Saturday, 29 September 2012

On This Day in Math - September 29

Young man, if I could remember the names of these particles, I would have been a botanist.
~Enrico Fermi

The 273rd day of the year; 273oK(to the nearest integer)is the freezing point of water, or 0oC


1801 Gauss’s Disquisitiones Arithmeticae published. It is a textbook of number theory written in Latin by Carl Friedrich Gauss in 1798 when Gauss was 21 and first published in 1801 when he was 24. In this book Gauss brings together results in number theory obtained by mathematicians such as Fermat, Euler, Lagrange and Legendre and adds important new results of his own.
The book is divided into seven sections, which are :
Section I. Congruent Numbers in General
Section II. Congruences of the First Degree
Section III. Residues of Powers
Section IV. Congruences of the Second Degree
Section V. Forms and Indeterminate Equations of the Second Degree
Section VI. Various Applications of the Preceding Discussions
Section VII. Equations Defining Sections of a Circle.
Sections I to III are essentially a review of previous results, including Fermat's little theorem, Wilson's theorem and the existence of primitive roots. Although few of the results in these first sections are original, Gauss was the first mathematician to bring this material together and treat it in a systematic way. He was also the first mathematician to realize the importance of the property of unique factorization (sometimes called the fundamental theorem of arithmetic), which he states and proves explicitly.
From Section IV onwards, much of the work is original. Section IV itself develops a proof of quadratic reciprocity; Section V, which takes up over half of the book, is a comprehensive analysis of binary quadratic forms; and Section VI includes two different primality tests. Finally, Section VII is an analysis of cyclotomic polynomials, which concludes by giving the criteria that determine which regular polygons are constructible i.e. can be constructed with a compass and unmarked straight edge alone. *Wik

In 1988, the space shuttle Discovery blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., marking America's return to manned space flight following the Challenger disaster. *TIS

1994 HotJava ---- Programmers first demonstrated the HotJava prototype to executives at Sun Microsystems Inc. A browser making use of Java technology, HotJava attempted to transfer Sun's new programming platform for use on the World Wide Web. Java is based on the concept of being truly universal, allowing an application written in the language to be used on a computer with any type of operating system or on the web, televisions or telephones.*CHM


1561 Adriaan van Roomen (29 Sept 1561 , 4 May 1615) is often known by his Latin name Adrianus Romanus. After studying at the Jesuit College in Cologne, Roomen studied medicine at Louvain. He then spent some time in Italy, particularly with Clavius in Rome in 1585.
Roomen was professor of mathematics and medicine at Louvain from 1586 to 1592, he then went to Würzburg where again he was professor of medicine. He was also "Mathematician to the Chapter" in Würzburg. From 1603 to 1610 he lived frequently in both Louvain and Würzburg. He was ordained a priest in 1604. After 1610 he tutored mathematics in Poland.
One of Roomen's most impressive results was finding π to 16 decimal places. He did this in 1593 using 230 sided polygons. Roomen's interest in π was almost certainly as a result of his friendship with Ludolph van Ceulen.
Roomen proposed a problem which involved solving an equation of degree 45. The problem was solved by Viète who realised that there was an underlying trigonometric relation. After this a friendship grew up between the two men. Viète proposed the problem of drawing a circle to touch 3 given circles to Roomen (the Apollonian Problem) and Roomen solved it using hyperbolas, publishing the result in 1596.
Roomen worked on trigonometry and the calculation of chords in a circle. In 1596 Rheticus's trigonometric tables Opus palatinum de triangulis were published, many years after Rheticus died. Roomen was critical of the accuracy of the tables and wrote to Clavius at the Collegio Romano in Rome pointing out that, to calculate tangent and secant tables correctly to ten decimal places, it was necessary to work to 20 decimal places for small values of sine, see [2]. In 1600 Roomen visited Prague where he met Kepler and told him of his worries about the methods employed in Rheticus's trigonometric tables. *SAU

1803 Jacques Charles-François Sturm (29 Sep 1803; 18 Dec 1855) French mathematician whose work resulted in Sturm's theorem, an important contribution to the theory of equations. .While a tutor of the de Broglie family in Paris (1823-24), Sturm met many of the leading French scientists and mathematicians. In 1826, with Swiss engineer Daniel Colladon, he made the first accurate determination of the velocity of sound in water. A year later wrote a prizewinning essay on compressible fluids. Since the time of René Descartes, a problem had existed of finding the number of solutions of a given second-order differential equation within a given range of the variable. Sturm provided a complete solution to the problem with his theorem which first appeared in Mémoire sur la résolution des équations numériques (1829; “Treatise on Numerical Equations”). Those principles have been applied in the development of quantum mechanics, as in the solution of the Schrödinger equation and its boundary values. *TIS Sturm is also remembered for the Sturm-Liouville problem, an eigenvalue problem in second order differential equations.*SAU

