Sunday, 23 April 2017

On This Day in Math - April 23

"Whatever is worth saying,
can be stated in fifty words or less"
~ Stanislaw Ulam *bt (before twitter)
Thanks to @cytiaB for this one

TThe 113th day of the year; 113 is prime, its reversal (311) is prime, and the number you get by any reordering of its digits is still prime. Students might try to find other of these "absolute" or "permutable" primes.

Also the sum of the first 113 digits of e is prime. That was also true of yesterday's number, and tomorrow's. (I was just wondering to myself, what is the longest known string of consecutive n for which the first n digits of e are prime? And a similar question for pi? "Anyone...anyone??? Bueller???)

355 is almost exactly \(113 \pi = 354.9999699.. \) No year day is closer,

There are 13 consecutive divisible integers (non-primes) between 113 and 127. How far until the next streak as long, or longer?


1635 The 1st public school in the United States, Boston Latin School, was founded. It is still enrolling students. *George Costanza

1827 Sir William Hamilton presented his Theory of Systems of Rays at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin. Although he was still an undergraduate, only 21 years old, his work is one of the important works in optics, for it provided a single function that brings together mechanics, optics and mathematics. It led to establishing the wave theory of light, which gives that light is a form of energy that travels in waves. *TIS

1906 First American automobile meets the first American speed bump. In March of 1906, residents of Chatham Borough, New Jersey had begun construction of a speed control device, crosswalks that were five Inches high, constructed of flagstones and cobblestones. Their creation was a plan to slow down the "very fast pace" (10-15 miles per hour) of the new motor carriages that have begone to take over the roads of the center of town. On "April 22, 1906 with great fanfare and many spectators. Bystanders set up seating and vendors sold hot dogs and pop corn to serve the growing group of onlookers. The next day local newspapers reported on the wreckage and carnage from the newly discovered speed reducers." Here is the article from the New York Times on April 23:
There were several persons in the machine, and when the heavy rubber tires struck the elevation there was a palpitation of the machinery and the car shot up several feet in the air. Goggles, hats, a monkey wrench, sidecombs, hairpins and other articles flew in all directions. The crowd gave a cheer and decided the borough’s plan was effective. The ‘bumps' installed by the borough officials of the village of Chatham to check the speed of automobiles through the village had their first test yesterday, and proved a decided success.
 The more conventional speed bumps we are familiar with were not invented until June of 1953.  They were created by Nobel Prize winning physicist, Arthur Holly Compton, while  he was Chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. *Quora.Com, Wik

 1948 Contract signed by A. Nielsen for UNIVAC I. The UNIVAC I (UNIVersal Automatic Computer I) was the first commercial computer produced in the United States. It was designed principally by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly, the inventors of the ENIAC. Design work was begun by their company, Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation, and was completed after the company had been acquired by Remington Rand. (In the years before successor models of the UNIVAC I appeared, the machine was simply known as "the UNIVAC".) The image is not the computer, but the operators console... (no mouse for that monster)
The first UNIVAC was delivered to the United States Census Bureau on March 31, 1951, and was dedicated on June 14 that year. The fifth machine (built for the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission) was used by CBS to predict the result of the 1952 presidential election. With a sample of just 1% of the voting population it correctly predicted that Dwight Eisenhower would win. The UNIVAC I computers were built by Remington Rand's UNIVAC division (successor of the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation, bought by Rand in 1950 which later became part of Sperry, now Unisys). *Wik

In 1962, the first American satellite to reach the moon surface, the Ranger IV, was launched at 3:50pm from Cape Canaveral, Florida. As intended, it impacted on the moon three days later at 7:50pm on 26 Apr, travelling at 5,963 mph. The launch vehicle was an Atlas-Agena B rocket, 102 feet high, 16 feet in diameter at the base. The distance the satellite would travel was about 229,541 miles. *TIS

1964 SEAC Computer Retired:
The National Bureau of Standards retires its SEAC (Standards Eastern Automatic Computer), which it built in Washington 15 years earlier as a laboratory for testing components and systems for setting computer standards. The SEAC was the first computer to use all-diode logic, a technology more reliable than vacuum tubes, and the first stored-program computer completed in the United States. Magnetic tape in the external storage units stores programming information, coded subroutines, numerical data, and output.*CHM

1973 The US issued a commemorative stamp honoring the 500th year of the publication of Copernicus' De Revolutionibus.

In 1994, physicists at the Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory discovered the subatomic particle called the top quark.*TIS

