Sunday, 31 July 2011

On This Day in Math - July 31

I advise my students to listen carefully the moment 
they decide to take no more mathematics courses. 
They might be able to hear the sound of closing doors.
~Caballero, James

The 212th day of the year; In Fahrenheit degrees, the boiling point of water at sea level is 212 degrees.

1669 Lucasian professor Isaac Barrow sent John Collins a manuscript of Newton’s De analysi and thereby Newton’s anonymity began to dissolve. It was a summary of Newton’s work on the calculus and was written after Newton saw Nicholas Mercator’s Logarithmotechnia (1668). Newton wrote his paper in order that he would not lose credit for his work on infinite series. Collins immediately recognized Newton’s genius. Although not published until 1711, this paper led to Newton’s appointment as Lucasian professor on 29 October 1669.*VFR

1790 The U.S. Patent Office issued its first patent to Samuel Hopkins of Vermont for his “process for making pot and pearl ashes,” whatever they are. Since George Washington and Thomas Jefferson signed Hopkins’ patent, more than 4 million have been issued. *VFR In 1790, the first U.S. patent was granted to Samuel Hopkins of Vermont for a process for making potash and pearl ashes. Potash was important as an ingredient in soap and fertilizer. The patent was granted for a term of 14 years and signed by President George Washington, who had the previous month signed the first U.S. patent statute into law on 10 April 1790. Hopkins did not get Patent with a serial No.1 as thousands of patents were issued before the Patent Office began to number them. Congress had passed the Patent Act on 10 Apr 1790. Two other patents were granted that year - one for a new candle-making process and the other the flour-milling machinery of Oliver Evans. The next year, 1791, Samuel Hopkins also was granted the first Canadian patent.*TIS

1851 Gauss witnessed the opening ceremonies when the newly constructed railway from Cassel reached Gottingen. *VFR

1943 Ireland issued—as its first stamp with a mathematical theme—two stamps to celebrate the centenary of the discovery of Quaternions by Sir William Rowan Hamilton. [Scott #126-7]. *VFR

1985 The second full moon this month (the other was on the 2nd). This only happens “Once in a blue moon”—and this is the origin of the phrase. Consequently, there were thirteen full moons in the year 1985. *VFR

1704 Gabriel Cramer born. He is best known for “Cramer’s Rule,” a method for solving systems of simultaneous linear equations using determinants. *VFR Gabriel Cramer (31 July 1704 – 4 January 1752) was a Swiss mathematician, born in Geneva. He showed promise in mathematics from an early age. At 18 he received his doctorate and at 20 he was co-chair of mathematics. In 1728 he proposed a solution to the St. Petersburg Paradox that came very close to the concept of expected utility theory given ten years later by Daniel Bernoulli. He published his best known work in his forties. This was his treatise on algebraic curves, "Introduction à l'analyse des lignes courbes algébriques", published in 1750. It contains the earliest demonstration that a curve of the n-th degree is determined by n(n + 3)/2 points on it, in general position. He edited the works of the two elder Bernoullis; and wrote on the physical cause of the spheroidal shape of the planets and the motion of their apsides (1730), and on Newton's treatment of cubic curves (1746). He was professor at Geneva, and died at Bagnols-sur-Cèze.*Wik

1712 Samuel König was a German mathematician who is best remembered for his part in a dispute with Maupertuis over the Principle of Least Action.*SAU

1718 John Canton British physicist and teacher, born Stroud, Gloucestershire. He made a number of minor discoveries in physics and chemistry. As a result of preparing artificial magnets in 1749 he was elected to the Royal Society. In 1762, he demonstrated that water was slightly compressible. He invented a number of devices in connection with electricity. His notable work, between 1756 and 1759, was to record that on days when the aurora borealis was particularly bright, a compass needle behaved with more irregularity than usual. Thus he was the first to record this as an electromagnetic phenomenon for what is now known to be a magnetic storm.*TIS

1826 Daniel Friedrich Ernst Meissel - mathematical work covers number theory, work on Möbius inversion and the theory of partitions as well as work on Bessel functions, asymptotic analysis, refraction of light and the three body problem. *SAu

1858 Richard Dixon Oldham Irish geologist and seismologist who discovered evidence for the existence of the Earth's liquid core (1906). In studying seismograms of great 1897 Indian Earthquake he identified P (primary) and S (secondary) waves. It is interesting that he did not get a clue to the presence of the core from the S waves, which are actually incapable of being transmitted through the liquid of the outer core. (The liquid core does not transmit the shear wave energy released during an earthquake.) Rather he noted the existence of a shadow zone in which P waves from an earthquake in the opposite hemisphere of the earth failed to appear*TIS

1863 George Abram Miller (31 July 1863 – 10 February 1951) was an early group theorist whose many papers and texts were considered important by his contemporaries, but are now mostly considered only of historical importance.
Miller was born in Lynnville, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, and died in Urbana, Illinois.*Wik

1923 Joseph B. Keller (born July 31, 1923, Paterson, New Jersey) is an American mathematician who specializes in applied mathematics. He is best known for his work on the "Geometrical Theory of Diffraction" (GTD).
He worked on the application of mathematics to problems in science and engineering, such as wave propagation. He contributed to the Einstein-Brillouin-Keller method for computing eigenvalues in quantum mechanical systems.
In 1988 he was awarded the U.S. National Medal of Science, and in 1997 he was awarded the Wolf Prize by the Israel-based Wolf Foundation. In 1996, he was awarded the Nemmers Prize in Mathematics.*Wik

1945 John O'Connor Born 31st July 1945 in Luton, Bedfordshire, England.
Lists his Research interests A lapsed topologist, I am interested in Computational Algebra.
I am interested in the History of Mathematics and at present am supervising two research students in this area. * His Personal web page

1927 F. E. Browder born. Worked in Nonlinear monotone operators and convex sets in Banach spaces. and more.

1726 Nikolaus II Bernoulli died. *VFR Nicolaus(II) Bernoulli was the favourite of three sons of Johann Bernoulli. He made important mathematical contributions to the problem of trajectories while working on the mathematical arguments behind the dispute between Newton and Leibniz.*SAU

1784 Denis Diderot died.*VFR was a French philosopher, art critic, and writer. He was a prominent persona during the Enlightenment and is best-known for serving as co-founder and chief editor of and contributor to the Encyclopédie. *Wik

1896 Ludwig Christian Wiener  was a German mathematician, physicist and philosopher, known for his explanation of Brownian motion , which identified him as a skillful experimenter. He mainly dealt with geometry.*Wik
1913 John Milne (30 December 1850 – 31 July 1913) English seismologist who invented the horizontal pendulum seismograph (1894) and was one of the European scientists that helped organize the seismic survey of Japan in the last half of the 1800's. Milne conducted experiments on the propagation of elastic waves from artificial sources, and building construction. He spent 20 years in Japan, until 1895, when a fire destroyed his property, and he returned home to the Isle of Wight. He set up a new laboratory and persuaded the Royal Society to fund initially 20 earthquake observatories around the world, equipped with his seismographs. By 1900, Milne seismographs were established on all of the inhabited continents and he was recognized as the world's leading seismologist. He died of Bright's disease*TIS

*VFR = V Frederick Rickey, USMA
*TIS= Today in Science History
*Wik = Wikipedia
*SAU=St Andrews Univ. Math History
*CHM=Computer History Museum
Post a Comment