring compass needle. Arago in the same publication described how he had successfully succeeded in causing permanent magnetism in steel needles laid at right angles to the copper wire. Arago and André-Marie Ampère, discussed and experimented with forming the copper wire into a helix to intensify the magnetizing action. However, it was not until 1825 that the electromagnet in its familiar form was invented by William Sturgeon. *TIS

1944 Denmark issued a stamp commemorating the 300th anniversary of the birth of Ole Roemer,*VFR

1989 IBM announces plans to develop a new design for transmitting information within a computer, called Micro Channel Architecture, which it said could transfer data at 160 million bytes per second or eight times faster than the fastest speed at the time. Although IBM was hoping to make its system the industry standard, manufacturers of IBM-compatible computers largely chose other methods. *CHM


1644 Olaus Roemer, Danish astronomer, born. He was the first to measure the speed of light. *VFR (25 Sep 1644;23 Sep 1710) Astronomer who demonstrated conclusively that light travels at a finite speed. He measured the speed by precisely measuring the length of time between eclipses of Jupiter by one of its moons. This observation produces different results depending on the position of the earth in its orbit around the sun. He reasoned that meant light took longer to travel the greater distance when earth was traveling in its orbit away from Jupiter.*TIS "Ole Rømer took part in several other achievements considering measurement. He developed a temperature scale that is now famous as the Fahrenheit scale. Fahrenheit improved and distributed his ideas after visiting Rømer. In his last years, he was even given the position as second Chief of the Copenhagen Police and invented the first street oil lamps in the city of Copenhagen.
Further achievements and inventions may be added to Rømer's biography, like his innovative water supply system and his urban planning concept. " *Yovista.blogspot

1819 George Salmon (25 September 1819 – 22 January 1904) made many discoveries about ruled surfaces and other surfaces. *SAU His publications in algebraic geometry were widely read in the second half of the 19th century. A Treatise on Conic Sections remained in print for over fifty years, going though five updated editions in English, and was translated into German, French and Italian. *Wik

1825 Carl Harald Cramer,(25 September 1893 ,5 October 1985) was a Swedish mathematical statisticians and is one of the prominent figures in the statistical theory. He was once described by John Kingman as "one of the giants of statistical theory". 
In number theory, Cramér's conjecture,in 1936 states that
p_{n+1}-p_n=O((\log p_n)^2),\
where pn denotes the nth prime number, O is big O notation, and "log" is the natural logarithm. Intuitively, this means the gaps between consecutive primes are always small, and it quantifies asymptotically just how small they can be. This conjecture has not been proven or disproven.

1846 Wladimir (Peter) Köppen (25 Sep 1846; 22 Jun 1940) German meteorologist and climatologist best known for his delineation and mapping of the climatic regions of the world. He played a major role in the advancement of climatology and meteorology for more than 70 years. The climate classification system he developed remains popular because it uses easily obtained data (monthly mean temperatures and precipitation) and straightforward, objective criteria. He recognized five principal climate groups: (A) Humid tropical -winterless climates; (B) Dry - evaporation constantly exceed precipitation; (C) humid mid-latitude, mild winters; (D) humid mid-latitude, severe winters; and (E) Polar - summerless climates. *TIS

1888 Stefan Mazurkiewicz (25 Sept 1888 , 19 June 1945) His main work was in topology and the theory of probability. His notion of dimension of a compact set preceded that of Menger and Urysohn by seven years. Mazurkiewicz applied topological methods to the theory of functions, obtaining powerful results. His theory gave particularly strong results when applied to the Euclidean plane, giving deep knowledge of its topological structure. *SAU


1777 Johann Heinrich Lambert (26 Aug 1728, 25 Sep 1777) Swiss-German mathematician, astronomer, physicist, and philosopher who provided the first rigorous proof that pi ( the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter) is irrational, meaning it cannot be expressed as the quotient of two integers. He also devised a method of measuring light intensity. *TIS In 1766 Lambert wrote Theorie der Parallellinien which was a study of the parallel postulate. By assuming that the parallel postulate was false, he managed to deduce a large number of non-euclidean results. He noticed that in this new geometry the sum of the angles of a triangle increases as its area decreases. *SAU

1852 Christoph Gudermann (March 25, 1798, September 25, 1852) was born in Vienenburg. He was the son of a school teacher and became a teacher himself after studying at the University of Göttingen, where his advisor was Karl Friedrich Gauss. He began his teaching career in Kleve and then transferred to a school in Münster.
He is most known today for being the teacher of Karl Weierstrass, who took Gudermann's course in elliptic functions, 1839–1840, the first to be taught in any institute. Weierstrass was greatly influenced by this course, which marked the direction of his own research.
Gudermann originated the concept of uniform convergence, in an 1838 paper on elliptic functions, but only observed it informally, neither formalizing it nor using it in his proofs. Instead, Weierstrass elaborated and applied uniform convergence.
His researches into spherical geometry and special functions focused on particular cases, so that he did not receive the credit given to those who published more general works. The Gudermannian function, or hyperbolic amplitude, is named after him.Gudermann died in Münster. *Wik