2012 An active sunspot period leads to incredible aurora in US Midwest. The aurora borealis put on a dazzling show in more than a dozen states Monday night, according to
A particularly spectacular display was seen in Fergus Falls in western Minnesota, and Douglas Kiesling was on hand to film a stunning time-lapse video of the event,


1628 Johann Hudde was a Dutch mathematician who worked on maxima and minima and the theory of equations. He gave an ingenious method to find multiple roots of an equation. He worked on improving the algebraic methods of René Descartes, seeking to extend them to the solution of equations of a higher degree by applying an algorithm. He also developed an algorithm based on Fermat's method to deal with the maxima, minima and tangents to curves of algebraic functions. Later, he served as burgomaster of Amsterdam for 30 years. During this time time he made a mathematical study of annuities. Hudde continued with an interest in physics and astronomy, producing lenses and microscopes. He collaborated with Baruch Spinoza, of Amsterdam, on telescopes. Hudde determine that in a telescope, a plano-convex lenses were better than concavo-convex. *TIS He is buried in #58 in the high choir of the Oude kerk (old church) in Amsterdam. (Help, send pictures please?) Unfortunatly, Donovan Carroll informed me that his stone is covered over by the choir loft. More about Hudde and the "lost calculus" here.  And the Renaissance Mathematics has a nice article about Hudde's circle of associates that is both political and mathematical, and involves a violent murder....

1743 Samuel Williams (23 Apr 1743; 2 Jan 1817 at age 73) American natural philosopher and clergyman who organized the first expedition of its kind in the U.S. (departing on 9 Oct 1780) to observe a total solar eclipse in Penobscot Bay, Maine, although it was held by the British enemy. The eclipse was very slightly less than being total, and he is believed to be the first to observe the “ Baily's Beads” phenomenon seen along the sun's last sliver. Previously, with John Winthrop (under whom he studied) he travelled to St. John's, Newfoundland (1761) to observer the Transit of Venus. When Wintrop died, Williams succeeded him (1779) as the Hollis Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy at Harvard University. He researched and taught astronomy, meteorology, and magnetism. He resigned in June 1788. He also engaged in state boundary surveys: NY and Mass. (1785-88), and Vermont and Canada (1795).*TIS

1853 Alphonse Bertillon (23 Apr 1853, 13 Feb 1914 at age 60) French criminologist who was chief of criminal identification for the Paris police from 1880. He developed an identification system known as anthropometry, or the Bertillon system, that came into wide use in France and other countries. The system records physical characteristics (eye colour, scars, deformities, etc.) and specified measurements (height, fingertip reach, head length and width, ear, foot, arm and finger length, etc) These are recorded on cards and classified according to the length of the head. After two decades this system was replaced by fingerprinting in the early 1900s because Bertillon measurements were difficult to take with uniform exactness, and could change later due to growth or surgery. *TIS

1858 Max Plank, (April 23, 1858 – October 4, 1947)  German physicist, born. He studied at Munich and Berlin, where he studied under Helmholz, Clausius and Kirchoff and subsequently joined the faculty.he became professor of theoretical physics (1889-1926). His work on the law of thermodynamics and the distribution of radiation from a black body led him to abandon classical Newtonian principles and introduce the quantum theory (1900), for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1918. This assumes that energy is not infinitely subdivisible, but ultimately exists as discrete amounts he called quanta (Latin, "how much"). Further, the energy carried by a quantum depends in direct proportion to the frequency of its source radiation.*TIS

1910 Sheila Scott Macintyre (née Sheila Scott, April 23, 1910 - March 21, 1960) was a Scottish mathematician well known for her work on the Whittaker constant. Macintyre is also well known for creating a multilingual scientific dictionary: written in English, German, and Russian; at the time of her death, she was working on Japanese.*Wik

