Tuesday, 19 May 2015

On This Day in Math - May 19

We [he and Halmos] share a philosophy about linear algebra: 
we think basis-free, we write basis-free, 
but when the chips are down we close the office door
and compute with matrices like fury.
Irving Kaplansky honoring Paul Halmos

The 139th day of the year; 139 and 149 are the first consecutive primes differing by 10.
139 = 9*8+7*6+5*4+3*2-1 *Prime Curios

139 is the sum of five consecutive prime numbers( 19+ 23+ 29 +31+ 37)

Ramanujan created this 4x4 magic square with a sum of 139 in rows, columns, diagonals, corners, 2x2 blocks. And across the top is his birthdate, Dec 22, 1887.
1662 Samuel Pepys, Secretary of the Navy Board inspects the new Mint in the Tower of London, but will not be allowed to see the ultra secret "edging" machines that engraved an inscription into the edge of the coins to safeguard against the common practice of "clipping" that was common. It was one of the first "milled" currencies in the world.

In 1910, the Earth passed through the tail of Halley's Comet, the most intimate contact between the Earth and any comet in recorded history. The event was anticipated with dire predictions. Since a few years earlier, astronomers had found the poisonous gas cyanogen in a comet, it was surmised that if Earth passed through the comet's tail everyone would die. Astronomers explained that the gas molecules within the tail were so tenuous that absolutely no ill effects would be noticed. Nevertheless, ignorance bred opportunists selling "comet pills" to the panicked portion of the public to counter the effects of the cyanogen gas. On 20 May, after Earth had passed through the tail, everyone was still alive - with or without taking pills! *TIS New York Times coverage is HALLEY’S COMET BRUSHES EARTH WITH ITS TAIL (banner headline of the newspaper); 350 American astronomers keep vigil; Reactions of fear and prayer repeated; All night services held in many churches; 1881 dire prophecies recalled by comet scare.

1979 In the Chicago Sun-Times W. F. Buckley wrote “The Rasmussen Report estimates there will be one melt down every 20,000 reactor-years, and one fatality (from cancer) every 50 reactor-years. Conjoin these data (20,000 divided by 50) and you get the figure of 400 deaths per year.” Quoted from the “Hows that again department,” AMM 90 (1983), p 220.*VFR

1825 Faraday isolates benzine. In 1825, Faraday started work on a sample of oil that had been sent to him for analysis by the Portable Oil Company of London. He subjected this oil to fractional distillation, a process that proved to be extremely difficult, and it took him some time to resolve the oil into its pure components. By repeated fractional distillation followed by selective fractional freezing, each stage monitored by analysis, he produced a fairly pure sample of what he called bicarburet of hydrogen. Faraday’s notebook records these procedures, which he carried out on 18 and 19 May 1825. Auguste Laurent suggested the name benzene. *Jennifer Wilson, Celebrating Michael Faraday’s Discovery of Benzene, Ambix,Volume 59, Issue 3

2006 Apple 'Cube' Shop Opens in Big Apple, NY City:
Apple Computer opened its second retail store in New York City. The 20,000-square foot store is situated in the underground concourse of the General Motors building at 767 Fifth Avenue. New Yorkers stood on line for hours in order to be among the first to enter. Open 24-hours a day, the shop is visible at street level through a 32-foot glass cube. It cost $9 million and was designed by Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs.*CHM


1682 Mei Juecheng (19 May 1681 in Xuangcheng, now Xuanzhou City, Anhui province, China - 20 Nov 1763 in China) published Chishui yizhen (Pearls recovered from the Red River). This contained the infinite series expansion for sin(x) which was discovered by James Gregory and Isaac Newton. In fact the Jesuit missionary Pierre Jartoux (1669-1720) (known in China as Du Demei) introduced the infinite series for the sine into China in 1701 and it was known there by the name 'formula of Master Du'.*SAU

1832 Edmond Bour (19 May 1832 in Gray, Haute-Saône, France - 9 March 1866 in Paris, France)Bour made many significant contributions to analysis, algebra, geometry and applied mechanics despite his early death from an incurable disease. His remarkable achievements were cut short at the age of 33 and as a consequence Bour is hardly known in the history of mathematics whereas one feels that if he had been given the chance to continue his outstanding work he would today be remembered as one of the major figures in the subject. *SAU