1877 Urbain-Jean-Joseph Le Verrier (11 May 1811, 25 Sep 1877) French astronomer who predicted the position of a previously unknown planet, Neptune, by the disturbance it caused in the orbit of Uranus. In 1856, the German astronomer Johan G. Galle discovered Neptune after only an hour of searching, within one degree of the position that had been computed by Le Verrier, who had asked him to look for it there. In this way Le Verrier gave the most striking confirmation of the theory of gravitation propounded by Newton. Le Verrier also initiated the meteorological service for France, especially the weather warnings for seaports. *TIS (He died the day after the anniversary of the sighting of his most famous prediction. Between that moment of fame in 1846 and his death, he mistakenly attributed the variability of Mercury's orbit to another small planet he named "Vulcan". It took the theory of General Relativity to explain the variations. He was buried in Montparnasse cemetery in Paris. A large globe sits atop grave. Arago described him as, "the man who discovered a planet with the point of his pen."

1933 Paul Ehrenfest (January 18, 1880, September 25, 1933) was an Austrian and Dutch physicist and mathematician, who made major contributions to the field of statistical mechanics and its relations with quantum mechanics, including the theory of phase transition and the Ehrenfest theorem. *Wik

Credits :
*CHM=Computer History Museum
*FFF=Kane, Famous First Facts
*NSEC= NASA Solar Eclipse Calendar
*RMAT= The Renaissance Mathematicus, Thony Christie
*SAU=St Andrews Univ. Math History
*TIA = Today in Astronomy
*TIS= Today in Science History
*VFR = V Frederick Rickey, USMA
*Wik = Wikipedia
*WM = Women of Mathematics, Grinstein & Campbell

Sunday, 24 September 2017

On This Day in Math - September 24

Scipio Ferro of Bologna well-nigh thirty years ago discovered this rule and handed it on to Antonio Maria Fior of Venice, whose contest with Niccolo Tartaglia of Brescia gave Niccolo occasion to discover it. He [Tartaglia] gave it to me in response to my entreaties, though withholding the demonstration. Armed with this assistance, I sought out its demonstration in [various] forms. This was very difficult.
~Girolamo Cardano

This is the 267th day of the year; 267 is the smallest number n such that n+ a googol is prime. (anyone want to find the next one? A quick mental problem for students, How do you know that 269+Googol will not be prime?))

267 can be written as the sum of five cubes in two ways, \( 267 = 1^3 + 2^3 + 2^3 + 5^3 + 5^3 = 2^3 + 2^3 + 2^3 + 3^3 + 6^3 \)


1846 Neptune First observed… “It was on that date, back in 1846, that German Astronomer Johann Galle, assisted by graduate student Heinrich Louis d’Arrest, trained the 24 centimeter (9 inch) Fraunhofer Refractor of the Berlin Observatory on a patch of sky near the Aquarius-Capricorn border (see illustration below) and observed the small, blue disk of Neptune. On July 12th, 2011 Neptune completed exactly one orbit since its discovery. One hundred and sixty five years ago a series of events played out in France, England and Germany that would culminate in a watershed moment in the history science and astronomy, a discovery that would prove to be unique and unrepeatable. These events were rife with centuries-old rivalries, political conspiracy and intrigue, all mixed together with good mathematics, some good science, some bad science, some luck and much mayhem.” more of this interesting story from Tom Madigan’s website.

1852 The steam powered airship was made by Baptiste Jules Henri Jacques Giffard His airship, powered with a steam engine, and weighing over 180 kg (400 lb), it was the world's first passenger-carrying airship (then known as a dirigible, which was French ). Both practical and steerable, the hydrogen-filled airship was equipped with a 3 hp steam engine that drove a propeller. The engine was fitted with a downward-pointing funnel. The exhaust steam was mixed in with the combustion gases and it was hoped by these means to stop sparks rising up to the gas bag; he also installed a vertical rudder.
On 24 September 1852 Giffard made the first powered and controlled flight traveling 27 km from Paris to Élancourt. The wind was too strong to allow him to make way against it, so he was unable to return to the start. However, he was able to make turns and circles,[citation needed] proving that a powered airship could be steered and controlled. *Wik

1940 Westinghouse patent application for the Nimatron, a machine to play the game of Nim, is approved. Created by Eduard Condon, Edgewood Tawney, Gerald Tawney, and Willard Dorr, the machine would be featured in the Westinghouse exhibit at the 1940 World's Fair. The machine played 100,000 games at the fair, winning about 90,000. Most of its defeats were apparently administered by attendants to demonstrate that possibility. When the machine did lose it would "present its opponent with a token coin stamped with the words 'Nim Champ'" *historyofinformation.com


1501 Girolamo Cardano (24 Sep 1501; 21 Sep 1576) Famous for his Ars magna of 1545, which contained detailed and systematics algebraic solutions to cubic and quartic equations. He was one of the most colorful figures in the whole history of mathematics, as is well illustrated in his autobiography, The Book of My Life. *VFR
Italian physician, mathematician, and astrologer who was the first to give a clinical description of typhus fever. His book, Ars magna ("Great Art," 1545) was one of the great achievements in the history of algebra, in which he published the solutions to the cubic and quartic equations. His mechanical inventions included the combination lock, the compass gimbal consisting of three concentric rings, and the universal joint to transmit rotary motion at various angles (as used in present-day vehicles). He contributed to hydrodynamics and held that perpetual motion is impossible, except in celestial bodies. He published two encyclopedias of natural science and introduced the Cardan grille, a cryptographic tool (1550). *TIS
His gambling led him to formulate elementary rules in probability, making him one of the founders of the field.
One story says that it was by his own hand so as to fulfill his earlier astrological prediction of of his death on this date. *H. Eves, Introduction to the History of Mathematics, Pg 221...

