Questions tagged [mathematicians]

Questions about mathematicians and their lives. Consider whether the History of Science and Mathematics StackExchange at http://hsm.stackexchange.com/ would be a more appropriate place to ask your question.

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Thoughts of mathematicians [closed]

Is there any work available in which a mathematician expressed his each and every thought while solving a problem or thinking of a idea?
Philosophical Nature's user avatar
3 votes
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Where was the formal definition of a limit first published?

I've read that Bolzano was one of the first to formalize a limit with the epsilon-delta definition, but I can't find a text of his that shows his definition. Does anyone know what publication the ...
Jenna Sickau's user avatar
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Elegant Papers in analytic number theory such as Thomas Wright

I've been reading various papers relating bounded gaps between Primes, sieve theory, Carmichael numbers and the like and Thomas wright's papers stood out to me as being very well written and yet ...
Antisocialfreal's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
138 views

A quotation of George Dantzig [closed]

In a Chinese book, it is alleged that George Bernard Dantzig said something along the following lines. It was almost impossible for someone who had never been exposed to applied problems and had only ...
zjdxsmjd's user avatar
1 vote
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Grothendieck's quote about the importance of ideas

In short, I think I've seen somewhere in the literature where Grothendieck similarly said, What I feel when I do math is that idea is important." Or, I think I saw that More important than ...
Plantation's user avatar
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Who is this mathematician on the Fields medal?

On the Fields Medal, there is a picture of a human portrait. Picture is given below: Who is this mathematician on the Fields Medal? I think this portrait may be an ancient Greek mathematician.
jasmine's user avatar
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3 answers
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Do (some) mathematicians think that beauty is evidence of truth in mathematics? [closed]

Some physicists have argued that (other things being equal) a beautiful theory is more likely to be true than an ugly one. Dirac famously took this view: "A theory with mathematical beauty is ...
Tom Donaldson's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
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John Conway and 15·92

The Economist featured an obituary of John Conway (https://www.economist.com/obituary/2020/04/23/john-conway-died-on-april-11th, may be paywalled) which includes a photograph of him in what I guess is ...
NL_Derek's user avatar
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What is Landau Ramanujan constant?

What is Landau Ramanujan constant? I searched on Wikipedia but explanation was not clear enough please explain it along with example thank you
PRATEEK MOURYA's user avatar
2 votes
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101 views

Unconscious prejudices of "pure" versus "applied" mathematicians [closed]

Once upon a time (true story) a highly respected “pure” mathematician saw the following expression: $$ M = A(A^\top A)^{-1} A^\top $$ and instantly said it's the identity matrix. But if $A$ has many ...
Michael Hardy's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
115 views

Which is the mark that the competent mathematician must have more than any other? [closed]

I'm reading the excellent autobiography of Norbert Wiener on its couple of books (Ex-Prodigy: My Childhood and Youth and I am a mathematician). Certainly there is much material to discuss, but there ...
José Marín's user avatar
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4 answers
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Are there any notebooks of famous mathematicians, through which we can understand their thinking and learning process?

Please name some published/preserved notebooks of famous (or not so famous) mathematicians, which you think reflect their learning or thinking process. Notebooks which contain mistakes are highly ...
Aether's user avatar
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2 answers
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Strange acknowledgment in Serge Lang's Linear Algebra

Recently I open this book to look up a certain theorem and saw something peculiar about the acknowledgments I've never notice before: Acknowledgments I thank Ron Infante and Peter Pappas for ...
Rnhmjoj's user avatar
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34 votes
2 answers
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The significance and acceptance of Helfgott’s proof of the weak Goldbach Conjecture

Recently I was browsing math Wikipedia, and found that Harald Helfgott announced the complete proof of the weak Goldbach Conjecture in 2013, a proof which has been accepted widely by the math ...
D.R.'s user avatar
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7 votes
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Can a mathematical proof always be objectively determined as correct or incorrect?

