Monday, 26 June 2017

On This Day in Math - June 26

When you measure what you are speaking about and express it in numbers,
you know something about it,
but when you cannot express it in numbers
your knowledge about is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind
William Thompson, Lord Kelvin

The 177th day of the year; there are 177 graphs with seven edges.  *What's So Special About This Number.  (only 79 of these are connected graphs)
  • 177 is the smallest magic constant for a 3 x 3 prime magic square

 17 & 89 & 71 \\
 113 & 59 & 5 \\
 47 & 29 & 101


1424 Of the 20 total eclipses to visit the Orkneys and Shetland Islands in the period 1 - 3000AD it was the 13th longest in the whole of the UK at 3 minutes 56 seconds it was surpassed in Orkney by those of 364, 885, 1185, 1433, 2681. The eclipse track traveled across Denmark, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Moldavia, and the Black Sea. (ref. SW-UK eclipses) *NSEC

1614   The first lottery of significance in the new world was held on this date by the Virginia Company.  The first Great Prize was 4,500 Crowns. *JN Kane, Famous First Facts (I have seen the date of this lottery also given as 1612)

1765 Benjamin Franklin writes to Peter Collinson about numerous topics including Accounts of Spouts and Whirlwinds, and a comment on his earlier kite experiments; but includes, "I am endeavouring to answer Dr. Parsons’s Request relating to the Indian Names of the Cardinal Numbers." *franklinpapers

In 1819, The first US patent for a velocipede, a predecessor of the bicycle, was issued to William K. Clarkson Jr. of New York. Little information remains available, however, because a fire at the Patent Office in 1836 destroyed the patent record, and it was not restored. The photo shows the Draisine design of the period (Europe, 1816). Bicycles were introduced to the US also in 1819 and were manufactured by David and Rogers in Troy, NY*TIS

1881 The great comet of 1881. Observed on the night of June 25-26 at 1h. 30m. A.M. from a print by Étienne Léopold Trouvelot, a French artist, astronomer and amateur entomologist. He is noted for the unfortunate introduction of the Gypsy Moth into North America. *The New York Public Library Digital Collections

1896 An early x-ray photograph of Sir William Crookes’s hand, taken with a cathode tube that bears his name, the Crookes Tube. The man taking these pioneering radiographs was the engineer Alan Archibald Campbell Swinton, later a Fellow of the Royal Society. He took the first x-ray images in Britain in January 1896 and by a year later the medical professions were bringing him surgical cases for analysis. *Keith Moore, Royal Society Blog

In 1974, at 8:01 a.m., a package of Wrigley's chewing gum with a bar code printed on it passed over a scanner at the Marsh Supermarket, Troy, Ohio, and became the first product ever logged under the new Universal Product Code (UPC) computerized recognition system. Invented by IBM, and approved for use in 1973, the UPC is a 12-number bar code representing the manufacturer's identity and an assigned product number. Within nanoseconds, this information is read with a laser beam moving at around 10,000 inches per second and transfers it to the store's database computer for price lookup and inventory management*TIS

In 1984, the National Maritime Museum, of which the Royal Observatory, Greenwich is a part, encouraged people up and down the Line to organise events in order to mark the so-called ‘centenary’ of the Prime Meridian. Although the International Meridian conference took place in October 1884, the Museum designated Tuesday 26 June as ‘Meridian Day’, on the grounds that any outdoor events would be less likely to be affected by the weather.
Commemorative six-inch diameter plastic plaques were offered to any individual who could show that the Meridian passed through the curtilage of their property. Potential claimants were required to write to their regional office of the Ordnance Survey to verify their claim and send this as proof of authenticity to the English Tourist Board who were distributing them. No records of how many were issued can be traced. The locations of just four are known, along with the existence of a fifth.
The National Maritime Museum also arranged for the Enfield Foundry to cast a bronze plaque as a more enduring alternative. At the time, it was stated that they would only be produced if 20 or more orders were received. How many were made is unknown, the Foundry’s records having been destroyed. Only three have been located to date. (If you are aware of one of these locations, please informe me, thanks PB)

In 2000, the completion of a working draft reference DNA sequence of the human genome was announced at the White House by President Bill Clinton, and representatives from the Human Genome Project (HGP) and the private company Celera Genomics. Clinton stated that even greater discoveries would follow from the working draft. As a draft, it contained some gaps and errors, but represented about 95% of all genes. HGP expected to use it as a scaffold for generating the high-quality reference genome sequence within three years. This provides knowledge to link genes with particular diseases, of the influence of genetics and to help discover new treatments.

1730 Charles Messier (26 June 1730 – 12 April 1817) French astronomer who discovered 15 comets. He was the first to compile a systematic catalog of "M objects." The Messier Catalogue (1784), containing 103 star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies. (In Messier's time a nebula was a term used to denote any blurry celestial light source.) He established alphanumeric names for the objects (M1, M2, etc.), which notation continues to be used in astronomy today.

1824 Lord Kelvin (26 June 1824 – 17 December 1907) Born as William Thomson, he became an influential physicist, mathematician and engineer who has been described as a Newton of his era. At Glasgow University, Scotland, he was a professor for over half a century. The name he made for himself was more than just a temperature scale. His activities ranged from being the brains behind the laying of a transatlantic telephone cable, to attempting to calculate the age of the earth from its rate of cooling. In 1892, when raised to the peerage as Baron Kelvin of Largs, he had chosen the name from the Kelvin River, near Glasgow.*TIS

1878 Leopold Löwenheim (26 June 1878 in Krefeld, Germany (also the birthplace of Max Zorn) – 5 May 1957 in Berlin) was a German mathematician who worked on mathematical logic and is best-known for the Löwenheim-Skolem paradox.*SAU

1969 Andrei Yuryevich Okounkov (June 26, 1969 - ) is a Russian mathematician who works on representation theory and its applications to algebraic geometry, mathematical physics, probability theory and special functions. He is currently a professor at Columbia University. In 2006, he received the Fields Medal "for his contributions to bridging probability, representation theory and algebraic geometry." *Wik


1274 Nasir al-Tusi (born 18 February 1201 in Ṭūs, Khorasan – died on 26 June 1274 in al-Kāżimiyyah district of metropolitan Baghdad), was an Islamic astronomer and mathematician who joined the Mongols who conquered Baghdad. He made important contributions to astronomy and wrote many commentaries on Greek texts.*SAU Among the many wonderful antiquities at the Bodleian Library is a 16th century printing of the 13th century Arabic translation by Nasir al-Din al-Tusi of Euclid's Elements. It was part of the collection donated by Thomas Allen.

1796 David Rittenhouse (April 8, 1732 – June 26, 1796) American astronomer, instrument maker and inventor who was an early observer of the atmosphere of Venus. For observations for the transit of Venus on 3 Jun 1769, he constructed a high precision pendulum clock, an astronomical quadrant, an equal altitude instrument, and an astronomical transit. He was the first one in America to put spider web as cross-hairs in the focus of his telescope. He is generally credited with inventing the vernier compass and possibly the automatic needle lifter. He was professor of astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania. Benjamin Franklin consulted him on various occasions. For Thomas Jefferson he standardized the foot by pendulum measurements in a project to establish a decimal system of weights and measures.*TIS

1810 Joseph Montgolfier (26 August 1740 – 26 June 1810) French ballooning pioneer, with his younger brother, Étienne. An initial experiment with a balloon of taffeta filled with hot smoke was given a public demonstration on 5 Jun 1783. This was followed by a flight carrying three animals as passengers on 19 Sep1783, shown in Paris and witnessed by King Louis XVI. On 21 Nov 1783, their balloon carried the first two men on an untethered flight. In the span of one year after releasing their test balloon, the Montgolfier brothers had enabled the first manned balloon flight in the world. *TIS

1951 George Udny Yule (18 February 1871 – 26 June 1951) graduated in Engineering from University College London and then studied in Bonn. He worked with Karl Pearson on the statistics of regression and correlation. He took a post with an examinations board before being appointed to a Cambridge fellowship. He is best known for his book: Introduction to the Theory of Statistics.*SAU

1967 Henry Thomas Herbert Piaggio (2 June 1884–26 June 1967) graduated from Cambridge and then worked at the University of Nottingham. He is best known for his text-book on Differential Equations.("An Elementary Treatise on Differential Equations and their Applications".) *SAU

1990 Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider (March 11, 1915 – June 26, 1990), known simply as J.C.R. or "Lick" was an American computer scientist, considered one of the most important figures in computer science and general computing history. He is particularly remembered for being one of the first to forsee modern-style interactive computing, and its application to all manner of activities; and also as an Internet pioneer, with an early vision of a world-wide computer network long before it was built. He did much to actually initiate all that through his funding of research which led to a great deal of it, including today's canonical graphical user interface, and the ARPANET, the direct predecessor to the Internet.*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, 25 June 2017

On This Day in Math - June 25

Astronomy was the cradle of the natural sciences and the starting point of geometrical theories.
~Cornelius Lanczos

The 176th day of the year; 176 and its reversal 671 are both divisible by 11. ( Students should confirm that the reverse of  any number that is divisible by 11 will also be divisible by 11.)

