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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

1
vote
1answer
82 views

From $\mathsf{O}$ to $\mathsf{I}$ via $\infty$

The following is not true mathematics, but a little imaginary story about mathematical symbols. I wonder if there is - in parts - a true (etymological) story behind it. Once there was a symbol ...
1
vote
2answers
163 views

Is there any surprising elementary probability problem that result in surprising solution like the Monty Hall problem?

For recreational purpose, i haven't seen a interesting elemetary probability question quite a while. Is there any surprising elementary probability problem that result in surprising solution like the ...
1
vote
1answer
76 views

Russell's definition of finite cardinals

whether the thought had been previously adumbrated, perhaps confusedly, i know not, but the name of Bertrand Russell has become associated with the assertion that: the number $2$ is the set of all ...
1
vote
1answer
117 views

Reform of math symbols for high school texts

I am looking for references to papers and resources related to reforming math symbols for introductory courses at middle or high school level. Pointers to other forums also welcome. Eidt: For ...
4
votes
0answers
71 views

The Leibniz rule in Euler's works

Does anyone know if the Leibniz rule (the method of differentiation under the integral sign), or a variation thereof, has ever appeared in any of Euler's papers? Any references would be appreciated. ...
0
votes
2answers
113 views

General questions about theorems and laws

I have doubts about the construction of mathematical elements. There are proofs, that are proven using other theorems (corollaries) and/or axioms or definitions, such as Fermat's Last Theorem, the ...
1
vote
1answer
66 views

Probability of World Series - Using Pascal and Fermat “Problem of Points”

This is a question I have for a history of math class, but I can't figure it out. I need to use the three method that Pascal and Fermat used on their problem of points, and it doesn't seem to work ...
14
votes
1answer
203 views

Why are proofs written in first person plural? Were they ever written differently?

It's probably a silly question but it interests me when was the convention of writing proofs in first person plural introduced? Is there any historical examples of a different POV for proof writing?
9
votes
0answers
92 views

Ludwig Sylow 12 december 1832 [closed]

Not a question, but just to commemorate that Ludwig Sylow was born today exactly 181 years ago, on 12-12-1832. Note that $1832=2^3.229$, and hence by Sylow's theorems there is no simple group of order ...
1
vote
1answer
28 views

Pascals first method

So pascals first method was to first solve a simple problem,this was before the pascal triangle. This is in relation to De Meres problem: Each player stakes $32$ pistoles. One player has 1 round ...
2
votes
1answer
102 views

Mathematician as a title [closed]

After some googling around, I can't seem to find a definite answer to this question. When can someone call themselves a mathematician? Is it after a b.sc. in mathematics? After graduate school? Or ...
3
votes
0answers
51 views

Question about the first step in Mann's original proof of the Schnirelmann-Landau Conjecture

I was reading Henry Mann's proof for the Schnirelmann-Landau Conjecture from 1942 which can be found in JSTOR here Today, the Schnirelmann-Landau Conjecture is known as Mann's Theorem: $$d(C) \ge ...
2
votes
0answers
57 views

How influential was Lorenz' work?

I've recently read an article in Pour la Science (a French equivalent of the Scientific American, with an overall very good quality) on the history of Chaos theory. Essentially, the article goes ...
2
votes
3answers
137 views

Golden ratio / Fibonacci which branch of math?

Friends, The Golden ratio / Fibonacci sequence are studied under which branch of math? Can you recommend some good textbooks on the subject? Thanks
14
votes
5answers
517 views

Reflections on math education

Why is there such a big difference in math education between The Americas and (Europe and Asia) ? except for a few privileged who have the opportunity to access to math much earlier than the ordinary ...
5
votes
1answer
630 views

History of Compass/Straight Edge Construction

I'm interested in learning the origin of compass/straight-edge constructions. In particular, I am interested in the historical interplay between Euclid's axioms for plane geometry, and ...
3
votes
0answers
107 views

why nineteen is not tenty-nine? [closed]

Professionally I am a web designer but teaching as a part time job. Yesterday, my grade 3 student asked a question which is so nonsense for someone. But I realized that there is a must reason for ...
1
vote
0answers
25 views