1911 Felix Adalbert Behrend (23 April 1911 in Charlottenburg, Berlin, Germany -27 May 1962 in Richmond, Victoria, Australia) Behrend studied number theory for his doctorate at the University of Berlin with Erhard Schmidt as his advisor. He was awarded his doctorate in 1933 for his dissertation Über numeri abundantes. Even before the award of his doctorate he had published three papers on number theory, the first two being Über einen Satz von Herrn Jarnik (1932) and Über numeri abundantes (1932). Of course 1933, the year that Behrend was awarded his doctorate, was also the year that Hitler came to power in Germany.
Like many Germans who fled from the Nazi threat, he found himself in England which was at war with his native Germany. He continued his work on number theory and published "On obtaining an estimate of the frequency of the primes by means of the elementary properties of the integers" in the Journal of the London Mathematical Society in 1940. The fact that he was passionately anti-Nazi did nothing to help save him from being interned as an enemy alien in 1940 and he was put on the ship the Dunera bound for Australia. He served periods of internment at Hay, Orange and Tatura in Australia. His experiences in Camp 7 at Hay during 1940-41 are related in . One should not think that internment meant an end to mathematics, for he gave lecture courses at the Camp and prepared some of his younger fellow internees for mathematics examinations at the University of Melbourne.
After his release in 1942, Behrend was appointed as a tutor at the University of Melbourne. He continued his research in number theory and published On the frequency of the primes in the Journal of the Royal Society of New South Wales in 1942. This paper was a continuation of the one he had published in London two years earlier. In the following year he published a paper on a totally different topic. This was A polyhedral model of the projective plane which also appeared in the Journal of the Royal Society of New South Wales. Behrend is commemorated by the 'Behrend memorial lecture in mathematics', established at the University of Melbourne in 1963 with funds provided by his widow. *SAU

1970 My Oldest son is born, "Happy Birthday Beau".

1914 Georgii Nikolaevich Polozii (23 April 1914 in Transbaikal, Russia - 26 Nov 1968 in Kiev, Ukraine) Polozii studied at Saratov University which had been founded in 1919. He graduated in 1937 and then was appointed to the teaching staff of the university. In 1949 Polozii was appointed to the University of Kiev and he remained at Kiev until his death in 1968.
Polozii's major pure mathematical contributions were to the theory of functions of a complex variable, approximation theory, and numerical analysis. He also made major contributions to mathematical physics and applied mathematics in particular working on the theory of elasticity.

Between 1962 and 1966 Polozii developed the theory for a new class of (p,q) analytic functions.
In approximation theory Polozii worked mainly with the aim of developing effective methods to solve boundary value problems which arise in mathematical physics. He work here produced the method of summary representation.*SAU


1616 Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra died and William Shakespeare both died on this date, the former in Madrid, Spain, the latter in Stratford-on-Avon, England. Which one died first? This is not a trick question; they died several days apart. All you need to solve it is some knowledge of the calendar. *VFR (Curiously, Shakespeare was also born on this date in 1564. If you see April 26th, that is date of his baptism.)

1839 The Very Reverend James Wood (14 December 1760 – 23 April 1839) was a mathematician, Dean of Ely and Master of St John's College, Cambridge.
Wood was born in Holcombe where his father ran an evening school and taught his son the elements of arithmetic and algebra. From Bury Grammar School he proceeded to St John's College, Cambridge in 1778, graduating as senior wrangler in 1782. On graduating he became a fellow of the college and in his long tenure there produced several successful academic textbooks for students of mathematics. (The Elements of Algebra (1795); The Principles of Mechanics (1796); The Elements of Optics (1798))
Wood remained for sixty years at St. John's, serving as both President (1802–1815) and Master (1815–1839); on his death in 1839 he was interred in the college chapel and bequeathed his extensive library to the college, comprising almost 4,500 printed books on classics, history, mathematics, theology and travel, dating from the 17th to the 19th centuries.[3]
Wood was also ordained as a priest in 1787 and served as Dean of Ely from 1820 until his death.{He was succeeded by another eminent mathematician, George Peacock)*Wik

1930 Henry Ernest Dudeney, (10 April 1857–23 April 1930)  England's greatest puzzlist. He was unusually skilled at geometrical dissections, cutting a polygon into the smallest number of pieces that can be refitted to make a different type of polygon. He was also the first to apply digital roots, a term he coined, to recreational mathematics. *VFR
In April 1930, Dudeney died of throat cancer in Lewes, where he and his wife had moved in 1914 after a period of separation to rekindle their marriage. Alice Dudeney survived him by fourteen years and died November 21, 1945, after a stroke. Both are buried in the Lewes town cemetery. Their grave is marked by a copy of an 18th century Sussex sandstone obelisk, which Alice had copied after Ernest's death to serve as their mutual tombstone.(would love a photo if anyone is in that area)
For samples of his puzzles, the Amazon Kindle edition is free.

1960 Max von Laue (9 Oct 1879, 23 Apr 1960 at age 80)German physicist who was a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1914 for his discovery of the diffraction of X-rays in crystals. This enabled scientists to study the structure of crystals and hence marked the origin of solid-state physics, an important field in the development of modern electronics. *TIS

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