176 is a happy number, repeatedly iterating the sum of the squares of the digits will lead to 1, 12 + 72 + 62= 86, 82 + 62 = 100 and 12 + 02 + 02 = 1

The number 15 can be partitioned in 176 ways.


1641 John Pell begins the work of expanding Walter Warner's table of anti-logarithms from 10,000 to 100,000 entries. Warner felt he was too old to complete the laborious task he had set for  himself, and offered Pell 40 GBPounds (appx. worth 5,000 pounds today) to complete the tables and make them ready for printing.  *Thomas Harriot's Doctrine of Triangular Numbers, Beery & Stedall, pg 39

1665 René Descartes died on 11 February 1650 in Stockholm, Sweden, where he had been invited as a teacher for Queen Christina of Sweden. The cause of death was said to be pneumonia—accustomed to working in bed until noon, he may have suffered a detrimental effect on his health due to Christina's demands for early morning study (the lack of sleep could have severely compromised his immune system). Others believe that Descartes may have contracted pneumonia as a result of nursing a French ambassador, Dejion A. Nopeleen, ill with the aforementioned disease, back to health. In his recent book, Der rätselhafte Tod des René Descartes (The Mysterious Death of René Descartes), the German philosopher Theodor Ebert asserts that Descartes died not through natural causes, but from an arsenic-laced communion wafer given to him by a Catholic priest. He believes that Jacques Viogué, a missionary working in Stockholm, administered the poison because he feared Descartes's radical theological ideas would derail an expected conversion to Roman Catholicism by the monarch of Protestant Lutheran Sweden.*Wik

After his death in Stockholm, his body was returned to Paris, arriving on 25 Jun 1665 , though the coffin had been looted by his followers for relics in Stockholm.  Supposedly, the coffin was shipped overland from Copenhagen to avoid piracy by English admirers!  The remains were in Ste. Geneviève, then in Lenoir's Museum of French Monuments, and then finally moved to St‑Germain-des-Prés in 1819. His headstone (or gravestone) is in St‑Germain‑des‑Prés, in the second chapel on the right of the apse.   Stephen Jay Gould says the (purported) skull of Descartes is in the Musée de l'Homme, apparently on display.  Arjen Dijksman recently advised me that the Musee de l'Homme is closed for another year, and there have been efforts to move the skull to the Pantheon.
Église St-Germain-des-Prés, at 3 Place St-Germain-des-Prés, is the oldest church in Paris. Part of it dates to the 6th century, when a Benedictine abbey was founded on the site by King Childebert, son of Clovis. The church was originally built to house a relic of the True Cross brought from Spain in 542. The Normans destroyed the abbey on multiple occasions and only the marble columns in the triforium remain from the original structure. The carved capitals on the pillars are copies of the originals, which are kept in the Musée National du Moyen-Age. The church was enlarged and reconsecrated by Pope Alexander III in 1163. The abbey was completely destroyed during the Revolution, but the church was spared. The present building is a fine example of Romanesque architecture, with gothic interior elements. The square tower dating from the early 11th century, is topped by a landmark spire, which dates to the 19th century. For a time, the abbey served as a pantheon for Merovingian kings. The Chapelle Saint Symphorien, built during the Middle Ages and restored in 1981, served as the necropolis mérovingienne (crypt of the Merovingians). This is the presumed site of first tomb of Saint Germain, Bishop of Paris, who died in 576. Among the others interred here are King Jean-Casimir of Poland

1712 Brook Taylor suggested that if two glass plates which are clamped together into a “V” are placed into a pan of water then capillary action will draw water up into the shape of a rectangular hyperbola with asymptotes the surface of the water and the point of the “V.” This and several similar experiments performed by Francis Hauksbee before the Royal Society caused Newton to rethink his ideas on capillary force. *VFR

1776 Captain Cook sails from Deptford on his third voyage, in the 'Resolution' with the 'Discovery' *Nat. Maritime Museum ‏@NMMGreenwich

1783  Antonie Lavoisier announced to the French Academy of Sciences that water was the product formed by the combination of hydrogen and oxygen. However, this discovery had been made earlier by the English chemist Henry Cavendish *TIS

1795 The Bureau des Longitudes is a French scientific institution, founded by decree of 25 June 1795 and charged with the improvement of nautical navigation, standardization of time-keeping, geodesy and astronomical observation. During the 19th century, it was responsible for synchronizing clocks across the world. It was headed during this time by François Arago and Henri Poincaré. The Bureau now functions as an academy and still meets monthly to discuss topics related to astronomy.
The Bureau was founded by the National Convention after it heard a report drawn up jointly by the Committee of Navy, the Committee of Finances and the Committee of State education. Henri Grégoire had brought to the attention of the National Convention France's failing maritime power and the naval mastery of England, proposing that improvements in navigation would lay the foundations for a renaissance in naval strength. As a result, the Bureau was established with authority over the Paris Observatory and all other astronomical establishments throughout France. The Bureau was charged with taking control of the seas away from the English and improving accuracy when tracking the longitudes of ships through astronomical observations and reliable clocks.
The ten original members of its founding board were:
Joseph-Louis Lagrange;
Pierre-Simon Laplace;
Joseph Jérôme Lefrançais de Lalande;
Pierre Méchain;
Jean Baptiste Joseph Delambre;
Dominique, comte de Cassini;
Jean-Charles de Borda, who carried out work related to the mechanics of fluids and precursor of Carnot because of his insights on thermodynamics;
Jean-Nicolas Buache, geographer;
Louis Antoine de Bougainville, celebrated navigator; and
Noël Simon Caroché, manufacturer of telescopes.

1973 Last total solar eclipse with a maximum duration of totality longer than 7 minutes between year 0 and 4000 was June 30, 1973. The eclipse was visible in Africa. The next total solar eclipse with a duration of totality longer than 7 minutes will be on 25 June 2150 in the Pacific Ocean. Thereafter it will be 5 July 2168 in the Indian Ocean. Ref. More Mathematical AstronomicalMorsels by Jean Meeus; Willmann-Bell, 2002. *NSEC


1864 Walther Hermann Nernst (25 June 1864 – 18 November 1941) German who was one of the founders of modern physical chemistry. In 1889, he devised his theory of electric potential and conduction of electrolytic solutions (the Nernst Equation) and introduced the solubility product to explain precipitation reactions. In 1906, Nernst showed that it is possible to determine the equilibrium constant for a chemical reaction from thermal data, and in so doing he formulated what he himself called the third law of thermodynamics. This states that the entropy, (a thermodynamic measure of disorder in a system), approaches zero as the temperature goes towards absolute zero. For this, he was awarded the 1920 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. In 1918, he explained the H2-Cl2 explosion on exposure to light as an atom chain reaction. *TIS

1905 Rupert Wildt (/ˈvɪlt/; June 25, 1905 – January 9, 1976) was a German-American astronomer.
He was born in Munich, Germany, and grew up in that country during World War I and its aftermath. In 1927 he was awarded a Ph.D. from the University of Berlin. He joined the University of Göttingen, specializing in the properties of atmospheres.
In 1932 he studied the spectra of Jupiter, and other outer planets, and identified certain absorption bands as belonging to the hydrogen-rich compounds of methane and ammonia. The composition appeared consistent with a composition similar to the sun and other stars.
Assuming that the atmosphere was composed of these gases, during the 1940s and 1950s he constructed a model of the structure of these planets. He believed the core of the planets is solid and composed of a mixture of rock and metal, covered by a thick outer shell of ice, overlaid by a dense atmosphere. His model is still widely accepted.
In 1934 he emigrated to the United States, and became a research assistant at Princeton University from 1937 until 1942. He then became an assistant professor at the University of Virginia until 1947, before joining the faculty of the Yale University.
In 1939 he demonstrated that the major source of optical opacity in the Sun's atmosphere is the H- ion, and thus the main source of visible light for the Sun and stars.
From 1965 until 1968 he was president of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy. In the period 1966-1968 he also held the post of the chairman of the department of astronomy at Yale, and from 1973 until his death he was professor emeritus. He died in Orleans, Massachusetts.
His awards include the Eddington Medal in 1966. The Asteroid 1953 Rupertwildt is named after him and the crater Wildt on the Moon is also. *Wik

1928 Alexei Alexeyevich Abrikosov (June 25, 1928; ) is a Soviet and Russian theoretical physicist whose main contributions are in the field of condensed matter physics. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2003.
In two works in 1952 and 1957, Abrikosov explained how magnetic flux can penetrate a class of superconductors. This class of materials is known as type-II superconductors. The accompanying arrangement of magnetic flux lines is called the Abrikosov vortex lattice.
Abrikosov was awarded the Lenin Prize in 1966, the Fritz London Memorial Prize in 1972, and the USSR State Prize in 1982. In 1989 he received the Landau Prize from the Academy of Sciences, Russia. Two years later, in 1991, Abrikosov was awarded the Sony Corporation’s John Bardeen Award. The same year he was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[1] He is also a member of the Royal Academy of London, a fellow of the American Physical Society, and in 2000 was elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences. He was the co-recipient of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Physics, with Vitaly Ginzburg and Anthony James Leggett, for theories about how matter can behave at extremely low temperatures. *Wik


