Use this tag for questions concerning history of mathematics, historical primacies of results, and evolution of terminology, symbols, and notations.

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3
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1answer
43 views

Emil Artin on visualization of matrices

Someone called my attention to the fact that Emil Artin made very important remarks on the visual representation of matrices in some of his books. Could anyone tell me which precise book that is? ...
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2answers
36 views

Logarithms and Taylor Series

Before Log Tables, how were they able to compute expressions such as $2^{2.221}$? I understand they could take a Taylor expansion of $\frac{1}{x}$, but how were they able to condense the expansion ...
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33 views

Demonstrative geometry around the world and its significance.

This is not exactly a mathematical question. I am from Pakistan; and over here students are taught a subject 'demonstrative geometry' (as a part of mathematics) from secondary level education. ...
3
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2answers
62 views

What is a space? Where does the word come from?

I was asked the question: "What is a space?". Wikipedia says it is a set with added structure, but then why don't we call a group a space, or a ring? The Princeton companion doesn't even have an entry ...
10
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1answer
515 views

The word “integral” in calculus unrelated to “integral” / “integer” in algebra?

I think that the word integral in calculus is nothing to do with integer or integer numbers. But why is integral is chosen for integration? In algebra, integral means related to integers, and this is ...
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3answers
159 views

Why do mathematicians use $\oplus$ instead of $+$?

What is the historical reason for using $\oplus$ instead of $+$ to denote operations that are generally thought of as addition? Similarly, why is $\otimes$ used instead of $\times$ (or just $\cdot$) ...
4
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0answers
69 views

First appearance of modern definition of a group [migrated]

What is the first appearance in print of the modern definition of an abstract group? To qualify, it should be a formal definition, contain the word "elements" (so Burnside's 1897 restriction to ...
2
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2answers
64 views

A post for the rejected — influential papers that had trouble getting published

Having your paper rejected feels a lot like getting dumped. But while there are plenty of good ways to alleviate the pain of romantic rejection, there seem to be few outlets to alleviate intellectual ...
8
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0answers
97 views

What was the original motivation for matrix multiplication? [duplicate]

When I took linear algebra class in my freshman year, the multiplication operation for matrices was defined without any apparent motivation. Given an $m$-times-$n$ matrix $A$ and an $n$-times-$p$ ...
5
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1answer
89 views

Could Euclid have proven that multiplication of real numbers distributes over addition?

In Euclid's day, the modern notion of real number did not exist; Euclid did not believe that the length of a line segment was a quantity measurable by number. But he did think it made sense to talk ...
7
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1answer
117 views

Could Euclid have proven that real number multiplication is commutative?

In Euclid's day, the modern notion of real number did not exist; Euclid did not believe that the length of a line segment was a quantity measurable by number. But he did think it made sense to talk ...
1
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1answer
32 views

Books and sources concerning the mathematics of Leibniz and the feud with Newton

I am trying to find books and other sources concerning the mathematical history of Leibniz, including the controversy due to the independent discoveries of calculus by both Newton and Leibniz. I can't ...
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2answers
55 views

a maximum of 128 independent rules

Can anyone tell me what these 128 rules are in the following paragraph? Are they the rules dominating Conway's automaton or other kind of rules like the whole universe rules that could be summarized ...
2
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0answers
61 views

Where does the term “Ring” come from in Algebra? [duplicate]

Group and Field make some sense to me, but I can't see why the structures that are closed under two binary operations would indicate "ring".
2
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2answers
66 views

Impact factor Vs Rating of Maths journals

I have heard of a Maths journal having $A^*$, $A$, $B$ and $C$ rating, and have also heard of impact factor of $1.3$, $0.6, 0.33$, et-cetera. Can someone please clarify me on what these two actually ...
1
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0answers
54 views

Is our Arabic number system based on a geometric design counting corners? [duplicate]

The following writer asserts that our system of Arabic numerals is a geometric design where the number of corners corresponds to the number represented: My question is: Is our Arabic number system ...
6
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3answers
186 views

Why is the Gamma function off by 1 from the factorial? [duplicate]