1812 Gustav Adolph Göpel (29 Sept 1812, 7 June 1847) Göpel's doctoral dissertation studied periodic continued fractions of the roots of integers and derived a representation of the numbers by quadratic forms. He wrote on Steiner's synthetic geometry and an important work, Theoriae transcendentium Abelianarum primi ordinis adumbratio levis, published after his death, continued the work of Jacobi on elliptic functions. This work was published in Crelle's Journal in 1847. *SAU

1895 Harold Hotelling​, 29 September 1895 - 26 December 1973   He originally studied journalism at the University of Washington, earning a degree in it in 1919, but eventually turned to mathematics, gaining a PhD in Mathematics from Princeton in 1924 for a dissertation dealing with topology. However, he became interested in statistics that used higher-level math, leading him to go to England in 1929 to study with Fisher.
Although Hotelling first went to Stanford University in 1931, he not many years afterwards became a Professor of Economics at Columbia University, where he helped create Columbia's Stat Dept. In 1946, Hotelling was recruited by Gertrude Cox​ to form a new Stat Dept at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He became Professor and Chairman of the Dept of Mathematical Statistics, Professor of Economics, and Associate Director of the Institute of Statistics at UNC-CH. (When Hotelling and his wife first arrived in Chapel Hill they instituted the "Hotelling Tea", where they opened their home to students and faculty for tea time once a month.)
Dr. Hotelling's major contributions to statistical theory were in multivariate analysis, with probably his most important paper his famous 1931 paper "The Generalization of Student's Ratio", now known as Hotelling's T^2, which involves a generalization of
Student's t-test for multivariate data. In 1953, Hotelling published a 30-plus-page paper on the distribution of the correlation coefficient, following up on the work of Florence Nightingale David in 1938. *David Bee

1901 Enrico Fermi (29 Sep 1901; 28 Nov 1954) Italian-American physicist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for physics in 1938 as one of the chief architects of the nuclear age. He was the last of the double-threat physicists: a genius at creating both esoteric theories and elegant experiments. In 1933, he developed the theory of beta decay, postulating that the newly-discovered neutron decaying to a proton emits an electron and a particle he called a neutrino. Developing theory to explain this decay later resulted in finding the weak interaction force. He developed the mathematical statistics required to clarify a large class of subatomic phenomena, discovered neutron-induced radioactivity, and directed the first controlled chain reaction involving nuclear fission. *TIS

1925 Paul Beattie MacCready (29 Sep 1925; 28 Aug 2007) was an American engineer who invented not only the first human-powered flying machines, but also the first solar-powered aircraft to make sustained flights. On 23 Aug 1977, the pedal-powered aircraft, the Gossamer Condor successfully flew a 1.15 mile figure-8 course to demonstrate sustained, maneuverable manpowered flight, for which he won the £50,000 ($95,000) Kremer Prize. MacCready designed the Condor with Dr. Peter Lissamen. Its frame was made of thin aluminum tubes, covered with mylar plastic supported with stainless steel wire. In 1979, the Gossamer Albatross won the second Kremer Prize for making a flight across the English Channel.*TIS

1931 James Watson Cronin (29 Sep 1931, ) American particle physicist, who shared (with Val Logsdon Fitch) the 1980 Nobel Prize for Physics for "the discovery of violations of fundamental symmetry principles in the decay of neutral K-mesons." Their experiment proved that a reaction run in reverse does not follow the path of the original reaction, which implied that time has an effect on subatomic-particle interactions. Thus the experiment demonstrated a break in particle-antiparticle symmetry for certain reactions of subatomic particles.*TIS

1935 Hillel (Harry) Fürstenberg (September 29, 1935, ..)) is an American-Israeli mathematician, a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities and U.S. National Academy of Sciences and a laureate of the Wolf Prize in Mathematics. He is known for his application of probability theory and ergodic theory methods to other areas of mathematics, including number theory and Lie groups. He gained attention at an early stage in his career for producing an innovative topological proof of the infinitude of prime numbers. He proved unique ergodicity of horocycle flows on a compact hyperbolic Riemann surfaces in the early 1970s. In 1977, he gave an ergodic theory reformulation, and subsequently proof, of Szemerédi's theorem. The Fürstenberg boundary and Fürstenberg compactification of a locally symmetric space are named after him. *Wik


