Thursday, 31 January 2013

On This Day in Math - January 31

Joost Bürgi nich at Kepler  monument
on the market-place in the city Weil der Stadt in  Baden-Württemberg

The capacity to blunder slightly is the real marvel of DNA. 
Without this special attribute, we would still be anaerobic bacteria
and there would be no music.
~Antoine-Thomson d' Abbadie

The 31st day of the year; 31 = 22 + 33, i.e., the sum of the first two primes raised to themselves. *Number Gossip  (Is there another prime which is the sum of consecutive primes raised to themselves?)

1599 During an observation of the lunar eclipse, Tycho Brahe discovers that his predictive theory about the movement of the Moon is wrong since the eclipse started 24 minutes before his calculations predicted: he improves on his theory. On March 21 he sent a letter to Longomontanus, in which he reports his revised theory.*Wik
1802 Gauss elected a corresponding member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Science. *VFR

1834 Felix Klein declines to be the successor of J. J. Sylvester at John's Hopkins.  Klein had been offered the position on December 13th of the previous year, but had demanded a salary equal to the departing Sylvester and some form of security for his family which Johns Hopkins did not meet. By October he would send notes to his family, "Gottingen is beginning to make noises."  In the spring of 1836 he took over as Professor at Gottingen (he had been their second choice). *Constance Reid, The Road Not Taken, Mathematical Intelligencer, 1978

In 1839, Fox Talbot read a paper before the Royal Society, London, to describe his photographic process using solar light, with an exposure time of about 20 minutes: Some Account of the Art of Photogenic Drawing or the Process by which Natural Objects may be made to Delineate Themselves without the Aid of the Artist's Pencil. He had heard that Daguerre of Paris was working on a similar process. To establish his own priority, Fox Talbot had exhibited "such specimens of my process as I had with me in town," the previous week at a meeting of the Royal Institution, before he had this more detailed paper ready to present.*TIS

1939 Hewlett-Packard founded. Their calculators use the “reverse Polish notation” devised by Jan L Lukasiewicz (see here, 1878). *VFR

1939 Joseph Ehrenfried Hofmann began his academic career as a professor of the history of mathematics at the University of Berlin. He is noted for his work on Leibniz, especially the book Leibniz in Paris, 1672–1676: His Growth to Mathematical Maturity. *VFR Leibniz in Paris 1672-1676: His Growth to Mathematical Maturity

1958 Explorer 1 was launched on January 31, 1958 at 22:48 Eastern Time (equal to February 1, 03:48 UTC because the time change goes past midnight). It was the first spacecraft to detect the Van Allen radiation belt, returning data until its batteries were exhausted after nearly four months. It remained in orbit until 1970, and has been followed by more than 90 scientific spacecraft in the Explorer series. *Wik 
Actually the Van Allen radiation was detectable by the Russian’s first satellite, Sputnik.  Because the signals were sent in a secret code, it’s signal could not be received by the Russians when it was detecting the radiation of the belt.  *Frederich Pohl, Chasing Science, pg 85

1995 AT&T Bell Laboratories and VLSI Technology announce plans to develop strategies for protecting communications devices from eavesdroppers. The goal would be to prevent problems such as insecure cellular phone lines and Internet transmissions by including security chips in devices. *CHM

2011, Since the year began on a Saturday, The typical calendar page for January takes six lines.  Such months are called perverse months.  2011 had three such months, Jan, July and October. 2012 had only two. It is possible for there to be four in a single year. When will that year be?  Is it possible for there to be a year with no perverse months?
There is an inverse relationship between Friday-the-thirteenths and perverse months; so what is good for the calendar makers is bad for the superstitious. *VFR

1715 Giovanni Francesco Fagnano dei Toschi (31 Jan 1715 in Sinigaglia, Italy - 14 May 1797 in Sinigaglia, Italy) He proved that the triangle which has as its vertices the bases of the altitudes of any triangle has those altitudes as its bisectors. *VFR  Of all the triangles that could be inscribed in a given triangle, the one with the smallest perimeter is the orthic triangle. This has sometimes been called Fagnano's Problem since it was first posed and answered by Giovanni Francesco Fagnano dei Toschi. Fagnano also was the first to show that the altitudes of the original triangle are the angle bisectors of the orhtic triangle, so the incenter of the orthic triangle is the orthocenter of the original triangle.*pb
He was the son of the mathematician
Giulio Carlo Fagnano. He calculated the integral of the tangent and also proved the reduction  formula


1841 Samuel Loyd (31 Jan 1841 ; died 10 Apr 1911)  was an American puzzlemaker who was best known for composing chess problems and games, including Parcheesi, in addition to other mathematically based games and puzzles. He studied engineering and intended to become a steam and mechanical engineer but he soon made his living from his puzzles and chess problems. Loyd's most famous puzzle was the 14-15 Puzzle which he produced in 1878. The craze swept America where employers put up notices prohibiting playing the puzzle during office hours. Loyd's 15 puzzle is the familiar 4x4 arrangement of 15 square numbered tiles in a tray that must be reordered by sliding one tile at a time into the vacant space. *TIS When he offered a cash prize to anyone who could solve the puzzle with 14&15 reversed, it swept the country.  To show it impossible requires only a little group theory; see W. E. Story, “Note on the ‘15’ puzzle,” American Journal of Mathematics, 2, 399–404. For samples of Loyd’s many puzzles, see Mathematical Puzzles of Sam Loyd, edited by Martin Gardner, Dover 1959 [p. xi]. *VFR 
Although Lloyd popularized the puzzle in his books and articles, he most certainly did not invent it. Loyd's first article about the puzzle was published in 1886 and it wasn't until 1891 that he first claimed to have been the inventor.  The article mentioned by Story(1878) was dated prior to Loyd's first mention of the puzzle) Here is the history of the puzzle as related by Wikipedia:The puzzle was "invented" by Noyes Palmer Chapman, a postmaster in Canastota, New York, who is said to have shown friends, as early as 1874, a precursor puzzle consisting of 16 numbered blocks that were to be put together in rows of four, each summing to 34. Copies of the improved Fifteen Puzzle made their way to Syracuse, New York by way of Noyes' son, Frank, and from there, via sundry connections, to Watch Hill, RI, and finally to Hartford (Connecticut), where students in the American School for the Deaf started manufacturing the puzzle and, by December 1879, selling them both locally and in Boston, Massachusetts. Shown one of these, Matthias Rice, who ran a fancy woodworking business in Boston, started manufacturing the puzzle sometime in December 1879 and convinced a "Yankee Notions" fancy goods dealer to sell them under the name of "Gem Puzzle". In late-January 1880, Dr. Charles Pevey, a dentist in Worcester, Massachusetts, garnered some attention by offering a cash reward for a solution to the Fifteen Puzzle.
The game became a craze in the U.S. in February 1880, Canada in March, Europe in April, but that craze had pretty much dissipated by July. Apparently the puzzle was not introduced to Japan until 1889.
Noyes Chapman had applied for a patent on his "Block Solitaire Puzzle" on February 21, 1880. However, that patent was rejected, likely because it was not sufficiently different from the August 20, 1878 "Puzzle-Blocks" patent (US 207124) granted to Ernest U. Kinsey.*Wik
Play with an online version here.

1886 George Neville Watson (31 Jan 1886 in Westward Ho!, Devon, England - 2 Feb 1965 in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, England) studied at Cambridge, and then taught at Cambridge and University College London before becoming Professor at Birmingham. He is best known as the joint author with Whittaker of one of the standard text-books on Analysis. Titchmarsh wrote of Watson's books, "Here one felt was mathematics really happening before one's eyes. ... the older mathematical books were full of mystery and wonder. With Professor Watson we reached the period when the mystery is dispelled though the wonder remains." *SAU

1914 Lev Arkad'evich Kaluznin (31 Jan 1914 in Moscow, Russia - 6 Dec 1990 in Moscow, Russia) Kaluznin is best known for his work in group theory and in particular permutation groups. He studied the Sylow p-subgroups of symmetric groups and their generalisations. In the case of symmetric groups of degree pn, these subgroups were constructed from cyclic groups of order p by taking their wreath product. His work allowed computations in groups to be replaced by computations in certain polynomial algebras over the field of p elements. Despite the fact that the earliest applications of wreath products of permutation groups was due to C Jordan, W Specht and G Polya, it was Kaluznin who first developed special computational tools for this purpose. Using his techniques, he was able to describe the characteristic subgroups of the Sylow p-subgroups, their derived series, their upper and lower central series, and more. These results have been included in many textbooks on group theory. *SAU

1928 Heinz Bauer (31 January 1928 – 15 August 2002) was a German mathematician.
Bauer studied at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and received his PhD there in 1953 under the supervision of Otto Haupt and finished his habilitation in 1956, both for work with Otto Haupt. After a short time from 1961 to 1965 as professor at the University of Hamburg he stayed his whole career at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. His research focus was the Potential theory, Probability theory and Functional analysis
Bauer received the Chauvenet Prize in 1980 and became a member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina in 1986. Bauer died in Erlangen. *Wik

1929 Rudolf Ludwig Mössbauer (31 Jan 1929 -  ) German physicist and co-winner (with American Robert Hofstadter) of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1961 for his researches concerning the resonance absorption of gamma-rays and his discovery in this connection of the Mössbauer effect. The Mössbauer effect occurs when gamma rays emitted from nuclei of radioactive isotopes have an unvarying wavelength and frequency. This occurs if the emitting nuclei are tightly held in a crystal. Normally, the energy of the gamma rays would be changed because of the recoil of the radiating nucleus. Mössbauer's discoveries helped to prove Einstein's general theory of relativity. His discoveries are also used to measure the magnetic field of atomic nuclei and to study other properties of solid materials. *TIS

1945 Persi Warren Diaconis (January 31, 1945;  ) is an American mathematician and former professional magician. He is the Mary V. Sunseri Professor of Statistics and Mathematics at Stanford University. He is particularly known for tackling mathematical problems involving randomness and randomization, such as coin flipping and shuffling playing cards.
Diaconis left home at 14 to travel with sleight-of-hand legend Dai Vernon, and dropped out of high school, promising himself that he would return one day so that he could learn all of the math necessary to read William Feller's famous two-volume treatise on probability theory, An Introduction to Probability Theory and Its Applications. He returned to school (City College of New York for his undergraduate work graduating in 1971 and then a Ph.D. in Mathematical Statistics from Harvard University in 1974), and became a mathematical probabilist.
According to Martin Gardner, at school Diaconis supported himself by playing poker on ships between New York and South America. Gardner recalls that Diaconis had "fantastic second deal and bottom deal".
Diaconis is married to Stanford statistics professor Susan Holmes. *Wik

1632 Joost Bürgi (28 Feb 1552, 31 Jan 1632) Swiss watchmaker and mathematician who invented logarithms independently of the Scottish mathematician John Napier. He was the most skilful, and the most famous, clockmaker of his day. He also made astronomical and practical geometry instruments (notably the proportional compass and a triangulation instrument useful in surveying). This led to becoming an assistant to the German astronomer Johannes Kepler. Bürgi was a major contributor to the development of decimal fractions and exponential notation, but his most notable contribution was published in 1620 as a table of antilogarithms. Napier published his table of logarithms in 1614, but Bürgi had already compiled his table of logarithms at least 10 years before that, and perhaps as early as 1588.
*TIS  I posted about Burgi and his work w/ "proto" logarithms here if you would like more detail.