1671 Giovanni Riccioli (17 April 1598 – 25 June 1671) Italian astronomer who was the first to observe (1650) a double star (two stars so close together that they appear to be one) -  Mizar in Ursa Major, the middle star in the handle of the Big Dipper. He also discovered satellite shadows on Jupiter. In 1651, he assigned the majority of the lunar feature names in current use. He named the more prominent features after famous astronomers, scientists and philosophers, while the large dark and smooth areas he called "seas" or "maria". The lunar seas were named after moods (Seas of Tranquillity, Serenity) or terrestrial phenomena (Sea of Rains, Ocean or Storms) His map was published in Almagestum Novum in1651.*TIS
Riccioli studied seventy-seven objections to the Copernican thesis and after studying them Riccioli said that the weight of argument favored a “geo-heliocentric” hypothesis such as that advocated by the great Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe. Riccioli's preference for Tycho's model illustrates something important about how science is done. While today anti-Copernicans are often portrayed as Einstein characterized them (opposed to rational thinking, opposed to science), Riccioli, perhaps the most prominent of the anti-Copernicans, examined the available evidence diligently and rationally. The conclusion he reached was indeed wrong, but wrong because at that time neither the diffraction of light and the Airy disk, nor the details of the Coriolis effect, were understood. Riccioli's anti-Copernican arguments were so solid that they would become subjects of further investigation in physics, long after the Copernican theory had triumphed over the Tychonic theory.*Christopher M. Graney, Teaching Galileo, Physics Teacher V50,1

1879 Sir William Fothergill Cooke (4 May 1806 – 25 June 1879) English inventor who worked with Charles Wheatstone in developing electric telegraphy. Of the pair, Cooke contributed a superior business ability, whereas Wheatstone is generally considered the more important of the two in the history of the telegraph. After Cooke attended a demonstration of the use of wire in transmitting messages, he began his own experiments with telegraphy (1836) and formed a partnership with Wheatstone. Their first patent (1837) was impractical because of cost. They demonstrated their five-needle telegraph on 24 July 1837 when they ran a telegraph line along the railway track from Euston to Camden Town able to transmit and successfully receive a message. In 1845, they patented a single-needle electric telegraph. *TIS

1941 Alfred Pringsheim (2 September 1850 – 25 June 1941). His work in Fourier series, analytic function theory, and continued fractions was a model of the Weierstrassian approach, although he was not a student of Weier­strass. *VFR
In mathematical analysis, Pringsheim studied real and complex functions, following the power-series-approach of the Weierstrass school. Pringsheim published numerous works on the subject of complex analysis, with a focus on the summability theory of infinite series and the boundary behavior of analytic functions.
Pringsheim's theorem concerns the convergence of a power series with non-negative real coefficients. However, Pringsheim's original proof had a flaw (related to uniform convergence), and a correct proof was provided by Ralph P. Boas. Pringsheim's theorem is used in analytic combinatorics and the Perron–Frobenius theory of positive operators on ordered vector spaces.
Besides his research in analysis, Pringsheim also wrote articles for the Encyclopedia of Mathematical Sciences on the fundamentals of arithmetic and on number theory. He published papers in the Annals of Mathematics. As an officer of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences, he recorded the minutes of its scientific meetings.
Pringsheim and Ivan Śleszyński, working separately, proved what is now called the Śleszyński–Pringsheim theorem on convergence of certain continued fractions.*Wik

1960 Walter Baade (24 Mar 1893; 25 Jun 1960 at age 67) German-American astronomer who, with Fritz Zwicky, proposed that supernovae could produce cosmic rays and neutron stars (1934), and Baade made extensive studies of the Crab Nebula and its central star. During WW II blackouts of the Los Angeles area Baade used the 100-inch Hooker telescope to resolve stars in the central region of the Andromeda Galaxy for the first time. This led to his definition of two stellar populations, to the realization that there were two kinds of Cepheid variable stars, and from there to a doubling of the assumed scale of the universe. Baade and Rudolph Minkowski identified and took spectrograms of optical counterparts of many of the first-discovered radio sources, including Cygnus A and Cassiopeia A. *TIS

1974 Cornelius Lanczos (2 Feb 1893 - 25 June 1974) worked on relativity and mathematical physics and invented what is now called the Fast Fourier Transform. *SAU Lanczos served as assistant to Albert Einstein during the period of 1928–29.*Wik

1978 Hsien Chung Wang (April 18, 1918 — June 25, 1978.)worked on algebraic topology and discovered the 'Wang sequence', an exact sequence involving homology groups associated with fibre bundles over spheres. These discoveries were made while he worked with Newman in Manchester. Wang also solved, at that time, an important open problem in determining the closed subgroups of maximal rank in a compact Lie group *SAU

1997 Jacques-Yves Cousteau (11 June 1910 – 25 June 1997) French naval officer, oceanographer, marine biologist and ocean explorer, known for his extensive underseas investigations. He was co-inventor of the aqualung which made SCUBA diving possible (1943). Cousteau developed the Conshelf series of manned habitats, the Diving Saucer, a process of underwater television and numerous other platforms and specialized instruments of ocean science. In 1945 he founded the French Navy's Undersea Research Group. He modified a WWII wooden hull minesweeper into the research vessel Calypso, in 1950. An observation dome added to the foot of Calypso's bow was found to increase the ship's stability, speed and fuel efficiency. *TIS

2006 Irving "Kap" Kaplansky (March 22, 1917, Toronto – June 25, 2006, Los Angeles) was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada after his parents emigrated from Poland and attended the University of Toronto as an undergraduate. After receiving his Ph.D  from Harvard in 1941 as Saunders Mac Lane's first student, Kaplansky was professor of mathematics at the University of Chicago from 1945 to 1984. He was chair of the department from 1962 to 1967.
"Kap," as his friends and colleagues called him, made major contributions to group theory, ring theory, the theory of operator algebras and field theory. He published over 150 papers with over 20 co-authors. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was the Director of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute from 1984 to 1992, and the President of the American Mathematical Society from 1985 to 1986.
Kaplansky also was a noted pianist known to take part in Chicago performances of Gilbert and Sullivan productions. He often composed music based on mathematical themes. One of those compositions, A Song About Pi, is a melody based on assigning notes to the first 14 decimal places of pi.
Kaplansky was the father of singer-songwriter Lucy Kaplansky, who occasionally performs A Song About Pi in her act.
He was among the first five recipients of William Lowell Putnam fellowships in 1938.*Wik

*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

Saturday, 24 June 2017

On This Day in Math - June 24

"For example" is not a proof.  
Jewish proverb

The 175th day of the year; 175 is the smallest number n greater than 1 such that n6
\(\pm 6\) are both prime.  *Prime Curios & Derek Orr

If S(n) = the sum of the proper divisors of n ( so S(8) = 1+2+4=7) then if S(n1) = n2 and s(n2)= n3... and s(n)=n1 we call the sequence a "sociable chain" of length n. There are, at this writing, 175 sociable chains with length greater than 2
(sociable chains of link two are called amicable numbers. The pair known to the ancients are 220 and 284 )

From Jim Wilder ‏@wilderlab : \( 175 = 1^1 + 7^2 + 5^3 \)


1497 The name America is first used for the newly discovered continent, or at least part of it. Named by John Cabot in honor of his Bristol sponsor, Welshman Robert Ameryk, a prosperous merchant. According to accounts from the period, a record for that year in the Bristol calendar stated, "... on Saint Johns Day, the land of America was found by merchants of Bristowe, in a ship of Bristowe called the Mathew."
 The first use of the name on a map was on the Waldseemuller map of 1507. As was common at the time, the map was accompanied by a cosmographia explaining the basics of cartography and how to use the map. In his  Cosmographiae Introductio  Waldseemuller makes clear that it is named for Vespucci.  Its full title translates to, "Introduction to Cosmography With Certain Necessary Principles of Geometry and Astronomy To which are added The Four Voyages of Amerigo Vespucci A Representation of the Entire World, both in the Solid and Projected on the Plane, Including also lands which were Unknown to Ptolemy, and have been Recently Discovered".
While Cabot certainly discovered the mainland of the Americas before Vespucci, it seems that the weight of evidence for why we use the name America is weighted heavily toward the Amerigo Vespucci theory.  An excellent analysis of the evidence on that side, and the lack of evidence in support of Ameryk, is given by The Renaissance Mathematicus here.  *PB combined notes from many sources.

1634 Gilles Personne de Roberval was proclaimed the winner of the triennial competition for the Ramus chair at the Coll`ege Royal in Paris. Thereafter, he kept his mathematical discoveries secret so that he could continue to win the competition and keep the chair. As a consequence he lost credit for many of his discoveries. *VFR
He worked on the quadrature of surfaces and the cubature of solids, which he accomplished, in some of the simpler cases, by an original method which he called the "Method of Indivisibles"; but he lost much of the credit of the discovery as he kept his method for his own use, while Bonaventura Cavalieri published a similar method which he independently invented. 
Another of Roberval’s discoveries was a very general method of drawing tangents, by considering a curve as described by a moving point whose motion is the resultant of several simpler motions. He also discovered a method of deriving one curve from another, by means of which finite areas can be obtained equal to the areas between certain curves and their asymptotes. To these curves, which were also applied to effect some quadratures, Evangelista Torricelli gave the name "Robervallian lines."

