## Thursday, 14 March 2013

### On This Day in Math - March 14

 Van Ceulen Memorial in Leyden *AMS

"It is nothing short of a miracle that modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry."
~Albert Einstein

 Today, have your Pi(e) both ways!

The 73rd day of the year; 73 is the alphanumeric value of the word NUMBER: 14 + 21 + 13 + 2 + 5 + 18 = 73 *Tanya Khovanova, Number Gossip;
Today is Pi day, the string 73 appears at the 299th and 300th digits of Pi.

An amazing reversal: 73 is the 21st prime, and 37 is the 12th prime. This enigma is the only known combination.

And under ideal conditions (uniform gentle slope on an homogeneously erodible substrate), the sinuosity of a meandering river approaches π. The sinuosity is the ratio between the actual length and the straight-line distance from source to mouth. Faster currents along the outside edges of a river's bends cause more erosion than along the inside edges, thus pushing the bends even farther out, and increasing the overall loopiness of the river. However, that loopiness eventually causes the river to double back on itself in places and "short-circuit", creating an ox-bow lake in the process. The balance between these two opposing factors leads to an average ratio of π between the actual length and the direct distance between source and mouth. *Wik

EVENTS

1667/8 Pepys records in his diary that he saw Sir. Samuel Morland’s adding machine for pounds, shillings and pence. Samuel Pepys also wrote in his diary, that the machine of Morland is very pretty, but not very useful, while the famous scientist Robert Hooke, for example, found the machines very silly.
 *NMSI

1818 John Adams writes to Thomas Jefferson about David Rittenhouse and his Orrery, he says:
"Rittenhouse was a virtuous and amiable man, an exquisite mechanician, master of the astronomy known in his time, an expert mathematician, a patient calculator of numbers." U Penn Library website

In 1839, Sir John Herschel referred to "photography" in a lecture to the Royal Society—possibly the first use of the word. Following Fox Talbot's publication of his invention of what became known as the Calotype process, a number of scientific men made their own investigations, including not only Herschel but also Berard, Robert Hunt and Draper. Herschel used the name Chrysotype (from the Greek word for gold) for his process. It used paper washed in a solution of ammonio-citrate of iron and brought out the image with a solution of soda or chloride of gold, or with nitrate of silver, and fixing it in the first case by washing it with iodide of potassium and in the second, with hyposulphite of soda. It had technical difficulties in controlling the contrast, colour and fogging of the image. *TIS

1934 France issued a stamp for the centenary of the death of Joseph Jacquard (1752–1834), inventor of an improved loom for ﬁgured weaving. The punched cards that he invented provided the model for computer cards. [Scott #295] *VFR

1951 Kurt G¨odel shared the ﬁrst Einstein award with Julian Schwinger. *VFR

1955 Bell Labs Announces TRADIC "Giant Brain":
AT&T Bell Laboratories announces the completion of the first fully transistorized computer, TRADIC. TRADIC contained nearly 800 transistors, which replaced the standard vacuum tube and allowed the machine to operate on fewer than 100 watts -- or one-twentieth the power required by a comparable vacuum tube computer.*CHM

1962 Norway issued a pair of stamps commemorating the centenary of the birth of Vilhelm Bjerknes (1862–1951), physicist, meterologist, and mathematician. [Scott #403–4] *VFR

1988 The earliest known official or large-scale celebration of Pi Day was organized by Larry Shaw in 1988 at the San Francisco Exploratorium, where Shaw worked as a physicist, with staff and public marching around one of its circular spaces, then consuming fruit pies. The Exploratorium continues to hold Pi Day celebrations.
On March 12, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a non-binding resolution (HRES 224), recognizing March 14, 2009, as National Pi Day *Wik

2012 Judge rules you can't copyrite Pi... The story stripped from Devlin's Angle by Keith Devlin:
The story begins on Pi Day (March 14, or 3.14) 2011, when New Scientist posted a video by a musician called Michael John Blake, in which he played a piano rendering of the first 31 decimal places of pi, played at a tempo of 157 beats per minute (314 divided by two).

The video immediately went viral, but a few hours later, YouTube was contacted by a lawyer representing jazz musician Lars Erickson, who claimed that Blake's work sounded very similar to his 1992 composition "Pi Symphony", which he had registered with the US copyright office. With a claim of copyright infringement, YouTube removed the video. But Blake decided to lodge an appeal.
...
One year later, on March 14 of this year, US district court judge Michael H. Simon, deliberately choosing to announce his decision on Pi Day, dismissed Erickson’s claim of copyright infringement. "Pi is a non-copyrightable fact, and the transcription of pi to music is a non-copyrightable idea," Simon wrote in his legal opinion.
So now, without fear of prosecution, is the first 31 digits of Pi.

What Pi Sounds Like from Michael John Blake on Vimeo.

