Tuesday, 5 June 2012

On This Day in Math - June 5

Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. 
If your ideas are any good,
you'll have to ram them down people's throats. 
~Howard Aiken

The 157th day of the year; 2157 is the smallest "apocalyptic number," i.e., a number of the form 2n that contains '666'. *Prime Curios (Can you find an apocalyptic number of the form 3n)

1661 Newton admitted to Trinity College.  He was admitted as a "sizar", which meant he earned part of the cost of his education by doing menial chores.  His mother was quite wealthy enough to pay his tuition, but was unsure about his prospects at college since he seemed to be such a poor farmer. Mama and Junior seemed to have an unsteady relationship. He once admitted to his diary in a list of sins, "Threatening my father and mother Smith to burn them and the house over them." 

1828 The final meeting of the Board of Longitude in Greenwich. This was the 243rd meeting of the Board since it's creation in 1714. John Barrow, Second Secretary of the Admiralty chaired the meeting. On July 15th the Board was dissolved by Parliament.

1833 Ada Lovelace first meets Charles Babbage at the home of Mary Sommerville. She is known to have assisted Charles Babbage in the design of an "analytical engine", an early mechanical computing device. She is often credited with writing the first computer program.
Ada's mother, Lady Byron, had intentionally schooled Ada in the Sciences and Mathematics to counteract the "poetic tendencies" she might have inherited fom her father. Ada knew Mary Somerville and Augustus de Morgan socially and received some math instruction from both. She died of cancer in the womb in November of 1852, only 36 years of age, and was buried beside Lord Byron, the father she never knew, in the parish church of St. Mary Magdalene, Hucknall in the UK.
In 1980, 165th years after Ada's birth, the US Defense Department announced a powerful new computer language. They named it Ada in honour of the Countess of Lovelace's important role in the history of computing. It may be of interest to students of mathematics and computer science that Ada Lovelace husband,also named William, was the Baron of Ockham (ancestor of 14th century William of Occam, for whom Occam’s Razor is named) in the 19th century.

1873 The term “radian” first appeared in print. Some suggest it may have been intended as an abbreviation for "RADIus ANgle".
Here is a quote from Cajori's History of Mathematical Notations, vol 2 (1929) as provided by Julio Cabellion to the Historia-Matematica Newsgroup:
"An isolated matter of interest is the origin of the term 'radian', used with trigonometric functions. It first appeared in print on June 5, 1873, in examination questions set by James Thomson at Queen's College, Belfast. James Thomson was a brother of Lord Kelvin. He used the term as early as 1871, while in 1869 Thomas Muir, then of St. Andrew's University, hesitated between 'rad', 'radial' and 'radian'. In 1874, T. Muir adopted 'radian' after a consultation with James Thomson. (+)" (+) _Nature_, Vol. 83, pp. 156, 217, 459, 460.
The concept of a radian measure, as opposed to the degree of an angle, should probably be credited to Roger Cotes. According to a recent post to a math history newsgroup by Bob Stein; "He then calculated this as approximately 57.295 degrees. He had the radian in everything but name, and he recognized its naturalness as a unit of angular measure."

1943 Contract signed to develop ENIAC with the Moore School at the University of Pennsylvania.

 1977, first personal computer, the Apple II, went on sale. They were the invention of Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs. They have the 6502 microprocessor, ability to do Hi-res and Lo-res color graphics, sound, joystick input, and casette tape I/O. They have a total of eight expansion Slots for adding peripherials. Clock speed is 1MHz and, with Apple's Language Card installed, standard memory size is 64kB. (The Apple I designation referred to an earlier computer that was not much more than a board. You had to supply your own keyboard, monitor and case.) The Apple II was one of three prominent personal computers that came out in 1977. Despite its higher price, it quickly pulled ahead of the TRS-80 and the Commodore Pet. *TIS

1995 The first gaseous condensate was produced by Eric Cornell and Carl Wieman at the University of Colorado at Boulder NIST–JILA lab, using a gas of rubidium atoms cooled to 170 nanokelvin (nK) [6] (1.7×10−7 K). For their achievements Cornell, Wieman, and Wolfgang Ketterle at MIT received the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physics. This Bose–Einstein condensate was first predicted by Satyendra Nath Bose and Albert Einstein in 1924–25. Interestingly, Bose first letter to Einstein was written on June 4,1924 so the discovery was one day over exactly 71 years later. *Wik


