## Thursday 9 November 2023

### On This Day in Math - November 9

Our passion for learning is our tool for survival.
~Carl Sagan

The 313th day of the year; a twin prime with 311. If you draw all the diagonals of a regular dodecagon, it has 313 intersections.(I believe this is counting the 12 vertices of the dodecagon as well as 301 interior intersections.)

bonus fact: 313 is the only 3-digit palindromic prime that is also palindromic in base 2: 100111001 * Mario Livio

And thanks to the folks at The Zoo of Numbers at Archimedes Lab, I now know that 313 is Donald Duck's License plate number. (But I have also seen Disney authorized materials with license DD-13)

EVENTS

1572 - In 1572 a stellar nova became visible from the earth. Cornelius Gemma, the son of Gemma Frisius, made the first recorded observation of it on 9 November. Tycho Brahe first saw it on 11 November. Cornelius, Tycho, and others all observed the nova and determined it to be superlunary, thereby signaling a change in the superlunar sphere contradicting Aristotelian cosmology. *RMAT

1752 William Braikenridge, British mathematician and theologian, elected to the Royal Society. He was mainly interested in plane curves. Braikenridge is well known for his geometrical theorems, in particular he discovered the following theorem now called the Braikenridge - Maclaurin theorem:
"If the sides of a polygon are restricted so that they pass through fixed points and all the vertices except one lie on fixed straight lines, the free vertex will describe a conic or a straight line."
A priority dispute between the two over this and several other theorems was probably unnecessary as it appears that both came to the solutions independently. *SAU

1769 Benjamin Franklin observes a transit of Mercury at Norriton, Pennsylvania in the distinguished company of William Smith, D. D. Provost of the College of Philadelphia (later the Univ of Pennsylvania); John Lukens Esq; Surveyor General of Pennsylvania; David Rittenhouse (astronomer, inventor, clockmaker, mathematician, surveyor, scientific instrument craftsman and Friend of Jefferson), M. A. and Mr. Owen Biddle. Franklin, as President of the Philosophical Society at Philadelphia would communicate the results to the Royal Society in London.
 transit of Mercury across the Sun as observed by David Rittenhouse. *HT @EponymousBreeze

1843 Foundation for Western Hemispheres Largest Refractor.
The Cincinnati Observatory is known as ‘The Birthplace of American Astronomy.’  It houses one of the oldest working telescopes in the world and was the first public observatory in the western hemisphere.  Recently restored to its original beauty, the Observatory is a fully functioning 19th century observatory used daily by the public and amateur astronomers.  The main telescopes are an 11-inch Merz and Mahler refractor from 1845 and a 16-inch Alvan Clark and Sons refractor from 1904.  The historic buildings are designated as a National Historic Landmark, and the grounds provide a serene, park-like setting while still being centrally located in the city of Cincinnati.
The observatory originally sat on four acres of land at the top of Mt. Ida, which was donated to the Society by Nicholas Longworth.  On the 9th of November, 1843, a crowd of thousands witnessed former president John Quincy Adams preside over the dedication of the observatory, “The Lighthouse of the Sky,” and the laying of the cornerstone.  It was at the dedication that Adams gave his last public speech.  Mt Ida was renamed Mt. Adams following this event.
When the great refractor saw first light on April 14, 1845 it was the largest refractor in the Western Hemisphere and third largest in the world.  Mitchel, the first director, wrote and edited the first astronomical publication in the United States, The Sidereal Messenger.  The second director, Cleveland Abbe, published the nation’s first weather forecasts and he later assisted in the founding of the National Weather Service. *Cincinnati Observatory
The 11-inch Merz & Mahler refractor at Cincinnati Observatory, installed in 1842, and still in operation, recent photograph, Observatories of Ohio *Linda Hall Org

1862 ? A clipping in Charles Dodgson's (Lewis Carroll) scrapbook of a letter to the editor of the Star newspaper contains a 'solution' to the problem of squaring the circle which, in the writer's words, " will not admit of the terms ordinarily used, 'approximated,' or 'nearly." The writer has found the square root of pi accurately to 26 decimal places, which is no minor feat. Dodgson seems, unlike many mathematicians then or now, to have spent a great amount of energy trying to explain to circle-squarers where they had erred.

1957 France issued the world’s ﬁrst postage stamp with a portrait of Newton. [Scott #861]. *VFR By 1977 his picture had appeared on stamps from Poland, Benin, Hungary, Mali and Monaco.

1957 On 9 Nov 1957, during a sleepless Saturday night, Gordon Gould had the inventor's inspiration and began to write down the principles of what he called a laser (from the initial letters of "Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.") in his notebook. Although Charles Townes and Arthur Schawlow, also successfully developed the laser, eventually Gould gained his long-denied patent rights. *TIS
Gordon Gould is known mainly for his 30-year endeavor to claim rights to the invention of the laser. He is pictured here in 1987 holding the patent for an optical amplifier, a key component in all lasers.

