Wednesday, 13 July 2011

On This Day in Math - July 13

There is (gentle reader) nothing (the works of God only set apart) which so much beautifies and adorns the soul and mind of man as does knowledge of the good arts and sciences. ... Many ... arts there are which beautify the mind of man; but of all none do more garnish and beautify it than those arts which are called mathematical, unto the knowledge of which no man can attain, without perfect knowledge and instruction of the principles, grounds, and Elements of Geometry.

~John Dee, The Mathematical Preface

This is the 194th day of the year.. 194 is the smallest Markov number that is neither a Fibonacci number nor a Pell number.
194 is also a nontotient, as there is no integer with exactly 194 co-primes (students might try to figure out why all odd numbers greater than one are non-totient, (ie; why are there no numbers that have an odd number of integers less than it that are co-prime to it)  and what is the smallest even non-totient)

1773 Gerolamo Saccheri, a Jesuit priest, received the imprimatur of the Inquisition for his Euclides ab Omni Naevo Vindicatus (Euclid Cleansed of Every Blemish), an important forerunner of non-Euclidean geometry. [George E. Martin, The Foundations of Geometry and the Non-Euclidean Plane, p. 304]*VFR

1783 Astronomer William Bayly is paid 200 pounds by the Board of Longitude for "as a recompense for his troubles in reducing, compiling, and printing the astronomical observations of Captain Cooks last voyage, intended to be published with the historical account thereof."  *Derek Howse, Britain's Board of Longitude, The Finances
In 1772 Bayly accompanied William Wales as an astronomer on Cook's second voyage of discovery to the southern hemisphere. The two ships employed in the expedition, the Resolution and the Adventure sailed on 13 June. He also sailed in Cook's third and last voyage made with the Resolution and the Discovery, which cleared the channel on 14 July 1776. This voyage, in which Cook was killed, came to an end in 1780.

2012 Today is the third Friday-the-thirteenth of the year.  Each Gregorian 400-year cycle contains 146,097 days (365 × 400 = 146,000 normal days, plus 97 leap days) and they equal 146,097 days, total. 146,097 ÷ 7 = 20,871 weeks. Thus, each cycle contains the same pattern of days of the week (and thus the same pattern of Fridays that are on the 13th). The 13th day of the month is slightly more likely to be a Friday than any other day of the week. On average, there is a Friday the 13th once every 212.35 days (compared to Thursday the 13th, which occurs only once every 213.59 days).
According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina, an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United States are affected by a fear of this day. Some people are so paralyzed by fear that they avoid their normal routines in doing business, taking flights or even getting out of bed. "It's been estimated that [US]$800 or $900 million is lost in business on this day". Despite this, representatives for both Delta and Continental Airlines say that their airlines do not suffer from any noticeable drop in travel on those Fridays.
According to folklorists, there is no written evidence for a "Friday the 13th" superstition before the 19th century. The earliest known documented reference in English occurs in Henry Sutherland Edwards' 1869 biography of Gioachino Rossini.

 2012 has had Friday-the-13ths in January, April and July
1527 John Dee born in London, England. In 1570 he wrote a “fruitfull Praeface” to the Billingsley translation of Euclid, which he edited. This was the first English Euclid.
Dee was a noted English mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, occultist, navigator, imperialist and consultant to Queen Elizabeth I. He devoted much of his life to the study of alchemy, divination and Hermetic philosophy.
Dee straddled the worlds of science and magic just as they were becoming distinguishable. One of the most learned men of his age, he had been invited to lecture on advanced algebra at the University of Paris while still in his early twenties. Dee was an ardent promoter of mathematics and a respected astronomer, as well as a leading expert in navigation, having trained many of those who would conduct England's voyages of discovery.*Wik

1741 Carl Friedrich Hindenburg published a series of works on combinatorial mathematics.*SAU

1822 Heinrich Louis d'Arrest German astronomer who, while a student at the Berlin Observatory, hastened the discovery of Neptune by suggesting comparison of the sky, in the region indicated by Urbain Le Verrier's calculations, with a recently prepared star chart. The planet was found the same night. His father-in-law was A. F. Moebius (1790 - 1868). d'Arrest found several comets, the one of 1851 with a period of 6.6 years bears his name. One work he published was on the Asteroids between Mars and Jupiter, another work titled Siderum nebulosorum observationes Hafniensis contained 1942 nebula, 340 described for the first time.*TIS