1625 Jan de Witt born. This statesman for the Netherlands wrote, before 1650, one of the first systematic developments of the analytic geometry of the straight line and conics. It was printed in Van Schooten’s second Latin edition of Descartes’ geometry (1659–1661).*VFR A nice short article about his unusual death, and life are at this blog by The Renaissance Mathematicus

1844 Max Noether born (24 September 1844 – 13 December 1921) . One of the leaders of nineteenth century algebraic geometry. Although himself a very distinguished mathematician, his daughter Emmy Noether was to bring greater innovation to mathematics than did her father. *SAU

1870 Georges Claude (24 Sep 1870; 23 May 1960) The French engineer, chemist, and inventor of the neon light, Georges Claude, was born in Paris. He invented the neon light, which was the forerunner of the fluorescent light. Claude was the first to apply an electrical discharge to a sealed tube of neon gas, around 1902 and make a neon lamp ("Neon" from Greek "neos," meaning "new gas.") He first publicly displayed the neon lamp on 11 Dec 1910 in Paris. His French company Claude Neon, introduced neon signs to the U.S. with two "Packard" signs for a Packard car dealership in Los Angeles, purchased by Earle C. Anthony for $24,000. *TIS

1891 William F. Friedman (24 Sep 1891; 12 Nov 1969) one of the world's greatest cryptologists, who helped decipher enemy codes from World War I to World War II. He was born as Wolfe Friedman.in Kishinev, Russia. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1893. Originally trained as an agricultural geneticist, he had become interested in cryptology. During World War I, with his wife Elizebeth, he set up a cryptology school for military personnel, which led to appointment by the U.S. as head of the Signal Intelligence Service (1930). He broke the Japanese "Purple" code (1937-40), thus allowing Americans to read much of Japan's secret messages during World War II. *TIS There is a bust of him at the National Cryptologic Museum in Fort Meade Maryland on which he is identified as the "Dean of American Cryptology". There is an interesting biography here .

1896 Tadeusz Ważewski (24 September 1896 – 5 September 1972) was a Polish mathematician.
Ważewski made important contributions to the theory of ordinary differential equations, partial differential equations, control theory and the theory of analytic spaces. He is most famous for applying the topological concept of retract, introduced by Karol Borsuk to the study of the solutions of differential equations. *Wik
Ważewski studied at the Jagiellonian University in 1914–1920. He started from physics but very quickly turned to mathematics. Ważewski was a pupil of Zaremba.
He spent three years in Paris and got a doctoral diploma from Sorbona.
Ważewski’s research started from topology. In his doctoral dissertation he obtained interesting results on dendrites (locally connected continua not containing simple closed curves). *Ciesielski & Pogoda, EMS Newsletter December 2012

1898 Charlotte Moore Sitterly (24 Sep 1898; 3 Mar 1990) astrophysicist who organized, analyzed, and published definitive books on the solar spectrum and spectral line multiplets. From 1945 to age 90, she conducted this work at the U.S. National Bureau of Standards and the Naval Research Laboratory. She detected that technetium, an unstable element (previously known only as a result of laboratory experiments with nuclear reactions) exists in nature. She made major contributions to the compilation of tables for atomic-energy levels associated with optical spectra, which are now standard reference material. As instruments carried in space rockets provided new data in the ultraviolet, she extended these tables beyond the optical range. She was awarded the Bruce Medal in 1990.*TIS

1904 Evan T Davies graduated from the University of Wales at Aberystwyth and then studied in Rome and Paris. After lecturing at King's College London he was appointed to a professorship in Southampton. He worked in Differential Geometry and the Calculus of Variations.*SAU

1906 Pol(idore) Swings, (24 Sep 1906; 1983) Belgian astrophysicist, made spectroscopic studies to identify elements and structure of stars and comets. He discovered the first interstellar molecule, the CH radical (1937). In comet atmospheres he studied the "Swings bands" - certain carbon emission lines. In 1941, with a slit spectrograph he identified a "Swings effect" in the violet CN bands (3875 A) - a fluorescence partly due to solar radiation that shows emmission line excitation differences dependant on the Doppler shift caused by a comet's motion relative to the Sun. He co-authored an Atlas of Cometary Spectra with Leo Haser in 1956. *TIS

1923 Raoul Bott,(September 24, 1923 – December 20, 2005)[1] was a Hungarian mathematician known for numerous basic contributions to geometry in its broad sense. He is best known for his Bott periodicity theorem, the Morse–Bott functions which he used in this context, and the Borel–Bott–Weil theorem. *Wik