In 1965, the biggest electricity grid failure in U.S. history caused a 13-hour blackout in northeast America and parts of Canada. The power lines from Niagara Falls to New York City were operating near their maximum capacity. At about 5:15 pm, a transmission line relay failed. Now there was insufficient line capacity for New York City. New England and New York are inter-connected on a power grid, and the power that had been flowing toward New York City had to go elsewhere, instantly. Unable to handle this overload, generator operators shut down to protect their equipment. Almost the entire grid failed, affecting 80,000 square miles, and 25 million people. In the subways of New York, 800,000 people were trapped. *TIS

2004 Firefox 1.0 Introduced. Sometimes abbreviated as FF, Firefox was Mozilla's next generation browser and included such features as tabbed browsing and popup blocking. Mozilla Firefox became a popular alternative for Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) users who sought alternatives that could prevent spyware as well as a host of other Firefox features.*CHM

BIRTHS

1806 Benjamin Banneker (9 Nov 1731; 9 Oct 1806) Black-American astronomer, inventor and mathematician, compiler of almanacs and one of the first important black American intellectuals who was the self-educated son of a freed slave. He was the first to record the arrival of the "seventeen-year locusts" or periodical cicadas. In 1753, Banneker built a wooden clock that kept accurate time even though he had only previously seen a sundial and a pocket watch. He calculated the clock's gear ratios and carved them with a pocket knife. In 1789, he successfully predicted an eclipse. He helped survey the site of Washington D.C. (1791-3). Banneker was also an early antislavery publicist who worked to improve the lot of black people in the U.S *TIS

1847 Carlo Alberto Castigliano (9 November 1847, Asti – 25 October 1884, Milan) was an Italian mathematician and physicist known for Castigliano's method for determining displacements in a linear-elastic system based on the partial derivatives of strain energy. *Wik

1869 Virgil Snyder (9 Nov 1869 in Dixon, Iowa, USA 4 Jan 1950 in Ithaca, New York, USA ) Up until the 1920s, Snyder's prolific output and his talents as a teacher made him, together with Frank Morley of Johns Hopkins, one of the most influential algebraic geometers in the nation. Together with Henry White, in fact, Snyder emerged as a principal heir to Klein's geometric legacy. *SAU

1885 Theodor Franz Eduard Kaluza (9 November 1885, Wilhelmsthal – 19 January 1954, Göttingen) was a German mathematician and physicist known for the Kaluza-Klein theory involving field equations in five-dimensional space. His idea that fundamental forces can be unified by introducing additional dimensions re-emerged much later in string theory. *Wik

1885 Hermann Weyl (9 Nov 1885; 8 Dec 1955) German-American mathematician whose widely varied contributions in mathematics linked pure mathematics and theoretical physics. He made significant contributions to quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity. He attempted to incorporate electromagnetism into the geometric formalism of general relativity. Weyl published Die Idee der Riemannschen Fläche (1913) which united analysis, geometry and topology. He produced the first gauge theory in which the Maxwell electromagnetic field and the gravitational field appear as geometrical properties of space-time. He evolved (1923-38) the concept of continuous groups using matrix representations. Applying group theory to quantum mechanics he set up the modern subject. *TIS

1905 Abraham Adrian Albert (November 9, 1905 – June 6, 1972) was an American mathematician. In 1939, he received the first American Mathematical Society's Cole Prize in Algebra for his work on Riemann matrices. He is best known for his work on the Albert–Brauer–Hasse–Noether theorem on finite-dimensional division algebras over number fields and as the developer of Albert algebras, which are also known as exceptional Jordan algebras. *Wik

1906 Yaroslav Borisovich Lopatynsky (9 Nov 1906 in Tbilisi, Georgia, Russia - 10 March 1981 in Donetsk, USSR) Lopatynsky's contributions to the theory of differential equations are particularly important, with important contributions to the theory of linear and nonlinear partial differential equations. He worked on the general theory of boundary value problems for linear systems of partial differential equations of elliptic type, finding general methods of solving boundary value problems. *SAU

1934 Carl Sagan (9 Nov 1934; 20 Dec 1996) U.S. astronomer and exobiologist and writer of popular science books. His studies were far-ranging. He coauthored a scientific paper about the dangers of nuclear winter. He researched the atmosphere of Venus, seasonal changes on Mars, surface conditions on planets, and created popular interest in the universe with his television series Cosmos. Sagan was a leading figure in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. He urged the scientific community to listen with large radio telescopes for signals from intelligent extraterrestrial lifeforms. Sagan also played a prominent role in the U.S. space program, with his involvement in the Mariner, Viking, and Voyager spacecraft expeditions. *TIS (and now he is truly "star stuff")

