Wednesday, 11 January 2012

On This Day in Math - Jan 11

As yet, if a man has no feeling for art he is considered narrow-minded, but if he has no feeling for science this is considered quite normal. This is a fundamental weakness.
~Isidor Isaac Rabi, 1958

The 11th day of the year; 11 is the only prime comprising an even number of identical digits. (Can you find a prime which is comprised of an odd number of identical digits?)

EVENTS
1672 Newton presents his telescope to the Royal Society of London. At the same meeting he was elected FRS. *VFR

1753 Sir Hans Sloan died today. He was an avid collector of natural history curiosities, of coins, medals, stuffed animals and historical objects. He had thousands of trays full of exhibits from around the world and bought entire collections from others, to the extent that he could virtually single-handedly fill the British Museum, which opened shortly after he died. He is here because he invented hot chocolate. I need no other reason. *R. Hall, The Georgian Gentleman Blog
1775 Gaspard Monge (1746–1818) presents a memoir before the Academie des Sciences in which he made use of two planes of projection in his descriptive geometry. Descriptive geometry, which deals with the accurate two dimensional rendering of three dimensional solids, had been suggested by Frezier in 1738, but it is mainly to Monge that the mathematical theory owes its development. [Smith, Source Book, p. 426] *VFR

In 1787, William Herschel, a German astronomer, discovered the first two moons of Uranus, six years after he had discovered the planet, on 13 Mar 1781. Titania's diameter is 998.2 miles (1610 km) and its distance from Uranus is 271,104 miles (436,300 km). Oberon, the outermost of the major moons of Uranus, has a mean diameter of 1523 km and a mean distance from Uranus of 583,500 km. These names were suggested by Herschel's son John Herschel in 1852 at the request of William Lassell, who had discovered two more moons of Uranus the year before which became known as Ariel and Umbriel. *TIS In his later career, Herschel discovered two moons of Saturn, Mimas and Enceladus; as well as two moons of Uranus, Titania and Oberon. He did not give these moons their names; they were named by his son John in 1847 and 1852, respectively, well after his death.
Recently, some evidence has been cited by Dr. Stuart Eves that Herschel might have discovered rings around Uranus.*Wik

In 1911, the "Kaiser Wilhelm Society for the Advancement of Science" was founded in Berlin. This became the present Max Planck Society.**TIS

1960 ACM/GAMM committee, a team of computer industry luminaries, convenes to develop Algol 60, the first block-structured language and one that eventually led to the more widely used Pascal. Algol (Algorithmic Language​) and Algol 60 were designed to solve scientific computations and were meant to be more portable than most languages in existence at the time. Alan Perlis described Algol as the lingua franca of computer science. *CHM

1989 “We should dispel, once and for all, the nonsensical notion that mathematics is a man’s game. The appearance of more women in mathematics in recent years is encouraging, but we need to do better in publicizing their successes.” So wrote Edward A. Connors, chairman of the AMS Committee on Employment and Educational Policy, in an Opinion article in The Chronicle of Higher Education entitled “America’s scientiﬁc future threatened by the decline in mathematical education.” [AWM Newsletter, vol. 19, no. 2, p. 2] *VFR

BIRTHS
1545 Guidobaldo Marchese del Monte (11 Jan 1545 in Pesaro, Italy - 6 Jan 1607 in Montebaroccio, Italy) was an Italian mathematician who wrote on statics and also on perspective and astronomy. *SAU

1707 Vincenzo Riccati (Castelfranco Veneto, 11 January 1707 – Treviso, 17 January 1775) was an Italian mathematician and physicist. He was the brother of Giordano Riccati, and the second son of Jacopo Riccati.
Riccati's main research continued the work of his father in mathematical analysis, especially in the fields of the differential equations and physics. The Riccati equation is named after his father.*Wik

1734 Achille-Pierre Dionis du Séjour (January 11, 1734 – August 22, 1794) was a French mathematician, astronomer and politician.*SAU

1825 William Spottiswoode FRS (11 January 1825, London – 27 June 1883, London)[1] was an English mathematician and physicist. He was President of the Royal Society from 1878 to 1883. *Wik

1826 Giuseppe Battaglini ( Naples , 11 January 1826 - Naples , April 29 1894 ) was an Italian Mathematician. His most important contribution was the development of knowledge of non-Euclidean geometry in Italy, who developed both with their studies through an intense relationship with Italian and foreign mathematicians. His activities as an innovator in the field of mathematics was opposed by the more traditional classical schools. Moreover, his figure stands out as a man committed to keeping the Risorgimento in the field of science and civil life. *Wik

1889 Calvin Blackman Bridges (11 Jan 1889; died 27 Dec 1938) American geneticist who advanced understanding of the role of chromosomes in heredity using the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. He began, in 1910, as a laboratory assistant for Thomas Hunt Morgan tracking how observable changes in its chromosomes led to inherited variations. Bridges used natural "mistakes" in sex chromosome segregation to show that an improper number of chromosomes produced abnormal fruit flies. Such "mistakes," called nondisjunction because chromosomes are not properly disjoined, result in gametes with either an extra copy of a sex chromosome or none at all. He created a nomenclature system for naming fly mutants. He correlated Drosophila genes with banding patterns in salivary chromosomes.*TIS