1930 John Watts Young (24 Sep 1930, ) astronaut who was the commander of the first ever Space Shuttle mission (STS-1, 12 Apr 1981), walked on the Moon during the Apollo 16 mission (21 Apr 1972), made the first manned flight of the Gemini spacecraft with Virgil Grissom. *TIS

1945 Ian Nicholas Stewart FRS (24 September, 1945 - ) is an Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick, England, and a widely known popular-science and science-fiction writer.
While in the sixth form at school, Stewart came to the attention of the mathematics teacher. The teacher had Stewart sit mock A-level examinations without any preparation along with the upper-sixth students; Stewart placed first in the examination. This teacher arranged for Stewart to be admitted to Cambridge on a scholarship to Churchill College, where he obtained a BA in mathematics. Stewart then went to the University of Warwick for his doctorate, on completion of which in 1969 he was offered an academic position at Warwick, where he presently professes mathematics. He is well known for his popular expositions of mathematics and his contributions to catastrophe theory.
While at Warwick he edited the mathematical magazine Manifold. He also wrote a column called "Mathematical Recreations" for Scientific American magazine for several years.
Stewart has held visiting academic positions in Germany (1974), New Zealand (1976), and the U.S. (University of Connecticut 1977–78, University of Houston 1983–84). *Wik


1054 Hermann of Reichenau (1013 July 18 – 1054 September 24), was a German mathematician who important for the transmission of Arabic mathematics, astronomy and scientific instruments into central Europe. Hermann introduced three important instruments into central Europe, knowledge of which came from Arabic Spain. He introduced the astrolabe, a portable sundial and a quadrant with a cursor.
His works include De Mensura Astrolabii and De Utilitatibus Astrolabii (some parts of these works may not have been written by Hermann).
Hermann's contributions to mathematics include a treatise dealing with multiplication and division, although this book is written entirely with Roman numerals. He also wrote on a complicated game based on Pythagorean number theory which was derived from Boethius. *SAU

1651 Etienne Pascal died (Clermont, May 2, 1588 - Paris, September 24, 1651). The Pascal limacon is named after him, and not after his famous son who later came blazing on the scene. *VFR Étienne is famed as the discoverer of the curve the Limaçon of Pascal. The curve, so named by Roberval, can be used to trisect an angle. He discovered the curve in around 1637. (Limacon is from the Latin word for a snail the curve is a roulette formed when a circle rolls around the outside of another circle.) In a letter (see Lettre d'Étienne Pascal et Roberval à Fermat, samedi 16 août 1636) he actively argued in favour of Fermat's De maximis et minimis in opposition to Descartes who viewed the work in a very negative light. *SAU

1938 Lew Genrichowitsch Schnirelmann (2 January(15January 1905greg.) in Gomel; 24 September 1938 in Moscaw) . He was a Belarussian mathematician who made important contributions to the Goldbach conjecture. Using these ideas of compactness of a sequence of natural numbers he was able to prove a weak form of the Goldbach conjecture showing that every number is the sum of ≤ 20 primes.*SAU

1945 Hans (Wilhelm) Geiger (30 Sep 1882, 24 Sep  1945) was a German physicist who introduced the Geiger counter, the first successful detector of individual alpha particles and other ionizing radiations. After earning his Ph.D. at the University of Erlangen in 1906, he collaborated at the University of Manchester with Ernest Rutherford. He used the first version of his particle counter, and other detectors, in experiments that led to the identification of the alpha particle as the nucleus of the helium atom and to Rutherford's statement (1912) that the nucleus occupies a very small volume in the atom. Geiger returned to Germany in 1912 and continued to investigate cosmic rays, artificial radioactivity, and nuclear fission. *TIS

1999 Anneli Cahn Lax (23 Feb 1922 in Katowice, Poland - 24 Sept 1999 in New York City, New York, USA) Anneli Cahn was born in Katowice, then a German city, but now part of Poland, on February 23, 1922. Her family fled Hitler’s regime in 1935 and settled in New York. She married Peter Lax, a fellow mathematician,
in 1948. Their lives together included a shared love for mathematics. Perhaps her most important contribution to mathematics was as editor of the New Mathematics Library. The launch of the Soviet satellite Sputnik in 1957 was a shock to the American scientific community, a shock felt on every level. Much thought was devoted to the education of a new generation who would accelerate the pace of American scientific productivity. Out of this endeavor grew the New Mathematical Library. The notion was to make accessible to interested high school students, and to a more general public, deep results in mathematics
described by research mathematicians. (This sort of work had long been going on in Eastern Europe.) Lax was asked to take over as general editor for this series, and under her guidance it grew to be the foremost mathematical expository
series in the language. Upon her death it was renamed in her honor. *Mark Saul, Obituary for the AMS VOl 47,#7

Credits :
*CHM=Computer History Museum
*FFF=Kane, Famous First Facts
*NSEC= NASA Solar Eclipse Calendar
*RMAT= The Renaissance Mathematicus, Thony Christie
*SAU=St Andrews Univ. Math History
*TIA = Today in Astronomy
*TIS= Today in Science History
*VFR = V Frederick Rickey, USMA
*Wik = Wikipedia
*WM = Women of Mathematics, Grinstein & Campbell

Saturday, 23 September 2017

On This Day in Math - September 23

We have a habit in writing articles published in scientific journals to make the work as finished as possible, to cover up all the tracks, to not worry about the blind alleys or describe how you had the wrong idea first, and so on. So there isn't any place to publish, in a dignified manner, what you actually did in order to get to do the work.
~Feynman, Richard Philips Nobel Lecture, 1966.

