Thursday 22 June 2023

On This Day in Math - June 22

The mathematical education of the young physicist [Albert Einstein ] was not very solid, which I am in a good position to evaluate since he obtained it from me in Zurich some time ago.
~Hermann Minkowski

The 173rd day of the year; the only prime whose sum of cubed digits equals its reversal: 13 + 73 + 33 = 371. *Prime Curios

The smallest prime inconsummate number, i.e., no number is 173 times the sum of its digits. (The term inconsummate number was created by John Conway from the Latin for unfinished. [when?])

173 is the largest known prime whose square (29929) and cube (5177717) consist of totally different digits.

173 = 87^2 - 86^2 ,

173 is a Sophie German Prime since 2*173+1 = 347 is also prime. Sophie Germain primes are named after French mathematician Sophie Germain, who used them in her investigations of Fermat's Last Theorem. Sophie Germain primes and safe primes have applications in public key cryptography and primality testing. It has been conjectured that there are infinitely many Sophie Germain primes, but this remains unproven.

See More Math Facts here.


1633 Galileo, under threat of torture from the inquisition, was forced to  "abjure, curse, and detest" his Copernican heliocentric views.
The recantation of GALILEO took place in the Great Hall of the former monastery of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, then the headquarters of the Dominican order.  This is where he supposedly said "E pur si muove" (Nevertheless, it does move).  For a long time, these words were believed to be a much later invention, but they probably date back to c1643 [Fahie, pp. 72 75].   Galileo was never officially imprisoned except for the few hours between his trial and the sentencing. In 1992, the Vatican officially declared that Galileo had been the victim of an error.

Galileo before the Holy Office, a 19th-century painting by Joseph-Nicolas Robert-Fleury

In 1675, the Royal Greenwich Observatory was created by Royal Warrant in England by Charles II. Building designed by Sir Christopher Wren (who was also a Professor of Astronomy) was commenced 10 Aug 1675 and finished the following year by  John Flamsteed was appointed as the first Astronomer Royal. Its primary uses were in practical astronomy - navigation, timekeeping, determination of star positions. In 1767 the observatory began publishing The Nautical Almanac, which established the longitude of Greenwich as a baseline for time calculations. The almanac's popularity among navigators led in part to the adoption (1884) of the Greenwich meridian as the Earth's prime meridian (0° longitude) and the international time zones.*TIS

Royal Observatory, Greenwich. A time ball sits atop the Octagon Room.1714 second reading of the Longitude Bill in British Parliament *@Lordoflongitude

1799 France adopted the metric system of weights and measures. *VFR

1902 In response to a letter from Bertrand Russell dated 16 June 1902, Gottlob Frege responded with characteristic scientific honesty that “your discovery of the contradiction caused me the greatest surprise and, I would almost say, consternation, since it has shaken the basis on which I intended to build arithmetic.” [van Heijenoort, From Frege to G¨odel, 125–128] *VFR
Russell had found a class of contradictions to Frege's 1879 Begriffsschrift.  This contradiction can be stated as "the class of all classes that do not contain themselves as elements". 

1959 According to Steven Krantz's Mathematical Apocrypha Redux, it was Marshall McLuhan who created the phrase, "Publish or Perish." In a letter to Ezra Pound he wrote about "beaneries", which was Pound's favorite term for a university:

"The beaneries are on their knees to these gents (foundation administrators).  They regard them as Santa Claus.  They will do 'research on anything' that Santa approves. They will think his thoughts as long as he will pay the bill for getting them before the public signed by the profesorry-rat.  'Publish or perish' is the beanery motto."

1978  evidence of the first moon of Pluto was discovered by astronomer James W. Christy of the Naval Observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz. when he obtained a photograph of Pluto that showed the orb to be distinctly elongated.. Furthermore, the elongations appeared to change position with respect to the stars over time. After eliminating the possibility that the elongations were produced by plate defects and background stars, the only plausible explanation was that they were caused by a previously unknown moon orbiting Pluto at a distance of about 19,600 kilometers (12,100 miles) with a period of 6.4 days. The moon was named Charon, after the boatman in Greek mythology who took the souls of the dead across the River Styx to Pluto's underworld. *TIS (actually Christy created the name in honor of his wife, whose nickname was Char.  He did not know the mythical name when he proposed it. It is said he still persists in pronouncing the moon with a "sh" sound rather than the hard k sound used in mythology.)