Why didn't they define it as $$ \tilde \Gamma(x) = \int_0^\infty t^x e^{-t} \, dt ?$$ Then the definition would have two less characters than the standard definition of $\Gamma(x)$, and we would have ...
3
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1answer
29 views

Does “data” in Cauchy data come before or after the coinage of data in computer science

Is the usage of data as in Cauchy data (i.e. initial conditions) borrowed or came before the usage of data in computer science and do both usages mean roughly the same thing (data ~ information)?
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0answers
47 views

Proofs that relied on paradoxical sentences

Graham Priest's Logic of Paradox is a modification of classical logic where the principle of explosion does not hold, so that there are inconsistent theories which are not automatically trivial. ...
4
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1answer
64 views

History of inner products and texts on it?

Where does the inner product originate from, was it defined in term of the dual or was it defined from just two copies of the space? I.e $(*,*) : V \times V \rightarrow scalar $ or $(*,*) : V \times ...
1
vote
1answer
46 views

Solving quartic equation using substitution

We are learning a lot about the history of our famous mathematicians and this specific one is stumping me. They want us to solve a problem a specific way and I can't seem to figure out how to do it. ...
10
votes
1answer
169 views

Estimating the “size” of the mathematical research literature

The other day I was telling one of my friends that mathematics, as a living science, possesses quite an extensive research literature. How extensive then, she asked. Unfortunately, I didn't have ...
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5answers
1k views

Pythagorean theorem expressed without roots in an old Tamilian (Indian) statement

There's an old Tamil statement that predicts the hypotenuse of a right angle triangle to a reasonable level of accuracy considering it doesn't involve roots. This is how it goes: “Odum Neelam ...
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1answer
37 views

Euler and differentials

Did Euler have juxtaposition of $dx$ to $f'(x)$ to denote multiplication of a "very small quantity" to $f'(x)$ to obtain another "very small quantity" $dy$? This seems to imply that $\frac{dy}{dx}$ is ...
7
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0answers
77 views

What primes were “pending” at the time of Wiles's proof of FLT?

I would like to know what instances of Fermat's Last Theorem were pending at the time of Wiles's proof. More specifically: what families of irregular primes had been discarded as possible ...
8
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0answers
65 views

Why do people prefer cosine to sine when speaking of harmonic oscillation?

In almost all of the physics textbooks I have ever read, the author will write the oscillating function as $$x(t)=\cos\left(\omega t+\phi\right)$$ My question is that, is there any practical or ...
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3answers
65 views

History of convolution

Let $f, g\in L^{1}(\mathbb R),$ we may define the convolution of $f$ and $g$ as follows: $f\ast g(x)= \int_{\mathbb R} f(x-y)g(y) dy, (x\in \mathbb R).$ It is well known that it can be defined on ...
0
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1answer
109 views

Why are some branches of mathematics called 'theory' and others not?

We say: graph theory , group theory, number theory , set theory, what is definition of theory? We also say abstract algebra, real analysis, but why we do not say abstract algebra theory or real ...
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2answers
45 views

Question about the existence of points and lines.

Say we draw a point on a graph. If the point should not take up any area than how come we could see it. Say we graph $y=x^2$, we obviously could see it. However, because $y=x^2$ is a function made up ...
0
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0answers
45 views

Difference between infinitesimal motion and finite motion

I was reading an article about back ground of Killing's work by Thomas Hawkins from Historia mathematica 1980.In it Hawkin's says that,Killing was trying to generalise all types of space ...
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3answers
119 views

Improving Mathmatical Skill [closed]

I am a student of computer science and engineering. My understanding of mathematics is not very good. I am getting very hard time studying subject that require a background on mathematics. So, I ...
2
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0answers
48 views

Alternative proof for the equality of two angles in an isosceles triangle.

From the answers of my previous question, I got an idea to prove equality of two angles in an isosceles triangle. In that question the equality of two angles in a right-angled-isosceles triangle was ...
-1
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1answer
91 views

How values of the constants are derived mathematically? [closed]

As said by Jan regarding constant value $\pi$ ,Imagine you have a circle and you are able to measure its circumference "c". Then, you can also find out what its diameter "d" is. When you divide ...
4
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1answer
53 views

Right modules Vs Left modules.

