Thursday, 18 July 2013

On This Day in Math - July 18

Math is the only place where truth and beauty mean the same thing.

-Danica McKellar

(I can't believe I'm doing math quotes by "Winnie" from Wonder Years)

The 199th day of the year; 199 is prime (in fact, all three permutations of the number are prime) and is the sum of three consecutive primes: 61 + 67 + 71, and of five consecutive primes: 31 + 37 + 41 + 43 + 47.

1860 July 18, 1860 First wet plate photographs of an eclipse; they require 1/30 of the exposure time of a daguerreotype. *NSEC

1872 Weierstrass, in a lecture to the Berlin Academy, gave his classical example of a continuous nowhere differential function. See Big Kline, p. 956.*VFR

198 Marie and Pierre Curie discover the previously unknown element Polonium which she named for her home country, Poland. *Brody & Brody, The Science Class You Wished You Had

1979 Great Britain issued a stamp honoring Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. *VFR

1962 Hearings on Mercury 13 Women suspended. The first potential US women in space, often called the Mercury 13 in comparison to the original Mercury 7 astronauts, had a hearing in congress beginning July 17th. The house convened public hearings before a special Subcommittee on Science and Astronautics. Significantly, the hearings investigated the possibility of gender discrimination two full years before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made that illegal, making these hearings a marker of how ideas about women's rights permeated political discourse even before they were enshrined in law. The hearings would abruptly be terminated at lunch on the 18th. In less than a year, Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space on June 16, 1963. In response, Clare Boothe Luce published an article in Life criticizing NASA and American decision makers. By including photographs of all thirteen Lovelace finalists, she made the names of all thirteen women public for the first time. (The Time issue is available at Google Books here. Astronaut Sally Ride became the first American woman in space in 1983 on STS-7. *Wik

1013 Hermann of Reichenau (July 18, 1013 – September 24, 1054), was a German mathematician who important for the transmission of Arabic mathematics, astronomy and scientific instruments into central Europe.*SAU

1635 Robert Hooke ( 18 July[NS 28 July] 1635 – 3 March 1703) born.English natural philosopher, architect and polymath. His adult life comprised three distinct periods: as a scientific inquirer lacking money; achieving great wealth and standing through his reputation for hard work and scrupulous honesty following the great fire of 1666, but eventually becoming ill and party to jealous intellectual disputes. These issues may have contributed to his relative historical obscurity.
He was at one time simultaneously the curator of experiments of the Royal Society and a member of its council, Gresham Professor of Geometry and a Surveyor to the City of London after the Great Fire of London , in which capacity he appears to have performed more than half of all the surveys after the fire. He was also an important architect of his time, though few of his buildings now survive and some of those are generally misattributed, and was instrumental in devising a set of planning controls for London whose influence remains today. Allan Chapman has characterised him as "England's Leonardo" *wik
He was born in Freshwater, Isle of Wight, and discovered the law of elasticity, known as Hooke's law, and invented the balance spring for clocks. He was a virtuoso scientist whose scope of research ranged widely, including physics, astronomy, chemistry, biology, geology, architecture and naval technology. On 5 Nov 1662, Hooke was appointed the Curator of Experiments at the Royal Society, London. After the Great Fire of London (1666), he served as Chief Surveyor and helped rebuild the city. He also invented or improved meteorological instruments such as the barometer, anemometer, and hygrometer. Hooke authored the influential Micrographia (1665)*TIS

1689 Samuel Molyneux (16 July 1689 – 13 April 1728), British astronomer (Royal Observatory at Kew) and politician. Together with assistant James Bradley, he made measurements of abberation - the diversion of light from stars. They made observations of the star  Draconis with a vertical telescope. Starting in 1725 they had the proof of the movement of the earth giving support to the Copernican model of the earth revolving around the sun. The star oscillated with an excursion of 39 arcsecs between its lowest declination in May and its the highest point of its oscillation in September. He was unfortunate to fall ill in 1728 and into the care of the Anatomist to the Royal Family, Dr Nathaniel St Andre, whose qualifications were as a dancing master. Molyneux died shortly thereafter.*TIS