Charon, is the largest of the five known natural satellites of the dwarf planet Pluto. With half the diameter and one eighth the mass of Pluto, Charon is a very large moon in comparison to its parent body. Its gravitational influence is such that the barycenter of the Plutonian system lies outside Pluto, and the two bodies are tidally locked to each other.

The reddish-brown cap of the north pole of Charon is composed of tholins, organic macromolecules that may be essential ingredients of life. These tholins were produced from methane, nitrogen and related gases which may have been released by cryovolcanic eruptions on the moon,[18][19] or may have been transferred over 19,000 km (12,000 mi) from the atmosphere of Pluto to the orbiting moon

2004  Humans are officially slow learners... In 2004, a study led by Richard Doll was published in the British Medical Journal, the first research that quantified the damage over the lifetime of a generation, based on a 50-year study of a group of almost 35,000 British doctors who smoked. The study found that almost half of persistent cigarette smokers were killed by their habit, and a quarter died before age 70. Further, those who quit by age 30 had the same life expectancy as a nonsmoker. Even quitting at age 50 saved six more years of life over those who continued smoking. At age 80, 65% of non-smokers were still alive, but only 32% of smokers. Fifty years before, Doll published in the same journal the first report of a study that linked cigarette smoking to lung cancer*TIS 

2011  One of the 15th century copies of a manuscript of Fibonacci's Liber Abacci that was owned by Boncompagni and was until recently in Brown University Maths library is for sale, by auction, on June 22, 2011, in New York and is estimated to fetch in excess of \( $120,000\). (It seems it brought even more,"Fibonacci, manuscript copy of the Liber Flos, \($338,000\) at Bonhams New York on June 22. "


1837 Paul Gustav Heinrich Bachmann born (22 June 1837 – 31 March 1920). He wrote (1892–1923) a five volume survey of the state of number theory including an evaluation of the various methods of proof. He also devoted time to composing, playing the piano, and serving as a music critic for various newspapers. *VFR

1852 Eduard Weyr ((June 22, 1852 – July 23, 1903)) He and his brother, Emil Weyr (1848–1894) were the leading members of the Austrian geometrical school. They worked in descriptive geometry, projective geometry, and then became interested in algebraic and synthetic methods. Eduard found a canonical form for matrices that deserves to be better known (American Mathematical Monthly, December 1999). *VFR

1860 Mario Pieri (22 June 1860 in Lucca, Italy - 1 March 1913 in S Andrea di Compito (near Lucca), Italy) Pieri's main area was projective geometry and he is an important member of the Italian School of Geometers. However, after he moved to Turin, Pieri became influenced by Peano at the University and Burali-Forti who was a colleague at the Military Academy. This influence led Pieri to study the foundations of geometry.
In 1895 he set up an axiomatic system for projective geometry with three undefined terms, namely points, lines and segments. He improved on results of Pasch and Peano and then, in 1905, Pieri gave the first axiomatic definition of complex projective geometry which does not build on real projective geometry.
In 1898 Pieri published the memoir The principles of the geometry of position through the Academy of Sciences of Turin. Russell was impressed by this memoir and wrote, in his Principia, "This is, in my opinion, the best work on the present subject." *SAU

1864 Herman Minkowski born (June 22,  1864 – January 12, 1909) . The motto on his Akademie-Schrift was “Rien n’est beau que le vrai, le vrai seul est aimable” (Nothing is beautiful but the truth, only the truth is lovable). *VFR 

He developed the geometrical theory of numbers and used geometrical methods to solve difficult problems in number theory, mathematical physics, and the theory of relativity. By 1907, Minkowski realized that the work of Lorentz and Einstein could be best understood in a non-euclidean space. He considered space and time, which were formerly thought to be independent, to be coupled together in a four-dimensional "space-time continuum". Minkowski worked out a four-dimensional treatment of electrodynamics. His idea of a four-dimensional space (since known as "Minkowski space"), combining the three dimensions of physical space with that of time, laid the mathematical foundation of Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity.*TIS My favorite Minkowski story from Constance Reid's Hilbert, Once in a topology lecture he brought up the Four-color theorem.  "This theorem has not been proved,  but that is because only mathematicians of the third rank have occupied themselves with it" he announced with unusual arrogance.  "I belive I can prove it."  He began on the spot to work out the problem and continued over several classes to develop the work.  After several weeks he entered one rainy day and a crash of thunder accompanied his entrance.  Turning to his students he announced, "Heaven is angered by my arrogance, My proof is defective." 