I have been reading Frobenius Algebras, Volume 1 By Andrzej Skowroński, Kunio Yamagata. On page 18 I came across the following paragraph, and I founded interesting, I will quote it and then ask my ...
3
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2answers
160 views

Why is the observation that proof of the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra requires some topology not tautological?

I have heard it mentioned as an interesting fact that the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra cannot be proven without some results from topology. I think I first heard this in my middle school math ...
3
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0answers
41 views

$\tau$-ists and the History of Radian Measure?

Recently, I have been reading about the $\tau$ vs $\pi$ debate. One of the arguments for $\tau$ was that $1\tau$ radian is the whole circle, thus fractions of $\tau$ correspond to the fractions of the ...
3
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0answers
51 views

When was the unit circle formalised

I am wondering about the origins of the Unit Circle. Of course it is part of trigonometry, which goes back many centuries. But since it uses Cartesian coordinates, it should be after Descartes. So, ...
0
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1answer
18 views

A question in understanding some part of paper of Frobenius

I am learning German, and reading German paper of Frobenius (click here). It is "Verallgemeinerung des Sylow'schen Satzes / G. Frobenius" I didn't understand few things, and I didn't find the answer ...
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0answers
44 views

Generlization of Riesz Representation Theorem until now

I am writing on Riesz Representation Theorem. How this theorem was motivated and what further generalizations were done while it was on its way to where it is now. Starting from the begining, ...
1
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1answer
41 views

Origin of alternate base annotation

In modern arithmetic textbooks, students are taught about alternate numeric bases. The notation for indicating the base of a number is to attach the base as a subscript. The subscript is itself a ...
4
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3answers
150 views

How do mathematicians invented and introduced $\pi$ term in the case of circle?

This is basic question. Since childhood I am mugging the mathematical formulae areas of square, rectangle and circle etc. Now,it is possible for me to understand formula of area of square I.e. ...
5
votes
1answer
134 views

Did Russell correct his proof of Peano Postulates as was in the second edition of Principia Mathematica?

In the second edition of Principia Mathematica Russell attempts to show in a new Appendix B that the Peano postulates for the natural numbers, including the scheme of mathematical induction, can be ...
3
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1answer
48 views

How did the ancient Greeks discover formulas for volume and surface area?

How did the ancient Greeks discover formulas for volume and surface area of different objects, e.g. of a sphere? They did not know about integrals, so there must another way?
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2answers
92 views

What is the latest work being done in the field of Mathematics? 6/8/2015 [closed]

Young mathematics enthusiast here. I'm very curious to know what the top research is in the field of pure mathematics. Physics seems to take all the glory with quarks, then gravitons, Higgs ...
4
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0answers
81 views

Is Bourbaki unique?

So my understanding is that a while back a group of mostly French mathematicians, under the pseudonym Bourbaki, wrote a somewhat austerely written series titled "Elements of Mathematic(s)" covering a ...
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11answers
1k views

What are some results that shook the foundations of one or more fields of mathematics? [closed]

An example would be the proof that $\sqrt{2}$ is not rational, which was a violation of some fundamental assumptions that mathematicians at the time made about numbers. Another would be Russell's ...
1
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1answer
37 views

Difference between the formula of Roger Cotes and Euler

What was the difference between the formula that Roger cotes derived and that euler got? I mean to say that Euler got the following formula : $$e^{ix} = \cos x+i \sin x$$ And Cotes got the following ...
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16answers
11k views

What is the smallest unknown natural number?

There are several unknown numbers in mathematics, such as optimal constants in some inequalities. Often it is enough to some estimates for these numbers from above and below, but finding the exact ...
18
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1answer
4k views

Strange old multiplication table

Today I read an article about chalk boards from 1917 discovered in an Oklahoma school. One of the chalkboards included the following curious image: (Oklahoma City Public Schools) The article ...
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0answers
115 views

What is the likely future of Univalent Foundations?

Univalent foundations has been hyped up as the foundation for mathematics for the future in articles such as this one. Now I've given HoTT a brief look, and at least seen that it appears on the face ...