1862 Gino Benedetto Loria (19 May 1862 in Mantua, Italy - 30 Jan 1954 in Genoa, Italy)In his day, Loria was arguably the pre-eminent historian of mathematics in Italy. A full professor of higher geometry at the University of Genoa beginning in 1891, Loria wrote the history of mathematics as a mathematician writing for other mathematicians. He emphasised this approach repeatedly in his works. For instance, in the introduction to his 'Storia delle matematiche dall'alba della civilità al tramonto del secolo XIX' (History of Mathematics from the Dawn of Civilisation to the End of the 19th Century), he stated that general history of mathematics was written "by a mathematician for mathematicians". *SAU

1918 Abraham Pais (19 May 1918 - 28 Jul 2000 at age 82) Dutch-American physicist and science historian whose research became the building blocks of the theory of elemental particles. He wrote Subtle Is the Lord: The Science and Life of Albert Einstein, which is considered the definitive Einstein biography. In Holland, his Ph.D. in physics was awarded on 9 Jul 1941, five days before a Nazi deadline banning Jews from receiving degrees. Later, during WW II, while in hiding to evade the Gestapo, he worked out ideas in quantum electrodynamics that he later shared when working with Niels Bohr (Jan - Aug 1946). In Sep 1946, he went to the U.S. to work with Robert Oppenheimer at Princeton, where Pais contributed to the foundations of the modern theory of particle physics. *TIS
"To make a discovery is not necessarily the same as to understand a discovery. "

1919 Georgii Dmitrievic Suvorov (19 May 1919 in Saratov, Russia - 12 Oct 1984 in Donetske, Ukraine) Suvorov made major contributions to the theory of functions. He worked, in particular, on the theory of topological and metric mappings on 2-dimensional space. Another area on which Suvorov worked was the theory of conformal mappings and quasi-formal mappings. His results in this area, mostly from the late 1960s when he was at Donetsk, are of particular significance. He extended Lavrentev's results in this area, in particular Lavrentev's stability and differentiability theorems, to more general classes of transformations. One of the many innovations in Suvorov's work was new methods which he introduced to help in the understanding of metric properties of mappings with bounded Dirichlet integral. *SAU

1927 Serge Lang  (May 19, 1927 – September 12, 2005) was a French-born mathematician who spent most of his life in the USA. He is best-known for his outstanding undergraduate text-books.*SAU He was a member of the Bourbaki group. Lang was born in Paris in 1927, and moved with his family to California as a teenager, where he graduated in 1943 from Beverly Hills High School. He subsequently graduated from the California Institute of Technology in 1946, and received a doctorate from Princeton University in 1951. He held faculty positions at the University of Chicago and Columbia University (from 1955, leaving in 1971 in a dispute). At the time of his death he was professor emeritus of mathematics at Yale University. *Wik

1930 Rudolf (Rudy) Emil Kálmán (May 19, 1930 - ) is a Hungarian-American electrical engineer, mathematical system theorist, and college professor, who was educated in the United States, and has done most of his work there. He is currently a retired professor from three different institutes of technology and universities. He is most noted for his co-invention and development of the Kalman filter, a mathematical formulation that is widely used in control systems, avionics, and outer space manned and unmanned vehicles. For this work, U.S. President Barack Obama awarded Kálmán with the National Medal of Science on October 7, 2009. *Wik

804 Alcuin of York,(730s or 740s – 19 May 804) was an English scholar, ecclesiastic, poet and teacher from York, Northumbria. He was born around 735 and became the student of Archbishop Ecgbert at York. At the invitation of Charlemagne, he became a leading scholar and teacher at the Carolingian court, where he remained a figure in the 780s and 790s. He wrote many theological and dogmatic treatises, as well as a few grammatical works and a number of poems. He was made Abbot of Saint Martin's at Tours in 796, where he remained until his death. "The most learned man anywhere to be found" according to Einhard's Life of Charlemagne, he is considered among the most important architects of the Carolingian Renaissance. Among his pupils were many of the dominant intellectuals of the Carolingian era. *Wik 
 He was born in 735, the year Bede died. As minister of education under Charlemagne, he attempted to reorganize the educational system by popularizing the study of the seven liberal arts and encouraging the study of mathematics as an aid in determining the date of Easter. He wrote the first book of mathematical recreations, Propositiones ad acuendis juvenas (Problems for Sharpening the Minds of Youths), which contained 53 mathematical puzzles, including: A wolf, a goat, and a cabbage must be moved across a river in a boat holding only one besides the ferryman. How must he carry them across so that the goat shall not eat the cabbage, nor the wolf the goat? *VFR (Singmaster asserts this is the first example of a river-crossing problem)