1644 In a letter to Torricelli, Fr. Marin Mersenne gives a method to find a number with any number of factors. He explained; since 60 = 2*2*3*5 subtract one from each factor (1,1,2, 4) and make them the exponents of any primes.. he used 24*32*5*7= 5040.. Of course Plato knew much earlier that 5040 had sixty factors.In Laws, Plato suggests that 5040 is the optimal number of citizens in a state because a) It is the product of 12, 20, and 21;  b) the 12th part of it can still be divided by 12; and c) it has 59 proper divisors, including all numbers for 1 to 12 except 11, and 5038--which is very close to 5040--is divisible by 11.

1687 In a letter to Huygens, Fatio de Dullier used an integrating factor to solve the differential equation 3x dy − 2y dx = 0. No earlier instance of an integrating factor is known. The fundamental conception of integrating factors was due to Euler (1734) and further developed by Clairaut (1739). *VFR

In 1778, David Rittenhouse observed a total solar eclipse in Philadelphia. In a letter to him, dated 17 Jul 1778, Thomas Jefferson wrote that "We were much disappointed in Virginia generally on the day of the great eclipse, which proved to be cloudy." Rittenhouse (1732-1796) was not only an American astronomer, but also a mathematician and public official. He is reputed to have built the first American-made telescope and was the first director of the U.S. Mint (1792-1795).*TIS  Jefferson was an excellent applied mathematician and had contacted Rittenhouse on another occasion.  Travelling through France ten years later, " in 1788, he noticed peasants near Nancy ploughing, and fell to wondering about the design of the moldboard, that is, the surface which turns the earth: he spent the next ten years working on this, on and off, wondering how to achieve the most efficient design, both offering least frictional resistance, and which also would be easy for farmers out in the frontiers to construct, far from technical help. He consulted the Pennsylvania mathematician Robert Patterson (born in Ireland in 1743), and consulted also another Philadelphia luminary, the self-taught astronomer and mathematical instrument-maker David Rittenhouse (1732-1796)."   Jefferson also communicated with Thomas Paine about bridge design, suggesting the use of catenary arches.  Jefferson is believed to be the first person ever to use the term "catenary" in English. 

1847 The first observation with the Great Refractor at Harvard was of the Moon on the afternoon of June 24, 1847. A number of significant achievements quickly followed. The eighth satellite of Saturn was discovered in 1848 by W.C. Bond and his son, George P. Bond, who was to succeed his father as Director in 1859. In 1850, Saturn's crape, or inner, ring was first observed, again by the Bonds. That same year, the first daguerreotype ever made of a star, the bright Vega, was taken by J.A. Whipple working under W.C. Bond, following several years of experiments using smaller telescopes. One of the earliest photographs of a double star, Mizar and Alcor in the handle of the Big Dipper, was achieved in 1857, using the wet-plate collodion process. *Observatory web page...  The 15 inch Great Refractor was "once the biggest and best telescope in the United States, perhaps the world."  *Frederik Pohl, Chasing Science, pg 42.

In 1898, a U.S. commemorative stamp was first used that carried the design of a major engineering construction project, the Mississippi River Bridge, a triple-arch steel bridge between East St. Louis, Illinois and St. Louis,
Missouri. Each span was roughly 500 feet and rested on piers resting on bedrock some 100 feet beneath the river bottom. Opened on 4 Jul 1874, the bridge was named after its designer, the self-trained engineer, James Eads. The upper level road also carried streetcars, which are seen in the stamp design along with steam ships on the river below. The trains that ran on its lower level are hidden from view at this angle. (Although still in use, the bridge no longer carries rail traffic.) The design was reissued in 1998.*TIS

In 1975, a moon tremour, caused by a strike of Taurid meteors, was detected by the seismometer network left on the Moon's surface by American astronauts. The major series of lunar impacts between 22 - 26 Jun 1975 represented 5% of the total number of impacts detected during the eight years of the network's operation, and included numerous 1-ton meteorites. The impacts were detected only when the nearside of the Moon (where the astronauts landed) was facing the Beta Taurid radiant. At the same time, there was a lot of activity detected in Earth's ionosphere, which has been linked with meteor activity. The Taurid meteor storm crosses the Earth orbit twice a year, during the period 24 Jun to 6 Jul and the period 3 Nov to 15 Nov.*TIS

1978 Charon first suggested for the name of Pluto's moon. Charon was originally known by the temporary designation S/1978 P 1, according to the then recently instituted convention. On June 24, 1978, U.S. Naval Observatory astronomer James Christy who had discovered the moon, first suggested the name Charon as a scientific-sounding version of his wife Charlene's nickname, "Char."
Although colleagues at the Naval Observatory proposed Persephone, Christy stuck with Charon after discovering it coincidentally refers to a Greek mythological figure: Charon is the ferryman of the dead, closely associated in myth with the god Hades, whom the Romans identified with their god Pluto. Official adoption of the name by the IAU waited until late 1985 and was announced on January 3, 1986.
There is minor debate over the preferred pronunciation of the name. The practice of following the classical pronunciation established for the mythological ferryman Charon is used by major English-language dictionaries such as the Merriam-Webster and Oxford English Dictionary.[19][20] These indicate only one pronunciation of "Charon" when referring specifically to Pluto's moon: with an initial "k" sound. Speakers of languages other than English, and many English-speaking astronomers as well, follow this pronunciation.
However, Christy himself pronounced the ch in the moon's name as sh, after his wife Charlene. *Wik

2012 Lonesome George, the last Pinta Island tortoise dies. Also known as the Pinta giant tortoise, Abingdon Island tortoise, or Abingdon Island giant tortoise, was a subspecies of Galápagos tortoise native to Ecuador's Pinta Island.
The subspecies was described by Albert Günther in 1877 after specimens arrived in London. By the end of the 19th century, most of the Pinta Island tortoises had been wiped out due to hunting. By the mid-20th century, it was assumed that the species was extinct until a single male was discovered on the island in 1971. Efforts were made to mate the male, named Lonesome George, with other subspecies, but no viable eggs were produced. Lonesome George died on June 24, 2012. The subspecies is believed to have become extinct; however, there has been at least one first-generation hybrid individual found outside Pinta Island *Wik


1880 Oswald Veblen, (June 24, 1880 – August 10, 1960) American mathematician, born in Decorah, Iowa, who made important contributions to differential geometry and early topology. Many of his contributions found application to atomic physics and relativity. Along with his interest in the foundations of geometry he developed an interest in algebraic topology, or analysis situs as it was then called and by 1912 was writing papers on this subject. Gradually he became more interested in differential geometry. From l922 onward most of his papers were in this area and in its connections with relativity. His work on axioms for differentiable manifolds and differential geometry contributed directly to the field.*TIS

1909 William Penney (24 Jun 1909, 3 Mar 1991 at age 81)(Baron Penney of East Hendred) British nuclear physicist who led Britain's development of the atomic bomb. Penney was to Britain as Robert Oppenheimer was to the U.S. He was a prominent part of the British Mission at Los Alamos during WW II, where his principal assignment was studying the damage effects from the blast wave of the atomic bomb, but he became involved in implosion studies as well. Penney's combination of expertise, analytical skill, effective communication, and the ability to translate them into practical application soon made him one of the five members of the Los Alamos “brain trust” that made key decisions. He was the only Briton to be part of the ten man Target Committee that drew up the list of targets for the atomic bombing of Japan. *TIS

1912 Wilhelm Cauer (June 24, 1900 – April 22, 1945) was a German mathematician and scientist. He is most noted for his work on the analysis and synthesis of electrical filters and his work marked the beginning of the field of network synthesis. Prior to his work, electronic filter design used techniques which accurately predicted filter behaviour only under unrealistic conditions. This required a certain amount of experience on the part of the designer to choose suitable sections to include in the design. Cauer placed the field on a firm mathematical footing, providing tools that could produce exact solutions to a given specification for the design of an electronic filter. *Wik
By the end of World War II, he was, like millions of less-distinguished countrymen and -women, merely a person in the way of a terrible conflagration.
Cauer succeeded in evacuating his family west, where the American and not the Soviet army would overtake it — but for reasons unclear he then returned himself to Berlin. His son Emil remembered the sad result.
The last time I saw my father was two days before the American Forces occupied the small town of Witzenhausen in Hesse, about 30 km from Gottingen. We children were staying there with relatives in order to protect us from air raids. Because rail travel was already impossible, my father was using a bicycle. Military Police was patrolling the streets stopping people and checking their documents. By that time, all men over 16 were forbidden to leave towns without a permit, and on the mere suspicion of being deserters, many were hung summarily in the market places. Given this atmosphere of terror and the terrible outrages which Germans had inflicted on the peoples of the Soviet Union, I passionately tried to persuade my father to hide rather than return to Berlin, since it was understandable that the Red Army would take its revenge. But he decided to go back, perhaps out of solidarity with his colleagues still in Berlin, or just due to his sense of duty, or out of sheer determination to carry out what he had decided to do.
Seven months after the ending of that war, my mother succeeded in reaching Berlin and found the ruins of our house in a southern suburb of the city. None of the neighbors knew about my father’s fate. But someone gave identification papers to my mother which were found in a garden of the neighborhood. The track led to a mass grave with eight bodies where my mother could identify her husband and another man who used to live in our house. By April 22, 1945, the Red Army had crossed the city limits of Berlin at several points. Although he was a civilian and not a member of the Nazi Party, my father and other civilians were executed by soldiers of the Red Army. The people who witnessed the executions were taken into Soviet captivity, and it was not possible to obtain details of the exact circumstances of my father’s death.