1903 Norman Macleod Ferrers; (11 Aug 1829 in Prinknash Park, Upton St Leonards, Gloucestershire, England - 31 Jan 1903 in Cambridge, England)  John Venn wrote of him,.. ,
the Master, Dr Edwin Guest, invited Ferrers, who was by far the best mathematician amongst the fellows, to supply the place. His career was thus determined for the rest of his life. For many years head mathematical lecturer, he was one of the two tutors of the college from 1865. As lecturer he was extremely successful. Besides great natural powers in mathematics, he possessed an unusual capacity for vivid exposition. He was probably the best lecturer, in his subject, in the university of his day.
It was as a mathematician that Ferrers acquired fame outside the university. He made many contributions of importance to mathematical literature. His first book was "Solutions of the Cambridge Senate House Problems, 1848 - 51". In 1861 he published a treatise on "Trilinear Co-ordinates," of which subsequent editions appeared in 1866 and 1876. One of his early memoirs was on Sylvester's development of Poinsot's representation of the motion of a rigid body about a fixed point. The paper was read before the Royal Society in 1869, and published in their Transactions. In 1871 he edited at the request of the college the "Mathematical Writings of George Green" ... Ferrers's treatise on "Spherical Harmonics," published in 1877, presented many original features. His contributions to the "Quarterly Journal of Mathematics," of which he was an editor from 1855 to 1891, were numerous ... They range over such subjects as quadriplanar co-ordinates, Lagrange's equations and hydrodynamics. In 1881 he applied himself to study Kelvin's investigation of the law of distribution of electricity in equilibrium on an uninfluenced spherical bowl. In this he made the important addition of finding the potential at any point of space in zonal harmonics (1881).
Ferrers proved the proposition by Adams that "The number of modes of partitioning (n) into (m) parts is equal to the number of modes of partitioning (n) into parts, one of which is always m, and the others (m) or less than (m). " with a graphic transformation that is named for him. *SAU

1934 Duncan MacLaren Young Sommerville (24 Nov 1879 in Beawar, Rajasthan, India - 31 Jan 1934 in Wellington, New Zealand) Sommerville studied at St Andrews and then had a post as a lecturer there. He left to become Professor of Pure and Applied mathematics at Victoria College, Wellington New Zealand. He worked on non-Euclidean geometry and the History of Mathematics. He became President of the EMS in 1911. *SAU

1966 Dirk Brouwer (1 Sep 1902; 31 Jan 1966) Dutch-born U.S. astronomer and geophysicist known for his achievements in celestial mechanics, especially for his pioneering application of high-speed digital computers for astronomical computations. While still a student he determined the mass of Titan from its influence on other Saturnian moons. Brouwer developed general methods for finding orbits and computing errors and applied these methods to comets, asteroids, and planets. He computed the orbits of the first artificial satellites and from them obtained increased knowledge of the figure of the earth. His book, Methods of Celestial Mechanics, taught a generation of celestial mechanicians. He also redetermined astronomical constants.*TIS

1973 Noel Bryan Slater, often cited NB Slater, (29 July 1912 in Blackburn, Lancashire, England - January 31 1973 in Hull, England) was a British mathematician and physicist who worked on including statistical mechanics and physical chemistry, and probability theory.*Wik

1995 George Robert Stibitz (30 Apr 1904, 31 Jan 1995) U.S. mathematician who was regarded by many as the "father of the modern digital computer." While serving as a research mathematician at Bell Telephone Laboratories in New York City, Stibitz worked on relay switching equipment used in telephone networks. In 1937, Stibitz, a scientist at Bell Laboratories built a digital machine based on relays, flashlight bulbs, and metal strips cut from tin-cans. He called it the "Model K" because most of it was constructed on his kitchen table. It worked on the principle that if two relays were activated they caused a third relay to become active, where this third relay represented the sum of the operation. Also, in 1940, he gave a demonstration of the first remote operation of a computer.*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

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

On This Day in Math - January 30

God may not play dice with the universe,
but something strange is going on with the prime numbers.
~Paul Erdos

The 30th day of the year; both the dodecahedron and the icosahedron have 30 edges. They may be positioned at a common center so that in the center of each of the 12 faces of the dodecahedron is one of the 12 vertices of the icosahedron, in the center of each of the 20 faces of the icosahedron is one of the 20 vertices of the dodecahedron, and the 30 edges of the dodecahedron and the 30 edges of the icosahedron cross each other at right angles at their midpoints.

astounding to me, but 11+22+33...+3030 = 208492413443704093346554910065262730566475781 is prime Republic of Math ‏@republicofmath

1610 Galileo writes to Belisario Vinta, with notes on his long observation of the moon with a new twenty-power scope. A letter containing much of what was to appear about the Moon in Sidereus Nuncius, two months later. *Drake, Galileo at Work; 1978
1830 In a letter to Laplace, Gauss gives the limiting value of  the frequency of distribution of positive integers in the continued fraction of a random number (now called the Gauss-Kuzmin Distribution). He then asks if Laplace can offer help in finding the error term. *Math World

1897 Mary Frances Winston elected to membership in the American Mathematical Society. The previous year she received her PhD at G¨ottingen, being the first American woman to receive a PhD in mathematics at a German university. *G. B. Price, History of the Department of Mathematics of the University of Kansas, 1866–1970, p. 70

1884 Sonja Kovelevskiaya gives her first university lecturer. This was the first regular lecture by a woman at a research institution in any field in modern times. [The Mathematical Intelligencer, 6(1984), no. 1, p. 29] *VFR

1925 The U.S. History of Science Society was incorporated under the laws of the District of Columbia. The first president was Lawrence Joseph Henderson (1878–1924). The movement to form the society was begun by David Eugene Smith and today is the most important historical society in the world. *VFR

1952 Two New Primes Found with SWAC. Using the Standards Western Automatic Computer (SWAC), researchers found two new prime numbers the first time they attempted a prime-searching program on the computer. Within the year, three other primes had been found. The National Bureau of Standards funded construction of the SWAC in Los Angeles in 1950 and it ran, in one form or another, until 1967.
*CHM {The first two primes found with SWAC were M521, M607. In 1951 Ferrier used a mechanical desk calculator to find the 44 digit prime (2148+1)/17 = 20988936657440586486151264256610222593863921.
The first primes found with an electronic computer were by Miller and Wheeler (Nature, 168 (1951) 838) in 1951 when they found several new primes, including the 79 digit 180(2127-1)2+1 }

1982 First computer virus, the Elk Cloner, written by 15-year old Rich Skrenta, is found in the wild. It infects Apple II computers via floppy disk. *Wik

1988 Science News reports that Noam D. Elkies, age 21, of Harvard found four fourth-powers whose sum is another fourth-power, thereby providing a counterexample to a conjecture of Euler in 1769. The smallest number in his counterexample had eight digits. Later Roger Frye of Thinking Machines Corporation, Cambridge, MA, found the smallest counterexample:
95,8004 + 217,5194 + 414,5604 + 414 5604 = 422,4184 .
This took some 100 hours on a Connection Machine. Can you figure out how to verify this example using your calculator (which only displays 8 or 10 digits)? [Mathematics Magazine 61 (1988), p 130; Science 239 (1988), p 464]. *VFR
(Euler's general conjecture had been proven false by L. J. Lander and T. R. Parkin in 1966 when they found the following counterexample for fifth powers. Elkies had suggested the computer approach that provided the minimal solution.)

1990 Ruth Lawrence sends a paper on homological representations of the Hecke algebra, introducing, among other things, certain novel linear representations of the braid group, the Lawrence–Krammer representation to the journal, Communications in Mathematical Physics

1619 Michelangelo Ricci born. (30 Jan 1619 in Rome, Italy - : 12 May 1682 in Rome) In 1666, he found the tangent lines to the parabolas of Fermat. *VFR Michelangelo Ricci was a friend of Torricelli; in fact both were taught by Benedetti Castelli. He studied theology and law in Rome and at this time he became friends with René de Sluze. It is clear that Sluze, Torricelli and Ricci had a considerable influence on each other in the mathematics which they studied.
Ricci made his career in the Church. His income came from the Church, certainly from 1650 he received such funds, but perhaps surprisingly he was never ordained. Ricci served the Pope in several different roles before being made a cardinal by Pope Innocent XI in 1681.
Ricci's main work was Exercitatio geometrica, De maximis et minimis (1666) which was later reprinted as an appendix to Nicolaus Mercator's Logarithmo-technia (1668). It only consisted of 19 pages and it is remarkable that his high reputation rests solely on such a short publication.
In this work Ricci finds the maximum of xm(a - x)n and the tangents to ym = kxn. The methods are early examples of induction. He also studied spirals (1644), generalised cycloids (1674) and states explicitly that finding tangents and finding areas are inverse operations (1668). *SAU

1755 Nikolai Fuss (30 Jan 1755 in Basel, Switzerland - 4 Jan 1826 in St Petersburg, Russia) was a Swiss mathematician whose most important contribution was as amanuensis to Euler after he lost his sight. Most of Fuss's papers are solutions to problems posed by Euler on spherical geometry, trigonometry, series, differential geometry and differential equations. His best papers are in spherical trigonometry, a topic he worked on with A J Lexell and F T Schubert. Fuss also worked on geometrical problems of Apollonius and Pappus. He made contributions to differential geometry and won a prize from the French Academy in 1778 for a paper on the motion of comets near some planet Recherche sur le dérangement d'une comète qui passe près d'une planète (see [4]). Fuss won other prizes from Sweden and Denmark. He contributed much in the field of education, writing many fine textbooks. *SAU

1805 Edward Sang,(30 Jan 1805 in Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland - 23 Dec 1890) A native of Fife, Sang wrote extensively on mathematical, mechanical, optical and actuarial topics. *SAU