1731 Francis Maseres (15 December 1731 – 19 May 1824) was an English lawyer. He is known as attorney general of the Province of Quebec, judge, mathematician, historian, member of the Royal Society, and cursitor baron of the exchequer. *Wik Maseres wrote many mathematical works which show a complete lack of creative ability. He rejected negative numbers and that part of algebra which is not arithmetic, despite writing 150 years after Viète and Harriot. It is probable that Maseres rejected all mathematics which he could not understand. *SAU

1881 Rev U Jessee Kniseley (March 14, 1838 - May 19, 1881) was born in New Philadelphia, Ohio March 14 1838 He was a self made man and in a very great measure self educated. The degree of MA was conferred on him by Marietta College and that of PhD by Wittenberg College in which latter institution he had formerly been a classical and theological student. He also attended Jefferson College Pa but was not a graduate of any college. He was chosen President and Professor of Mathematics of Luther College, an institution of ephemeral existence. Rev Dr Knisely was a Lutheran preacher of marked ability and great eloquence and for fourteen years previous to his death he was the loved pastor of the church of that denomination at Newcomerstown. He was a very fine mathematician and excelled especially in the solution of algebraic and geometrical problems The elegant solution of a Diophantine problem on pp 105 and 106 of the Mathematical Visitor Vol I No 4 and of the celebrated Malfatti's Problem pp 189 and 190 of No 6 are admirable samples of his superior skill in these departments of analysis. Rev Dr Knisely was also a master of language and the author of several works. Copies of his Parser's Manual and Arithmetical Questions for the Recreation of the Teacher and the Discipline of the Pupil are possessed by the writer. It is stated in the Tuscarawas Chroical from which the substance of a portion of this notice is taken that he was also author of Kniseley's Arithmetic and Mrs Knisely states that he had in preparation a work on the Carculus, but of these works the writer knows nothing. His last work was the revision of Ray's Higher Arithmetic and the Key which he completed but a short time before his death. He died May 19, 1881 at the age of 43 years 2 months and 5 days The disease that caused his death was a general prostration of the nervous system. *Artemas Martin, Mathematical Visitor January 1882

1942 Sir Joseph Larmor (11 July 1857 Magheragall, County Antrim, Ireland – 19 May 1942 Holywood, County Down, Northern Ireland) Irish physicist, the first to calculate the rate at which energy is radiated by an accelerated electron, and the first to explain the splitting of spectrum lines by a magnetic field. His theories were based on the belief that matter consists entirely of electric particles moving in the ether. His elaborate mathematical electrical theory of the late 1890s included the "electron" as a rotational strain (a sort of twist) in the ether. But Larmor's theory did not describe the electron as a part of the atom. Many physicists envisioned both material particles and electromagnetic forces as structures and strains in that hypothetical fluid. *TIS

1979 Ralph Duncan James (1909 Liverpool, England – 19 May 1979 Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Canada) was an English and Canadian mathematician working on number theory and analysis. *Wik James contributed in a major way towards the development of mathematics in North America. He was Editor-in-Chief of the American Mathematical Monthly from 1957 to 1962. For many years he was on the Editorial Boards of the Canadian Journal of Mathematics and of the Pacific Journal of Mathematics. He also served as President of the Canadian Mathematical Society (then called the Canadian Mathematical Congress) from 1961 to 1963. In fact all the previous presidents had served terms of four years, but James felt that this was too long a period to hold the position so it was reduced to a two year term. He served two terms on the Council of the American Mathematical Society. *SAU

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
Post a Comment