Thursday, 20 August 2020

On This Day in Math - August 20

Mathematics is a form of poetry which transcends poetry in that it proclaims a truth; a form of reasoning which transcends reasoning in that it wants to bring about the truth it proclaims; a form of action, of ritual behavior, which does not find fulfillment in the act but must proclaim and elaborate a poetic form of truth.

~Salomon Bochner

The 233rd day of the year;  233 is the only three digit prime that is also a Fibonacci number. It is the only known Fibonacci prime whose digits are all Fibonacci primes, and the sum of its digits is also a Fibonacci prime. *Prime Curios

233 is also the last day of the year that is the sum of the squares of consecutive Fibonacci numbers.  (A pretty mathematical fact for the day: the sum of the squares of two consecutive Fibonacci numbers is always a Fibonacci number, Students can show that the converse is not true.)

There are exactly 233 maximal planar graphs with ten vertices, and 233 connected topological spaces with four points.
EVENTS
1601 Piere Fermat, the child of Claire de Long is baptized in the town of Beaumont de Lomange near Toulouse. almost thirty years later he would marry his mother's distant cousin. *André Weil, Number Theory: An Approach Through History from Hammurabi to Legendre
1638 William Oughtred writes to instrument maker Elias Allen with instructions for the first physical pair of slide rules using his method. Oughtred had invented the rules as early as 1620, and definitely written about them by 1633, but as he says in the opening of his letter, he had never made one before: “I have here sent you directions (as you requested me being at Twickenham) about the making of the two rulers”. He would continue, “would gladly see one of [the two parts of the instrument] when it is finished: wch yet I never have done”. The slide rule that Allen created seems no longer to exist, but a reverse image printed from the rule, perhaps to show to Oughtred still remains.
*Boris Jardine, Cambridge University Library Special Collections Oughtred's method used two rules with logarithmic scales that were positioned so that one slid against the other. Within two decades, the first slide rule with the scales bound together was created by Robert Bissaker. This is the oldest slide rule still existing today and is in the Science Museum, London.

1699 Newton's name introduced outside the Cambridge area. In 1669 Barrow had brought Newton a copy of Nicholas Mercator's Logarithmotechnia, which included the infinite series for ln(1+x). Newton recognized this as a simple example of his more general work on infinite series during his annus mirabilis in Woolsthorpe. Newton began to share some of his work with Barrow, who talked him into allowing him to send some of it, anonymously, to John Collins, which he did. When Collins highly favorable responses were received, Newton allowed Barrow to identify him to Collins. Barrow's letter to Collins on this date was the first time Newton became known to the mathematical community outside Cambridge. *James Gleick, Isaac Newton
1809 Gauss writes to G. F. Parrot diean of the Philosophical faculty of Tartu University to explain why he could not accept the position of Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy. He chose instead to remain in Gottinge. *PB Notes
1858 The Darwin-Wallace paper was read before the Linnean Society July 1st, 1858 and published in their Proceedings Vol 3 1858. pp 45-62. on this day. "On the Tendency of Species to form Varieties; and on the Perpetuation of Varieties and Species by Natural Means of Selection" ; By Charles Darwin, Esq., F.R.S., F.L.S.., & F.G.S., and Alfred Wallace​, Esq. Communicated by Sir Charles Lyell, F.R.S., F.L.S., and J.D. Hooker, Esq., M.D., V.P.R.S., F.L.S., &c. *Linnean Society
1910 Florence Nightengale was buried on 20 August in the family plot at East Wellow, Hampshire. An offer of burial in Westminster Abbey was refused by her relatives. She died one week earlier. *Victorian Web Org
1955 Observances were held on the Island of Samos commemorating the 2500th anniversary of the founding of the ﬁrst school of philosophy by Pythagoras. Four postage stamps were issued by Greece. Naturally one of them illustrated the celebrated 47th proposition of Euclid, the Pythagorean Theorem, by a 3–4–5 triangle with squares erected on its sides.

1960 Two mongrel dogs, Belka(Little Squirrel) and Strelka(Little Arrow) became the first living creatures to perform a space flight and return safely to Earth. Korabl-Sputnik-2 (Spaceship Satellite-2), also known as Sputnik 5, was launched on August 19, 1960. Also on board were 40 mice, 2 rats and a variety of plants. After a day in orbit, the spacecraft's retrorocket was fired and the landing capsule and the dogs were safely recovered. They were the first living animals to survive orbital flight. *Space Today Online
BIRTHS