The 266th day of the year; 266 can be expressed as 222 in base 11.

266 is the sum of four cubes,  \(266 = 2^3 + 2^3 + 5^3 + 5^3 \) It is also the index of the largest proper subgroups of the sporadic group known as the Janko group J

1574 Tycho Brahe's rising fame while he lived in Copenhagen brings unwanted lecturing demands. In the capital his rising fame had attracted considerable attention, and some young nobles who were studying at the University requested him to deliver a course of lectures on some mathematical subject on which there were no lectures being given at that time. His friends Dancey and Pratensis urged him to consent to this proposal, but Tycho was not inclined to do so, until the King had also requested him to gratify the wishes of the students. He then yielded, and the lectures were commenced on the 23rd of September 1574, with an oration on the antiquity and importance of the mathematical sciences. *TYCHO BRAHE, A PICTURE OF SCIENTIFIC LIFE AND WORK IN THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY BY J. L. E. DREYER

1647 Descartes, on a visit on September 23-24 to France from Holland, met with Pascal. On this occasion Descartes may have recommended the experiment of noting the variation in the height of the barometer with altitude. [J. F. Scott, The Scientific Work of Ren´e Descartes, p. 6] *VFR
His visit only lasted two days and the two argued about the vacuum which Descartes did not believe in. Pascal had done a series of experiments on atmospheric pressure and proved to his satisfaction that a vacuum existed.Descartes wrote, rather cruelly, in a letter to Huygens after this visit that Pascal, " ...has too much vacuum in his head. " *SAU
Also present were Professor Roberval, of the College de France, a voluble anti-Cartesian, and Pascal's younger sister Jacqueline. Pascal brought out a calculating machine, his recent invention, and demonstrated its ability to add and subtract. Descartes was impressed. The talk turned to the vacuum. Pascal described his experiment; Descartes expressed doubt - a polite skirmish that might have ended there. But Roberval injected his opinion, and a heated argument ensued. Descartes took his leave.

The next morning, however, he returned - not Descartes the philosopher this time, but Descartes the physician. He sat for three hours by his patient's side, listened to his complaints, examined him, prescribed soups and rest. When Pascal was sick of staying in bed, Descartes said, he would be nearly well. Their views would remain opposed, but it was the supreme rationalist in his role as kindly doctor whom Pascal would later remember, and who may have been in his mind when he observed, "The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of"
*The Independent UK, Saturday 15 June 1996

1673 Hooke in his diary, "bought Pappus in Cornhill for 11sh. at ye crown." *Robert Hooke ‏@HookesLondon
Suspect but an not sure that this was Commandino's translation of Pappus's Mathematicae Collectiones

1763 The Princess Louise sailed for Barbados on 23 September. During the voyage Maskelyne and Charles Green took many lunar-distance observations (with Maskelyne later claiming that his final observation was within half of degree of the truth) and struggled a couple of times with the marine chair. Maskelyne’s conclusion was that the Jupiter’s satellites method of finding longitude would simply never work at sea because the telescope magnification required was far too high for use in a moving ship.
On 29 December 1763 he wrote his brother Edmund, reporting his safe arrival on 7 November after “an agreeable passage of 6 weeks”. He noted that he had been “very sufficiently employed in making the observations recommended to me by the Commissioners of Longitude” and that it was at times “rather too fatiguing”. *Board of Longitude project, Greenwich

1793 The new decimalized calendar was presented to the Jacobin-controlled National Convention on 23 September 1793, which adopted it on 24 October 1793 and also extended it proleptically to its epoch of 22 September 1792. The French Republican Calendar was a calendar created and implemented during the French Revolution, and used by the French government for about 12 years from late 1793 to 1805, and for 18 days by the Paris Commune in 1871. There were twelve months, each divided into three ten-day weeks called décades. The tenth day, décadi, replaced Sunday as the day of rest and festivity. The five or six extra days needed to approximate the solar or tropical year were placed after the months at the end of each year. The new system was designed in part to remove all religious and royalist influences from the calendar, and was part of a larger attempt at decimalisation in France. *Wik

1815 The Great September Gale of 1815 came ashore in New England on this date. This was the first hurricane, although the word had not been created yet, to hit New England in 180 yrs. In the aftermath of the Great Gale, the concept of a hurricane as a "moving vortex" was presented by John Farrar, Hollis Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy at Harvard University. In an 1819 paper he concluded that the storm "appears to have been a moving vortex and not the rushing forward of a great body of the atmosphere". The word "hurricane" comes from Spanish huracán, from the Taino hurakán, “god of the storm.” While the Taino have been essentially wiped out by disease brought by the Spanish, there are still several words from the language remaining in English. Two of my favorites, Barbecue and Hammock. *Assorted sources (The Merriem Webster gives the first use of Hurricane in 1555, the same year as another Taino word, Yuca,  was first used in English.)

