Tuesday, 29 October 2013

On This Day in Math - October 29






Allez en avant, et la foi vous viendra
Push on and faith will catch up with you.
~Jean d'Alembert [advice to those who questioned the calculus](probably also great for students struggling with mathematics at any level)

The 302nd day of the year; There are 302 ways to play the first three moves in checkers.


EVENTS

1669 Newton, aged twenty-six, appointed Lucasian Professor at Cambridge. This post required Newton to lecture once each week on “some part of Geometry, Astronomy, Geography, Optics, Statics, or some other Mathematical discipline,” and to deposit ten of those lectures in the library each year. The students were required to attend, but like all other requirements they ignored this one too. We know of only three people who attended a lecture at Cambridge by Newton. [Westfall 208–210; Works, 3, xv] *VFR

1675 Leibniz first used the integral sign. Also first used “d”. He also constructed what he calls the “triangulum characteristicum,” which had been used before him by Pascal and Barrow. [Cajori, History of Mathematical Notations, vol. 2, p. 2; Struik’s Source Book mistakenly has 26 October]
VFR Historical notes for the calculus classroom ,
In these same pages he will write examples of the integrals of x2 and x3,and then illustrate that a constant multiple may be taken outside the integral as shown in the image below.
On the left is Liebniz integral sign with a vincula in place of todays parentheses to show that he is integrating the quantity (a/b) l   Then the open bottomed box is Liebniz symbol for equality,then he shows the constant (a/b) multiplied by the integral of l .

1878 Patent issued for Odhner calculating machine. *VFR Willigot T. Odhner was granted a patent for a calculating machine that performed multiplications by repeated additions. The patent, a modified and compact version of Gottfried von Leibniz stepped wheel, was acquired and embodied in Brunsviga calculators that sold into 1950s.*CHM

1929 "Black Tuesday", the great USA stock market crash. About 16 million shares were traded, and the Dow lost an additional 30 points, or 12%.. "Anyone who bought stocks in mid-1929 and held onto them saw most of his or her adult life pass by before getting back to even." Richard M. Salsman *Wik

1964 Asteroid "Lucifer" is discovered by astronomer Elizabeth Roemer. amhistorymuseum ‏@amhistorymuseum Roemer was the winner of the 1946 Science Talent Search and is now Professor Emerita, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona. *Smithsonian Institution Archives
1985 On October 29th, 1985, the 329th birthday of Edmond Halley, the British threw a big party in honor of the return of Halley's Comet. The Halley's Comet Royal Gala was held at Wembley Conference Centre, London. It was a combination Variety Show and "Who's Who" in British Society, hosted by Princess Anne of the British Royal Family. *Joseph M. Laufer, Halley's Comet Society, USA

In 1991, space probe Galileo become the first human object to fly past an asteroid, Gaspra, making its closest approach at a distance of 1,604 km, passing at a speed of 8 km/sec (5 mi/sec). The encounter provided much data, including 150 images, which showed Gaspra has numerous craters indicating it has suffered numerous collisions since its formation. Gaspra is about 20-km long and orbits the Sun in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Gaspra, asteroid 951, was discovered by Ukrainian astronomer Grigoriy N. Neujamin (1916) who named it after a Black Sea retreat. In the photograph (left), subtle color variations have been exaggerated by NASA to highlight changes in reflectivity, surface structure and composition. *TIS

1998, Nearly four decades after he became the first American to orbit Earth, John Glenn is relaunched into space. *@HISTORYmag


BIRTHS
1897 Edwin James George Pitman was born in Melbourne on 29 October 1897 and died at Kingston near Hobart on 21 July 1993.  In 1920 he completed the degree course and graduated B.A. (1921), B.Sc. (1922) and M.A. (1923). In the meantime he was appointed Acting Professor of Mathematics at Canterbury College, University of New Zealand (1922-23). He returned to Australia when appointed Tutor in Mathematics and Physics at Trinity and Ormond Colleges and Part-time Lecturer in Physics at the University of Melbourne (1924-25). In 1926 Pitman was appointed Professor of Mathematics at the University of Tasmania, a position he held until his retirement in 1962.
Pitman described himself as 'a mathematician who strayed into Statistics'; nevertheless, his contributions to statistical and probability theory were substantial.
Pitman was active in the formation of the Australian Mathematical Society in 1956. He also took an active part in the Summer Research Institutes organized by the Mathematical Society, and used them as a sounding board for his research on statistical inference.
He was a renowned member of the Statistical Society of Australia, attending its biennial conferences. In 1978 the Statistical society established the Pitman Medal.
Pitman presented the first systematic account of non-parametric inference and lectured extensively on the subject, both in Australia and in the United States. The kernel of the subject, as described by him, is 'Suppose that the sum of two samples A, B is the sample C. Then A, B are discordant if A is an unlikely sample from C.' Again, he writes, 'The approach to the subject, starting from the sample and working towards the population instead of the reverse, may be a bit of a novelty'; and later, 'the essential point of the method is that we do not have to worry about the populations which we do not know, but only about the sample values which we do know'.
The notes of the 'Lectures on Non-parametric Inference' given in the United States, though never published, have been widely circulated and have had a major impact on the development of the subject. Among the new concepts introduced in these Lectures are asymptotic power, efficacy, and asymptotic relative efficiency.
A major contribution to probability theory is his elegant treatment of the behavior of the characteristic function in the neighborhood of the origin, in three papers. This governs such properties as the existence of moments. There are also interesting properties of the Cauchy distribution, and of subexponential distributions.
On his death, on 21 July 1993, Edwin was buried at the Hobart Regional Cemetery in Kingston. He lives on in the memory of many of us who are grateful for his life and legacy.
*Evan J. Williams, Australian Academy of Science