1934 Charles Antony Richard (Tony) Hoare is born., the Developer of the Axiomatic Approach. He received an MA from University of Oxford in 1959. During 1960 - 1968 he had worked at Elliot Bros. (London) Ltd. During 1968 - 1977 Hoare taught at the University of Belfast. Since 1977 he has become James Martin Professor of Computing at Oxford. He was a major contributor to the understanding of the logic of programs, and in particular was the developer of the Axiomatic Approach to program description. He received the 1980 ACM Turing Award and the 1990 Computer Society Pioneer Award. *CHM

1938 Fischer Sheffey Black (January 11, 1938 – August 30, 1995) was an American economist, best known as one of the authors of the famous Black–Scholes equation.
The Nobel Prize is not given posthumously, so it was not awarded to Black in 1997 when his co-author Myron Scholes received the honor for their landmark work on option pricing along with Robert C. Merton, another pioneer in the development of valuation of stock options. In the announcement of the award that year, the Nobel committee prominently mentioned Black's key role.
Black has also received recognition as the co-author of the Black–Derman–Toy interest rate derivatives model, which was developed for in-house use by Goldman Sachs​ in the 1980s but eventually published. *Wik

DEATHS
1757 Louis Bertrand Castel (15 Nov 1688 in Montpellier, France - 11 Jan 1757 in Paris, France) was a French mathematician who was a strong opponent of Newton's philosophy.Castel's physics was based on reason, not observation. He also opposed Newton on religious grounds, believing Newtonian theory to be materialistic. He made this clear in an early article written in the Journal de Trévoux in 1721 in which he stated that Newton had been influenced by Democritus in substituting the void for divine intelligence.Castel's system to replace the theories of Newton did not bring him fame. However he did achieve this from a rather unusual source. In the November 1725 issue of Mercure de France he set out his ideas for an instrument, the clavecin oculair, which made colours and musical tones correspond. Two articles in the Journal de Trévoux in 1735, namely Nouvelles expériences d'optique et d'acoustique and L'optique des couleurs fondée sur les simples observations, took the idea further describing an instrument to accomplish the colour-tone correspondence, namely the ocular harpsichord. *SAU

. 1763 Francis Hauksbee, the Younger (1687, 11 Jan 1763) English instrument maker, scientist, and lecturer who was the nephew and assistant experimenter to Francis Hauksbee the Elder. He contributed to early studies of electricity with his own independent research. From c. 1714, he gave lectures and demonstrations. He manufactured scientific instruments, including air pumps, hydrostatic balances, and reflecting telescopes. Hauksbee published an Essay for Introducing a Portable Laboratory, 1731), and other works on chemistry, astronomical instruments, electricity, and pneumatics. In 1723, he became clerk and housekeeper to the Royal Society. In 1728, (with Benjamin Robinson) he obtained a patent "for preserving the Planks and Sheathing of Ships sailing to the East and West Indies. *TIS

1903 Henry William Watson (25 Feb 1827 in Marylebone, London, England - 11 Jan 1903 in Berkswell (near Coventry), England) was an English mathematician who wrote some influential text-books on electricity and magnetism. *SAU

1988 Isidor Isaac Rabi (29 Jul 1898, 11 Jan 1988) was American physicist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1944 for his invention (in 1937) of the atomic and molecular beam magnetic resonance method of measuring magnetic properties of atoms, molecules, and atomic nuclei. He spent most of his life at Columbia University (1929-67), where he performed most of his pioneering research in radar and the magnetic moment associated with electron spin in the 1930s and 1940s. His Nobel-winning work led to the invention of the laser, the atomic clock, and diagnostic uses of nuclear magnetic resonance. He originated the idea for the CERN nuclear research center in Geneva (founded 1954). *TIS

1941 Emanuel Lasker (24 Dec 1868 in Berlinchen, Prussia (now Barlinek, Poland) - 11 Jan 1941 in New York, USA) Lasker became World Chess Champion in 1894 and held the championship until 1921. In mathematics he introduced the notion of a primary ideal. *SAU

1949 Torsten Carleman (8 July 1892, Visseltofta, Osby Municipality – 11 January 1949, Stockholm), born Tage Gills Torsten Carleman, was a Swedish mathematician, known for his results in classical analysis and its applications. As the director of the Mittag-Leffler Institute for more than two decades, Carleman was the most influential mathematician in Sweden. *Wik

1991 Carl David Anderson (3 Sep 1905, 11 Jan 1991) American physicist who, with Victor Francis Hess of Austria, won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1936 for his discovery of the positron, or positive electron, the first known particle of antimatter. He examined the photographs of cosmic rays taken as they passed through a Wilson cloud chamber in a strong magnetic field. Besides the curved paths of negative electrons, he found also paths deviating in the opposite direction, corresponding to positively charged particles - yet having the the same mass as an electron! Previously, Dirac had predicted such particles by theoretical solution to electromagnetic field equations. Anderson has now found the existance of positron.*TIS

2007 Donald Edward Osterbrock (13 July 1924, 11 Jan 2007) 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

Credits
*VFR = V Frederick Rickey, USMA
*TIS= Today in Science History
*Wik = Wikipedia
*SAU=St Andrews Univ. Math History
*CHM=Computer History Museum
*FFF=Kane, Famous First Facts