1831 Faraday writes to Richard Phillips, “ I am busy just now again on Electro-Magnetism and think I have got hold of a good thing but can't say; it may be a weed instead of a fish that after all my labour I may at last pull up.” (It was a fish Michael!) * Michael Faraday, Bence Jones (ed.), The Life and Letters of Faraday (1870), Vol. 2, 3

1846 Neptune first seen. Le Verrier's most famous achievement is his prediction of the existence of the then unknown planet Neptune, using only mathematics and astronomical observations of the known planet Uranus. Encouraged by physicist Arago, Director of the Paris Observatory, Le Verrier was intensely engaged for months in complex calculations to explain small but systematic discrepancies between Uranus's observed orbit and the one predicted from the laws of gravity of Newton. At the same time, but unknown to Le Verrier, similar calculations were made by John Couch Adams in England. Le Verrier announced his final predicted position for Uranus's unseen perturbing planet publicly to the French Academy on 31 August 1846, two days before Adams's final solution, which turned out to be 12° off the mark, was privately mailed to the Royal Greenwich Observatory. Le Verrier transmitted his own prediction by 18 September letter to Johann Galle of the Berlin Observatory. The letter arrived five days later, and the planet was found with the Berlin Fraunhofer refractor that same evening, 23 September 1846, by Galle and Heinrich d'Arrest within 1° of the predicted location near the boundary between Capricorn and Aquarius. Le Verrier will be known by the phrase attributed to Arago: "the man who discovered a planet with the point of his pen." [Le Verrier also noted that the perihelion of Mercury was advancing more rapidly than Newtonian physics could account for, but he proposed in 1845 that this was due to a planet between Mercury and the sun which he called Vulcan…..oops] *Wik (It is a strange twist of fate that he died on the date on which his most famous prediction was verified, See below under deaths)

1884 Patent filed for Hollerith tabulating machine. It was used in the 1890 census and became the model for computer cards. *VFR

1983 The Los Angeles Times reported that David Slowinski of Cray research has found the 29th Mersenne prime, 2132,049-1. It turned out that this was actually the 30th, as the 29th would turn out to be 2110,503 -1 found by Walter Colquitt ; Luke Welsh almost five years later on Jan 28, 1988 *VFR & Wik


1768 William Wallace  (23 September 1768, Dysart in Fife – 28 April 1843, Edinburgh) was a Scottish mathematician and astronomer who invented the eidograph. (A form of pantograph for reproducing images on a different scale) He mainly worked in the field of geometry and in 1799 became the first to publish the concept of the Simson line, which erroneously was attributed to Robert Simson by Poncelet. In 1807 he proved a result about polygons with an equal area, that later became known as the Bolyai–Gerwien theorem. His most important contribution to British mathematics however was, that he was one of the first mathematicians introducing and promoting the advancement of the continental European version of calculus in Britain.
Wallace's grave in Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh, 2012
 He was assisted in his studies by John Robison (1739–1805) and John Playfair, to whom his abilities had become known. After various changes of situation, dictated mainly by a desire to gain time for study, he became assistant teacher of mathematics in the academy of Perth in 1794, and this post he exchanged in 1803 for a mathematical mastership in the Royal Military College at Great Marlow (afterwards at Sandhurst with a recommendation by Playfair). In 1819 he was chosen to succeed John Leslie (or John Playfair?) in the chair of mathematics at Edinburgh.
He developed a reputation for being an excellent teacher. Among his students was Mary Somerville. In 1838 he retired from the university due to ill health. He died in Edinburgh and is buried in Greyfriars Churchyard.  *Wik

1785 Georg Scheutz (1785-1873), who with his son built a commercially available calculator based on Charles Babbage's Difference Engine, is born in Stockholm. After reading about the Difference Engine in 1833, Scheutz and son Edvard worked on a version that could process 15-digit numbers and calculate using fourth-order differences. The result won the gold medal at the Paris Exhibition in 1855 and was used by the Dudley Observatory in New York to calculate a few tables. A second copy was used by the British Registrar General to calculate tables for the developing life insurance industry. *CHM

1791 Johann Franz Encke (23 Sep 1791; 26 Aug 1865) German astronomer who in 1819 established the period of the comet now known by as Encke's Comet. At at 3.3 years it has the shortest period of any known. *TIS It was first recorded by Pierre Méchain in 1786, but it was not recognized as a periodic comet until 1819 when its orbit was computed by Encke. Comet Encke is believed to be the originator of several related meteor showers known as the Taurids (which are encountered as the Northern and Southern Taurids across November, and the Beta Taurids in late June and early July). Near-Earth object 2004 TG10 may be a fragment of Encke. Some also think it may have already had a part of it break off and hit the earth. "In 1908 Comet Encke was making a close pass near the Earth. It is believed that a 100 meter (m) diameter chunk of ice from Encke broke off and plowed into the atmosphere over the Stony Tunguska River in Siberia. The result was an air-burst explosion liberating the equivalent of 600 Hiroshima-size nuclear bombs, so much energy that sensitive instruments around the world recorded the resulting shock waves. Trees in the Siberian forests were leveled for dozens of miles around, and horses 400 miles away were knocked from their feet. There was no known loss of human life, but this is only because the impact site was so isolated. If the same ice chunk had, by chance, struck over a major population center, Tokyo, or New York, or Bombay, mega-deaths would have resulted. " *greatdreams.com