1865 Georg Landsberg (30 Jan 1865 , 14 Sept 1912) studied the theory of functions of two variables and also the theory of higher dimensional curves. In particular he studied the role of these curves in the calculus of variations and in mechanics.
He worked with ideas related to those of Weierstrass, Riemann and Heinrich Weber on theta functions and Gaussian sums. His most important work, however was his contribution to the development of the theory of algebraic functions of a single variable. Here he studied the Riemann-Roch theorem.
He was able to combine Riemann's function theoretic approach with the Italian geometric approach and with the Weierstrass arithmetical approach. His arithmetic setting of this result led eventually to the modern abstract theory of algebraic functions.
One of his most important works was Theorie der algebraischen Funktionen einer Varaiblen (Leipzig, 1902) which he wrote jointly with Kurt Hensel. This work remained the standard text on the subject for many years. *SAU

1918 Heinz Rutishauser (30 January 1918 in Weinfelden, Switzerland; 10 November 1970 in Zürich) was a Swiss mathematician and a pioneer of modern numerical mathematics and computer science. *Wik

1925 Douglas Engelbart is Born, best known for inventing the mouse. Engelbart publically demonstrated the mouse at a computer conference in 1968, where he also showed off work his group had done in hypermedia and on-screen video teleconferencing. The founder of the Bootstrap Institute, Engelbart has 20 patents to his name.*CHM

1954 Gino Benedetto Loria (19 May 1862 in Mantua, Italy - 30 Jan 1954 in Genoa, Italy) In his day, Loria was arguably the pre-eminent historian of mathematics in Italy. A full professor of higher geometry at the University of Genoa beginning in 1891, Loria wrote the history of mathematics as a mathematician writing for other mathematicians. He emphasised this approach repeatedly in his works. For instance, in the introduction to his 'Storia delle matematiche dall'alba della civilità al tramonto del secolo XIX' (History of Mathematics from the Dawn of Civilisation to the End of the 19th Century), he stated that general history of mathematics was written "by a mathematician for mathematicians". *SAU

1977 Harry Clyde Carver (December 4, 1890 – January 30, 1977) was an American mathematician and academic, primarily associated with the University of Michigan. He was a major influence in the development of mathematical statistics as an academic discipline.
Born in Waterbury, Connecticut, Carver was educated at the University of Michigan, earning his B.S. degree in 1915, and the next year becoming an instructor in mathematics; he taught statistics in actuarial applications. At the time, the University of Michigan was only the second such institution in the United States to offer this type of course, after the pioneering Iowa State University. Carver was appointed assistant professor at Michigan in 1918, then associate professor (1921) and full professor (1936); during this period the University's program in mathematical statistics and probability underwent significant expansion.
In 1930 Carver founded the journal Annals of Mathematical Statistics, which over time became an important periodical in the field. Financial support, however, was lacking in the midst of the Great Depression; in January 1934 Carver undertook financial responsibility for the Annals and maintained the existence of the journal at his own expense. In 1935 he helped to start the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, which in 1938 assumed control over the journal; Samuel S. Wilks succeeded Carver as editor in the same year. The Institute has named its Harry C. Carver Medal after him.
With the coming of World War II, Carver devoted his energies to solving problems in aerial navigation, an interest he maintained for the remainder of his life. *Wik

1991 John Bardeen (23 May 1908, 30 Jan 1991) American physicist who was cowinner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in both 1956 and 1972. He shared the 1956 prize with William B. Shockley and Walter H. Brattain for their joint invention of the transistor. With Leon N. Cooper and John R. Schrieffer he was awarded the 1972 prize for development of the theory of superconductors, usually called the BCS-theory (after the initials of their names). *TIS

1992 Dom George Frederick James Temple​ FRS(born 2 December 1901, London; died 30 January 1992, Isle of Wight) was an English mathematician, recipient of the Sylvester Medal in 1969. He was President of the London Mathematical Society in the years 1951-1953.[2]
Temple took his first degree as an evening student at Birkbeck College, London, between 1918 and 1922, and also worked there as a research assistant. In 1924 he moved to Imperial College as a demonstrator, where he worked with Professor Sydney Chapman. After a period spent with Eddington at Cambridge, he returned to Imperial as reader in mathematics. He was appointed professor of mathematics at King's College London in 1932, where he returned after war service with the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough. In 1953 he was appointed Sedleian Professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of Oxford, a chair which he held until 1968, and in which he succeeded Chapman. He was also an honorary Fellow of Queen's College, Oxford.
After the death of his wife in 1980, Temple, a devout Christian, took monastic vows in the Benedictine order and entered Quarr Abbey on the Isle of Wight, where he remained until his death. *Wik

1998 Samuel Eilenberg (September 30, 1913 – January 30, 1998) was a Polish and American mathematician born in Warsaw, Russian Empire (now in Poland) and died in New York City, USA, where he had spent much of his career as a professor at Columbia University.
He earned his Ph.D. from University of Warsaw in 1936. His thesis advisor was Karol Borsuk. His main interest was algebraic topology. He worked on the axiomatic treatment of homology theory with Norman Steenrod (whose names the Eilenberg–Steenrod axioms bear), and on homological algebra with Saunders Mac Lane. In the process, Eilenberg and Mac Lane created category theory.
Eilenberg was a member of Bourbaki and with Henri Cartan, wrote the 1956 book Homological Algebra, which became a classic.
Later in life he worked mainly in pure category theory, being one of the founders of the field. The Eilenberg swindle (or telescope) is a construction applying the telescoping cancellation idea to projective modules.
Eilenberg also wrote an important book on automata theory. The X-machine, a form of automaton, was introduced by Eilenberg in 1974. *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

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

On This Day in Math - January 29

There is no philosophy which is not founded upon knowledge of the phenomena, but to get any profit from this knowledge it is absolutely necessary to be a mathematician.
~Daniel Bernoulli

The 29th day of the year; 229 = 536870912 a nine-digit number with no digit repeated. Is it possible to create a power of a single digit number that has ten distinct digits?

1697 (o.s.) Newton received two challenge problems from Johann Bernoulli, one being the Brachistochrone problem published in Acta eruditorum the previous June and addressed “to the shrewdest mathematicians in the world.” The next day Newton posted his solution to the Royal Society. When Bernoulli saw the anonymous solution he recognized it as “ex ungue leonem” (as the lion is recognized by his paw). *Westfall, Never at Rest, pg 581

1769 "On the morning of the 29 January 1769, seven ‘transit’ astronomers went to Catherine the Great’s Winter Palace in St Petersburg because the Empress had requested to meet her astronomical army before they set out to their destinations across the Russian empire. The German Georg Moritz Lowitz and his assistant, the Russian Pjotr Inochodcev were going to Guryev, Russia (modern Atyrau, Kazakhstan), the Russian Stepan Rumovsky and the Swiss Jacques André Mallet and Jean-Louis Pictet were all travelling to different locations on the Kola peninsula, the Germans Christoph Euler was ordered to Orsk and Wolfgang Ludwig Krafft to Orenburg. *Andrea Wulf, Transit of Venus Web Site

1824 Even right at the end of his life, thirty-five years later, former President Thomas Jefferson was still reporting on the current news in mathematics. On this day he writes to Patrick K. Rogers concerning the abandonment of fluxional calculus at Cambridge in favour of the Leibnizian notation , "The English generally have been very stationary in later times, and the French, on the contrary, so active and successful, particularly in preparing elementary books, in mathematics and natural sciences, that those who wish for instruction without caring from what nation they get it, resort universally to the latter language. Besides the earlier and invaluable works of Euler and Bezout, we have latterly that of Lacroix in mathematics, of Legendre in geometry, . . . to say nothing of the many detached essays of Monge and others, and the transcendent labours of Laplace, and I am informed by a highly instructed person recently from Cambridge, that the mathematicians of that institution, sensible of being in the rear of those of the continent, and ascribing the cause much to their long-continued preference of the geometrical over the analytical methods, which the French have so long cultivated and improved, have now adopted the latter; and that they have also given up the fluxionary, for the differential calculus. " *John Fauval, Lecture at Univ of Va.

1957 SRI and GE Meet to Choose a Place for ERMA's MICR Encoding
ERMA (Electronic Recording Machine - Accounting), developed by SRI and General Electric for the Bank of America in California, employed Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) as a tool that captures data from checks. IBM was making a strong case to place the encoding at the top of a check. SRI and GE conducted a series of tests that clearly demonstrated the advantage of the bottom-of-the-check encoding. *CHM

1970 Yuri Matiyasevich presents proof of Hilbert's 10th Problem.  Having been frustrated  by the problem, he had given up hope of solving it. In December of the previous year after having been asked to review an article by Robinson, he was inspired by the novelty of her approach and went back to work on H10.  By Jan 3, 1970 he had a proof.  He would present the proof on January 29, 1970

1688 Emanuel Swedenborg (29 Jan 1688; 29 Mar 1772) Swedish scientist, philosopher and theologian. While young, he studied mathematics and the natural sciences in England and Europe. From Swedenborg's inventive and mechanical genius came his method of finding terrestrial longitude by the Moon, new methods of constructing docks and even tentative suggestions for the submarine and the airplane. Back in Sweden, he started (1715) that country's first scientific journal, Daedalus Hyperboreus. His book on algebra was the first in the Swedish language, and in 1721 he published a work on chemistry and physics. Swedenborg devoted 30 years to improving Sweden's metal-mining industries, while still publishing on cosmology, corpuscular philosophy, mathematics, and human sensory perceptions. *TIS

1700 Daniel Bernoulli (29 January 1700 (8 Feb new style), 8 March 1782) was a Dutch-Swiss mathematician and was one of the many prominent mathematicians in the Bernoulli family. He is particularly remembered for his applications of mathematics to mechanics, especially fluid mechanics, and for his pioneering work in probability and statistics. Bernoulli's work is still studied at length by many schools of science throughout the world. The son of Johann Bernoulli (one of the "early developers" of calculus), nephew of Jakob Bernoulli (who "was the first to discover the theory of probability"), and older brother of Johann II, He is said to have had a bad relationship with his father. Upon both of them entering and tying for first place in a scientific contest at the University of Paris, Johann, unable to bear the "shame" of being compared as Daniel's equal, banned Daniel from his house. Johann Bernoulli also plagiarized some key ideas from Daniel's book Hydrodynamica in his own book Hydraulica which he backdated to before Hydrodynamica. Despite Daniel's attempts at reconciliation, his father carried the grudge until his death.
He was a contemporary and close friend of Leonhard Euler. He went to St. Petersburg in 1724 as professor of mathematics, but was unhappy there, and a temporary illness in 1733 gave him an excuse for leaving. He returned to the University of Basel, where he successively held the chairs of medicine, metaphysics and natural philosophy until his death.
In May, 1750 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. He was also the author in 1738 of Specimen theoriae novae de mensura sortis (Exposition of a New Theory on the Measurement of Risk), in which the St. Petersburg paradox was the base of the economic theory of risk aversion, risk premium and utility.
One of the earliest attempts to analyze a statistical problem involving censored data was Bernoulli's 1766 analysis of smallpox morbidity and mortality data to demonstrate the efficacy of vaccination. He is the earliest writer who attempted to formulate a kinetic theory of gases, and he applied the idea to explain Boyle's law. He worked with Euler on elasticity and the development of the Euler-Bernoulli beam equation. *Wik