Fields medalist Michael Atiyah claimed a simple proof of the Riemann hypothesis, but many mathematicians rejected his proof. Am I right in saying that Atiyah's proof is either objectively correct (...
Zuriel's user avatar
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Who said (a variation of) this? "Mathematics didn't teach me how to reason correctly, but [...] how easy it is to make an error when reasoning."

I remember I once read a quote of a mathematician at the beginning of a book, or article, which said a (possibly) small variation of: Mathematics didn't teach me how to reason correctly, but at ...
Dinisaur's user avatar
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Rose Katherine Morton

I stumbled upon something called The Morton Number, I wonder if anyone knows about it? I found out that it is related to Rose Katherine Morton, I know she was an american mathematician, but very ...
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The history of trigonometry in two old stories

There is a story, apparently from Diogenes Laertius and Plutarch (and repeated here, and here, and here, and, well, here) that Thales was able to calculate the height of an Egyptian pyramid by the ...
Chaim's user avatar
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Are great mathematicians actually "bad" in some fields of mathematics? [closed]

When a mathematician like Terence Tao says "I'm not good in Algebra" what does he actually mean? Does that imply he's actually good at undergraduate level Algebra and perhaps even at masters level, ...
Stephen's user avatar
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How do mathematicians know when writing papers if their results have already been proven or are special cases?

How does a mathematician know if what they are trying to show or what they are working on has already been shown by someone else, or has already been extensively studied etc.? What if instead someone ...
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Entscheidungsproblem

I'm trying to understand the problem proposed by David Hilbert in 1928. So, oversimplifying a bit, he was asking for an algorithm that, given a set of axioms, returns true/false if a statement input ...
SimoneS's user avatar
1 vote
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Any mathematician known to be good at pure mathematics but bad at an applied mathematics?

There are mathematicians who are not good at taking math exam, say Hermit. Is there any mathematician known to be good at only pure mathematics, whose ability may not be that well at applied ...
Yes's user avatar
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1 answer
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Did Hilbert present all of his problems to the ICM in 1900?

In texts of Hilbert's speech to the ICM in Paris in 1900, all 23 problems are listed. However, Wikipedia claims that he only presented 10 in his speech, and the others were published later. I know in ...
runnerbean's user avatar
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1 answer
142 views

Name of mathematician who made an error, which made his later work useless?

In school, many years ago, my teacher taught me about a mathematician who was working on developing tables (or something similar to that). He apparently worked for years and then made a single ...
Michael's user avatar
25 votes
1 answer
2k views

Please help me identify these mathematicians

In the English translation of Sharygin's Problems in Geometry by Mir Publishers, there are a number of instances in which the names of mathematicians are clear misspellings. For example, "Lemuan" for ...
user35354635's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
57 views

Curiosity of roulette system

What is the probability of me losing a 3/1 bet 10 times in a row I've tried working out myself but the equations needed go straight over my head
user431055's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
744 views

L'Hôpital's full name

I think we've all heard of L'Hôpital's rule when solving limits of the form $\frac{0}{0}$ or $\frac{\infty}{\infty}$ (for those doing calculus or real analysis at a higher level) but the other day my ...
Brandon's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
261 views

Otton Marcin Nikodym/Nikodým?

My question is simple: which of the two spellings of this famous Polish mathematician’s surname is correct? His most influential result is proving that a $\sigma$-finite measure that is absolutely ...
triple_sec's user avatar
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56 votes
3 answers
4k views

Did Pólya say, "can" or "cannot"?

Most mathematicians are familiar with the mathematical problem-solving book How to Solve it, by George Pólya. And for those who are not, especially young mathematicians, I would recommend dropping ...
JDH's user avatar
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9 votes
1 answer
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What type of mathematics is posed in the movie "A Beautiful Mind"?

There is a scene in the movie "A Beautiful Mind" in which John Nash is talking to his friend Charles in Princeton Library. Nash shows Charles three pieces of mathematics - drawn on the windows - that ...
Jack's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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Mathematician whose teacher recommended he stay back a year.