1819 John Couch Adams (5 June 1819 – 21 January 1892); In 1878 he published his calculation of Euler’s constant (Euler-Mascheronie constant) to 263 decimal places. (he also calculated the Bernoulli numbers up to the 62 nd) *VFR The Euler-Mascheronie constant is the limiting value of the difference between the sum of the first n values in the harmonic series and the natural log of n. (not 263 places, but the approximate value is 0.5772156649015328606065...)
He also predicted the location of the then unkown planet of Neptune, but it seems he failed to convince Airy to search for the planet. Independently, Urbanne LeVerrier predicted its locatin in Germany, and then assisted Galle in the Berlin Observatory in locating the planet on 23 September 1846. As a side note, when he was appointed to a Regius position at St. Andrews in Scotland, he was the last professor ever to have to swear and oath of “abjuration and allegience”, swearing fealty to Queen Victoria, and abjuring the Jacobite succession. The need for the oath was removed by the 1858 Universities Scotland Act. Adams made many other contributions to astronomy, notably his studies of the Leonid meteor shower (1866) where he showed that the orbit of the meteor shower was very similar to that of a comet. He was able to correctly conclude that the meteor shower was associated with the comet.

1883 John Maynard Keynes born. (5 June, 1883–21 April, 1946) a British economist whose ideas have profoundly affected the theory and practice of modern macroeconomics, as well as the economic policies of governments. He greatly refined earlier work on the causes of business cycles, and advocated the use of fiscal and monetary measures to mitigate the adverse effects of economic recessions and depressions. His ideas are the basis for the school of thought known as Keynesian economics, as well as its various offshoots. *Wik In one logic class of Whitehead he was the only student. Keynes worked on the foundations of probability.

1888 Gregor Michailowitch Fichtenholz, ( 5 June 1888 in Odessa; 25 June 1959 in Leningrad)who was the founder of the Leningrad school of function theory. *VFR
1900 Dennis Gabor (5 Jun 1900, 8 Feb 1979 at age 78) Hungarian-born British electrical engineer who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1971 for his invention of holography, a system of lensless, three-dimensional photography that has many applications. He first conceived the idea of holography in 1947 using conventional filtered-light sources. Because such sources had limitations of either too little light or too diffuse, holography was not commercially feasible until the invention of the laser (1960), which amplifies the intensity of light waves. He also did research on high-speed oscilloscopes, communication theory, physical optics, and television. Gabor held more than 100 patents. *TIS

1904 George McVittie studied at Edinburgh and Cambridge. He then held posts at Leeds, Edinburgh and London and became Professor of Astronomy at the University of Illinois. His main work was in Relativity and Cosmology. *SAU More detail of his life can be found in this obituary.

1716 Roger Cotes (10 July 1682 — 5 June 1716) died at age 33 of a violent fever. Sir Isaac Newton, speaking of Mr. Cotes, said, “If he had lived we might have known something.” See Ronald Gowing’s Roger Cotes, Natural Philosopher, pp. 136 and 142. *VFR

1940 Augustus Edward Hough Love (17 April 1863, Weston-super-Mare – 5 June 1940, Oxford), British geophysicist and mathematician who discovered a major type of earthquake wave that was subsequently named for him. Love assumed that the Earth consists of concentric layers that differ in density and postulated the occurrence of a seismic wave confined to the surface layer (crust) of the Earth which propagated between the crust and underlying mantle. His prediction was confirmed by recordings of the behaviour of waves in the surface layer of the Earth. He proposed a method, based on measurements of Love waves, to measure the thickness of the Earth's crust. In addition to his work on geophysical theory, Love studied elasticity and wrote A Treatise on the Mathematical Theory of Elasticity, 2 vol. (1892-93). *TIS

1965 Tadashi Nakayama or Tadasi Nakayama (July 26, 1912 – June 5, 1964) was a mathematician who made important contributions to representation theory. He received his degrees from Tokyo University and Osaka University and held permanent positions at Osaka University and Nagoya University. He had visiting positions at Princeton University, Illinois University, and Hamburg University. Nakayama's lemma and Nakayama algebras and Nakayama's conjecture are named after him.

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