1810 Ernst Eduard Kummer (29 Jan 1810; 14 May 1893) He was professor at the University of Breslau(now Wroclaw, Poland) in 1842-1855 and developed his theory of ideals here. Kronecker studied with him. Later he replaced Dirichlet at The University of Berlin. He died at age 83, after a short attack of influenza. German mathematician whose introduction of ideal numbers, which are defined as a special subgroup of a ring, extended the fundamental theorem of arithmetic to complex number fields. He worked on Function theory, and extended Gauss's work on hypergeometric series, giving developments that are useful in the theory of differential equations. He was the first to compute the monodromy groups of these series. Later. Kummer devoted himself to the study of the ray systems, but treated these geometrical problems algebraically. He also discovered the fourth order surface based on the singular surface of the quadratic line complex. This Kummer surface has 16 isolated conical double points and 16 singular tangent planes. *TIS and others An oft told, and almost certianly untrue anecdote is told about Kummer: Kummer was so inept at simple arithmetic that he often asked students to help him in class. On one occasion, Kummer sought the result of a simple multiplication. "Seven times nine," he began. "Seven times nine is er - ah - ah - seven times nine is..." "Sixty-one," a mischievous student suggested and Kummer wrote the "answer" on the blackboard. "Sir," another one interjected, "it should be sixty-seven." "Come, gentlemen, it can't be both," Kummer exclaimed. "It must be one or the other!" According to Erdos, Kumer reasoned out the answer as follows, -It can't be 61 as that is prime, as is 67, and 65 is a multiple of five, and 69 is too big, so it must be 63.

1817 William Ferrel (29 Jan 1817; 18 Sep 1891) American meteorologist who was an important contributor to the understanding of oceanic and atmospheric circulation. He was able to show the interrelation of the various forces upon the Earth's surface, such as gravity, rotation and friction. Ferrel was first to mathematically demonstrate the influence of the Earth's rotation on the presence of high and low pressure belts encircling the Earth, and on the deflection of air and water currents. The latter was a derivative of the effect theorized by Gustave de Coriolis in 1835, and became known as Ferrel's law. Ferrel also considered the effect that the gravitational pull of the Sun and Moon might have on the Earth's rotation and concluded (without proof, but correctly) that the Earth's axis wobbles a bit. *TIS (A more complete biography is here)

1838 Edward Williams Morley (29 Jan 1838; 24 Feb 1923) American chemist who is best known for his collaboration with the physicist A.A. Michelson in an attempt to measure the relative motion of the Earth through a hypothetical ether (1887). He also studied the variations of atmospheric oxygen content. He specialized in accurate quantitative measurements, such as those of the vapour tension of mercury, thermal expansion of gases, or the combining weights of hydrogen and oxygen. Morley assisted Michelson in the latter's persuit of measurements of the greatest possible accuracy to detect a difference in the speed of light through an omnipresent ether. Yet the ether could not be detected and the physicists had seriously to consider that the ether did not exist, even questioning much orthodox physical theory. *TIS

1888 Sydney Chapman (29 Jan 1888; 16 Jun 1970) English mathematician and physicist noted for his research in geophysics. After graduation (1910) he worked at the Greenwich Observatory, but returned to Cambridge upon the outbreak of WW I. Between 1915 and 1917 he completed a series of important papers on thermal diffusion and the fundamentals of gas dynamics. He developed systematic approximations to the Maxwell-Boltzmann formulation for the velocity distribution function for interacting particles under general force laws. During WW II he worked on military operational research and incendiary bomb problems. Chapman's main area of research was geomagnetism, beginning in 1913 and extending to terrestrial and interplanetary magnetism, the ionosphere and the aurora borealis.*TIS

1894 Miss Helen Almira Shaffer, A. M., LL. D., President of Welleslev College,
died of pneumonia at the college, on January 29, aged 54 years. She was chief teacher
of Mathematics for ten years in the St. Louis High School. In 1877 she accepted the
professorship of Mathematics in Wellesley, which she filled until 1888, when she became
president of that institution. *The American Mathematical Monthly Vol. 1, No. 2, Feb., 1894

1926 Abdus Salam (29 Jan 1926; 21 Nov 1996) Pakistani-British nuclear physicist who shared the 1979 Nobel Prize for Physics with Steven Weinberg and Sheldon Lee Glashow. Each had independently formulated a theory explaining the underlying unity of the weak nuclear force and the electromagnetic force. His hypothetical equations, which demonstrated an underlying relationship between the electromagnetic force and the weak nuclear force, postulated that the weak force must be transmitted by hitherto-undiscovered particles known as weak vector bosons, or W and Z bosons. Weinberg and Glashow reached a similar conclusion using a different line of reasoning. The existence of the W and Z bosons was eventually verified in 1983 by researchers using particle accelerators at CERN. *TIS

1928 O. Timothy O’Meara born in South Africa. This expert in quadratic forms is now Provost at the University of Notre Dame. *VFR On October 8, 2008, the Mathematics Library at Notre Dame was rededicated and named for Prof. O. Timothy O’Meara. Prof. O’Meara is a noted Mathematician, who has been on the faculty of the Mathematics Department since 1962, and twice served as its chairman. In 1976 he was named to the Kenna Endowed Chair in Mathematics. He is noted for serving as the first lay Provost of the University, 1978-1996. He is now an emeritus faculty member, but still very active and interested in the library *ND Web Site

1928 Joseph Bernard Kruskal, Jr. (January 29, 1928 – September 19, 2010) was an American mathematician, statistician, computer scientist and psychometrician. He was a student at the University of Chicago and at Princeton University, where he completed his Ph.D. in 1954, nominally under Albert W. Tucker and Roger Lyndon, but de facto under Paul Erdős with whom he had two very short conversations.Kruskal has worked on well-quasi-orderings and multidimensional scaling.
He was a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, former president of the Psychometric Society, and former president of the Classification Society of North America.
In statistics, Kruskal's most influential work is his seminal contribution to the formulation of multidimensional scaling. In computer science, his best known work is Kruskal's algorithm for computing the minimal spanning tree (MST) of a weighted graph. In combinatorics, he is known for Kruskal's tree theorem (1960), which is also interesting from a mathematical logic perspective since it can only be proved nonconstructively. Kruskal also applied his work in linguistics, in an experimental lexicostatistical study of Indo-European languages, together with the linguists Isidore Dyen and Paul Black.
Kruskal was born in New York City to a successful fur wholesaler, Joseph B. Kruskal, Sr. His mother, Lillian Rose Vorhaus Kruskal Oppenheimer, became a noted promoter of Origami during the early era of television. He died in Princeton. *Wik

1715 Bernard Lamy (15 June 1640, in Le Mans, France – 29 January 1715, in Rouen, France) was a French Oratorian mathematician and theologian. He wrote on geometry and mechanics and developed the idea of a parallelogram of forces at about the same time as Newton and Verignon. The Law of Sines as applied to three static forces in mechanics is sometimes called Lamy's Rule. (Would provide an interesting variation for Pre-calc classes)

1859 William Cranch Bond (9 Sep 1789, 29 Jan 1859) American astronomer who, with his son, George Phillips Bond (1825-65), discovered Hyperion, the eighth satellite of Saturn, and an inner ring called Ring C, or the Crepe Ring. While W.C. Bond was a young clockmaker in Boston, he spent his free time in the amateur observatory he built in part of his home. In 1815 he was sent by Harvard College to Europe to visit existing observatories and gather data preliminary to the building of an observatory at Harvard. In 1839 the observatory was founded. He supervised its construction, then became its first director. Together with his son he developed the chronograph for automatically recording the position of stars. They also took some of the first recognizable photographs of celestial objects.*TIS

1905 Robert Tucker (26 April 1832 in Walworth, Surrey, England - 29 Jan 1905 in Worthing, England) A major mathematical contribution made by Tucker was his work as editor of William Kingdon Clifford's papers. Fifty-seven of Clifford's papers were collected and edited by Tucker and published in 1882 as Mathematical Papers. Tucker also wrote many biographies including those of Gauss, Sylvester, Chasles, Spottiswoode, and Hirst, all of which appeared in Nature. But, like a number of schoolmaster's at this time, he also made a contribution to research in geometry. He wrote over 40 research papers which were published in leading journals. These papers, although sometimes not of the highest quality, do contain a number of interesting ideas. Hill specially singles out for special mention his work on the Triplicate-Ratio Circle, the group of circles sometimes known as Tucker Circles, and the Harmonic Quadrilateral. *SAU

1984 John Macnaghten Whittaker I(7 March 1905 in Cambridge, England - 29 Jan 1984 in Sheffield, England) was the son of Edmund Whittaker. He studied at Edinburgh University and Cambridge. After posts at Edinburgh and Cambridge he became Professor at Liverpool though his tenure was interrupted by service in World War II. He left Liverpool to become Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield University. He worked in Quantum Mechanics and Complex Analysis. *SAU

1999 Viktor Aleksandrovich Gorbunov (17 Feb 1950 in Russia - 29 Jan 1999 in Novosibirsk, Russia) He published his first paper in 1973 being a joint work with A I Budkin entitled Implicative classes of algebras (Russian). The implicative class of algebras is a generalisation of quasivarieties. The structural characteristics of the implicative class are studied in this paper. A second join paper with Budkin On the theory of quasivarieties of algebraic systems (Russian) appeared in 1975. In the same year he published Filters of lattices of quasivarieties of algebraic systems (Russian), this time written with V P Belkin. In fact he had written six papers before his doctoral thesis On the Theory of Quasivarieties of Algebraic Systems was submitted. He received the degree in 1978. Gorbunov continued working at Novosibirsk State University, being promoted to professor. He also worked as a researcher in the Mathematics Institute of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. *SAU

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

Monday, 28 January 2013

Sadly Remembering

Born of the sun, they travelled a short while toward the sun
And left the vivid air signed with their honour.
*The Truly Great by Stephen Spender

After more than a quarter of a century, there are still no words.... I was in the school library to watch with a class.... and amidst the cheering for a successsful liftoff.....