Slope of tangent line using Wallis method

Consider the Wallis method of finding the slope of tangent lines where $x = a$. Use the method to find the slope of the line tangent to the graph of $y = x^2 + 3x + 7$. Use the method to find the ...
2
votes
0answers
51 views

Probability of World Series - Pascal and Fermat [closed]

In the World Series, each opponent attempts to win 4 of 7 games. In 1989, Oakland had already won the first two games as the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics were getting ready to play ...
0
votes
1answer
133 views

Area using Fermat's method of quadratures [closed]

Use Fermat's method of quadratures to find the following: a. The area between the curve $y = x^5$ and the x-axis over the interval $(0,a)$. b. The area between the curve $y = 1/x^2$ and the x-axis ...
1
vote
0answers
53 views

Weierstrass and Borel summation

In the Wikipedia article on Borel summation, there is the following quote attributed to Gösta Mittag-Leffler: Borel, then an unknown young man, discovered that his summation method gave the ...
0
votes
1answer
60 views

Indeterminate Equations using kuttaka

The question is "find the smallest solution to the indeterminate equation $195y = 221x + 65$ using the Indian method of kuttaka." Factoring out $13$, I got $15y = 17x + 5$ Using kuttaka, I got $x = ...
0
votes
0answers
18 views

History of Logs and/or solving simultaneous equations

I am currently taking a history of mathematics course and am wanting to "sketch" the history of a mathematical topic at an undergraduate level. The sketch must tell a story of some idea, process, ...
9
votes
5answers
369 views

Purpose of the Peano Axioms

Wikipedia says the Peano Axioms are a set of axioms for the natural numbers. Is the purpose of the axioms to create a base on which we can build the rest of mathematicas formally? If this is true ...
3
votes
0answers
111 views

Galois false solution to the quintic equation

I am looking for the false solution Galois gave to the quintic equation before discovering group theory.
6
votes
1answer
131 views

Maurice Frechet's 1904 Definitions of Compactness

I'm writing a small paper on the history of compactness. Frechet wrote in French, and I don't speak French, so I've been consulting this paper: Taylor, A.E. On page 244, I read that Frechet proved ...
2
votes
1answer
161 views

Why do we write $f : X \rightarrow Y$ as opposed to $f \in X \rightarrow Y$.

I've always been taught to write $f : X \rightarrow Y$ as opposed to $f \in X \rightarrow Y$. This seems weird though, since $X \rightarrow Y$ can be viewed as the set of all functions with source $X$ ...
14
votes
3answers
708 views

Did Gauss ever make a mistake?

I have read a bit about Gauss, who was well known for being careful in only publishing work he had perfected (or in his own words "few, but ripe"). What is interesting to me about Gauss though is that ...
3
votes
0answers
41 views

Henri Poincaré writings

I have heard that Poincaré writings were very intuitive in its approach and not very formal in the arguments. I'm searching for something like this to complement my study of dynamical systems. I ...
10
votes
1answer
171 views

Old vs. Modern Galois theory

The original Galois theory was developed to answer the question of the expressibility of the roots of polynomial equations with arithmetic operations and radicals. However it seems that later ...
4
votes
0answers
219 views

Mathematics felt by Srinivasa Ramanujan

At the moment I am reading the book Ramanujan's Papers by B.J. Venkatachala, V. Vinay and C.S. Yogananda; when clarifying some doubt with a professor, he told me that Srinivasa Ramanujan used Galois ...
12
votes
2answers
704 views

Famous black mathematicians

Are there any famous black mathematicians? By famous, I mean in the sense of having a theorem or well-known result named after them.
4
votes
0answers
44 views

Reference? filler: IRS, Rhind Papyrus, High-school algebra

I believe something like this was included as a filler in one of the MAA journals many years ago. I am searching for the exact reference (for the filler, or an earlier source). Someone dies, and ...
6
votes
3answers
301 views

Proofs without words of some well-known historical values of $\pi$?

Two of the earliest known documented approximations of the value of $\pi$ are $\pi_B=\frac{25}{8}=3.125$ and $\pi_E=\left(\frac{16}{9}\right)^2$, from Babylonian and Egyptian sources respectively. ...
3
votes
2answers
156 views

Notation: Why do we learn to write the higher powers in an equation first?