1925 Klaus Friedrich Roth (29 Oct 1925, )German-born British mathematician who was awarded the Fields Medal in 1958. His major work has been in number theory, particularly the analytic theory of numbers. He solved in the famous Thue-Siegel problem (1955) concerning the approximation to algebraic numbers by rational numbers (for which he won the medal). Roth also proved in 1952 that a sequence with no three numbers in arithmetic progression has zero density (a conjecture of Erdös and Turán of 1935).*TIS



DEATHS

1783 Jean le Rond D'Alembert (16 Nov 1717, 29 Oct 1783) was abandoned by his parents on the steps of Saint Jean le Rond, which was the baptistery of Notre-Dame, qv in Section 7-A-1. Foster parents were found and he was christened with the name of the saint. [Eves, vol. II, pp. 32 33. Okey, p. 297.] When he became famous, his mother attempted to reclaim him, but he rejected her. *VFR Known for his work in various fields of applied mathematics, in particular dynamics. In 1743 he published his Traité de dynamique (Treatise on Dynamics). The d'Alembert principle extends Newton's third law of motion, that Newton's law holds not only for fixed bodies but also for free moving bodies. D'Alembert also wrote on fluid dynamics, the theory of winds, the properties of vibrating strings and conducted experiments on the properties of sound . His most significant purely mathematical innovation was his invention and development of the theory of partial differential equations. He published eight volumes of mathematical studies (1761-80). He was editor of the mathematical and scientific articles for Denis Diderot's Encyclopédie.*TIS

1917 Giovanni Battista Guccia (21 Oct 1855 in Palermo, Italy - 29 Oct 1914 in Palermo, Italy) Guccia's work was on geometry, in particular Cremona transformations, classification of curves and projective properties of curves. His results published in volume one of the Rendiconti del Circolo Matematico di Palermo were extended by Corrado Segre in 1888 and Castelnuovo in 1897. *SAU

1921 Konstantin Alekseevich Andreev (26 March 1848 in Moscow, Russia - 29 Oct 1921 Near Sevastopol, Crimea) Andreev is best known for his work on geometry, although he also made contributions to analysis. In the area of geometry he did major pieces of work on projective geometry. Let us note one particular piece of work for which he has not received the credit he deserves. Gram determinants were introduced by J P Gram in 1879 but Andreev invented them independently in the context of problems of expansion of functions into orthogonal series and the best quadratic approximation to functions. *SAU

1931 Gabriel Xavier Paul Koenigs (17 January 1858 Toulouse, France – 29 October 1931 Paris, France) was a French mathematician who worked on analysis and geometry. He was elected as Secretary General of the Executive Committee of the International Mathematical Union after the first world war, and used his position to exclude countries with whom France had been at war from the mathematical congresses.
He was awarded the Poncelet Prize for 1913.*Wik

1933 Paul Painlevé worked on differential equations. He served twice as prime-minister of France. *SAU

1951 Robert Aitken (31 Dec 1864, 29 Oct 1951) American astronomer who specialized in the study of double stars, of which he discovered more than 3,000. He worked at the Lick Observatory from 1895 to 1935, becoming director from 1930. Aitken made systematic surveys of binary stars, measuring their positions visually. His massive New General Catalogue of Double Stars within 120 degrees of the North Pole allowed orbit determinations which increased astronomers' knowledge of stellar masses. He also measured positions of comets and planetary satellites and computed orbits. He wrote an important book on binary stars, and he lectured and wrote widely for the public. *TIS

1993 Lipman Bers (May 22, 1914 – October 29, 1993) was an American mathematician born in Riga who created the theory of pseudoanalytic functions and worked on Riemann surfaces and Kleinian groups.*Wik

1993 Robert Palmer Dilworth (December 2, 1914 – October 29, 1993) was an American mathematician. His primary research area was lattice theory; his biography at the MacTutor History of Mathematics archive states "it would not be an exaggeration to say that he was one of the main factors in the subject moving from being merely a tool of other disciplines to an important subject in its own right". He is best known for Dilworth's theorem (Dilworth 1950) relating chains and antichains in partial orders; he was also the first to study antimatroids (Dilworth 1940). Dilworth advised 17 Ph.D. students and as of 2010 has 373 academic descendants listed at the Mathematics Genealogy Project, many through his student Juris Hartmanis, a noted complexity theorist.*Wik


Credits :
*CHM=Computer History Museum
*FFF=Kane, Famous First Facts
*NSEC= NASA Solar Eclipse Calendar
*RMAT= The Renaissance Mathematicus, Thony Christie
*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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