1915 Sir Fred Hoyle (24 June 1915 – 20 August 2001) English mathematician and astronomer, best known as the foremost proponent and defender of the steady-state theory of the universe. This theory holds both that the universe is expanding and that matter is being continuously created to keep the mean density of matter in space constant. He became Britain's best-known astronomer in 1950 with his broadcast lectures on The Nature of the Universe, and he recalled coining the term "Big Bang" in the last of those talks. Although over time, belief in a "steady state" universe as Hoyle had proposed was shared by fewer and fewer scientists because of new discoveries, Hoyle never accepted the now most popular "Big Bang" theory for the origin of the universe.

1927 Martin Lewis Perl (June 24, 1927 – September 30, 2014) was an American physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1995 for his discovery of the tau lepton.
He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1955, where his thesis advisor was I.I. Rabi. Perl's thesis described measurements of the nuclear quadrupole moment of sodium, using the atomic beam resonance method that Rabi had won the Nobel Prize in Phyics for in 1944.
Following his Ph.D., Perl spent 8 years at the University of Michigan, where he worked on the physics of strong interactions, using bubble chambers and spark chambers to study the scattering of pions and later neutrons on protons.[1] While at Michigan, Perl and Lawrence W. Jones served as co-advisors to Samuel C. C. Ting, who earned the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1976.
Seeking a simpler interaction mechanism to study, Perl started to consider electron and muon interactions. He had the opportunity to start planning experimental work in this area when he moved in 1963 to the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), then being built in California. He was particularly interested in understanding the muon: why it should interact almost exactly like the electron but be 206.8 times heavier, and why it should decay through the route that it does. Perl chose to look for answers to these questions in experiments on high-energy charged leptons. In addition, he considered the possibility of finding a third generation of lepton through electron-positron collisions. He died after a heart attack at Stanford University Hospital on September 30, 2014 at the age of 87. *Wik


1832 Timofei Fedorovic Osipovsky (February 2, 1766–June 24, 1832) was a Russian mathematician, physicist, astronomer, and philosopher. Timofei Osipovsky graduated from the St Petersburg Teachers Seminary.
He was to became a teacher at Kharkov University. Kharkov University was founded in 1805. The city of Kharkov, thanks to its educational establishments, became one of the most important cultural and educational centers of Ukraine. Osipovsky was appointed to Kharkov University in 1805, the year of the foundation of the University. In 1813 he became rector of the University. However in 1820 Osipovsky was suspended from his post on religious grounds.
His most famous work was the three volume book A Course of Mathematics (1801–1823). This soon became a standard university text and was used in universities for many years. *Wik

1880 Jules Lissajous (March 4, 1822, Versailles – June 24, 1880, Plombières-les-Bains) was a French mathematician best known for the Lissajous figures produced from a pair of sine waves. *SAU  The curves are also called Bowditch curves for the early American mathematician, Nathanial Bowditch,  who worked with them earlier.  In general, a parametric curve with equations x= A sin(k t ); y= B sin(m t), the curves can describe things as simple as a circle or ellipse to more complex open and closed curves.  If the ratio of k/m is rational, the curve will eventually close. 

*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

Friday, 23 June 2017

On This Day in Math - June 23

We can only see a short distance ahead,
but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.

Alan Turing, From his paper on the Turing test

The 174th day of the year; there are 174 twin prime pairs among the first 1000 integers.

174 = 72 + 53 and is also the sum of four consecutive squares.

174 is the smallest number that begins a string of four numbers so that none of them is a palindrome in any base, b, \( 2 \leq b \leq 10 \)
From Jim Wilder ‏@wilderlab : \( 175 = 1^1 + 7^2 + 5^3 \)


1191 "In the month of June, the Vigil of the Nativity of St John the Baptist (June 23), the 9 th day before the Kalends of July, on the 27 th day of the Moon, at the 9 th hour of the day, the Sun was eclipsed and it lasted for three hours; the Sun was so obscured that the darkness arose over the Earth and stars appeared in the sky. And when the eclipse withdrew, the Sun returned to its
original beauty." This was an annular solar eclipse.

1585 Thomas Harriot arrived off the coast of Virginia (actually Cape Lookout, NC). He was the first substantial mathematician to visit North America. [John W. Shirley in Thomas Harriot: A Biography, 1983, p. 129; Thanks to Kullman] *VFR Thomas Harriot's name was once synonymous with a common method of solving quadratics taught in nearly every high school. Once commonly called Harriot's Method, today it is simply referred to as factoring.
And how did he come to be in the exploration of Virginia?? Here is the story from Encyclopedia Virginia, 2010:
Thomas Hariot (often spelled Harriot) was an English mathematician, astronomer, linguist, and experimental scientist. During the 1580s, he served as Sir Walter Raleigh's primary assistant in planning and attempting to establish the English colonies on Roanoke Island off the coast of present-day North Carolina. He taught Raleigh's sea captains to sail the Atlantic Ocean using sophisticated navigational methods not well understood in England at the time. He also learned the Algonquian language from two Virginia Indians, Wanchese and Manteo. In 1585, Hariot joined the expedition to Roanoke, which failed and returned to England the next year. During his stay in America, Hariot helped to explore the present-day Outer Banks region and, farther north, the Chesapeake Bay. He also collaborated with the artist John White in producing several maps notable at the time for their accuracy. Although Hariot left extensive papers, the only work published during his lifetime was "A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia", which evaluated the economic potential of Virginia. The report appeared most impressively in Theodor de Bry's 1590 edition that included etchings based on the White-Hariot maps and White's watercolors of Indian life. After a brief imprisonment in connection to the Gunpowder Plot (1605), Hariot calculated the orbit of Halley's Comet, sketched and mapped the moon, and observed sunspots. He died in 1621.

1676 Newton, via Oldenburg, sent his famous Epistola prior to Leibniz. It contained the first use of fractional exponents as well as the newly discovered binomial theorem.*VFR

In 1775, the first American-made book was advertised in Philadelphia, Penn. Titled Impenetrable Secret, the book was printed and sold by Story and Humphreys. Their advertisement in the Pennsylvania Mercury announced it was "printed with types, paper and ink manufactured in this Province."*TIS

1783 In June 1783, Charles Blagden, then assistant to Henry Cavendish, visited Antoine Lavoisier in Paris and described how Cavendish had created water by burning "inflammable air". Lavoisier's dissatisfaction with the Cavendish's "dephlogistinization" theory led him to the concept of a chemical reaction, which he reported to the Royal Academy of Sciences on 24 June 1783, effectively founding modern chemistry. He was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1789 *wik

1835 Mobius receives a letter from Bellavitis with a method for adding and subtracting non-collinear vectors. (A history of vector analysis: the evolution of the idea of a vectorial system By Michael J. Crowe) A geometrical work by Bellavitis was published in 1832 which also contains vector type quantities. His basic objects are line segments AB and he considers AB and BA as two distinct objects. He defines two line segments as 'equipollent' if they are equal and parallel, so, in modern notation, two line segments are equipollent if they represent the same vector. Bellavitis then defines the 'equipollent sum of line segments' and obtains an 'equipollent calculus' which is essentially a vector space. *SAU

1868 Christopher Latham Sholes receives a patent for an invention he calls the "Type-Writer." *OnThisDay & Facts ‏@NotableHistory (Sholes was an American inventor who invented the first practical typewriter and the QWERTY keyboard still in use today. He was also a newspaper publisher and Wisconsin politician.)

