Questions about mathematicians and their lives.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

0
votes
2answers
78 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, ...
-1
votes
1answer
27 views

poisitive definite matrix imply matrix of full rank? [closed]

Is a positive definite matrix always of full rank? while is given that the characteristic roots are pisitive
31
votes
5answers
6k views

How hard should a mathematician work?

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
votes
1answer
41 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
votes
0answers
109 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
81 views

What's the title for mathematicians who do different areas of math? [closed]

analyst, algebraist, topologist, geometer, and logician. Am I right?
58
votes
23answers
10k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
65 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!
1
vote
0answers
30 views

The correct pronunciation of Whaples?

What is the correct the family name of the mathematician George Whaples? Feel free to migrate my question to a another forum if you think here is not the right place.
25
votes
14answers
5k 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, ...
1
vote
1answer
106 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 ...
8
votes
9answers
753 views

Who is our hero?

The idea of this soft question raised by a little girl when I was talking for children in a children's cancer clinic about the heaven of mathematics and its beauties during a friendly mathematical ...
4
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
11
votes
9answers
942 views

Mathematicians talking about their identity as a person and as a mathematician?

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
votes
2answers
184 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
votes
2answers
67 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
votes
1answer
239 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
votes
1answer
200 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
250 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
votes
1answer
171 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 ...
14
votes
0answers
355 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 ...
-3
votes
2answers
276 views

How do engineers and mathematicians cooperate? [closed]

Last night, I heard one engineer talking about work. He said that the mathematicians formulate the problems and then send these problems to be solved by engineers. I thought that mathematicians ...
6
votes
2answers
812 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: ...
2
votes
0answers
153 views

How many centenarian mathematicians are there? [closed]

I know of two living mathematicians who are centenarians: Kathleen Ollerenshaw (turns 100 in October, so not technically a centenarian yet) and Sergey Nikolsky. Does anyone know any other ones?
23
votes
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 ...
3
votes
3answers
471 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
votes
1answer
343 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
835 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
369 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
1k 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
votes
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 ...
6
votes
1answer
414 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
votes
3answers
1k 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
votes
2answers
554 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
votes
1answer
650 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
675 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
votes
1answer
529 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 ...
34
votes
3answers
1k views

What is your method?

Many young, and not so young, mathematicians struggle with how to spend their time. Perhaps this is due to the 90%-10% rule for mathematical insight: 90 pages of work yield only 10 pages of useful ...
17
votes
14answers
2k views

Mathematical concepts named after mathematicians that have become acceptable to spell in lowercase form (e.g. abelian)?

I would like to collect a list of mathematical concepts that have been named after mathematicians, which are now used in lowercase form (such as "abelian"). This question is partly motivated by my ...