1866 Kazimierz Żorawski (June 22, 1866 – January 23, 1953) was a Polish mathematician. His work earned him an honored place in mathematics alongside such Polish mathematicians as Wojciech Brudzewski, Jan Brożek (Broscius), Nicolas Copernicus, Samuel Dickstein, Stefan Banach, Stefan Bergman, Marian Rejewski, Wacław Sierpiński, Stanisław Zaremba and Witold Hurewicz.[citation needed]
Żorawski's main interests were invariants of differential forms, integral invariants of Lie groups, differential geometry and fluid mechanics. His work in these disciplines was to prove important in other fields of mathematics and science, such as differential equations, geometry and physics (especially astrophysics and cosmology).*Wik

1880 Alfred Rosenblatt born. He worked in analysis and probability theory. *VFR

1906 Ott-Heinrich Keller was a German mathematician who worked on algebraic geometry and topology*SAU

1995 Konrad Zuse (22 Jun 1910, 18 Dec 1995) German engineer who in 1941 constructed the first fully operational program-controlled electromechanical binary calculating machine, or digital computer, called the Z3. Earlier, Zuse developed and built the Z1 the first binary digital computer in the world (1936-8) and two more machines before the end of WW II, but he was unable to convince the Nazi government to support his work. He created a basic programming system known as Plankalkül with which he designed a chess playing program.The Z3 was destroyed in 1944 during the war. Next came the more sophisticated Z4, which was the only Zuse Z-machine to survive the war, by several moves to new locations away from air raids. During the last days of war it was hidden. In 1950, he took it to Zurich. *TIS In an interesting coincidence, the first paper of Roger Lyndon, who was born on this date) was on the Zuse computer . In the paper he described the Z4, Zuse's relay-type digital computer which was discovered by advancing British and American troops. The nearly completed computer had been hidden by Zuse in the cellar of a house in the small village of Hinterstein in Bavaria. *SAU

Much of his early work was financed by his family and commerce, but after 1939 he was given resources by the Nazi German government. Due to World War II, Zuse's work went largely unnoticed in the United Kingdom and the United States. Possibly his first documented influence on a US company was IBM's option on his patents in 1946. *Wik

Zuse Z3 replica on display at
 Deutsches Museum in Munich

1920 James H. Pomerene (June 22, 1920 – December 7, 2008) American computer pioneer. In Apr 1946 he joined John von Neumann and Herman Goldstine in their newly organized Electronic Computer Project at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. This project was to build a parallel stored-program computer. He designed the adder portion of the arithmetic unit and then was entirely responsible for the development and construction of the electrostatic (Williams tube) memory and became the chief engineer of the project 1951-56. Then he joined IBM to assist development of the HARVEST computer,  a special system built for the National Security Agency. It had two levels of program control and also had a tape and tape library system that was fully automatic and of great capacity.*TIS  

The IBM 7030, also known as Stretch, was IBM's first transistorized supercomputer. It was the fastest computer in the world from 1961 until the first CDC 6600 became operational in 1964

1940 Daniel Gray "Dan" Quillen (June 22, 1940 – April 30, 2011) was an American mathematician. From 1984 to 2006, he was the Waynflete Professor of Pure Mathematics at Magdalen College, Oxford. He is renowned for being the "prime architect" of higher algebraic K-theory, for which he was awarded the Cole Prize in 1975 and the Fields Medal in 1978.
Quillen was a Putnam Fellow in 1959.
Quillen retired at the end of 2006. He died from complications of Alzheimer's disease on April 30, 2011, aged 70, in Florida. *Wik

1950 Benedict Hyman Gross (June 22, 1950;  ) is an American mathematician, the George Vasmer Leverett Professor of Mathematics at Harvard University and former Dean of Harvard College.
He is known for his work in number theory, particularly the Gross–Zagier theorem on L-functions of elliptic curves, which was work with Don Zagier.  *Wik