2015 Pi day on this day will have a special moment (or two such moments for folks with 12 hour clocks), at 9:26:53 of 3/14/15. Approximating $\pi \approx 3.14159265$
BIRTHS
1692 Pieter van Musschenbroek (14 Mar 1692; 19 Sep 1761 at age 69) Dutch mathematician and physicist who invented the Leyden jar, the first effective device for storing static electricity. He grew up in a family that manufactured scientific instruments such as telescopes, microscopes and air pumps. Before Musschenbroek's invention, static electricity had been produced by Guericke using a sulphur ball, with minor effects. In Jan 1746, Musschenbroek placed water in a metal container suspended on silk cords, and led a brass wire through a cork into the water. He built up a charge in the water. When an unwary assistant touched the metal container and the brass wire, the discharge from this apparatus delivered a substantial shock of static electricity. The Leyden name is linked to the discovery having being made at the University of Leiden. *TIS

1835 Giovanni Virginio Schiaparelli (14 Mar 1835; 4 Jul 1910 at age 75) Italian astronomer who is remembered for his observations of Mars over seven oppositions and named the "seas" and "continents". In 1877, he saw on the surface of the planet Mars the markings that he called canali (channels), later misinterpreted as "canals." He made extensive studies, both observational and theoretical, of comets, determining from the shapes of their tails that there was a repulsive force from the sun. He showed that meteor swarms travel through space in cometary orbits. He explained the regular meteor showers as the result of the dissolution of comets and proved it for the Perseids. He suggested that Mercury and Venus rotate on their axes, discovered the asteroid Hesperia (1861) and was a major observer of double stars. *TIS

1838 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

1862 Vilhelm F(riman) K(oren) Bjerknes (14 Mar 1862; 9 Apr 1951 at age 89) was a Norwegian meteorologist and physicist, one of the founders of the modern science of weather forecasting. As a young boy, Bjerknes assisted his father, Carl Bjerknes (a professor of mathematics) in carrying out experiments to verify the theoretical predictions that resulted from his father's hydrodynamic research. After graduating from university, Bjerknes moved on to his own work applying hydrodynamic and thermodynamic theories to atmospheric and hydrospheric conditions in order to predict future weather conditions. His work in meteorology and on electric waves was important in the early development of wireless telegraphy. He evolved a theory of cyclones known as the polar front theory with his son Jakob. *TIS

1864 József Kürschák (14 March 1864 – 26 March 1933) was a Hungarian mathematician noted for his work on trigonometry and for his creation of the theory of valuations. He proved that every valued field can be embedded into a complete valued field which is algebraically closed. In 1918 he proved that the sum of reciprocals of consecutive natural numbers is never an integer. Extending Hilbert's argument, he proved that everything that can be constructed using a ruler and a compass, can be constructed by using a ruler and the ability of copying a fixed segment. He was elected a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 1897. *Wik

1879 Albert Einstein (14 Mar 1879; 18 Apr 1955 at age 76) German-American physicist who developed the special and general theories of relativity and won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921 for his explanation of the photoelectric effect. Recognized in his own time as one of the most creative intellects in human history, in the first 15 years of the 20th century Einstein advanced a series of theories that proposed entirely new ways of thinking about space, time, and gravitation. His theories of relativity and gravitation were a profound advance over the old Newtonian physics and revolutionized scientific and philosophic inquiry.*TIS

1882 WacLlaw Sierpinski (14 March 1882 in Warsaw, - 21 Oct 1969 in Warsaw) His grave carries—according to his wish—the inscription: Investigator of inﬁnity. [Kuratowski, A Half Century of Polish Mathematics, p. 173; Works, p. 14] *VFR Sierpinski's most important work is in the area of set theory, point set topology and number theory. In set theory he made important contributions to the axiom of choice and to the continuum hypothesis. *SAU He is also remembered for his Sierpinski gasket or Triangle

1889 Oscar Chisini (March 4, 1889 – April 10, 1967) was an Italian mathematician. He introduced the Chisini mean in 1929. In 1929 he founded the Institute of Mathematics (Istituto di Matematica) at the University of Milan, along with Gian Antonio Maggi and Giulio Vivanti. He then held the position of chairman of the Institute from the early 1930s until 1959.The Chisini conjecture in algebraic geometry is a uniqueness question for morphisms of generic smooth projective surfaces, branched on a cuspidal curve. A special case is the question of the uniqueness of the covering of the projective plane, branched over a generic curve of degree at least five. *Wik

DEATHS
1874 Johann Heinrich von Mädler (29 May 1794, 14 Mar 1874 at age 79) German astronomer who (with Wilhelm Beer) published the most complete map of the Moon of the time, Mappa Selenographica, 4 vol. (1834-36). It was the first lunar map to be divided into quadrants, and it remained unsurpassed in its detail until J.F. Julius Schmidt's map of 1878. Mädler and Beer also published the first systematic chart of the surface features of the planet Mars (1830). *TIS

1973 Howard Hathaway Aiken (9 Mar 1900; 14 Mar 1973 at age 72) American mathematician who invented the Harvard Mark I, forerunner of the modern electronic digital computer. While a graduate student and instructor Harvard University, Aiken's research had led to a system of differential equations which could only be solved using numerical techniques, for which he began planning large computer. His idea was to use an adaptation of Hollerith's punched card machine. When eventually built, (1943) it weighed 35 tons, had 500 miles of wire and could compute to 23 significant figures. There were 72 storage registers and central units to perform multiplication and division. It was controlled by a sequence of instructions on punched paper tapes, and used punched cards to enter data and give output from the machine. *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