I have always written equations in the form $y=ax^2+bx+c$ but after entering an equation into Wolfram Alpha I noticed that the answer was displayed in the form $y=c+bx+ax^2$. I know that there is no ...
1
vote
2answers
51 views

Cauchy Schwarz Inequality Original Reference

The inequality is well known to experts in linear algebra and computational geometry. However, I want to know the original source of the inequality (in the form of a published journal article, if ...
4
votes
2answers
162 views

Did Pythagoras' school collapse because of their discovery of irrational numbers?

Pythagoras believed that "all is numbers" and they maintained that all numbers can be expressed as a fraction, then Hippasus (maybe) showed some numbers cannot be expressed that way. Pythagorus ...
3
votes
3answers
306 views

Omar Khayyam's method for solving cubics

So I need to answer the following question using Khayyam's method. I can get the answer using modern methods, and I know the basics of his method, but I cannot figure out how to find the two conic ...
2
votes
1answer
632 views

History of polynomial arithmetic

How did the notions of polynomial addition,multiplication and division develop historically? The fact that this correspondence with the integers exists seems to be of great importance and is not at ...
2
votes
2answers
77 views

where did the term $\omega$-limit set originate from?

What it says on the tin. I've always used the phrase 'in the limit of all things' but hearing '$\omega$-limit' in a chaos theory class has me wanting to use the term. That said, I'd feel really ...
7
votes
2answers
141 views

Definition Topological Space

Consider the definition of a topological space: Topological Space: A topology on a set $X$ is a collection $\mathcal{T}$ of subsets of $X$ such that $\emptyset,X \in \mathcal{T}$. The union of ...
3
votes
0answers
91 views

Why tensors are called tensors and how this relates to the rigorous definition?

The algebraic motivation for tensors is fairly good: we know how to deal with linear maps, we must deal with multilinear maps, so we want to reduce them to linear maps. The name tensor however seems ...
5
votes
5answers
259 views

Leisure reading for an undergraduate student

I am a freshman at a local university. I never really had much passion for math, but I always did well in math exams . I attribute this lack of passion to rote learning/emphasis on methods/formulas ...
4
votes
1answer
97 views

Hamilton's three dimensional algebra

The popular story of the discovery of the quaternions goes very roughly as follows. William Rowan Hamilton has interested in the construction of an algebra of triplets that would in some ways be ...
4
votes
0answers
102 views

Generic Points to the Italians

When I first learned algebraic geometry, I naturally wiki-ed the subject and there was a line there that said the old school Italians used the notion "generic points without any precise definition." ...
4
votes
0answers
100 views

Why are 'Groups' and 'Rings' in Algebra called so ? and other nomenclature questions

I have always wondered why are the following concepts/objects in Mathematics named so : 1.) Group 2.) Ring 3.) Exterior derivative (in differential geometry) 4.) Interior multiplication (in ...
1
vote
1answer
136 views

Does the Gauss' Trick Really Belong to Gauss?

We all have heard the story of the young Guass, summing 1 to 100 by writing the sum backward below the original one. In this article, just two books are referred for the trick. I looked at both of ...
0
votes
2answers
143 views

Roberval's Method and Tangent Construction involving parabola $y^2=4ax$

Problem: Let $u$ denote the distance of a moving a point $P$ on the parabola $y^{2}=4px$ from the directrix $x=-p$ and from the focus $\left(p,0\right)$. If the point moves in such a way that ...
1
vote
0answers
59 views

Who made now part of the problem?

Who came up with the meme of putting the current year as a four digit number into exercise problems? Is there a known first historical account?
0
votes
1answer
51 views

Prove that if $x$ is a real number, and $x-\lfloor x\rfloor \ge 1/2$, then $\lfloor 2x\rfloor=2\lfloor x\rfloor +1$

Prove that if $x$ is a real number, and $x-\lfloor x\rfloor \ge \frac{1}{2}$, then $\lfloor 2x\rfloor=2\lfloor x\rfloor +1$ I'm so confused because i don't completely understand the rules for floor ...