On This Day in Math - January28

Mathematical discoveries, like springtime violets in the woods, have their season which no human can hasten or retard.
~Janos Bolyai

The 28th day of the year; 28 is the second perfect number; the sum of its proper factors. 28 = 1+2+4+7+14

1699 Leibniz elected the first foreign member of the French Academy. *VFR

1902 "It is proposed to found in the city of Washington, an institution which...shall in the broadest and most liberal manner encourage investigation, research, and discovery [and] show the application of knowledge to the improvement of mankind..." — Andrew Carnegie, January 28, 1902
Established to support scientific research, today the Carnegie Institute of Washington directs its efforts in six main areas: plant molecular biology at the Department of Plant Biology (Stanford, California), developmental biology at the Department of Embryology (Baltimore, Maryland), global ecology at the Department of Global Ecology (Stanford, CA), Earth science, materials science, and astrobiology at the Geophysical Laboratory (Washington, DC); Earth and planetary sciences as well as astronomy at the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (Washington, DC), and (at the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington (OCIW; Pasadena, CA and Las Campanas, Chile)).*Wik

1977 According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the most freakish rise in temperature ever recorded was on this date in Spearfish, South Dakota. At 7:30 a.m. it was −4 degrees Fahrenheit; at 7:32 a.m. it was +45 degrees Fahrenheit. What was the average rate of change in temperature per minute? [NCTM Sourcebook of Applications of School Mathematics, p. 125] *VFR
Some other temp changes from around the net show:
1972 The greatest temperature change in 24 hours occurred in Loma, MT. on January 15. The temperature rose exactly 103 degrees, from -54 degrees Fahrenheit to 49 degrees. This is the world record for a 24—hour temperature change.
1911 Fastest temperature drop: 27.2 °C (49 °F) in 15 minutes on Jan 10 in Rapid City, South Dakota,

1986 The Space Shuttle Challenger (mission STS-51-L) broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, leading to the deaths of its seven crew members. One of them was Christa McAuliffe, the first member of the Teacher in Space Project and the (planned) first female teacher in space. Media coverage of the accident was extensive: one study reported that 85 percent of Americans surveyed had heard the news within an hour of the accident. The Challenger disaster has been used as a case study in many discussions of engineering safety and workplace ethics. *Wik

1540 Ludolph van Ceulen, a German mathematician who is famed for his calculation of π to 35 places. In Germany π used to be called the Ludolphine number. Because van Ceulen could not read Greek, Jan Cornets de Groot, the burgomaster of Delft and father of the jurist, scholar, statesman and diplomat, Hugo Grotius​, translated Archimedes' approximation to π for Van Ceulen. This proved a significant point in Van Ceulen's life for he spent the rest of his life obtaining better approximations to π using Archimedes' method with regular polygons with many sides.*SAU He has Pi on his memorial stone.

1608 Giovanni Alfonso Borelli (28 Jan 1608; 31 Dec 1679) Italian mathematician, physiologist and physicist sometimes called “father of biomechanics.” He was the first to apply the laws of mechanics to the muscular action of the human body. In De motu animalium (Concerning Animal Motion, 1680), he correctly described the skeleton and muscles as a system of levers, and explained the mechanism of bird flight. He calculated the forces required for equilibrium in various joints of the body well before the mechanics of Isaac Newton. In 1649, he published a work on malignant fevers. He repudiated astrological causes of diseases and believed in chemical cures. In 1658, he published Euclidus restitutus. He made anatomical dissections, drew a diver's rebreather, investiged volcanoes, was first to suggest a parabolic path for comets, and considered Jupiter had an attractive influence on its moons.*TIS

1611 Johannes Hevelius (28 Jan 1611; 28 Jan 1687) German astronomer, who studying in Leiden and established his own observatory on the rooftops of several houses. From four years' telescopic study of the Moon, using telescopes of long focal power, Hevelius compiled Selenographia ("Pictures of the Moon", 1647), an atlas of the Moon with some of the earliest detailed maps. A few of his names for lunar mountains (e.g., the Alps) are still in use, and a lunar crater is named for him. Hevelius is today best remembered for his use of "aerial" telescopes of enormous focal length and his rejection of telescopic sights for stellar observation and positional measurement. He catalogued 1564 stars in Prodromus Astronomiae (1690), discovered four comets, and was one of the first to observe the transit of Mercury. He died on his birthday. *TIS You can find a nice blog about Hevelius, "The last great naked eye astronomer." by the Renaissance Mathematicus.

1622 Adrien Auzout (28 January 1622 – 23 May 1691) was a French astronomer.
In 1664–1665 he made observations of comets, and argued in favor of their following elliptical or parabolic orbits. (In this he was opposed by his rival Johannes Hevelius.) Adrien was briefly a member of the Académie Royale des Sciences from 1666 to 1668, and a founding member of the French Royal Obseratory. (He may have left the academy due to a dispute.) He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1666. He then left for Italy and spent the next 20 years in that region, finally dying in Rome in 1691. Little is known about his activities during this last period.
Auzout made contributions in telescope observations, including perfecting the use of the micrometer. He made many observations with large aerial telescopes and he is noted for briefly considering the construction of a huge aerial telescope 1,000 feet in length that he would use to observe animals on the Moon. In 1647 he performed an experiment that demonstrated the role of air pressure in function of the mercury barometer. In 1667–68, Adrien and Jean Picard attached a telescopic sight to a 38-inch quadrant, and used it to accurately determine positions on the Earth. The crater Auzout on the Moon is named after him. *Wik

1701 Charles Marie de La Condamine (28 January 1701 – 13 February 1774) was a French explorer, geographer, and mathematician. He spent ten years in present-day Ecuador measuring the length of a degree latitude at the equator and preparing the first map of the Amazon region based on astronomical observations. *Wik

1794 Isidore Auguste Marie François Xavier Comte (28 January 1794 – 21 September 1859), better known as Auguste Comte (French: [oɡyst kɔ̃t]), was a French philosopher. He was a founder of the discipline of sociology and of the doctrine of positivism. He is sometimes regarded as the first philosopher of science in the modern sense of the term.
Strongly influenced by the utopian socialist Henri Saint-Simon, Comte developed the positive philosophy in an attempt to remedy the social malaise of the French Revolution, calling for a new social doctrine based on the sciences. Comte was a major influence on 19th-century thought, influencing the work of social thinkers such as Karl Marx, John Stuart Mill, and George Eliot.[3] His concept of sociologie and social evolutionism, though now outdated, set the tone for early social theorists and anthropologists such as Harriet Martineau and Herbert Spencer, evolving into modern academic sociology presented by Émile Durkheim as practical and objective social research.
Comte's social theories culminated in the "Religion of Humanity", which influenced the development of religious humanist and secular humanist organizations in the 19th century. Comte likewise coined the word altruisme (altruism)*Wik
1838 James Craig Watson (January 28, 1838 – November 22, 1880) was a Canadian-American astronomer born in the village of Fingal, Ontario Canada. His family relocated to Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1850.
At age 15 he was matriculated at the University of Michigan, where he studied the classical languages. He later was lectured in astronomy by professor Franz Brünnow.
He was the second director of Detroit Observatory (from 1863 to 1879), succeeding Brünnow. He wrote the textbook Theoretical Astronomy in 1868.
He discovered 22 asteroids, beginning with 79 Eurynome in 1863. One of his asteroid discoveries, 139 Juewa was made in Beijing when Watson was there to observe the 1874 transit of Venus. The name Juewa was chosen by Chinese officials (瑞華, or in modern pinyin, ruìhuá). Another was 121 Hermione in 1872, from Ann Arbor, Michigan, and this asteroid was found to have a small asteroid moon in 2002.
He was a strong believer in the existence of the planet Vulcan, a hypothetical planet closer to the Sun than Mercury, which is now known not to exist (however the existence of small Vulcanoid planetoids remains a possibility). He believed he had seen such two such planets during a July 1878 solar eclipse in Wyoming.
He died of peritonitis at the age of only 42. He had amassed a considerable amount of money through non-astronomical business activities. By bequest he established the James Craig Watson Medal, awarded every three years by the National Academy of Sciences for contributions to astronomy.
The asteroid 729 Watsonia is named in his honour, as is the lunar crater Watson. *Wik
1855 William Seward Burroughs (28 Jan 1855, 5 Sep 1898) American inventor who invented the world's first commercially viable recording adding machine and pioneer of its manufacture. He was inspired by his experience in his beginning career as a bank clerk. On 10 Jan 1885 he submitted his first patent (issued 399,116 on 21 Aug 1888) for his mechanical “calculating machine.” Burroughs co-founded the American Arithmometer Co in 1886 to develop and market the machine. The manufacture of the first machines was contracted out, and their durability was unsatisfactory. He continued to refine his design for accuracy and reliability, receiving more patents in 1892, and began selling the much-improved model for $475 each. By 1895, 284 machines had been sold, mostly to banks, and 1500 by 1900. The company later became Burroughs Corporation (1905) and eventually Unisys. *TIS

1855 Karl Friedrich Wilhelm Rohn (January 25 1855 in Schwanheim - August 4 1920 in Leipzig ) was a German mathematician working mainly in geometry.
He studied under Alexander von Brill , who led him away from an initial engineering studies for mathematics; and in 1878 he received his doctorate in Munich under Felix Klein. His doctoral was on the Kummer surface of fourth Order and its relationship with hyperelliptic functions (with Riemann surfaces of genus 2). Besides his work on the Kummer surface, and other algebraic surfaces , he also examined algebraic space curves, and there completed the classification work of Georges Halphen and Max Noether. In 1913 he was president of the German Mathematical Society. *Wik His love of geometry is also illustrated by his beautiful thread models which were especially produced to excite the curiosity of the uninitiated. Rohn constructed models of surfaces and space curves that he was studying, particularly in the early part of his career. In 1884 the Jablonowski Society proposed as prize problem asking for essays on the general surface of order 4, extending the work of Schläfli, Klein and Zeuthen on cubic surfaces; they awarded the prize to Rohn for his essay in 1886. He made important contributions to the theory of quartic surfaces, in particular of ruled quartics and quartics with a triple point.*SAU

1888 Louis Joel Mordell (28 January 1888 – 12 March 1972) was a British mathematician, known for pioneering research in number theory. He was born in Philadelphia, USA, in a Jewish family of Lithuanian extraction. He came in 1906 to Cambridge to take the scholarship examination for entrance to St John's College, and was successful in gaining a place and support.
Having taken third place in the Mathematical Tripos, he began independent research into particular diophantine equations: the question of integer points on the cubic curve, and special case of what is now called a Thue equation, the Mordell equation

y2 = x2 + k.