1993 Over the course of three lectures delivered at Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences on June 21, 22, and 23 of 1993, Wiles announced his proof of the Taniyama–Shimura conjecture, and hence of Fermat's Last Theorem. There was a relatively large amount of press coverage afterwards. After announcing his results, (Nick) Katz was a referee on his manuscript and he asked Wiles a series of questions that led Wiles to recognize that the proof contained a gap. There was an error in a critical portion of the proof which gave a bound for the order of a particular group: the Euler system used to extend Flach's method was incomplete. Wiles and his former student Richard Taylor spent almost a year resolving it. Wiles indicates that on the morning of September 19, 1994 he realized that the specific reason why the Flach approach would not work directly suggested a new approach with the Iwasawa theory which resolved all of the previous issues with the latter and resulted in a CNF that was valid for all of the required cases. On 6 October Wiles sent the new proof to three colleagues including Faltings. The new proof was published and, despite its size, widely accepted as likely correct in its major components. *Wik

1988 Global warming became more widely popular after 23 June, 1988 when NASA climate scientist James Hansen used the term in a testimony to Congress. He said: "global warming has reached a level such that we can ascribe with a high degree of confidence a cause and effect relationship between the greenhouse effect and the observed warming." His testimony was widely reported and afterward global warming was commonly used by the press and in public discourse. *Wik

2013 The Moon will make its closest approach to the Earth (at perigee) for the year on Sunday, 23 June, at 11:11 (UTC), and at this time the Moon will be 356,989 km from the Earth (that means 221,823 miles for us non-geeks). *Bob Mrotek

1612 André Tacquet (23 June 1612 Antwerp – 22 December 1660 Antwerp, also referred to by his Latinized name Andrea Tacquet) was a Flemish mathematician and Jesuit Priest. His work prepared ground for the eventual discovery of the calculus.
He was born in Antwerp, and entered the Jesuit Order in 1629. From 1631 to 1635, he studied mathematics, physics and logic at Leuven. Two of his teachers were Saint-Vincent and Francois d'Aguilon.
Tacquet became a brilliant mathematician of international fame and his works were often reprinted and translated (into Italian and English). He helped articulate some of the preliminary concepts necessary for Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz to recognize the inverse nature of the quadrature and the tangent. He was one of the precursors of the infinitesimal calculus, developed by John Wallis. His most famous work, which influenced the thinking of Blaise Pascal and his contemporaries, is Cylindricorum et annularium (1651). In this book Tacquet presented how a moving point could generate a curve and the theories of area and volume. *Wik

1756 Thomas Jones (23 June 1756 – 18 July 1807) was Head Tutor at Trinity College, Cambridge for twenty years and an outstanding teacher of mathematics. He is notable as a mentor of Adam Sedgwick.
He was born at Berriew, Montgomeryshire, in Wales. On completing his studies at Shrewsbury School, Jones was admitted to St John's College, Cambridge on 28 May 1774, as a 'pensioner' (i.e. a fee-paying student, as opposed to a scholar or sizar). He was believed to be an illegitimate son of Mr Owen Owen, of Tyncoed, and his housekeeper, who afterwards married a Mr Jones, of Traffin, County Kerry, Thomas then being brought up as his son.
On 27 June 1776, Jones migrated from St John's College to Trinity College. He became a scholar in 1777 and obtained his BA in 1779, winning the First Smith's Prize and becoming Senior Wrangler. In 1782, he obtained his MA and became a Fellow of Trinity College in 1781. He became a Junior Dean, 1787–1789 and a Tutor, 1787-1807. He was ordained a deacon at the Peterborough parish on 18 June 1780. Then he was ordained priest, at the Ely parish on 6 June 1784, canon of Fen Ditton, Cambridgeshire, in 1784, and then canon of Swaffham Prior, also 1784. On 11 December 1791, he preached before the University, at Great St Mary's, a sermon against duelling (from Exodus XX. 13), which was prompted by a duel that had lately taken place near Newmarket between Henry Applewhaite and Richard Ryecroft, undergraduates of Pembroke, in which the latter was fatally wounded. Jones died on 18 July 1807, in lodgings in Edgware Road, London. He is buried in the cemetery of Dulwich College. A bust and a memorial tablet are in the ante-chapel of Trinity College. *Wik

1775 Étienne-Louis Malus (23 Jun 1775, 24 Feb 1812 at age 36)French physicist who discovered that light, when reflected, becomes partially plane polarized; i.e., its rays vibrate in the same plane. He served in Napoleon's corps of engineers, fought in Egypt, and contracted the plague during Napoleon's aborted campaign in Palestine. Posted to Europe after 1801, he began research in optics. In 1808, he discovered that light rays may be polarized by reflection, while looking through a crystal of Iceland spar at the windows of a building reflecting the rays of the Sun. He noticed that on rotating the crystal the light was extinguished in certain positions. Applying corpuscular theory, he argued that light particles have sides or poles and coined the word "polarization." *TIS

1824 Johann Martin Zacharias Dase (June 23, 1824, Hamburg – September 11, 1861, Hamburg) was a German mental calculator.
He used to spend a lot of time playing dominoes, and suggested that this played a significant role in developing his calculating skills. Dase suffered from epilepsy from early childhood throughout his life.

At age 15 he began to travel extensively, giving exhibitions in Germany, Austria and England. Among his most impressive feats, he multiplied 79532853 × 93758479 in 54 seconds. He multiplied two 20-digit numbers in 6 minutes; two 40-digit numbers in 40 minutes; and two 100-digit numbers in 8 hours 45 minutes. The famous mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss commented that someone skilled in calculation could have done the 100-digit calculation in about half that time with pencil and paper.

These exhibitions however did not earn him enough money, so he tried to find other employments. In 1844 he obtained a position in the Railway Department of Vienna, but this didn't last long since in 1845 he was reported in Mannheim and in 1846 in Berlin.

In 1844, Dase calculated π to 200 decimal places over the course of approximately two months, a record for the time, from the Machin-like formula:

\( \frac{\pi}{4} = \arctan \frac{1}{2} + \arctan \frac{1}{5} + \arctan \frac{1}{8} \)

He also calculated a 7-digit logarithm table and extended a table of integer factorizations from 7,000,000 to 10,000,000.

Dase had very little knowledge of mathematical theory. The mathematician Julius Petersen tried to teach him some of Euclid's theorems, but gave up the task once he realized that their comprehension was beyond Dase's capabilities. Gauss however was very impressed with his calculating skill, and he recommended that the Hamburg Academy of Sciences should allow Dase to do mathematical work on a full-time basis, but Dase died shortly thereafter.

The book "Gödel, Escher, Bach" by Douglas Hofstadter mentions his calculating abilities. "... he also had an uncanny sense of quantity. That is, he could just 'tell', without counting, how many sheep were in a field, or words in a sentence, and so forth, up to about 30." *Wik

1902 Dr. Howard T. Engstrom (23 Jun 1902, 9 Mar 1962 at age 59 American computer designer who promoted the first commercially available digital computer, the Univac. As a Yale professor he had written a paper on the mathematical basis for cryptanalysis techniques. During WW II he was called to the Navy and placed in command of the OP-20-G automated machines "Research Section" for message decryption. After the war, he was a co-founder of Engineering Research Associates, a private company to work on electronic digital circuit technology for the Navy on a contract basis, with former Navy researchers. ERA delivered its first Atlas computer to the National Security Agency in Dec 1950. As vice president for research, Engstrom took the initiative to make a commercial version, renamed Univac.*TIS

1912 Alan Mathison Turing (23 June 1912 – 7 June 1954) born. This British mathematician was one of the founders of recursion theory, invented the Turing machine (an abstract model of a computer), did important work in cryptography, and invented the computer. *Alan Turing. The Enigma by Andrew Hodges, 1983.

1941 Ivor Owen Grattan-Guinness (23 June 1941 – 12 December 2014) was a historian of mathematics and logic. Grattan-Guinness was born in Bakewell, England; his father was a mathematics teacher and educational administrator. He gained his bachelor degree as a Mathematics Scholar at Wadham College, Oxford, and an MSc (Econ) in Mathematical Logic and the Philosophy of Science at the London School of Economics in 1966. He gained both the doctorate (PhD) in 1969, and higher doctorate (D.Sc.) in 1978, in the History of Science at the University of London. He was Emeritus Professor of the History of Mathematics and Logic at Middlesex University, and a Visiting Research Associate at the London School of Economics.
He was awarded the Kenneth O. May Medal for services to the History of Mathematics by the International Commission for the History of Mathematics (ICHM) on 31 July 2009, at Budapest, on the occasion of the 23rd International Congress for the History of Science. In 2010, he was elected an Honorary Member of the Bertrand Russell Society.
He spent much of his career at Middlesex University. He was a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, and is a member of the Académie Internationale d'Histoire des Sciences. *Wik

1944 Richard Peter Stanley (June 23, 1944; New York City, New York - ) is the Norman Levinson Professor of Applied Mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He received his Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1971 under the supervision of Gian-Carlo Rota. He is an expert in the field of combinatorics and its applications to other mathematical disciplines.
Stanley is known for his two-volume book Enumerative Combinatorics (1986–1999). He is also the author of Combinatorics and Commutative Algebra (1983) and well over 100 research articles in mathematics. He has served as thesis advisor to more than 45 doctoral students, many of whom have had distinguished careers in combinatorial research.
Stanley's distinctions include membership in the National Academy of Sciences (elected in 1995), the 2001 Leroy P. Steele Prize for mathematical exposition, the 2003 Schock Prize, a plenary lecture at the 2006 meeting of the ICM (in Madrid, Spain), and election in 2012 as a fellow of the American Mathematical Society
Stanley created the symbol \( (\binom{n}{k}) = \binom {n+k-1}{k} \) for binomial selection with replacement. *John D Cook, Wik


1891 Wilhelm Eduard Weber (24 October 1804 – 23 June 1891)   German physicist who investigated terrestrial magnetism. For six years, from 1831, Weber worked in close collaboration with Gauss. Weber developed sensitive magnetometers, an electromagnetic telegraph (1833) and other magnetic instruments during this time. His later work (1855) on the ratio between the electrodynamic and electrostatic units of charge proved extremely important and was crucial to Maxwell in his electromagnetic theory of light. (Weber found the ratio was 3.1074 x 108 m/sec but failed to take any notice of the fact that this was close to the speed of light.) Weber's later years were devoted to work in electrodynamics and the electrical structure of matter. The magnetic unit, weber, is named after him.*TIS