Was it true that Fejer's childhood teacher recommended he be held back? I recall such a legend but cannot find any reference to it. I am guessing it is apocryphal.
grayQuant's user avatar
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1 answer
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Galois Biography References

I'm currently starting work on a project about Evariste Galois, and while I'm familiar with the basic details of his life (French, revolutionary, genius, headstrong, dead), and those details paint an ...
Jorge Medina's user avatar
40 votes
9 answers
4k views

Is any mathematican more famous for their conjecture(s) than their theorem(s)?

I'm wondering if some mathematicians gained more fame from their (perhaps visionary) conjectures, than from the positive results they proved? I would say this is not true of Fermat, despite his ...
Joseph O'Rourke's user avatar
44 votes
4 answers
7k views

Did Joseph Fourier ever make a pure mathematical mistake?

Cited by "Imre Lakatos and the Guises of Reason" John David Kadvany, 2001: It is remarkable that the nineteenth century was a time of error for mathematics: not trivial oversights or amateur ...
Poliakoff's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
257 views

Who is M. Montel?

From V.I. Arnold's Experimental Mathematics: Not having achieved what they desired, they pretended to desire what they had achieved. –M. Montel Who is M. Montel? Is he related to the French ...
Leo's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
3k views

What was the "real" first equation? [closed]

The first equation ever written, using a modern equals sign, has TWO versions: Version 1: Wiki link and Another link gives $$ 14x+15=71 $$ But from a UK maths textbook, it gives $$ 14\sqrt{x}+15=...
Chen Stats Yu's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
183 views

Theory of reality by Ramanujan

I am reading the Book "The man who knew Infinity" by Robert Kanigel.In it, in the second chapter "Ranging with delight", page: 66, he says: Later in England, Ramanujan would build Theory of ...
ghaprameya's user avatar
-4 votes
1 answer
109 views

First scientific work. [closed]

One year ago I decided to myself to write my own scientific work in number theory, graph theory or combinatorics. I tried to find the teacher and theme during this year, but unfortunately I didn't ...
openspace's user avatar
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10 votes
3 answers
339 views

Any surviving contemporary manuscripts by ancient mathematicians?

As I understand it, most of what we know about ancient mathematics comes from copies, quotations, and summaries by later scribes and scholars. Medieval Arab mathematicians in particular are given ...
Psychonaut's user avatar
7 votes
0 answers
1k views

Who is "R. Drabek"?

The book "Algebra für Einsteiger" bei Bewersdorff (I think the English edition is called "Galois Theory for Beginners") starts with a nice quotation: Math is like love; a simple idea, but it can ...
Frunobulax's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
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Independent Study

Aiming for a Pure Mathematics Degree. So I have currently completed 1.5 years at a junior college and have completed all of my lower division mathematics courses (i.e Single Variable Calculus, Multi-...
El Spiffy's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
598 views

Sources of "morality of results" in mathematics

Long ago, I have heard Itai Shafrir, one of my differential equations mathematics teachers, claim several times that a result or a conjecture should hold "moralement" in French ("morally" in English)....
Laurent Duval's user avatar
34 votes
13 answers
7k views

Why is Lebesgue so often spelled "Lebesque"?

Henri Lebesgue (1875-1941) was a French mathematician, best known for inventing the theory of measure and integration that bears his name. As far as I know, "Lebesgue" is the correct spelling of his ...
Nate Eldredge's user avatar
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2 answers
50 views

Question on Groups [duplicate]

Give an example of an infinite group in which every element has a finite order
user876's user avatar
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0 votes
3 answers
51 views

Question on matrices

Let A be a symmetric matrix of form 2.2 then what should be the elements in matrix B of2.2 such that AB not equals to BA
user876's user avatar
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6 votes
0 answers
159 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 ...
Matt Phillips's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
252 views

Famous Problems the Experts Could not Solve [closed]

After Yitang Zhang stunned the mathematics world by establishing the first finite bound on gaps between prime numbers, it got me thinking about the following question: $\underline{\text{Question}}:$ ...
user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
357 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 ...
PyRulez's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
581 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 ...
Gram Zeppi's user avatar
0 votes
3 answers
638 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".
P.-S. Park's user avatar