During World War I he was involved in war work, but also produced one of his major results, proving in 1917 the multiplicative property of Ramanujan's tau-function. The proof was by means, in effect, of the Hecke operators, which had not yet been named after Erich Hecke; it was, in retrospect, one of the major advances in modular form theory, beyond its status as an odd corner of the theory of special functions.
In 1920 he took a teaching position in Manchester College of Technology, becoming the Fielden Reader in Pure Mathematics at the Victoria University of Manchester in 1922 and Professor in 1923. There he developed a third area of interest within number theory, geometry of numbers. His basic work on Mordell's theorem is from 1921/2, as is the formulation of the Mordell conjecture.
In 1945 he returned to Cambridge as a Fellow of St. John's, when elected to the Sadleirian Chair, and became Head of Department. He officially retired in 1953. It was at this time that he had his only formal research students, of whom J. W. S. Cassels was one. His idea of supervising research was said to involve the suggestion that a proof of the transcendence of the Euler–Mascheroni constant was probably worth a doctorate. *Wik

1892 Carlo Emilio Bonferroni (28 Jan 1892 in Bergamo, Italy - 18 Aug 1960 in Florence, Italy) His articles are more of a contribution to probability theory than to simultaneous statistical inference. He also had interests in the foundations of probability. He developed a strongly frequentist view of probability denying that subjectivist views can even be the subject of mathematical probability. *SAU He is best known for the Bonferroni inequalities, and gives his name to (but did not devise) the Bonferroni correction in statistics. *Wik

1903 Dame Kathleen Lonsdale (28 Jan 1903; 1 Apr 1971) British crystallographer (née Yardley) who developed several X-ray techniques for the study of crystal structure. Her experimental determination of the structure of the benzene ring by x-ray diffraction, which showed that all the ring C-C bonds were of the same length and all the internal C-C-C bond angles were 120 degrees, had an enormous impact on organic chemistry. She was the first woman to be elected (1945) to the Royal Society of London. *TIS

1911 Robert Schatten (January 28, 1911 – August 26, 1977) principal mathematical achievement was that of initiating the study of tensor products of Banach spaces. The concepts of crossnorm, associate norm, greatest crossnorm, least crossnorm, and uniform crossnorm, all either originated with him or at least first received careful study in his papers. He was mainly interested in the applications of this subject to linear transformations on Hilbert space. In this subject, the Schatten Classes perpetuate his name. Schatten had his own way of making abstract concepts memorable to his elementary classes. Who could forget what a sequence was after hearing Schatten describe a long corridor, stretching as far as the eye could see, with hooks regularly spaced on the wall and numbered 1, 2, 3, ...? "Then," Schatten would say, "I come along with a big bag of numbers over my shoulder, and hang one number on each hook." This of course was accompanied by suitable gestures for emphasis. *SAU

1924 Wilhelm Paul Albert Klingenberg (28 January 1924 Rostock, Mecklenburg, Germany – 14 October 2010 Röttgen, Bonn) was a German mathematician who worked on differential geometry and in particular on closed geodesics. One of his major achievements is the proof of the sphere theorem in joint work with Marcel Berger in 1960: The sphere theorem states that a simply connected manifold with sectional curvature between 1 and 4 is homeomorphic to the sphere. *Wik

1687 Johannes Hevelius (28 Jan 1611; 28 Jan 1687) German astronomer, who studying in Leiden and established his own observatory on the rooftops of several houses. From four years' telescopic study of the Moon, using telescopes of long focal power, Hevelius compiled Selenographia ("Pictures of the Moon", 1647), an atlas of the Moon with some of the earliest detailed maps. A few of his names for lunar mountains (e.g., the Alps) are still in use, and a lunar crater is named for him. Hevelius is today best remembered for his use of "aerial" telescopes of enormous focal length and his rejection of telescopic sights for stellar observation and positional measurement. He catalogued 1564 stars in Prodromus Astronomiae (1690), discovered four comets, and was one of the first to observe the transit of Mercury. He died on his birthday. *TIS

1864 Benoit Clapeyron (26 Feb 1799, 28 Jan 1864) French engineer who expressed Sadi Carnot's ideas on heat analytically, with the help of graphical representations. While investigating the operation of steam engines, Clapeyron found there was a relationship (1834) between the heat of vaporization of a fluid, its temperature and the increase in its volume upon vaporization. Made more general by Clausius, it is now known as the Clausius-Clapeyron formula. It provided the basis of the second law of thermodynamics. In engineering, Clayeyron designed and built locomotives and metal bridges. He also served on a committee investigating the construction of the Suez Canal and on a committee which considered how steam engines could be used in the navy.*TIS

1889 Joseph Émile Barbier (18 March 1839 in St Hilaire-Cottes, Pas-de-Calais, France - 28 Jan 1889 in St Genest, Loire, France)
He was offered a post at the Paris Observatory by Le Verrier and Barbier left Nice to begin work as an assistant astronomer. For a few years he applied his undoubted genius to problems of astronomy. He proved a skilled observer, a talented calculator and he used his brilliant ideas to devise a new type of thermometer. He made many contributions to astronomy while at the observatory but his talents in mathematics were also to the fore and he looked at problems in a wide range of mathematical topics in addition to his astronomy work.
As time went by, however, Barbier's behaviour became more and more peculiar. He was clearly becoming unstable and exhibited the fine line between genius and mental problems which are relatively common. He left the Paris Observatory in 1865 after only a few years of working there. He tried to join a religious order but then severed all contacts with his friends and associates. Nothing more was heard of him for the next fifteen years until he was discovered by Bertrand in an asylum in Charenton-St-Maurice in 1880.
Bertrand discovered that although Barbier was clearly unstable mentally, he was still able to make superb original contributions to mathematics. He encouraged Barbier to return to scientific writing and, although he never recovered his sanity, he wrote many excellent and original mathematical papers. Bertrand, as Secretary to the Académie des Sciences, was able to find a small source of income for Barbier from a foundation which was associated with the Académie. Barbier, although mentally unstable, was a gentle person and it was seen that, with his small income, it was possible for him to live in the community. This was arranged and Barbier spent his last few years in much more pleasant surroundings.
Barbier's early work, while at the Observatory, consists of over twenty memoirs and reports. These cover topics such as spherical geometry and spherical trigonometry. We mentioned above his work with devising a new type of thermometer and Barbier wrote on this as well as on other aspects of instruments. He also wrote on probability and calculus.
After he was encouraged to undertake research in mathematics again by Bertrand, Barbier wrote over ten articles between the years 1882 and 1887. These were entirely on mathematical topics and he made worthwhile contributions to the study of polyhedra, integral calculus and number theory. He is remembered for Barbier's theorem, nicely explained here by Alex Bogomolny.*SAU

1910 Alfredo Capelli (5 Aug 1855, Milan, Italy – 28 Jan 1910, Naples, Italy) was an Italian mathematician who discovered Capelli's identity.
Capelli graduated from the University of Rome in 1877, and moved to the University of Pavia where he worked as an assistant for Felice Casorati. In 1881 he became a professor at the University of Palermo, replacing Cesare Arzelà who had recently moved to Bologna. In 1886, he moved again to the University of Naples, where he held the chair in algebra. He remained at Naples until his death in 1910. As well as being a professor there, he was editor of the Giornale di Matematiche di Battaglini from 1894 to 1910, and was elected to the Accademia dei Lincei.*Wik

1946 Dmitrii Matveevich Sintsov (21 November 1867 – 28 January 1946) was a Russian mathematician known for his work in the theory of conic sections and non-holonomic geometry.
He took a leading role in the development of mathematics at Kharkov University, serving as chairman of the Kharkov Mathematical Society for forty years, from 1906 until his death at the age of 78.*Wik

1954 Ernest Benjamin Esclangon (March 17, 1876 – January 28, 1954) was a French astronomer and mathematician.
Born in Mison, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, in 1895 he started to study mathematics at the École Normale Supérieure, graduating in 1898. Looking for some means of financial support while he completed his doctorate on quasi-periodic functions, he took a post at the Bordeaux Observatory, teaching some mathematics at the university.
During World War I, he worked on ballistics and developed a novel method for precisely locating enemy artillery. When a gun is fired, it initiates a spherical shock wave but the projectile also generates a conical wave. By using the sound of distant guns to compare the two waves, Escaglon was able to make accurate predictions of gun locations.
After the armistice, Esclangon became director of the Strasbourg Observatory and professor of astronomy at the university the following year. In 1929, he was appointed director of the Paris Observatory and of the International Time Bureau, and elected to the Bureau des Longitudes in 1932. In 1933, he initiated the talking clock telephone service in France. He was elected to the Académie des Sciences in 1939.
Serving as director of the Paris Observatory throughout World War II and the German occupation of Paris, he retired in 1944. He died in Eyrenville, France.
The binary asteroid 1509 Esclangona and the lunar crater Esclangon are named after him.*Wik

1988 (Emil) Klaus (Julius) Fuchs (29 Dec 1911; 28 Jan 1988) was a German-born physicist who was convicted as a spy on 1 Mar 1950, for passing nuclear research secrets to Russia. He fled from Nazi Germany to Britain. He was interned on the outbreak of WW II, but Prof. Max Born intervened on his behalf. Fuchs was released in 1942, naturalized in 1942 and joined the British atomic bomb research project. From 1943 he worked on the atom bomb with the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, U.S. By 1945, he was sending secrets to Russia. In 1946, he became head of theoretical physics at Harwell, UK. He was caught, confessed, tried, imprisoned for nine of a 14 year sentence, released on 23 Jun 1959, and moved to East Germany and resumed nuclear research until 1979. *TIS

1993 Helen Battles (Sawyer) Hogg (1 Aug 1905, 28 Jan 1993) was a Canadian astronomer who located, cataloged and measured the distances to variable stars in globular clusters (stars with cyclical changes of brightness found within huge, dense conglomerations of stars located in the outer halo of the Milky Way galaxy). Her interest in astronomy was spurred when she witnessed a total eclipse of the sun in 1925. Alongside her career work, she was also foremost in Canada in popularizing astronomy, about which she wrote a column in the Toronto Star for thirty years. She was the first woman to become president of the Royal Canadian Institute. In 1989, the observatory at the National Museum of Science and Technology in Ottawa was dedicated in her name.*TIS