1922 Imre Lakatos (November 9, 1922 – February 2, 1974) was a Hungarian philosopher of mathematics and science, known for his thesis of the fallibility of mathematics and its 'methodology of proofs and refutations' in its pre-axiomatic stages of development, and also for introducing the concept of the 'research programme' in his methodology of scientific research programmes. Lakatos' philosophy of mathematics was inspired by both Hegel's and Marx' dialectic, by Karl Popper's theory of knowledge, and by the work of mathematician George Polya.
The 1976 book Proofs and Refutations is based on the first three chapters of his four chapter 1961 doctoral thesis Essays in the logic of mathematical discovery. But its first chapter is Lakatos’s own revision of its chapter 1 that was first published as Proofs and Refutations in four parts in 1963-4 in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science. It is largely taken up by a fictional dialogue set in a mathematics class. The students are attempting to prove the formula for the Euler characteristic in algebraic topology, which is a theorem about the properties of polyhedra, namely that for all polyhedra the number of their (V)ertices minus the number of their (E)dges plus the number of their (F)aces is 2: (V – E + F = 2). The dialogue is meant to represent the actual series of attempted proofs which mathematicians historically offered for the conjecture, only to be repeatedly refuted by counterexamples. Often the students 'quote' famous mathematicians such as Cauchy.
What Lakatos tried to establish was that no theorem of informal mathematics is final or perfect. This means that we should not think that a theorem is ultimately true, only that no counterexample has yet been found. *Wik

DEATHS

1830 Jan Śniadecki (August 29, 1756– November 9, 1830) was a Polish mathematician, philosopher and astronomer at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries.
Born in Żnin, Śniadecki studied at Kraków University and in Paris. He was rector of the Imperial University of Vilnius, a member of the Commission of National Education, and director of astronomical observatories at Kraków and Vilnius. He died at Jašiūnai Manor near Vilnius.
Śniadecki published many works, including his observations on recently discovered planetoids. His O rachunku losów (On the Calculation of Chance, 1817) was a pioneering work in probability. *Wik He is considered as the best Polish mathematician born in the 18th century.

1954 Frederick Francis Percival Bisacre (20 June 1885 in Tonbridge, Kent, England
- 9 Nov 1954 in Helensburgh, Scotland) was an engineer who was educated at Cambridge and worked for the Edinburgh publishers Blackie with whom he published a Calculus textbook. He wrote some research papers on X-ray diffraction. *SAU

1966 Dan Rutherford (4 July 1906 in Stirling, Scotland - 9 Nov 1966 in St Andrews, Fife, Scotland)studied at St Andrews and Amsterdam. He spent most of his career in St Andrews becoming Gregory Professor of Applied Mathematics. In spite of this title most of his research was in pure mathematics and in particular in algebra. He became President of the EMS in 1940 and 1963. *SAU
Rutherford's dissertation was published in 1932 as Modular Invariants in the Cambridge Tracts. He became an assistant lecturer at the University of Edinburgh and then an assistant lecturer at the University of St Andrews, where he in 1934 was promoted to "Lecturer in Mathematics and Applied Mathematics" and given the task of building up the department in applied mathematics. At St Andrews, he received in 1949 a D.Sc. and then became in 1952 a reader and in 1964 a professor in the Gregory Chair of Applied Mathematics. His research specialty was algebra and in particular the representation theory of symmetric groups. His most famous book, Substitutional Analysis (1948), presents his research on the Young tableaux of Alfred Young. Rutherford published some research on numerical methods in fluid dynamics. He was the author of 3 books on pure mathematics and 3 books on applied mathematics and also the coauthor of a textbook on elementary abstract algebra.

In 1934 Rutherford was elected a member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His proposers were Herbert Turnbull, Sir Edmund Taylor Whittaker, Edward Copson and Geoffrey Timms.[2] He won the Society's Keith Medal in 1953. In 1966 he (posthumously) won the Makdougall Brisbane Prize. He was survived by his widow and two daughters.*Wik

1981 Lois Wilfred Griffiths (June 27, 1899 – November 9, 1981) was an American mathematician and teacher. She served as a researcher, mathematician, and professor for 37 years at Northwestern University before retiring in 1964. She is best known for her work in polygonal numbers. She published multiple papers and wrote a textbook, Introduction to the Theory of Equations, published in 1945.

Griffiths attended public schools in Washington state, then attended the University of Washington. She served as an assistant to the Comptroller of the university during her undergraduate course. In 1921, she graduated with a bachelor's degree. In 1923 she earned a master's degree, also from the University of Washington, after writing Contact Curves of the Rational Cubic. The paper was published in typewritten arrangement by the University. She was elected as a member of the American Mathematical Society in September 1923, following which her master's thesis was published in the Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society.

In October 1925, she enrolled at the University of Chicago to pursue a doctorate in mathematics. She was supervised for the Ph.D course by well-known mathematician Leonard Dickson. Her thesis Certain quaternary quadratic forms and diophantine equations by generalized quaternion algebras earned her a doctorate degree in 1927.

In 1927, after earning her doctorate, she was engaged as an instructor of mathematics at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where she spent the remainder of her career. In 1930, she was promoted to assistant professor of mathematics, and in 1938 she was named associate professor. She retired from Northwestern University in 1964 and was named professor emeritus.*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