## Thursday 30 June 2011

### On This Day in Math -June 30

You know we all became mathematicians for the same reason:
we were lazy.
Max Rosenlicht

EVENTS
1737 John Harrison, after positive results on the test of his first sea-clock, receives the first money awarded by the Board of Longitude (23 years after the Act to create the Board). Harrison received 500 Pounds, 250 Pounds to be paid immediately, and another 250 Pounds after completing a second clock that passes testing at sea. *Derek Howse, Britain's Board of Longitude: The Finances 1714-1828
1742 Euler replied (see June 7 post) in a letter dated 30 June 1742, and reminded Goldbach of an earlier conversation they had ("...so Ew vormals mit mir communicirt haben.."), in which Goldbach remarked his original (and not marginal) conjecture followed from the following statement, “Every even integer greater than 2 can be written as the sum of two primes,” which is thus also a conjecture of Goldbach. In the letter dated 30 June 1742, Euler stated:“Dass ... ein jeder numerus par eine summa duorum primorum sey, halte ich für ein ganz gewisses theorema, ungeachtet ich dasselbe necht demonstriren kann.” ("every even integer is a sum of two primes. I regard this as a completely certain theorem, although I cannot prove it.")*Wik
As of this date, no one else has proved it either. It is one of the oldest open questions in mathematics.

1812 Congress authorized the President of the US to issue interest bearing Treasury Notes for the first time in history.  The interest was fixed at "five and two-fifths per centum a year."  *Kane, Famous First Facts (students might calculate the present value of a \$10 investment on that date compounded to the present)

1808 Humphry Davy announced he had separated the element boron. However, working independently, French chemist, Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac had announced* the same accomplishment nine days ealier, on 21 Jun 1808*TIS

The 1860 Oxford evolution debate took place at the Oxford University Museum on 30 June 1860, seven months after the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species. Several prominent British scientists and philosophers participated, including Thomas Henry Huxley, Bishop Samuel Wilberforce, Benjamin Brodie, Joseph Dalton Hooker and Robert FitzRoy.
The debate is best remembered today for a heated exchange in which Wilberforce supposedly asked Huxley whether it was through his grandfather or his grandmother that he claimed his descent from a monkey.  Huxley is said to have replied that he would not be ashamed to have a monkey for his ancestor, but he would be ashamed to be connected with a man who used his great gifts to obscure the truth *Wik

1894 ==In 1886, the foundation stone of the Tower Bridge in London, England was laid (over a time capsule) by the Prince of Wales. The need to cross the River Thames at this point had become increasingly urgent for many years, and finally the necessary Act was passed in 1885. The bridge, designed by Mr. Wolfe Barry, CB, was completed at a cost of about £1,000,000. To permit the passage of tall ships between the towers, two bascule spans, each of 100-ft length, are raised. The side spans to the towers are of the more familiar suspension type. Pedestrians can traverse a high-level footway nearly at the top of the towers, even when the bridge is raised. It was officially opened 30 Jun 1894, by the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, on behalf of Queen *TIS

1908 Comet(?) explodes above Tunguska, Siberia. *VFR In 1908, at around 7:15 am, northwest of Lake Baikal, Russia, a huge fireball nearly as bright as the Sun was seen crossing the sky. Minutes later, there was a huge flash and a shock wave felt up to 650 km (400 mi) away. Over Tunguska, a meteorite over 50-m diameter, travelling at over 25 km per second (60,000 mph) penetrated Earth's atmosphere, heated to about 10,000 ºC and detonated 6 to10 km above the ground. The blast released the energy of 10-50 Megatons of TNT, destroying 2,200 sq km of forest leaving no trace of life. The Tunguska rock came out of the Taurid Meteor storm that crosses Earth's orbit twice a year. The first scientific expedition for which records survive was made by Russian mineralogist Leonid Kulik in 1927. *TIS