1891 Norman Robert Pogson (23 Mar 1829; 23 Jun 1891 at age 62) English astronomer who devised the magnitude scale of the brightness of stars (1850) now in use. He divided the classical scale in which a first magnitude star is one hundred times brighter than a sixth magnitude star using five integer steps. Each step represents a fifth-root of 100 (about 2.512) increase in brightness. The Sun's magnitude on this scale is -26.91, whereby negative numbers denote objects brighter than first magnitude. Sirius is magnitude -1.58, Aldebaran is 1 and the faintest star detected is 30. His interest in astronomy began in his youth; by age 18 he had calculated orbits for two comets. He discovered 8 asteroids, 21 new variable stars and compiled a massive star catalogue. In 1860 he moved to India for the remainder of his life's work.*TIS

1892 Pierre Ossian Bonnet (22 December 1819, Montpellier – 23 June 1892, Paris)died. He worked on minimal surfaces, geodesics, and integral geometry. *VFR  Bonnet made major contributions introducing the notion of geodesic curvature. A formula for the line integral of the geodesic curvature along a closed curve is known as the Gauss-Bonnet theorem. Gauss published a special case.

*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

Thursday, 22 June 2017

On This Day in Math - June 22

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

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

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

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


1633 Galileo, under threat of torture from the inquisition, was forced to "abjure, curse, and detest" his Copernican heliocentric views.
The recantation of GALILEO took place in the Great Hall of the former monastery of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, then the headquarters of the Dominican order. This is where he supposedly said "E pur si muove" (Nevertheless, it does move). For a long time, these words were believed to be a much later invention, but they probably date back to c1643 [Fahie, pp. 72 75]. Galileo was never officially imprisoned except for the few hours between his trial and the sentencing. In 1992, the Vatican officially declared that Galileo had been the victim of an error.
Galileo before the Holy Office, a 19th-century painting by Joseph-Nicolas Robert-Fleury

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

1714 second reading of the Longitude Bill in British Parliament *@Lordoflongitude

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

1864 Herman Minkowski born (June 22, 1864 – January 12, 1909) . The motto on his Akademie-Schrift was “Rien n’est beau que le vrai, le vrai seul est aimable” (Nothing is beautiful but the truth, only the truth is lovable). *VFR He developed the geometrical theory of numbers and who used geometrical methods to solve difficult problems in number theory, mathematical physics, and the theory of relativity. By 1907, Minkowski realised that the work of Lorentz and Einstein could be best understood in a non-euclidean space. He considered space and time, which were formerly thought to be independent, to be coupled together in a four-dimensional "space-time continuum". Minkowski worked out a four-dimensional treatment of electrodynamics. His idea of a four-dimensional space (since known as "Minkowski space"), combining the three dimensions of physical space with that of time, laid the mathematical foundation of Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity.*TIS My favorite Minkowski story from Constance Reid's Hilbert, Once in a topology lecture he brought up the Four-color theorem. "This theorem has not been proved, but that is because only mathematicians of the third rank have occupied themselves with it" he announced with unusual arrogance. "I belive I can prove it." He began on the spot to work out the problem and continued over several classes to develop the work. After several weeks he entered one rainy day and a crash of thunder accompanied his entrance. Turning to his students he announced, "Heaven is angered by my arrogance, My proof is defective."

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

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

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

1910 Konrad Zuse, (22 June 1910
Berlin, German Empire - 18 December 1995 (aged 85) Hünfeld, Germany) inventor of the first fully functional programmable digital computer. *VFR a German civil engineer and computer pioneer. His greatest achievement was the world's first functional program-controlled Turing-complete computer, the Z3, which became operational in May 1941.

Zuse was also noted for the S2 computing machine, considered the first process-controlled computer. He founded one of the earliest computer businesses in 1941, producing the Z4, which became the world's first commercial computer. In 1946, he designed the first high-level programming language, Plankalkül. In 1969, Zuse suggested the concept of a computation-based universe in his book Rechnender Raum (Calculating Space).
Much of his early work was financed by his family and commerce, but after 1939 he was given resources by the Nazi German government. Due to World War II, Zuse's work went largely unnoticed in the United Kingdom and the United States. Possibly his first documented influence on a US company was IBM's option on his patents in 1946. *Wik

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Credits :
*CHM=Computer History Museum
*FFF=Kane, Famous First Facts
*NSEC= NASA Solar Eclipse Calendar
*RMAT= The Renaissance Mathematicus, Thony Christie
*SAU=St Andrews Univ. Math History
*TIA = Today in Astronomy
*TIS= Today in Science History
*VFR = V Frederick Rickey, USMA
*Wik = Wikipedia
*WM = Women of Mathematics, Grinstein & Campbell

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

On This Day in Math - June 21

I had this rare privilege of being able 
to pursue in my adult life, 
what had been my childhood dream.
~Andrew Wiles

The 172nd day of the year; seventeen 2's followed by two 17's is prime.*Prime Curios
222222222222222221717 is prime

\( 172 = \pi(1+7+2) * p_{(1*7*2)} \). It is the only known number (up to 10^8) with this property.
pi(n) is the number of primes less than or equal to n, and pn is the nth prime.


1667 Louis XIV, The Sun King of France, attends the ceremony of inauguration of the Observatoire de Paris, the oldest working observatory in the world. *Amir D. Aczel, Pendulum, pg 66

1669 Christopher Wren gives first proof that the hyperboloid of one sheet (Wren uses the term Hyperbolic Cylindroid.) is doubly ruled in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. The only three doubly ruled surfaces are the plane, the hyperboloid of one sheet, and the hyperbolic paraboloid. Wren includes an image of the hyperboloid of one sheet that may be the earliest ever in print. In a footnote in Boyer's History of History of Analytic Geometry he notes that there is a figure in Kepler's Stereometria which looks like it might be this shape. (It is interesting that in his work on the geometry of a barrel, Kepler gives an approximation formula for the volume of a barrel that is exact for the hyperboloid of one sheet.)
The invention of the telescope and efforts to reduce distortion in the lenses led to suggestions of hyperbolic lenses, and Wren's paper pointed out "an application thereof for grinding hyperbolical glasses." Newton had applied the knowledge that the hyperboloid of one sheet was doubly ruled in his notes in 1666 when he demonstrated how to turn the shape on a lathe holding the cutting tool obliquely to the axis of rotation.
The image of Newton's method below is from a paper by Professor Rickey on the net.
*Wik, *VFR,

1798 Cavendish reads a paper to the Royal Society of London describing experiments to measure the density of the earth, and hence its weight, with results that it is 5.48 times the density of water. (the figures seem to include at least one calculating error) *Philosophical Transactions, 1798, Part II, pgs 469-526

1808 on 30 June, Humphry Davy announced he had separated the element boron. However, working independently, French chemist, Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac had announced* the same accomplishment nine days ealier, on 21 Jun 1808*TIS

In 1886, the foundation stone of the Tower Bridge in London, England was laid (over a time capsule) by the Prince of Wales. The need to cross the River Thames at this point had become increasingly urgent for many years, and finally the necessary Act was passed in 1885. The bridge, designed by Mr. Wolfe Barry, CB, was completed at a cost of about £1,000,000. To permit the passage of tall ships between the towers, two bascule spans, each of 100-ft length, are raised. The side spans to the towers are of the more familiar suspension type. Pedestrians can traverse a high-level footway nearly at the top of the towers, even when the bridge is raised. It was officially opened 30 Jun 1894, by the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, on behalf of Queen *TIS

In 1893, the first Ferris wheel premiered at Chicago's Columbian Exposition, America's third world's fair. It was invented by George Washington Ferris, a Pittsburgh bridge builder, for the purpose of creating an attraction like the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Each of the 36 cars carried 60 passengers, making a full passenger load of 150 tons. Ferris didn't use rigid spokes: instead, he used a web of taut cables, like a bicycle wheel. Supported by two 140 foot steel towers, its 45 foot axle was the largest single piece of forged steel at the time in the world. The highest point of the wheel was 264 feet. The wheel and cars weighed 2100 tons, with another 2200 tons of associated levers and machinery. Ferris died just four years later, at the age of only 38. *TIS

1929 Kazimierz Kuratowski (1896–1980) at a meeting of the Warsaw Section of the Polish Mathemat­ical Society, announced that a graph is planar iff it does not contain a subgraph homeomorphic to either K–5, the complete graph on 5 points, or K–3–3, the complete bipartite graph on two sets of three points. See HM 12, 258, for a discussion of the early history of this theorem which is now the most cited result in graph theory. *VFR (See June 18) 
 "A finite graph is planar if and only if it does not contain a subgraph that is a subdivision of K5 (the complete graph on five vertices) or K3,3 (complete bipartite graph on six vertices, three of which connect to each of the other three)." *Wik 
 (in more simple, but less exact terms,  "it can be drawn in such a way that no edges cross each other."  The well-known recreational problem of connecting three houses to three utilities is not possible to draw because it is K3,3 (below).  The utility problem posits three houses and three utility companies--say, gas, electric, and water--and asks if each utility can be connected to each house without having any of the gas/water/electric lines/pipes pass over any other. (1913 Dudeney: first publication of Gas, Water and Electricity Problem. according to David Singmaster, Gardner says 1917)

