Questions about mathematicians and their lives.

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Research Paper on Math [on hold]

I have to write a research paper for American history and it can be about anything so I want to write it about math. The thing is, in order to do so I have to be able to tie it back into American ...
2
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0answers
52 views

How much math was “Broken” by Russell's Paradox?

As you know, the phrase "the set of all sets that don't contain themselves" caused a paradox that "broke" (made trivial) Naive set theory. How much mathematics had to be redone because of this? Most ...
3
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1answer
117 views

A joke proof of a famous mathematician showing that a certain two-digit number is prime

There was a joke (highly sophisticated, non-elementary) proof of a famous mathematician showing that a certain two-digit number (like 43 or 83 but I forgot what) is prime. Could you remind me of a ...
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3answers
122 views

How to pronounce “Sturm”? [closed]

The celebrated phrase "Sturm und Drang" is German. I know the pronunciation of the German noun "Sturm". But, I would like to pronounce the French name "Sturm" of "Jacques Charles François Sturm".
2
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0answers
89 views

Who First Considered This Generalization of the Fibonacci Numbers?

I am looking for the author who originally researched a generalization of the Fibonacci numbers, which Koshy, in Chapter 7 his book Fibonacci and Lucas Numbers with Application refers to as the ...
27
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7answers
5k views

Genius mathematicians who never published anything

Amongst philosophers, Socrates is an example of a genius with a great influence on human history who never wrote anything. Almost all facts which are known about his revolutionary ideas are written by ...
4
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1answer
165 views

Is there any mathematician who felt guilty for one of his math discoveries ever?

Quoted from Wikipedia: In 1888 Alfred Nobel's brother Ludvig died while visiting Cannes and a French newspaper erroneously published Alfred's obituary. It condemned him for his invention of ...
26
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11answers
3k views

Great contributions to mathematics by older mathematicians [closed]

It is often said that mathematicians hit their prime in their twenties, and some even say that no great mathematics is created after that age, or that older mathematicians have their best days behind ...
45
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14answers
3k views

Largest “leap-to-generality” in math history?

Grothendieck, who is famous inter alia for his capacity/tendency to look for the most general formulation of a problem, introduced a number of new concepts (with topos maybe the most famous ?) that ...
14
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2answers
375 views

What is the most influential work of Grothendieck in mathematics?

Recently Alexander Grothendieck has passed away but his mathematical wave is still alive and passes its growth ages. It is hard to describe the influence of such a great man in mathematics just in few ...
20
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2answers
305 views

How can a beginner researcher or Ph.D. student efficiently and effectively learn new concepts while staying motivated?

I hope this question is appropriate for MSE. The situation is that someone is reading a book (e.g. a monograph), possibly helpful in his/her research, and the content is sufficiently extensive or ...
19
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4answers
683 views

Was there anybody before Cantor who conjectured existence of infinities of different sizes?

Georg Cantor is formally known as the first one who discovered existence of infinities of different sizes. But the history of thinking about the concept of "infinity" in maths and philosophy goes back ...
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22answers
18k views

Examples of mathematical discoveries which were kept as a secret

There could be several personal, social, philosophical and even political reasons to keep a mathematical discovery as a secret. For example it is completely expected that if some mathematician find ...
4
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4answers
208 views

Good books written by great mathematicians

I read many of Richard Fenynman's books and I found them both very entertaining and moving, showing the human side of a brilliant scientific mind. I recently read also a collection of P.A.M. Dirac's ...
31
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1answer
679 views

What did mathematicians study as an undergraduate/graduate before modern mathematics such as modern algebra and analysis?

I am curious as to what mathematicians such as Leibnitz and Gauss and the Bernoulli's studied when they were students in university. I find it fascinating how we are taught calculus and abstract ...
4
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2answers
134 views

What happens to a great mathematician's unpublished works when they die?

When a great mathematician dies, they often leave plenty of unpublished and incomplete works in their manuscripts. As we assumed that they were a really good mathematician, most of the ideas in these ...
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0answers
122 views

Any other mathematicians like Galois in recent history?

