Wednesday, 28 September 2016

On This Day in Math - September 28

But in the present century, thanks in good part to the influence of Hilbert, we have come to see that the unproved postulates with which we start are purely arbitrary. They must be consistent, they had better lead to something interesting.

~ Julian Lowell Coolidge

The 272nd day of the year; 272 = 24·17, and is the sum of four consecutive primes (61 + 67 + 71 + 73).

272 is also a Pronic or Heteromecic number, the product of two consecutive factors, 16x17 (which makes it twice a triangular #).

And 272 is a palindrome, and the sum of its digits, 11, is also a palindrome. (can you find the next?)


490 B.C. In one of history’s great battles, the Greeks defeated the Persians at Marathon. A Greek soldier was dispatched to notify Athens of the victory, running the entire distance and providing the name and model for the modern “marathon” race. *VFR

1695 After fitting several comets data using Newton's proposal that they followed parabolic paths, Edmund Halley was "inspired" to test his own measurements of the 1682 comet against an elliptical orbit. He writes to Newton, "I am more and more confirmed that we have seen that Comet now three times since Ye Year 1531." *David A Grier, When Computer's Were Human

1791 Captain George Vancouver observed this Wednesday morning a partial solar eclipse. He went on the name the barren rocky cluster of isles, by the name of Eclipse Islands. *NSEC

1858, Donati's comet (discovered by Giovanni Donati, 1826-1873) became the first to be photographed. It was a bright comet that developed a spectacular curved dust tail with two thin gas tails, captured by an English commercial photographer, William Usherwood, using a portrait camera at a low focal ratio. At Harvard, W.C. Bond, attempted an image on a collodion plate the following night, but the comet shows only faintly and no tail can be seen. Bond was subsequently able to evaluate the image on Usherwood's plate. The earliest celestial daguerreotypes were made in 1850-51, though after the Donati comet, no further comet photography took place until 1881, when P.J.C. Janssen and J.W. Draper took the first generally recognized photographs of a comet*TIS “William Usherwood, a commercial photographer from Dorking, Surrey took the first ever photograph of a comet when he photographed Donati’s comet from Walton Common on the 27th September 1858, beating George Bond from Harvard Observatory by a night! Unfortunately, the picture taken by Usherwood has been lost.” *Exposure web site 

1917 Richard Courant wrote to Nina Runge, his future wife, that he finally got the opportunity to talk to Ferdinand Springer about “a publishing project” and that things looked promising. This meeting led to a contract and a series of books now called the "Yellow Series". *VFR

1938 Paul Erdos boards the Queen Mary bound for the USA. Alarmed by Hitler's demands to annex the Sudatenland, Erdos hurriedly left Budapest and made his way through Italy and France to London. He would pass through Ellis Island on his way to a position at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study on October 4. * Bruce Schechter, My Brain is Open: The Mathematical Journeys of Paul Erdos

1969 Murchison meteorite , a meteorite fell over Murchison, Australia. Only 100-kg of this meteorite have been found. Classified as a carbonaceous chondrite, type II (CM2), this meteorite is suspected to be of cometary origin due to its high water content (12%). An abundance of amino acids found within this meteorite has led to intense study by researchers as to its origins. More than 92 different amino acids have been identified within the Murchison meteorite to date. Nineteen of these are found on Earth. The remaining amino acids have no apparent terrestrial source. *TIS

1980 "We are Star-Stuff." On this day in 1980 the program Cosmos: A Personal Voyage with Carl Sagan premiered. The series was first broadcast by the Public Broadcasting Service in 1980, and was the most widely watched series in the history of American public television for a decade. As of 2009, it was still the most widely watched PBS series in the world. The series is notable for its groundbreaking use of special effects, which allow Sagan to seemingly walk through environments that are actually models rather than full-sized sets. *WIK

2009: goes online. *Peter Krautzberger, 

2011 President Barack Obama announced that Richard Alfred Tapia was among twelve scientists to be awarded the National Medal of Science, the top award the United States offers its researchers. Tapia is currently the Maxfield and Oshman Professor of Engineering; Associate Director of Graduate Studies, Office of Research and Graduate Studies; and Director of the Center for Excellence and Equity in Education at Rice University. He is a renowned American mathematician and champion of under-represented minorities in the sciences. *Wik


551 B.C. Birthdate of the Chinese philosopher and educator Confucius. His birthday is observed as “Teacher’s Day” in memory of his great contribution to the Chinese Nation. His most famous aphorism is: “With education there is no distinction between classes or races of men.” *VFR