1948 the first stored-program computer, the Small-Scale Experimental Machine, SSEM, ran its first program. Written by Professor Tom Kilburn, it took 52 minutes to run. The tiny experimental computer had no keyboard or printer, but it successfully tested a memory system developed at Manchester University in England. The system, based on a cathode-ray tube, could store programs. Previous electronic computers had to be rewired to execute each new problem. The Manchester computer proved theories set forth by John von Neumann in a report that proposed modifications to ENIAC, the electronic computer built at the University of Pennsylvania in the mid-1940s. The report also proposed the use of binary instead of digital numbers. *TIS

1976 Kenneth Appel and Wolfgang Haken announced that with the aid of a computer that they had proved the four color problem. Because of the use of the computer the solution was not quickly accepted by all, but today most mathematicians accept the proof as correct. However, no simple proof is known as yet. *VFR  {A really nice article on the four color theorem and its history}
In 1963 Donald B. Gillies had found three new primes. When the primes were confirmed the UIUC Math dept (which has a postal branch) used this cancellation stamp on all mail from roughly 1964 - 1976. When Appel and Haken proved the four color theorem ("Four Colors Suffice") a new stamp was created. Trivia question : how far away from Gillies did Appel live in Urbana Illinois ??
Answer : He lived 3 houses away. *Wik
*Wik courtesy of Chris Caldwell

1993   Andrew Wiles  begins the three days of lectures leading to a solution of Taniyama-Shimura conjecture, and completing the proof of Fermat’s last theorem.. See (June 23)

2011  On non-leap years (until 2039), this day marks the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere and the winter solstice in the southern hemisphere, and this is the day of the year with the longest hours of daylight in the northern hemisphere and the shortest in the southern hemisphere.*Wik


1710 James Short (June 10 {June 21 NS), 1710, Edinburgh, Scot. -  June 14, 1768, London, Eng) British optician and astronomer who produced the first truly
parabolic and elliptic (hence nearly distortionless) mirrors for reflecting telescopes. During his working life of over 35 years, Short made about 1,360 instruments - not only for customers in Britain but also for export: one is still preserved in Leningrad, another at Uppsala and several in America. Short was principal British collator and computer of the Transit of Venus observations made throughout the world on 6th June 1761. His instruments travelled on Endeavour with Captain Cook to observe the next Transit of Venus on 3rd June 1769, but Short died before this event took place.

 1781 Siméon-Denis Poisson ( 21 June 1781 – 25 April 1840) French mathematician known for his work on definite integrals, advances in Fourier series, electromagnetic theory, and probability. The Poisson distribution (1837) describes the probability that a random event will occur in a time or space interval under the conditions that the probability of the event occurring is very small, but the number of trials is very large so that the event actually occurs a few times. His works included applications to electricity and magnetism, and astronomy. He is also known for the Poisson's integral, Poisson's equation in potential theory, Poisson brackets in differential equations, Poisson's ratio in elasticity, and Poisson's constant in electricity.*TIS   Libri wrote of him: “His only passion has been science: he lived and is dead for it.” *VFR

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

1863 Maximilian Franz Joseph Cornelius Wolf was a German astronomer who founded and directed the Königstuhl Observatory. He used wide-field photography to study the Milky Way and used statistical treatment of star counts to prove the existence of clouds of dark matter. He was among the first astronomers to show that the spiral nebulae have absorption spectra typical of stars and thus differ from gaseous nebulae. His most important contribution was the introduction of photography to discover hundreds of asteroids, the first of which he named Brucia in honor of the donor of his 16-inch double telescope, Catherine Wolfe Bruce.*TIS

1918 Tibor Szele worked in group theory. *VFR  Hungarian mathematician, working in combinatorics and abstract algebra. After graduating at the Debrecen University, he became a researcher at the Szeged University in 1946, then he went back to Debrecen University in 1948 where he became full professor in 1952. He worked especially in the theory of Abelian groups and ring theory. He generalized Hajós's theorem. He founded the Hungarian school of algebra. *Wik

1954 David Ríos Insua (born June 21, 1964 in Madrid) is a Spanish mathematician, and son and disciple of Sixto Ríos, father of Spanish Statistics. He is currently also the youngest Fellow of the Spanish Royal Academy of Sciences (de la Real Academia de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales, RAC),[1] which he joined in 2008.[2][3] He received a PhD in Computational Sciences at the University of Leeds. He is Full Professor of the Statistics and Operations Research Department at Rey Juan Carlos University (URJC),[4] and he has been Vice-dean of New Technologies and International Relationships at URJC (2002–2009). He has worked in fields such as Bayesian inference in neuronal networks, MCMC methods in decision analysis, Bayesian robustness or adversarial risk analysis. He has also worked in applied areas such as Electronic Democracy,[5] reservoirs management, counterterrorism model and many others. He is married and has two daughters. Wik


1874 Anders Jonas Ångström was a Swedish physicist whose pioneering use of spectroscopy is recognised in the name of the angstrom, a unit of length equal to 10-10 metre. In 1853, he studied the spectrum of hydrogen for which Balmer derived a formula. He announced in 1862 that analysis of the solar spectrum showed that hydrogen is present in the Sun's atmosphere. In 1867 he was the first to examine the spectrum of aurora borealis (northern lights). He published his extensive research on the solar spectrum in Recherches sur le spectre solaire (1868), with detailed measurements of more than 1000 spectral lines. He also published works on thermal theory and carried out geomagnetical measurements in different places around Sweden.*TIS

1913  Gaston Tarry was a French combinatorialist whose best-known work is a method for solving mazes.*SAU  He also was able to confirm Leonhard Euler's conjecture that no 6×6 Graeco-Latin square was possible. 
In mathematics, the Prouhet–Tarry–Escott problem asks for two disjoint sets A and B of n integers each, such that:
\sum_{a\in A} a^i = \sum_{b\in B} b^i
for each integer power  i from 1 to a given k.
For example, a solution with n = 6 and k = 5 is the two sets { 0, 5, 6, 16, 17, 22 } and { 1, 2, 10, 12, 20, 21 }, because:
01 + 51 + 61 + 161 + 171 + 221 = 11 + 21 + 101 + 121 + 201 + 211
02 + 52 + 62 + 162 + 172 + 222 = 12 + 22 + 102 + 122 + 202 + 212
03 + 53 + 63 + 163 + 173 + 223 = 13 + 23 + 103 + 123 + 203 + 213
04 + 54 + 64 + 164 + 174 + 224 = 14 + 24 + 104 + 124 + 204 + 214
05 + 55 + 65 + 165 + 175 + 225 = 15 + 25 + 105 + 125 + 205 + 215.
This problem was named after Eugène Prouhet, who studied it in the early 1850s, and Gaston Tarry and Escott, who studied it in the early 1910s.

1940 Wolfgang Döblin, known in France as Vincent Doblin, (17 March 1915 – 21 June 1940) was a German-French mathematician. Wolfgang was the son of the Jewish-German novelist, Alfred Döblin. His family escaped from Nazi Germany to France where he became a citizen. Studying probability theory at the Institute Henri Poincaré under Fréchet, he quickly made a name for himself as a gifted theorist. He became a doctor at age 23. Drafted in November 1938, after refusing to be exempted of military service, he had to stay in the active Army when World War II broke out in 1939, and was quartered at Givet, in the Ardennes, as a telephone operator. There, he wrote down his latest work on the Chapman-Kolmogorov equation, and sent this as a "pli cacheté" (sealed envelope) to the French Academy of Sciences. His company, sent to the sector of the Saare on the ligne Maginot in April 1940, was caught in the German attack in the Ardennes in May, withdrew to the Vosges, and capitulated on June 22, 1940. On June 21, Doeblin had committed suicide in Housseras (a small village near to Epinal), at the moment where German troops came in sight of the place. In his last moments, he burned his mathematical notes.
The sealed envelope was opened in 2000, revealing that Döblin was ahead of his time in the development of the theory of Markov processes. In recognition of his results, Itō's lemma is now referred to as the Itō–Doeblin Theorem.
His life was recently the subject of a movie by Agnes Handwerk and Harrie Willems, A Mathematician Rediscovered. *Wik

1948 D'Arcy Thompson graduated from Cambridge University in Zoology. He was a appointed Professor of Biology at Dundee and later Professor of Natural History at St Andrews. He combined skills in a way that made him unique. He was a Greek scholar, a naturalist and a mathematician. He was the first biomathematician. He became an honorary member of the EMS in 1933. *SAU

1957  Johannes Stark German physicist who won the 1919 Nobel Prize for Physics for his discovery in 1913 that an electric field would cause splitting of the lines in the spectrum of light emitted by a luminous substance; the phenomenon is called the Stark effect. *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