1939 Samuel Dickstein (May 12, 1851 – September 29, 1939) was a Polish mathematician of Jewish origin. He was one of the founders of the Jewish party "Zjednoczenie" (Unification), which advocated the assimilation of Polish Jews.
He was born in Warsaw and was killed there by a German bomb at the beginning of World War II. All the members of his family were killed during the Holocaust.
Dickstein wrote many mathematical books and founded the journal Wiadomości Mathematyczne (Mathematical News), now published by the Polish Mathematical Society. He was a bridge between the times of Cauchy and Poincaré and those of the Lwów School of Mathematics. He was also thanked by Alexander Macfarlane for contributing to the Bibliography of Quaternions (1904) published by the Quaternion Society.
He was also one of the personalities, who contributed to the foundation of the Warsaw Public Library in 1907.*Wik

1941 Friedrich Engel (26 Dec 1861, 29 Sept 1941)Engel was taught by Klein who recognized that he was the right man to assist Lie. At Klein's suggestion Engel went to work with Lie in Christiania (now Oslo) from 1884 until 1885. In 1885 Engel's Habilitation thesis was accepted by Leipzig and he became a lecturer there. The year after Engel returned to Leipzig from Christiania, Lie was appointed to succeed Klein and the collaboration of Lie and Engel continued.
In 1889 Engel was promoted to assistant professor and, ten years later he was promoted to associate professor. In 1904 he accepted the chair of mathematics at Greifswald when his friend Eduard Study resigned the chair. Engel's final post was the chair of mathematics at Giessen which he accepted in 1913 and he remained there for the rest of his life. In 1931 he retired from the university but continued to work in Giessen.
The collaboration between Engel and Lie led to Theorie der Transformationsgruppen a work on three volumes published between 1888 and 1893. This work was, "... prepared by S Lie with the cooperation of F Engel... "
In many ways it was Engel who put Lie's ideas into a coherent form and made them widely accessible. From 1922 to 1937 Engel published Lie's collected works in six volumes and prepared a seventh (which in fact was not published until 1960). Engel's efforts in producing Lie's collected works are described as, "... an exceptional service to mathematics in particular, and scholarship in general. Lie's peculiar nature made it necessary for his works to be elucidated by one who knew them intimately and thus Engel's 'Annotations' completed in scope with the text itself. "
Engel also edited Hermann Grassmann's complete works and really only after this was published did Grassmann get the fame which his work deserved. Engel collaborated with Stäckel in studying the history of non-euclidean geometry. He also wrote on continuous groups and partial differential equations, translated works of Lobachevsky from Russian to German, wrote on discrete groups, Pfaffian equations and other topics. *SAU

1955 L(ouis) L(eon) Thurstone (29 May 1887, 29 Sep 1955) was an American psychologist who improved psychometrics, the measurement of mental functions, and developed statistical techniques for multiple-factor analysis of performance on psychological tests. In high school, he published a letter in Scientific American on a problem of diversion of water from Niagara Falls; and invented a method of trisecting an angle. At university, Thurstone studied engineering. He designed a patented motion picture projector, later demonstrated in the laboratory of Thomas Edison, with whom Thurstone worked briefly as an assistant. When he began teaching engineering, Thurstone became interested in the learning process and pursued a doctorate in psychology. *TIS

2003 Ovide Arino (24 April 1947 - 29 September 2003) was a mathematician working on delay differential equations. His field of application was population dynamics. He was a quite prolific writer, publishing over 150 articles in his lifetime. He also was very active in terms of student supervision, having supervised about 60 theses in total in about 20 years. Also, he organized or coorganized many scientific events. But, most of all, he was an extremely kind human being, interested in finding the good in everyone he met. *Euromedbiomath

2010 Georges Charpak (1 August 1924 – 29 September 2010) was a French physicist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1992 "for his invention and development of particle detectors, in particular the multiwire proportional chamber". This was the last time a single person was awarded the physics prize. *Wik

*CHM=Computer History Museum
*FFF=Kane, Famous First Facts
*NSEC= NASA Solar Eclipse Calendar
*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
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