Any other mathematicians like Galois in recent history ? For "someone like Galois", I mean someone who developed a completely new theory all by himself, solved a big problem and the theory has big ...
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5answers
561 views

Who are some blind or otherwise disabled mathematicians who have made important contributions to mathematics?

Two prominent mathematicians who were disabled in ways which would have made it difficult to work were Lev Pontryagin and Solomon Lefschetz. Pontryagin was blind as a result of a stove explosion at ...
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4answers
172 views

Why didn't Fermat provide proofs of his theorems?

Apparently Fermat stated but didn't provide proofs of various theorems named after him, including Fermat's little theorem, Fermat's theorem on sums of two squares, Fertmat's polygonal number theorem, ...
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5answers
7k views

What are the work habits of the best mathematicians? [closed]

Of course I would never compare myself to, and don't expect to be, one of the great mathematicians. However, I am curious as to how my work habits, dedication and passion differs from theirs. How ...
0
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1answer
51 views

Reference Request: Nicole Oresme history

It says on Wikipedia that [Nicole Oresme] also worked on fractional powers, and the notion of probability over infinite sequences, ideas which would not be further developed for the next three and ...
2
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0answers
130 views

How mathematical theorems and concepts gain their names?

Cantor's theorem, Woodin Cardinal, Sacks Forcing and Martin's Axiom are just some of well-known theorems and concepts of mathematics which have the name of those mathematicians who introduced these ...
69
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24answers
11k views

Mathematicians ahead of their time?

In every field there's always that person who's just years ahead of their time. For instance, Paul Morphy (born 1837) is said to have retired from chess because he found no one to match his technique ...
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1answer
71 views

Arthur Milgram photo

someone has photo of Arthur Milgram? (the guy from Lax-Milgram Theorem) I'm curious, why I can't find one picture of Arthur Milgram on google? Anyone has one? or where can I find one? Thanks!
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14answers
8k views

I'm a teenager hoping to become a mathematician, but math isn't my forte. Is it possible? [duplicate]

I am a sophomore in high school and have discovered the joys of mathematics. However,due to sheer irony, at times I find the subject difficult. I am what one could label "lopsided" in my faculties, ...
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1answer
111 views

Which mathematician has argued that we should move from “set” to “order”?

I recall reading (on this very site, in fact) that there is a mathematician whom argues that we ought to switch from "set" to "order" in the foundations, so as to "recover duality" or some such. Does ...
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1answer
4k views

Dantzig's unsolved homework problems

From Wikipedia: An event in George Dantzig's life became the origin of a famous story in 1939 while he was a graduate student at UC Berkeley. Near the beginning of a class for which Dantzig ...
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9answers
998 views

Mathematicians talking about their identity as a person and as a mathematician? [closed]

I was wondering if any of you know of any books, articles, interviews, youtube videos, ... (etc) where a mathematician talks about his or her identity as a person and as a mathematician? Thank you for ...
4
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2answers
193 views

Photograph of Marjorie Rice

I'm giving a presentation this weekend about Marjorie Rice's work on tilings. The only photograph I have of her (from her website) is small and pixelated, and I haven't been able to make contact with ...
0
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2answers
72 views

Is there a book or a list online where Fermat's conjectures are compiled?

I heard/ read somewhere that "Fermat's last theorem" is named as such because it is "Fermat's last conjecture to be disposed of." This got me interested in knowing what Fermat's other conjectures are. ...
2
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1answer
285 views

Leonhard Euler phd?

"In 1723, received his Master of Philosophy with a dissertation that compared the philosophies of Descartes and Newton. At this time, he was receiving Saturday afternoon lessons from Johann Bernoulli, ...
7
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1answer
216 views

pronunciation of “Kunen” [closed]

How should the last name of set theorist Ken Kunen be pronounced? I have heard both koo-nen and kyoo-nen from other people. Probably the best answer would be to say how he himself pronounces it, but ...
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5answers
2k views

Mathematics, Philosophy and writing.