1768 Jean Robert Argand born (July 18, 1768 – August 13, 1822). His single original contribution to mathematics was the invention and elaboration of a geometric representation of complex numbers and operations on them. In this he was preceded by Wessel and followed by Gauss.*VFR Swiss mathematician who was one of the earliest to use complex numbers, which he applied to show that all algebraic equations have roots. He invented the Argand diagram - a geometrical representation of complex numbers as a point with the real portion of the number on the x axis and the imaginary part on the y axis.*Wik

1813 Pierre Laurent (July 18, 1813 – September 2, 1854) was a French mathematician best-known for his study of the so-called Laurent Series in Complex analysis. *SAU

1853 Antoon Lorentz (18 July 1853 – 4 February 1928) was a Dutch physicist who shared the 1902 Nobel Prize in Physics with Pieter Zeeman for the discovery and theoretical explanation of the Zeeman effect. He also derived the transformation equations subsequently used by Albert Einstein to describe space and time. *Wik
Lorentz is best known for his work on electromagnetic radiation and the FitzGerald-Lorentz contraction. He developed the mathematical theory of the electron.*SAU

1856 Giacinto Morera (Novara, 18 July 1856 – Turin, 8 February 1909), was an Italian engineer and mathematician. He is remembered for Morera's theorem in the theory of functions of a complex variables and for his work in the theory of linear elasticity. *Wik

1899 Robert Schlapp (18 July 1899 in Edinburgh, Scotland - 31 May 1991 in Ashford, Kent, England)studied at Edinburgh and Cambridge universities. He spent his whole career at Edinburgh University teaching mathematics and Physics. He was also interested in the History of Mathematics. He became President of the EMS in 1942 and 1943. *SAU

1922 Thomas S(amuel) Kuhn (July 18, 1922 – June 17, 1996) was an American historian of science, MIT professor, noted for The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), one of the most influential works of history and philosophy written in the 20th century. His thesis was that science was not a steady, cumulative acquisition of knowledge, but it is "a series of peaceful interludes punctuated by intellectually violent revolutions." Then appears a Lavoisier or an Einstein, often a young scientist not indoctrinated in the accepted theories, to sweep the old paradigm away. Such revolutions, he said, came only after long periods of tradition-bound normal science. "Frameworks must be lived with and explored before they can be broken," *TIS

1650 Christoph Scheiner SJ (25 July 1573 (or 1575) – 18 July 1650) was a Jesuit priest, physicist and astronomer in Ingolstadt. In 1603, Scheiner invented the pantograph, an instrument which could duplicate plans and drawings to an adjustable scale. Later in life he would invent a sunspot viewing appartus. In 1611, Scheiner observed sunspots; in 1612 he published the "Apelles letters" in Augsburg. Marcus Welser had the first three Apelles letters printed in Augsburg on January 5, 1612. They provided one of many reasons for the subsequent unpleasant argument between Scheiner and Galileo Galilei. *Wik Thus, in 1614, Galileo found himself in an unresoved dispute over priority with a mean and determined Jesuit. The fight was to grow meaner in subsequent years. It would play a major role in Galileo's Inquisitional trial eighteen years later. *James Reston, Jr., Galileo: A Life

1742 Abraham Sharp (1653– 18 July 1742) was an English mathematician who worked with Flamsteed. He calculated π to 72 places (using an arcsine sequence, briefly holding the record until John Machin calculated 100 digits in 1706).*SAU

1930 Karl Emmanuel Robert Fricke (September 24, 1861 in Helmstedt, Germany ; July 18, 1930 in Bad Harzburg, Germany) was a German mathematician, known for his work in function theory, especially on elliptic, modular and automorphic functions. He was one of the main collaborators of Felix Klein, with whom he produced two classic two volume monographs on elliptic modular functions and automorphic functions.*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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