1924 Donald Edward Osterbrock was an American astronomer who was a leading authority on the history of astronomy, and director of the University of California's Lick Observatory. He applied physics to produce accurate models of stars. For example, treating the outer part of the sun as turbulent and convective, he explained the seemingly anomalous fact that the sun's corona is hotter than its surface. He investigated the nature of ionized gas around hot stars, and was a pioneer in the use of spectroscopic methods for the study of gaseous nebulae. He discovered new types of active galactic nuclei, which are powered by black holes in the centers of galaxies. He fostered the construction of the 10-meter Keck Telescopes in Hawaii. *TIS

1944 Erno Rubik Hungarian mathematician, educator and inventor of Rubik's Cube (1974), which became a popular toy of the 1980s. Rubik's Cube consists of 26 small cubes that rotate on a central axis; nine coloured cube faces, in three rows of three each, form each side of the cube. When the cube arrangement is randomized, the player must then return it to the original condition of faces with matching colours, which is one among 43 quintillion possible configurations.*TIS

1762 James Bradley English astronomer, the third Astronomer Royal, who in 1728 announced his discovery of the aberration of starlight, an apparent slight change in the positions of stars caused by the the motion of the person looking at them with the yearly motion of the Earth. That finding provided the first direct evidence for the revolution of the Earth around the Sun. Bradley was one of the first post-Newtonian observational astronomers who led the quest for precision. From the aberration of starlight, Bradley was also able to make calculations giving the speed of light to be about 283,000 km/s. Further, Bradley discovered that the earth nods a little on its axis, which he named as nutation.*TIS

1807 Johann(III) Bernoulli (4 Nov 1744 in Basel, Switzerland
- 13 July 1807 in Berlin, Germany) wrote a number of works on astronomy and probability theory. Bernoulli wrote a number of works on astronomy, reporting on astronomical observations and calculations, but these are of little importance. Strangely his most important contributions were the accounts of his travels in Germany which were to have a historical impact.
In the field of mathematics he worked on probability, recurring decimals and the theory of equations. As in his astronomical work there was little of lasting importance. He did, however, publish the Leipzig Journal for Pure and Applied Mathematics between 1776 and 1789.
He was well aware of the famous mathematical line from which he was descended and he looked after the wealth of mathematical writings that had passed between members of the family. He sold the letters to the Stockholm Academy where they remained forgotten about until 1877. At that time when these treasures were examined, 2800 letters written by Johann(III) Bernoulli himself were found in the collection. *SAU (See "A Confusion of Bernoulli's" by the Renaissance Mathematicus.)

1896  Friedrich August Kekulé von Stradonitz. Kekulé was a German theoretical chemist who figured out how carbon atoms could have a valence of 4 and join together to make long isomers or even rings. He was the first to discover the ring structure of benzene and greatly advanced the understanding of organic chemistry and aromatic compounds of the time.
Kekulé wrote about the method of his discovery where he was sitting by the fireplace and started to nod off. He dreamed of atoms arranging themselves in groups of ever increasing size until they became long chains. The chains started to wind and turn like snakes until one snake grabbed its own tail. He woke up suddenly and spent the rest of the nightworking out the structure.*This Day in Science History

1921 Gabriel Lippmann French physicist, born Hollerich, Luxembourg, who received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1908 for producing the first colour photographic plate. Lippmann was a giant of his day in classical physics research, especially in optics and electricity. He worked in Berlin with the famed Hermann von Helmholtz before settling in Paris to head (in 1886) the Sorbonne's Laboratories of Physical Research until his death. His inventions include an instrument for precisely measuring minute differences in electrical power and the "coleostat" for steady, long-exposure sky photography.*TIS

1941 Ivan Ivanovich Privalov (13 Feb 1891 in Nizhny Lomov, Penza guberniya (now oblast), Russia - 13 July 1941 in Moscow, USSR) Privalov, often in collaboration with Luzin, studied analytic functions in the vicinity of singular points by means of measure theory and Lebesgue integrals. He also obtained important results on conformal mappings showing that angles were preserved on the boundary almost everywhere. In 1934 he studied subharmonic functions, building on the work of Riesz. He published the monograph Subharmonic Functions in 1937 which gave the general theory of these functions and contained many results from his papers published between 1934 and 1937. *SAU

*VFR = V Frederick Rickey, USMA
*TIS= Today in Science History
*Wik = Wikipedia
*SAU=St Andrews Univ. Math History
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