1819 Armand-Hippolyte-Louis Fizeau (23 Sep 1819; 18 Sep 1896) French physicist who was the first to measure the speed of light successfully without using astronomical calculations (1849). Fizeau sent a narrow beam of light between gear teeth on the edge of a rotating wheel. The beam then traveled to a mirror 8 km/5 mi away and returned to the wheel where, if the spin were fast enough, a tooth would block the light. Knowing this time from the rotational speed of the wheel, and the mirror's distance, Fizeau directly measured the speed of light. He also found that light travels faster in air than in water, which confirmed the wave theory of light, and that the motion of a star affects the position of the lines in its spectrum. With Jean Foucault, he proved the wave nature of the Sun's heat rays by showing their interference (1847).*TIS

1851 Ellen Amanda Hayes (September 23, 1851 – October 27, 1930) was an American mathematician and astronomer. Born in Granville, Ohio (pop 1,127 in the 1880 census) she graduated from Oberlin College in 1878 and began teaching at Adrian College. From 1879 to her 1916 retirement, she taught at Wellesley College, where she became head of the mathematics department in 1888 and head of the new department in applied mathematics in 1897.Hayes was also active in astronomy, determining the orbit of newly discovered 267 Tirza while studying at the Leander McCormick Observatory at the University of Virginia.
She wrote a number of mathematics textbooks. She also wrote Wild Turkeys and Tallow Candles (1920), an account of life in Granville, and The Sycamore Trail (1929), a historical novel.
Hayes was a controversial figure not just for being a rare female mathematics professor in 19th century America, but for her embrace of radical causes like questioning the Bible and gender clothing conventions, suffrage, temperance, socialism, the 1912 Lawrence Textile Strike, and Sacco and Vanzetti. She was the Socialist Party candidate for Massachusetts Secretary of State in 1912, the first woman in state history to run for statewide office. She did not win the race, but did receive more votes than any Socialist candidate on the ballot, including 2500 more than their gubernatorial candidate.
Hayes was concerned about under-representation of women in mathematics and science and argued that this was due to social pressure and the emphasis on female appearance, the lack of employment opportunities in those fields for women, and schools which allowed female students to opt out of math and science courses.
Her will left her brain to the Wilder Brain Collection at Cornell University. Her ashes were buried in Granville, Ohio. *Wik

1869 Typhoid Mary Mallon (23 Sep 1869; 11 Nov 1938) famous typhoid carrier in the New York City area in the early 20th century. Fifty-one original cases of typhoid and three deaths were directly attributed to her (countless more were indirectly attributed), although she herself was immune to the typhoid bacillus (Salmonella typhi). The outbreak of Typhus in Oyster Bay, Long Island, in 1904 puzzled the scientists of the time because they thought they had wiped out the deadly disease. Mallon's case showed that a person could be a carrier without showing any outward signs of being sick, and it led to most of the Health Code laws on the books today. She died not from typhoid but from the effects of a paralytic stroke dating back to 25 Dec 1932.*TIS

1921 Albert Messiah (23 September 1921, Nice -) is a French physicist.
He spent the Second World War in the French Resistance: he embarked June 22, 1940 in Saint-Jean-de-Luz to England and participated in the Battle of Dakar with Charles de Gaulle in September 1940. He joined the Free French Forces in Chad, and the 2nd Armored Division in September 1944, and participated in the assault of Hitler's Eagle's nest at Berchtesgaden in 1945.
After the war, he went to Princeton to attend the seminar of Niels Bohr on quantum mechanics. He returned to France and introduced the first general courses of quantum mechanics in France, at the University of Orsay. His textbook on quantum mechanics (Dunod 1959) has trained generations of French physicists.
He was the director of the Physics Division at the CEA and professor at the Pierre and Marie Curie University. *Wik

1968 Wendelin Werner (September 23, 1968 - ) is a German-born French mathematician working in the area of self-avoiding random walks, Schramm-Loewner evolution, and related theories in probability theory and mathematical physics. In 2006, at the 25th International Congress of Mathematicians in Madrid, Spain he received the Fields Medal. He is currently professor at ETH Zürich. *Wik


1657 Joachim Jungius was a German mathematician who was one of the first to use exponents to represent powers and who used mathematics as a model for the natural sciences. *SAU

