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

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5
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1answer
105 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
60 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
181 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
50 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 ...
6
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0answers
84 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 ...
10
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3answers
178 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
82 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 ...
1
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1answer
146 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
49 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
59 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
89 views

Origin of the Integral (Theory Behind It - How it came about)?

How exactly was the integral derived? Like similarly to how the difference quotient explains where the derivative came from, what can we use to explain the origins of the integral? Like how does ...
1
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3answers
136 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
votes
0answers
73 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 ...
-2
votes
1answer
119 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
votes
1answer
70 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
votes
2answers
184 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
63 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
votes
0answers
58 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
19 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 ...
1
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0answers
61 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
vote
1answer
52 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
234 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
158 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
votes
1answer
81 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
120 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 ...
5
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0answers
107 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 ...
20
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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
82 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 ...
69
votes
16answers
12k 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
votes
1answer
8k views

Strange old multiplication table found in Oklahoma school

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 ...
4
votes
0answers
161 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 ...
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0answers
40 views

Lasker-Noether Theorem and Kummer-Dedekind

I would like to know about the relations between Ernst Kummer's invention of complex ideal numbers (and Dedekind's development of them into what is now called ideals) regarding the unique ...
9
votes
1answer
249 views

Work of Ted Kaczynski

I hope this question is not too crazy sounding, but I was wondering if anyone is familiar with the work of Ted Kaczynski (or even has cited/used it before). After reading in Lars Ahlfors' Complex ...
0
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0answers
17 views

On the history of sigma-ideals

Could anyone provide me with some insight regarding the history of sigma-ideals, i.e., who coined them, first publications on the matter, main authors thereafter and so on? Thanks in advance.
1
vote
1answer
78 views

How do you pronounce Richard Courant's surname?

Since his surname looks rather French than German, I started wondering how you pronounce his name. In particular, I'd be interested in how he would have pronounced his name himself (since I already ...
1
vote
2answers
319 views

Why are Natural Numbers called Natural Numbers?

When we say $1,2,3...$ are natural numbers, why don't we include rational and irrational numbers? Isn't $\pi$ something natural? Shouldn't we say all real numbers the Natural numbers? Shouldn't ...
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0answers
40 views

Who first used the notation $\mathcal{O}_K$ for ring of integers?

I think this is a standard notation since almost every author uses it, but who came up with the notation? After all, what does $\mathcal{O}$ in $\mathcal{O}_K$ stand for? Thanks in advance.
0
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2answers
127 views

What is the poetry of mathematics? [closed]

In computer science it's often noted, said or agreed on that algorithms are the poetry of computer science. What is considered the poetry of mathematics? Is it statistics? If there is something agreed ...
0
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0answers
46 views

On the origins of Homological algebra

In Martin Krieger's book "Doing Mathematics: Convention Subject, Calculation, Analogy" (2003) I find the following statement (apparently, a quote from somone else) : "Homological algebra starts from ...
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0answers
26 views

Origins of the Cesaro Operator

I am wondering when the Cesaro Operator was first studied. I can find an article from 1965 but I'm wondering if there are any previous ones.
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0answers
224 views

Did Guinness Book of Records screw this up? [closed]

Crossposted on HSM See Guinness Book of Records. Did they screw this up? It says that Fermat's Last Theorem was the longest open problem - with only 365 years. However, there are Greek problems that ...
6
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0answers
90 views

What did John Nash publish post-illness?

I've searched for this from time to time and never been able to find a single research paper he published since 1960. Every account of his later work seems to finesse this. The Abel prize page for ...
1
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1answer
62 views

Inverse functions multivalued or not?

The square root of $y$ is usually defined as the positive solution $x$ to $y=x^2$, so the negative variant is not considered. In the same way, the inverse cosinus and sinus give the solution on ...
2
votes
2answers
103 views

Why Cantor set removes one third?

I found the derivation of Cantor-like set in Understanding Analysis by Abbott. There he removes one fourth, and most properties (length, cardinality, compactness, uncountableness) are preserved ...
0
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0answers
26 views

how to get same line from gradient?

I have image like this how to get $x_4,y_4$ ? from gradient it like same line $y_1,x_1$ and $y_0,x_0$
0
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0answers
60 views

Who coined ideals in Set Theory?

One of the meanings of the word "ideal" in maths refers to Set Theory. Even though handbooks say that concept can be translated to Order Theory or to Algebra effortelssly, I am interested in: 1) ...
4
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0answers
69 views

Who was the first to use right and left ideals in a ring?

I know Emmy Noether defined the terms right and left ideal of a ring and made extensive use of them. However, I am interested in knowing whether someone had already coined the term (in the very ...
2
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0answers
41 views

Relation of ideals in probability with other kinds of ideals?

It seems that there are at least 5 kinds of ideals in maths: Ideals in number theory (Kummer, Dedekind) Ideals in abstract algebra (Dedekind, Noether), as kernels of homomorphisms Ideals in order ...
5
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1answer
70 views

Number of squarefree numbers and the Basel problem

Who discovered/proved that there are about $$ \frac{x}{\zeta(2)} $$ squarefree numbers up to $x$, or (roughly) when was this first known? Today I think this is considered 'obvious', but I don't know ...