1388 Giovanni Dondi died (1330–1388). In 1381 he built one of the earliest geared equatoria driven by clockwork. There is a model of it in the Smithsonian. It has a heptagonal frame with a planet on each face. Dials show the time of sunrise, sunset, movable feasts, and the nodes of the moon’s orbit. *VFR He is remembered today as a pioneer in the art of clock design and construction. The Astrarium, which he designed and built over a period of 16 years, was a highly complex astronomical clock and planetarium, constructed only 60 or so years after the very first mechanical clocks had been built in Europe, and demonstrated an ambitious attempt to describe and model the solar system with mathematical precision and technological sophistication. *Wik

1429  Jamshid al-Kashi (1380 - 22 June 1429 (several different dates are given for his death)
was an Islamic mathematician who published some important teaching works and anticipated Stevin's work on decimals.*SAU
Al-Kashi was one of the best mathematicians in the Islamic world. He was born in 1380, in Kashan, in central Iran. This region was controlled by Tamurlane, better known as Timur. Al-Kashi lived in poverty during his childhood and the beginning years of his adulthood.

The situation changed for the better when Timur died in 1405, and his son, Shah Rokh, ascended into power. Shah Rokh and his wife, Goharshad, a Persian princess, were very interested in the sciences, and they encouraged their court to study the various fields in great depth. Consequently, the period of their power became one of many scholarly accomplishments. This was the perfect environment for al-Kashi to begin his career as one of the world’s greatest mathematicians.

Eight years after he came into power in 1409, their son, Ulugh Beg, founded an institute in Samarkand which soon became a prominent university. Students from all over the Middle East, and beyond, flocked to this academy in the capital city of Ulugh Beg’s empire. Consequently, Ulugh Beg harvested many great mathematicians and scientists of the Muslim world. In 1414, al-Kashi took this opportunity to contribute vast amounts of knowledge to his people. His best work was done in the court of Ulugh Beg, and it is said that he was the king’s favourite student.

Al-Kashi was still working on his book, called “Risala al-watar wa’l-jaib” meaning “The Treatise on the Chord and Sine”, when he died in 1429. Some scholars believe that Ulugh Beg may have ordered his murder, while others say he died a natural death. The details are unclear. *Wik

1925 Felix Klein died. Curiously, this was the birthday of his dear friend Minkowski. *VFR German mathematician whose synthesis of geometry as the study of the properties of a space that are invariant under a given group of transformations, known as the Erlanger Programm, profoundly influenced mathematical development. He created the Klein bottle, a one-sided closed surface. A Klein bottle cannot be constructed in Euclidean space. It is best pictured as a cylinder looped back through itself to join with its other end. However this is not a continuous surface in 3-space as the surface cannot go through itself without a discontinuity. It is possible to construct a Klein bottle in non-Euclidean space.*TIS

1936 Moritz Schlick, philosopher of science and leader of the Vienna Circle, was murdered by a deranged former student, on the steps of an academic building. *VFR

1977 Harold Calvin Marston Morse developed variational theory in the large with applications  to equilibrium problems in mathematical physics, a theory which is now  called Morse theory and forms a vital role in global analysis*SAU

1990 Ilya Mikhaylovich Frank Russian physicist who, with Tamm, theoretically explained the mechanism of Cherenkov radiation. In 1934, Cherenkov discovered that a peculiar blue light is emitted by charged particles traveling at very high speeds through water. Frank and Tamm provided the theoretical explanation of this effect, which occurs when the particles travel through an optically transparent medium at speeds greater than the speed of light in that medium. This discovery resulted in the development of new methods for detecting and measuring the velocity of high-speed particles and became of great importance for research in nuclear physics. For this, Frank received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1958 (jointly with Pavel A. Cherenkov and Igor Y. Tamm).*TIS

1994 Julius Adams Stratton (May 18, 1901 – June 22, 1994) was a U.S. electrical engineer and university administrator. He attended the University of Washington for one year, then transferred to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), from which he graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1923 and a master's degree in electrical engineering (EE) in 1926. He then followed graduate studies in Europe and the Technische Hochschule of Zurich (ETH Zurich), Switzerland, awarded him the degree of Doctor of Science in 1927. *Wik  He worked with the blind-landing research program during WWII to help develop Glide-slope-approach radar. 

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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