1946 ENIAC formally accepted by the government. See 2 October 1955*VFR

In 1948, the transistor was demonstrated by its inventors, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain, scientists at the Bell Telephone Laboratory in Murray Hill, NJ.* It was a simple, tiny device utilizing the electronic semiconducting properties of a germanium wafer. The transistor represented a significant advance in technology. As it was developed over the next few years, it was incorporated into electronic equipment as a functional replacment for the vacuum tube. Such use of transistors provided great savings in space and electrical power consumption. This made possible the small portable, battery-powered transistor radios which were sold to the public by late 1954.*TIS

1955 Sperry Rand formed.

BIRTHS
1748  Dominique Cassini was a French mathematician and surveyor who worked on his father's map of France.  He was the son of César-François Cassini de Thury and was born at the Paris Observatory. In 1784 he succeeded his father as director of the observatory; but his plans for its restoration and re-equipment were wrecked in 1793 by the animosity of the National Assembly. His position having become intolerable, he resigned on September 6, and was thrown into prison in 1794, but released after seven months. He then withdrew to Thury, where he died fifty-one years later.
He published in 1770 an account of a voyage to America in 1768, undertaken as the commissary of the French Academy of Sciences with a view to testing Pierre Le Roy’s watches at sea. A memoir in which he described the operations superintended by him in 1787 for connecting the observatories of Paris and Greenwich by longitude-determinations appeared in 1791. He visited England for the purposes of the work, and saw William Herschel at Slough. He completed his father’s map of France, which was published by the Academy of Sciences in 1793. It served as the basis for the Atlas National (1791), showing France in departments.
Cassini’s Mémoires pour servir à l’histoire de l’observatoire de Paris (1810) embodied portions of an extensive work, the prospectus of which he had submitted to the Academy of Sciences in 1774. The volume included his Eloges of several academicians, and the autobiography of his great-grandfather, Giovanni Cassini.*Wik

1791  Félix Savart (June 30, 1791, Charleville-Mézières, Ardennes – March 16, 1841, Paris) became a professor at Collège de France in 1836 and was the co-originator of the Biot-Savart Law, along with Jean-Baptiste Biot. Together, they worked on the theory of magnetism and electrical currents. Their law was developed about 1820. The Biot-Savart Law relates magnetic fields to the currents which are their sources. Félix Savart also studied acoustics. He developed the Savart wheel which produces sound at specific graduated frequencies using rotating disks.
Félix Savart is the namesake of the unit of measurement for musical intervals, the savart, though it was actually invented by Joseph Sauveur.*Wik

1856  Cargill Knott born.  He graduated from Edinburgh University and was then an assistant in the Physics department. With Barclay and Fraser he was one of the writers who originally proposed the founding of the EMS. He went to the Imperial University in Tokyo as Professor. He returned to a lectureship in Edinburgh and eventually became a Reader in Applied Mathematics. He became Secretary and Treasurer of the EMS in 1883 and President in 1893 and 1918.*SAU

1880 Birthdate of Rudolf Fueter who worked with functions with non-commutative variables and also in number theory. *SAU

DEATHS
1660 William Oughtred, inventor of the slide rule (1621) and a staunch royalist, died in a transport of joy on hearing the news of the restoration of Charles II. Augustus De Morgan later remarked, “It should be added, by way of excuse, that he was eighty-six years old.” *VFR an Episcopal minister who invented the earliest form of the slide rule, two identical linear or circular logarithmic scales held together and adjusted by hand. Improvements involving the familiar inner rule with tongue-in-groove linear construction came later. He introduced the familiar multiplication sign x in a 1631 textbook, along with the first use of the abbreviations sin, cos and tan.*TIS

1919 John William Strutt, 3rd Baron of Rayleigh (of Terling Place) was an English physical scientist who made fundamental discoveries in the fields of acoustics and optics that are basic to the theory of wave propagation in fluids. He received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1904 for his investigations into the densities of the most important gases and his successful isolation of argon, an inert atmospheric gas.*TIS

2010  Vladimir Arnold won a Wolf prize for his work on dynamical systems, differential equations, and singularity theory.*SAU

Credits:

*VFR = V Frederick Rickey, USMA

*TIS= Today in Science History

*Wik = Wikipedia

*SAU=St Andrews Univ. Math History