Do you know of any famous mathematicians who were also philosophers? I have heard of Descartes, Plato and Leibniz. Are there other good examples, especially more modern examples? Also welcome are ...
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3answers
306 views

Links to Online Videos of Good-Quality Lectures by Mathematicians

I am not trying to do anything new here, but I would like to start an activity that has been going on at Math Overflow. Hopefully, people here at the Math StackExchange can also enjoy the good stuff. ...
4
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1answer
194 views

Who is “Euclide Paracelso Bombasto Umbugio”?

I just browsed through the book Foundations of Algebra and Analysis by C. Dodge, which contains a very short biography of a very famous mathematician at the beginning of each chapter, together with ...
19
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1answer
481 views

Who was Hermann Künneth?

Question as in the title: Who was Hermann Künneth? Where can I find some biographical information beyond what is available on Wikipedia? The well-known Künneth formula, for example in the form of ...
6
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2answers
986 views

Mathematics celebrities that every mathematician should know? [closed]

As a mathematician, sometimes I meet across very embarrassing questions which were posted by who does not learn of mathematics, for example, my wife and so on. She or he always posted such questions: ...
25
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4answers
1k views

Examples of mathematicians who lost interest in Math and got interested again?

I am looking for some examples, and hopefully some short biographies on mathematicians who lost interest in Math along the way, and somehow got rejuvenated again. (Better still, who managed to do ...
4
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3answers
560 views

Sheffer stroke the most important advance in logic?

I think I once read, or heard, that Bertrand Russell once said that the discovery that all logical operators are expressible in terms of the Sheffer stroke was the most significant advance in logic ...
7
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1answer
431 views

Unpublished Discoveries by Gauss that Were Later Rediscovered and Attributed to Other Mathematicians

Karl Friedrich Gauss made many discoveries that he did not publish and that remained unknown until later mathematicians (re)discovered them. When Gauss's personal notebooks were later examined, it ...
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2answers
1k views

Who are some forgotten mathematicians? [closed]

In Thomas' Calculus, he presents ''Nicole Oresme's Theorem'': $$ \sum_{n=1}^\infty {n\over 2^{n-1}}=4. $$ My first reaction was "who is this person?''. As it turns out, he was a Frenchman from the ...
12
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1answer
424 views

Mathematicians who started out studying something else

I did not know much about modern mathematicians's biographies. One of my friend has just told me Edward Witten was a history student when he was undergradute. Are there any different modern ...
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2answers
2k views

Contemporary mathematician one should know about

While reading The Princeton companion to Mathematics Timothy Gowers choose not to list alive mathematicians in the last part but I think it's important to know about them. Recently I've read about ...
4
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2answers
2k views

What did Simon Norton do after 1985?

Simon Norton is a mathematician that worked on finite simple groups and co-authored the Atlas of Finite Groups. With John Conway they proved there is a connection with the Monster group and the ...
8
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1answer
450 views

What is the primary source of Hilbert's famous “man in the street” statement?

I read somewhere a long time ago that Hilbert once said words (no doubt in German) to the effect that any mathematician worth his salt ought to be able to explain his results to any man in the street. ...
9
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3answers
2k views

Provenance of Hilbert quote on table, chair, beer mug

All over the web one can find statements to the effect that: "One must be able to say at all times--instead of points, straight lines, and planes--tables, chairs, and beer mugs" There are many ...
12
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2answers
623 views

Looking for an André Weil excerpt

I just wasted the last hour on google looking in vain for an excerpt of Weil's writings describing the process of discovering mathematics. I believe he once beautifully described the feeling of loss ...
12
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1answer
714 views

How to become eloquent mathematician?

I have noticed that among mathematicians there is a great diversity in style of expression. Some of these are exceptionally neat and elegant. What I mean by that is that proof, or argument takes few ...
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1answer
921 views

Who was the mathematician who thought “god” was out to get him?

Wasn't there a mathematician who was convinced that "god" was out to get him? When he was travelling by sea he would write a friend a letter claiming that he had finally proved a difficult theorem ...
5
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1answer
575 views

Why is Harish-Chandra's last name never used?

This is only barely a math question but I don't know where else to ask. I've always wondered about Harish-Chandra's name. The Wikipedia article seems to mention "Mehrotra" as a last name but only in ...