2009 William Moser (5 Sep 1927;28 Jan 2009) My mathematical interests are: presentations for finite groups; combinatorial enumerations (e.g., counting restricted permutations and combinations); problems in discrete and combinatorial geometry. *From his page at McGill Univ.
In March 2003 Moser was interviewed by Siobhan Roberts who was working on her major work on Coxeter King of Infinite space. He recounted the following story

"Donald made many great contributions to mathematics. I made one great contribution," recounted Moser. Moser's opportunity came at the end of Coxeter's 1955 summer of roving lectures, after his session in Stillwater, at Oklahoma State University. Moser drove down to meet Coxeter and serve as his assistant, taking detailed notes of the well-polished lectures. "At the end of the summer we drove north, to civilisation," said Moser wryly. "We were in my car and Donald asked me if he could drive. It was a new car. Indeed it was the first car I had ever purchased, a green 1955 Plymouth 2-door. I paid $2,000 for it and drove it to Oklahoma. But I agreed. I was surprised to see that he was an aggressive driver. At one point he was trying to pass a car while driving up a hill on a 2-lane highway. I immediately perceived that this was not a prudent thing to do. He tried to coax the car to go faster but it wouldn't respond. At the last moment I shrieked at him, 'Pull back, pull back'. I was probably his only student to shriek at him. He began to pull back and at that moment a truck came over the hill. He managed to get back in the right lane just in time. I HAD SAVED HIS LIFE! And mine. But saving Coxeter's life was my greatest contribution to mathematics." *SAU

2012 Roman Juszkiewicz (born 8 August 1952, died 28 January 2012) is a Polish astrophysicist whose work is concerned with fundamental issues of cosmology.
Juszkiewicz's scientific interests include the theory of gravitational instability, origins of the large-scale structure, microwave background radiation and Big Bang nucleosynthesis. He wrote nearly one hundred research papers, mostly in the area of cosmology. Calculated results based on observed motions of pairs of galaxies, obtained in 2000 by Roman Juszkiewicz and the group led by him, aimed at estimating the amount of dark matter in the Universe, were confirmed by the recently published data from the South Pole's ACBAR detector. *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

Sunday, 27 January 2013

On This Day in Math - January 27

*Starship Asterisk web site

It troubles me that we are so easily pressured by purveyors of technology into permitting so-called ‘progress’ to alter our lives without attempting to control it—as if technology were an irrepressible force of nature to which we must meekly submit.
~Hyman G. Rickover

The 27th day of the year; 273 = 19,683 which has a digit sum of 27. There is no larger number for which the sum of the digits of the cube is equal to the number .

1520 Off the Patagonian coast near a small peninsula called Punta Tombo, during Ferdinand Magellan’s voyage around the world, a crewman spied strange creatures swimming in the bay. He called them flightless geese, but scientists believe they were penguins of a sort classified as Spheniscus magellanicus.*VFR

1613 Galileo observed Neptune, but did not recognize it as a planet. Galileo's drawings show that he first observed Neptune on December 28, 1612, and again on January 27, 1613. On both occasions, Galileo mistook Neptune for a fixed star when it appeared very close—in conjunction—to Jupiter in the night sky; hence, he is not credited with Neptune's discovery. (The official discovery is usually cited as September 23, 1846, Neptune was discovered within 1° of where Le Verrier had predicted it to be.) During the period of his first observation in December 1612, Neptune was stationary in the sky because it had just turned retrograde that very day. This apparent backward motion is created when the orbit of the Earth takes it past an outer planet. Since Neptune was only beginning its yearly retrograde cycle, the motion of the planet was far too slight to be detected with Galileo's small telescope.*Wik A new theory says he may have known it was a planet. Professor David Jamieson, Head of the School of Physics at University of Melbourne is investigating the notebooks of Galileo from 400 years ago and believes that buried in the notations is the evidence that he discovered a new planet that we now know as Neptune. Galileo was observing the moons of Jupiter in the years 1612 and 1613 and recorded his observations in his notebooks. Over several nights he also recorded the position of a nearby star which does not appear in any modern star catalogue. "It has been known for several decades that this unknown star was actually the planet Neptune. Computer simulations show the precision of his observations revealing that Neptune would have looked just like a faint star almost exactly where Galileo observed it," Professor Jamieson says.
In one of his notebooks he noticed the movement of a background star (Neptune) on January 28 and a dot (in Neptune's position) drawn in a different ink suggests that he found it on an earlier sketch, drawn on the night of January 6, suggesting a systematic search among his earlier observations. However, any notification about the discovery hasn't been found. *

1690 Newton returns to Cambridge after spending nearly a year in London serving as an MP from Cambridge University to the Convention Parliament. Declaring the throne vacant after James II escaped to France, the convention offered the throne to William and Mary jointly.

In 1921, Albert Einstein suggested the possibility of measuring the universe, which startled the audience, with his address Geometry and Expansion given at the Prussian Academy of Sciences in Berlin. Applying certain results of the relativity theory, he came to the conclusion that if the real velocities of the stars (as could be actually measured) were less than the calculated velocities, then it would prove that real gravitations' great distances were smaller than the gravitational distances demanded by the law of Newton. From such divergence, the finiteness of the universe could be proved indirectly, and it would even permit the estimation of its size. *TIS

1994 Silicon Graphics Inc. co-founder Jim Clark leaves the company to start Mosaic Communications, the operation that later became Netscape Communications Corp. With Netscape cofounder Marc Andreesen, Clark helped popularize the World Wide Web by distributing the company's browser for free.*CHM

2012 An asteroid, 2012 BX34, passed within about 60,000km of Earth - less than a fifth of the distance to the Moon.The asteroid's path made it the closest space-rock to pass by the Earth since June 2011. The asteroid, estimated to be about 11m (36ft) in diameter, was first detected on Jan 25.*BBC website

1701 Charles-Marie de La Condamine (27 Jan 1701; 4 Feb 1774) French naturalist and mathematician who became particularly interested in geodesy (earth measurement). He was put in charge by the King of France of an expedition to Equador to measure a meridional arc at the equator (1735-43). It was wished to determine whether the Earth was either flattened or elongated at its poles. He then accomplished the first scientific exploration of the Amazon River (1743) on a raft, studying the region, and brought the drug curare to Europe. He also worked on establishment of a universal unit of length, and is credited with developing the idea of vaccination against smallpox, later perfected by Edward Jenner. However, he was almost constantly ill and died in 1773, deaf and completely paralyzed. *TIS

1715 Caspar (or Kaspar) Neumann (14 September 1648 – 27 January 1715) was a German professor and clergyman from Breslau with a special interest in mortality rates.
He first did an apprenticeship as a pharmacist. He finished his higher school education at Breslau's Maria-Magdalen grammar school. In 1667 he became a student of theology at the university of Jena, and on Nov. 30, 1673 was ordained as a priest, having been requested as a traveling chaplain for Prince Christian, the son of Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Gotha. On his return home, following a two-year journey through west­ern Ger­ma­ny, Switz­er­land, north­ern It­a­ly, and south­ern France, he became a court-chaplain at Altenburg, and married the daughter of J. J. Rabe, physician in ordinary to the prince of Saxe-Friedenstein. In 1678 he was made the deacon of St. Maria-Magdalen in Breslau and became pastor in 1689. *Wik He was a student of Erhard Weigel

1829 Isaac Roberts (27 Jan 1829; 17 Jul 1904) British astronomer who was a pioneer in photography of nebulae. In 1885 he had built an observatory with a 20 inch reflector. Using this instrument Roberts was to make considerable progress in the newly developing science of Astro-photography. He photographed numerous celestial objects including Orion Nebula on 15 Jan 1986 (90 minute exposure) and Pleiades. Undoubtedly his finest work was a photograph showing the spiral structure of the Great Nebula in Andromeda, M31 on 29 Dec 1888. In addition to his contribution to astro-photography, Roberts also devised a machine to be used to engrave stellar positions on copper plates, known as the Stellar Pantograver. He was also a geologist of some considerable note.*TIS

1831 Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, pen-name Lewis Carroll (27 Jan 1832, 14 Jan 1898), was an English logician, mathematician, photographer, and novelist, remembered for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and its sequel. After graduating from Christ Church College, Oxford in 1854, Dodgson remained there, lecturing on mathematics and writing treatises until 1881. As a mathematician, Dodgson was conservative. He was the author of a fair number of mathematics books, for instance A syllabus of plane algebraical geometry (1860). His mathematics books have not proved of enduring importance except Euclid and his modern rivals (1879) which is of historical interest. As a logician, he was more interested in logic as a game than as an instrument for testing reason.*TIS (I once read that if Dodgson had not written "Alice", he would be remembered today for his photography, and if he had not done either of those, then, if he was remembered at all, it would be for his logic book. One of my favorite Lewis Carroll stories is about his gift of a book to Queen Victoria. Here is the version as it is told on the Mathworld page):
Several accounts state that Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson ) sent Queen Victoria a copy of one of his mathematical works, in one account, An Elementary Treatise on Determinants. Heath (1974) states, "A well-known story tells how Queen Victoria, charmed by Alice in Wonderland, expressed a desire to receive the author's next work, and was presented, in due course, with a loyally inscribed copy of An Elementary Treatise on Determinants," while Gattegno (1974) asserts "Queen Victoria, having enjoyed Alice so much, made known her wish to receive the author's other books, and was sent one of Dodgson's mathematical works." However, in Symbolic Logic (1896), Carroll stated, "I take this opportunity of giving what publicity I can to my contradiction of a silly story, which has been going the round of the papers, about my having presented certain books to Her Majesty the Queen. It is so constantly repeated, and is such absolute fiction, that I think it worth while to state, once for all, that it is utterly false in every particular: nothing even resembling it has occurred" (Mikkelson and Mikkelson)
And then, I learned that "Lewis Carroll coined 'chortle' in Through the Looking-Glass, in 1871." @OEDonline, Twitter

1885 Franciszek Leja (January 27, 1885 in Grodzisko Górne near Przeworsk – October 11, 1979 in Kraków, Poland) Polish mathematician who greatly influenced Polish Mathematics in the period between the two World Wars.
He was born to a poor peasant family in the southeastern Poland. After graduating from the University of Lwów he was a teacher of mathematics and physics in high schools from 1910 until 1923, among others in Kraków. From 1924 until 1926 he was a professor at the Warsaw University of Technology and from 1936 until 1960 in the Jagiellonian University.
During the Second World War he lectured on the underground universities in Łańcut and Lezajsk. But after the German invasion of Poland in 1939 life there became extremely difficult. There was a strategy by the Germans to wipe out the intellectual life of Poland. To achieve this Germans sent many academics to concentration camps and murdered others. In one of such actions he was sent to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp which he fortunately survived.
Since 1948 he worked for the Institute of Mathematics of the Polish Academy of Sciences. He was a co-founder of the Polish Mathematics Society in 1919 and from 1963 until 1965 the chairman. Since 1931 he was a member of the Warsaw Science Society (TNW).
His main scientific interests concentrated on analytic functions, in particular the method of extremal points and transfinite diameters. *Wik