1877 Urbain-Jean-Joseph Le Verrier (11 Mar 1811; 23 Sep 1877 at age 66) French astronomer who predicted by mathematical means the existence of the planet Neptune. He switched from his first subject of chemistry to to teach astronomy at the Ecole Polytechnique in 1837 and worked at the Paris Observatory for most of his life. His main activity was in celestial mechanics. Independently of Adams, Le Verrier calculated the position of Neptune from irregularities in Uranus's orbit. As one of his colleagues said, " ... he discovered a star with the tip of his pen, without any instruments other than the strength of his calculations alone. In 1856, the German astronomer Johan G. Galle discovered Neptune after only an hour of searching, within one degree of the position that had been computed by Le Verrier, who had asked him to look for it there. In this way Le Verrier gave the most striking confirmation of the theory of gravitation propounded by Newton. Le Verrier also initiated the meteorological service for France, especially the weather warnings for seaports. Incorrectly, he predicted a planet, Vulcan, or asteroid belt, within the orbit of Mercury to account for an observed discrepancy (1855) in the motion in the perihelion of Mercury. *TIS

1822 Joseph-Louis-François Bertrand (11 Mar 1822; 5 Apr 1900 at age 78) was a French mathematician and educator and educator remembered for his elegant applications of differential equations to analytical mechanics, particularly in thermodynamics, and for his work on statistical probability and the theory of curves and surfaces. In 1845 Bertrand conjectured that there is at least one prime between n and (2n-2) for every n>3, as proved five years later by Chebyshev. In 1855 he translated Gauss's work on the theory of errors and the method of least squares into French. He wrote a number of notes on the reduction of data from observations. *TIS At age 11 he started to attend classes at the Ecole Polytechnique, where his Uncle Duhamel was a well-known professor of mathematics. At 17 he received his doctor of science degree. *VFR

1897 “Bourbaki is a pen name of a group of younger French mathematicians who set out to publish an encyclopedic work covering most of modern mathematics.” So wrote Samuel Eilenberg in Mathematical Reviews, 3(1942), 55–56. He was the first to reveal in print that Bourbaki was a pseudonym—but the name was appropiated from a real general, Charles Denis Sauter Bourbaki, who died on this date at the age of 81. See Joong Fang, Bourbaki, Paideia Press, 1970, pp. 24, *VFR

1919 Heinrich Bruns was interested in astronomy, mathematics and geodesy and worked on the three body problem.*SAU

1971 James Waddell Alexander (19 Sept 1888, 23 Sept 1971) In a collaboration with Veblen, he showed that the topology of manifolds could be extended to polyhedra. Before 1920 he had shown that the homology of a simplicial complex is a topological invariant. Alexander's work around this time went a long way to put the intuitive ideas of Poincaré on a more rigorous foundation. Also before 1920 Alexander had made fundamental contributions to the theory of algebraic surfaces and to the study of Cremona transformations.
Soon after arriving in Princeton, Alexander generalised the Jordan curve theorem and continued his work, now exclusively on topology, with an important paper on the Jordan-Brouwer separation theorem. This latter paper contains the Alexander Duality Theorem and Alexander's lemma on the n-sphere. In 1924 he introduced the now famous Alexander horned sphere.
In 1928 he discovered the Alexander polynomial which is much used in knot theory. In the same year the American Mathematical Society awarded Alexander the Bôcher Prize for his memoir, Combinatorial analysis situs published in the Transactions of the American Mathematical Society two years earlier. Knot theory and the combinatorial theory of complexes were the main topics on which he worked over the following few years.
The theory which is now called the Alexander-Spanier cohomology theory, was introduced in 1935 by Alexander but was generalised by Spanier in 1948 to the form seen today. Also around 1935 Alexander discovered cohomology theory, at essentially the same time as Kolmogorov, and the theory was announced in the 1936 Moscow Conference. *SAU

2004 Bryce Seligman DeWitt (January 8, 1923 – September 23, 2004) was a theoretical physicist who studied gravity and field theories.
He approached the quantization of general relativity, in particular, developed canonical quantum gravity and manifestly covariant methods that use the heat kernel. B. DeWitt formulated the Wheeler–DeWitt equation for the wavefunction of the Universe with John Archibald Wheeler and advanced the formulation of the Hugh Everett's many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. With his student Larry Smarr he originated the field of numerical relativity.
He received his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees from Harvard University. His Ph.D. (1950) supervisor was Julian S. Schwinger. Afterwards he worked at the Institute for Advanced Study, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Texas at Austin. He was awarded the Dirac Prize in 1987, the American Physical Society's Einstein Prize in 2005, and was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
He was born Carl Bryce Seligman but he and his three brothers added "DeWitt" from their mother's side of the family, at the urging of their father, in 1950. This is similar to Spanish naming customs, where a person bears two surnames, one being from their father and the other from their mother. Twenty years later this change of name so angered Felix Bloch that he blocked DeWitt's appointment to Stanford University and DeWitt instead moved to Austin, Texas. He served in World War II as a naval aviator. He was married to mathematical physicist Cécile DeWitt-Morette. He died September 23, 2004 from pancreatic cancer at the age of 81. He is buried in France, and was survived by his wife and four daughters. *Wik

Credits :
*CHM=Computer History Museum
*FFF=Kane, Famous First Facts
*NSEC= NASA Solar Eclipse Calendar
*RMAT= The Renaissance Mathematicus, Thony Christie
*SAU=St Andrews Univ. Math History
*TIA = Today in Astronomy
*TIS= Today in Science History
*VFR = V Frederick Rickey, USMA
*Wik = Wikipedia
*WM = Women of Mathematics, Grinstein & Campbell