1710 Thomas Simpson born (20 August 1710 – 14 May 1761). Best known to elementary calculus students for Simpson's rule, a method to approximate definite integrals. (this rule had been found 100 years earlier by Johannes Kepler, and in German is the so-called Keplersche Fassregel.) The method actually uses a method of fitting parabolas to the function (a word not in use when Simpson lived) but is exact for polynomials up to a cubic. Apparently, the method that became known as Simpson's rule was well known and used earlier by Bonaventura Cavalieri (a student of Galileo) in 1639, later rediscovered by James Gregory (who Simpson succeeded as Regius Professor of Mathematics at the University of St Andrews) and was only attributed to Simpson because of the popularity of his math books in which it was included. *Wik
1862 Paul Gustav Samuel Stäckel (20 August 1862, Berlin — 12 December 1919, Heidelberg) was a German mathematician, active in the areas of differential geometry, number theory, and non-Euclidean geometry. In the area of prime number theory, he used the term twin prime (Primzahlzwillinge i.e. "prime number twins")for the first time. *Wik
1863 Corrado Segre (20 August 1863, 18 May 1924) was an Italian mathematician who is remembered today as a major contributor to the early development of algebraic geometry. Segre spent his entire career at the University of Turin, first as a student of Enrico D'Ovidio. In 1883 he published a dissertation on quadrics in projective space and was named as assistant to professors in algebra and analytic geometry. In 1885 he also assisted in descriptive geometry. He began to instruct in projective geometry, as stand-in for Giuseppe Bruno, from 1885 to 88. Then for 36 years he had the chair in higher geometry following D'Ovidio. Segre and Giuseppe Peano made Turin known in geometry.*Wik
1898 Leopold Infeld born (20 August 1898, Kraków – 15 January 1968, Warsaw), He was a Polish theoretical physicist. In 1948 he published Whom the Gods Love, a biographical novel about Evariste Galois. *VFR He was awarded a doctorate at the Jagiellonian University (1921), worked as an assistant and a docent at the University of Lwów (1930–1933) and then as a professor at the University of Toronto between 1939 and 1950. In 1939 he married Helen Schlauch, an American mathematician and a graduate of Cornell. He worked together with Albert Einstein at Princeton University (1936–1938). The two scientists co-formulated the equation describing star movements as well as co-wrote a popular science book The Evolution of Physics. Infeld was one of the 11 signatories to the Russell–Einstein Manifesto in 1955, and is the only signatory never to receive a Nobel Prize. *Wik
1899 Salomon Bochner (20 Aug 1899; 2 May 1982) Galician-born American mathematician and educator responsible for the development of the Bochner theorem of positive-definite functions and the Bochner integral.*TIS
1957 Sir Simon Kirwan Donaldson FRS (born 20 August 1957 Cambridge, England - ) In 1986 he received a Fields Medal for his work on the topology of four-manifolds. *VFR Remarkably, Donaldson has solved problems of mathematics by using ideas from physics. From the Yang-Mills generalizations of James Clerk Maxwell's electromagnetic equations, Donaldson used special solutions to these equations, called instantons, to look at general four-manifolds. After being awarded the Fields Medal, Donaldson continued his exploitation of ideas from physics with applications to mathematics. *TIS
DEATHS
1622 Baha ad-din Muhammad ibn Husayn al-Amili (20 Mar 1546; 20 Aug 1622 at age 76) A Syrian-Iranian theologian, mathematician and astronomer, a.k.a. Shaykh Baha'i). He became a very learned Muslim whose genius touched every field of knowledge from mathematics and philosophy to architecture and landscape design. He revived the study of mathematics in Iran. His treatise on the subject, Khulasat al-hisab (“The Essentials of Arithmetic”), and translations from the original Arabic was in use as a textbook until the end of the 19th century. His treatise in astronomy, Tashrihu'l-aflak ("Anatomy of the Heavens") summarised the works of earlier masters. He was born within a year of William Gilbert in England and Tycho Brahe in Denmark, and was still a child when his family left Syria to escape religious persecution.*TIS
1672 Jan de Witt (September 24, 1625, Dordrecht - August 20, 1672) murdered by a mob from the (William of) Orange faction. For the previous twenty years he served as grand pensionary in Holland, essentially the prime minister of the Netherlands. Consequently this talented mathematician had little time to devote to mathematics. He wrote the ﬁrst systematic account of the analytic geometry of the straight line and conics. It was published in Van Schooten’s second Latin edition of Descartes’ Geometrie *VFR de Witt and his brother were both killed by a mob which was probably supported by William III of Orange. At the very least, as the Wikipedia articles states, "he protected and rewarded the killers." After a previous attempt on his life, he was lured by a forged letter to the cell where his brother was held, and both were hanged and then their bodies were mutilated. The story of their deaths are a critical element in the plot of Alexander Dumas' "The Black Tulip". *Wik
1677 Pierre Petit (8 Dec 1594 in Montluçon, France - 20 Aug 1677 in Lagny-sur-Marne, France) was a French scientist who had a strong influence on the French government. He was one of Mersenne's collaborators. Petit was an influential figure with important government positions which enabled him to try to influence national science policy. A firm believer, as were the other members of Mersenne's group, of the experimental method rather than the philosophical approach advocated by Descartes, Petit argued strongly for better astronomical facilities in France. He wanted the King to establish a Royal Observatory to allow France to again take a leading role in astronomy. Petit argued that France had fallen behind some other European countries and was relying on observations made in other countries. Petit himself had a fine collection of astronomical instruments and several of these were of his own invention. In particular, late in his life, Petit devised a filar micrometer to measure the diameters of celestial objects such as the Sun, Moon and planets.*SAU