1900 Hyman George Rickover (27 Jan 1900; 8 Jul 1986) was a Polish-American naval officer who immigrated to the US (1906) and graduated from the Naval Academy in 1922. He eventually became an Admiral. He is known as the “Father of the Nuclear Navy” for his leadership to build the atomic-powered submarine, USS Nautilus (1954). He served on active duty with the United States Navy for more than 63 years, receiving exemptions from the mandatory retirement age due to his critical service in the building of the United States Navy's nuclear surface and submarine force. *TIS

1903 Howard Percy Robertson (27 Jan 1903 in Hoquiam, Washington, USA - 26 Aug 1961) made outstanding contributions to differential geometry, quantum theory, the theory of general relativity, and cosmology. He was interested in the foundations of physical theories, differential geometry, the theory of continuous groups, and group representations. He was particularly interested in the application of the latter three subjects to physical problems.
His contributions to differential geometry came in papers such as: The absolute differential calculus of a non-Pythagorean non-Riemannian space (1924); Transformation of Einstein space (1925); Dynamical space-times which contain a conformal Euclidean 3-space (1927); Note on projective coordinates (1928); (with H Weyl) On a problem in the theory of groups arising in the foundations of differential geometry (1929); Hypertensors (1930); and Groups of motion in space admitting absolute parallelism (1932). *SAU

1936 Samuel C.C. Ting(27 Jan 1936, ) Samuel Chao Chung Ting is an American physicist who shared, with Burton Richter, the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1976 for his discovery of a new subatomic particle, the J/psi particle.*TIS

1667 Gregorius Saint Vincent (8 Sept 1584 in Bruges, Belgium - 27 Jan 1667 in Ghent, Belgium). His Opus geometricum (1647) contains the most beautiful frontispiece of any mathematics text. In this work, Gregorius was the first to develop the theory of the geometric series and also the first to show that the area under a hyperbola is a logarithm. *VFR (in the frontispiece he claims to have squared the circle) The engraved frontispiece shows sunrays inscribed in a square frame being arranged by graceful angels to produce a circle on the ground: 'mutat quadrata rotundis'. There was uneasiness in the learned world because no one in that world still believed that under the specific Greek rules the quadrature of a circle could possibly be effected, and few relished the thought of trying to locate an error, or errors, in 1200 pages of text. Four years later, in 1651, Christiaan Huygens found a serious defect in the last book of 'Opus geometricum', namely in Proposition 39 of Book X, on page 1121. This gave the book a bad reputation.*SAU
Bob Mrotek wrote to point out that "The picture shows an angel holding a square frame and the light ray that passes through it forms a circle on the ground. This is ALWAYS the case no matter what the shape of the hole that the light passes through as long as there is enough focal length between the hole (depending on its size) and the ground. When you walk in the woods you will notice that the light passing through the odd shaped spaces between the leaves forms perfect circles on the ground. This is the camera obscura effect and most people never realize it."

1823 Charles Hutton (14 Aug 1737 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England - 27 Jan 1823 in London, England) was an English mathematician who wrote arithmetic textbooks. A textbook he wrote while at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich was later adopted as the first math text by the USMA in West Point, NY and served as the principal math text for two decades. *Wik

1860 János Bolyai (15 Dec 1802; 27 Jan 1860) Hungarian mathematician and one of the founders of non-Euclidean geometry - geometry that does not include Euclid's axiom that only one line can be drawn parallel to a given line through a point not on the given line. His father, Farkas Bolyai, had devoted his life to trying to prove Euclid's famous parallel postulate. Despite his father's warnings that it would ruin his health and peace of mind, János followed in working on this axiom until, in about 1820, he came to the conclusion that it could not be proved. He went on to develop a consistent geometry (published 1882) in which the parallel postulate is not used, thus establishing the independence of this axiom from the others. He also did valuable work in the theory of complex numbers. *TIS

1860 Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane, Baronet (23 Jul 1773, 27 Jan 1860) British soldier and astronomical observer for whom the city of Brisbane, Australia, is named. He was Governor of NSW (1821-25). Mainly remembered as a patron of science, he built an astronomical observatory at Parramatta, Australia, made the first extensive observations of the southern stars since Lacaille in (1751-52) and built a combined observatory and magnetic station at Makerstoun, Roxburghshire, Scotland. He also conducted (largely unsuccessful) experiments in growing Virginian tobacco, Georgian cotton, Brazilian coffee and New Zealand flax.*TIS

1895 James Cockle (14 Jan 1819 in Great Oakley, Essex, England - 27 Jan 1895 in Bayswater, London, England) Cockle was remarkably productive as a mathematician publishing over 100 papers. He wrote papers on both pure and applied mathematics, as well as on the history of science. On the former topic he wrote on fluid dynamics and magnetism. Most of his work, however, was in pure mathematics where he studied algebra, the theory of equations, and differential equations. He had a collaborator on mathematical work, a Congregationalist minister named Robert Harley. *SAU

1947 Alexander Brown (5 May 1877 in Dalkeith, near Edinburgh, Scotland - 27 Jan 1947 in Cape Town, South Africa) In 1903 Brown was appointed as Professor of Applied Mathematics in the South African College. In 1911 he married Mary Graham; they had a son and a daughter. He remained in Cape Town until his death in 1947, but his status changed in 1918 when the South African College became the University of Cape Town.
He was a member of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society, joining the Society in December 1898. He contributed papers to meetings of the Society such as On the Ratio of Incommensurables in Geometry to the meeting on Friday 9 June 1905 and Relation between the distances of a point from three vertices of a regular polygon, at the meeting on Friday 11 June 1909, communicated by D C McIntosh.
Brown was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa in 1918, was on its Council from 1931 to 1935 and again in 1941, was its Honorary Treasurer from 1936 to 1940, and President from 1942 to 1945. Alexander Brown was elected to the Royal Society of Edinburgh on 20 May 1907. *SAU

1965 Philip Franklin (October 5, 1898 in New York — January 27, 1965 in Belmont, Massachusetts) was an American mathematician and professor whose work was primarily focused in analysis.
His dissertation, The Four Color Problem, was supervised by Oswald Veblen. After teaching for one year at Princeton and two years at Harvard (as the Benjamin Peirce Instructor), Franklin joined the MIT Department of Mathematics, where he stayed until his 1964 retirement.
In 1922, Franklin gave the first proof that all planar graphs with at most 25 vertices can be four-colored.
In 1928, Franklin gave the first description of an orthonormal basis for L²([0,1]) consisting of continuous functions (now known as "Franklin's system").
In 1934, Franklin published a counterexample to the Heawood conjecture, this 12-vertex cubic graph is now known as the Franklin graph.
He was married to Norbert Wiener's sister Constance. *Wik

1972 Richard Courant (8 Jan 1888, 27 Jan 1972) German-American mathematician who, upon joining the faculty of New York University in 1934, began to build the nucleus of a small research group based on the Göttingen model he had experienced as a student of David Hilbert in Germany. Courant's published papers were in variational problems, finite difference methods, minimal surfaces, and partial differential equations. He encouraged the publication of mathematical texts and high quality monographs, such as Methods of Mathematical Physics by Courant and Hilbert. His leadership was commemorated in 1964 when the institute he founded was named the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University *TIS He died at age 84 of a stroke in New Rochelle, NY. Today it is named after him: The Courant Institute. *VFR

1995 Raphael Mitchel Robinson (November 2, 1911 – January 27, 1995) was an American mathematician.
In 1941, Robinson married his former student Julia Bowman. She became his Berkeley colleague and the first woman president of the American Mathematical Society.
He worked on mathematical logic, set theory, geometry, number theory, and combinatorics. Robinson (1937) set out a simpler and more conventional version of John Von Neumann's 1923 axiomatic set theory. Soon after Alfred Tarski joined Berkeley's mathematics department in 1942, Robinson began to do major work on the foundations of mathematics, building on Tarski's concept of "essential undecidability," by proving a number of mathematical theories undecidable. Robinson (1950) proved that an essentially undecidable theory need not have an infinite number of axioms by coming up with a counterexample Robinson's work on undecidability culminated in his coauthoring Tarski et al. (1953), which established, among other things, the undecidability of group theory, lattice theory, abstract projective geometry, and closure algebras.
Robinson worked in number theory, even employing very early computers to obtain results. For example, he coded the Lucas-Lehmer primality test to determine whether 2n − 1 was prime for all prime n less than 2304 on a SWAC. In 1952, he showed that these Mersenne numbers were all composite except for 17 values of n = 2, 3, 5, 7, 13, 17, 19, 31, 61, 89, 107, 127, 521, 607, 1279, 2203, 2281. He discovered the last 5 of these Mersenne primes, the largest ones known at the time.
Robinson wrote several papers on tilings of the plane, in particular a clear and remarkable 1971 paper "Undecidability and nonperiodicity for tilings of the plane" simplifying what had been a tangled theory.*Wik

2001 Robert Alexander Rankin (27 Oct 1915 in Garlieston, Wigtownshire, Scotland - 27 Jan 2001 in Glasgow, Scotland) At Cambridge Rankin began to undertake research in number theory on the difference between two successive primes which won him the Rayleigh Prize in 1939. He published four papers on The difference between consecutive prime numbers between this time and 1950. in 1939 he began to work with G H Hardy on the results of Ramanujan. Although Ramanujan had died nearly twenty years earlier, he had left a number of unpublished notebooks filled with theorems that Hardy and other mathematicians continued to study.
After an interruption during WWII, Rankin wrote over 100 research papers, mostly on the theory of numbers and the theory of functions. He wrote The modular group and its subgroups published in 1969 and Modular forms and functions which was published in 1977. The former of these is described by Rankin himself in the Preface, "This short course of lectures was given at the Ramanujan Institute for Advanced Study in Mathematics, in the University of Madras, in September 1968. The object of the course was to study the modular group and some of its subgroups, with help of algebraic rather than analytic or topological methods." He made a number of remarkable contributions to the theory of numbers have played a major part in the modern development of the topic. *SAU

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