1605 Ismael Boulliau (28 Sept 1605 , 25 Nov 1694) was a French clergyman and amateur mathematician who proposed an inverse square law for gravitation before Newton. Boulliau was a friend of Pascal, Mersenne and Gassendi and supported Galileo and Copernicus. He claimed that if a planetary moving force existed then it should vary inversely as the square of the distance (Kepler had claimed the first power), "As for the power by which the Sun seizes or holds the planets, and which, being corporeal, functions in the manner of hands, it is emitted in straight lines throughout the whole extent of the world, and like the species of the Sun, it turns with the body of the Sun; now, seeing that it is corporeal, it becomes weaker and attenuated at a greater distance or interval, and the ratio of its decrease in strength is the same as in the case of light, namely, the duplicate proportion, but inversely, of the distances that is, 1/d2. *SAU

1651 Johann Philipp von Wurzelbau (28 September 1651 in Nürnberg; 21 July 1725 Nürnberg )was a German astronomer.
A native of Nuremberg, Wurzelbauer was a merchant who became an astronomer. As a youth, he was keenly interested in mathematics and astronomy but had been forced to earn his living as a merchant. He married twice: his first marriage was to Maria Magdalena Petz (1656–1713), his second to Sabina Dorothea Kress (1658–1733). Petz bore him six children.
He first published a work concerning his observations on the great comet of 1680, and initially began his work at a private castle-observatory on Spitzenberg 4 owned by Georg Christoph Eimmart (completely destroyed during World War II), the director of Nuremberg's painters' academy. Wurzelbauer was 64 when he began this second career, but proved himself to be an able assistant to Eimmart. A large quadrant from his days at Eimmart's observatory still survives.
After 1682, Wurzelbauer owned his own astronomical observatory and instruments, and observed the transit of Mercury, solar eclipses, and worked out the geographical latitude of his native city. After 1683, he had withdrawn himself completely from business life to dedicate himself to astronomy.
By 1700, Wurzelbauer had become the most well-known astronomer in Nuremberg. For his services to the field of astronomy, he was ennobled in 1692 by Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor and added the von to his name. He was a member of the French and the Prussian academies of the sciences.
The crater Wurzelbauer on the Moon is named after him. *Wik

1698 Pierre-Louis Moreau de Maupertuis (28 Sep 1698; 27 Jul 1759)French mathematician, biologist, and astronomer. In 1732 he introduced Newton's theory of gravitation to France. He was a member of an expedition to Lapland in 1736 which set out to measure the length of a degree along the meridian. Maupertuis' measurements both verified Newton's predictions that the Earth would be an oblate speroid, and they corrected earlier results of Cassini. Maupertuis published on many topics including mathematics, geography, astronomy and cosmology. In 1744 he first enunciated the Principle of Least Action and he published it in Essai de cosmologie in 1850. Maupertuis hoped that the principle might unify the laws of the universe and combined it with an attempted proof of the existence of God.*TIS

1761 François Budan de Boislaurent (28 Sept 1761, 6 Oct 1840) was a Haitian born amateur mathematician best remembered for his discovery of a rule which gives necessary conditions for a polynomial equation to have n real roots between two given numbers. Budan is considered an amateur mathematician and he is best remembered for his discovery of a rule which gives necessary conditions for a polynomial equation to have n real roots between two given numbers. Budan's rule was in a memoir sent to the Institute in 1803 but it was not made public until 1807 in Nouvelle méthode pour la résolution des équations numerique d'un degré quelconque. In it Budan wrote, "If an equation in x has n roots between zero and some positive number p, the transformed equation in (x - p) must have at least n fewer variations in sign than the original." *SAU (Sounds like a nice followup extension to Descartes Rule of signs in Pre-calculus classes. Mention the history, how many times do your students hear about a Haitian mathematician?)

1824 George Johnston Allman (28 September 1824 – 9 May 1904) was an Irish professor, mathematician, classical scholar, and historian of ancient Greek mathematics.*Wik

1873  Julian Lowell Coolidge. (28 Sep 1873; 5 Mar 1954) After an education at Harvard (B.A. 1895), Oxford (B.Sc. 1897), Turin (with Corrado Serge) and Bonn (with Eouard Study, Ph.D. 1904), he came back to Harvard to teach until he retired in 1940. He was an enthusiastic teacher with a flair for witty remarks. [DSB 3, 399] *VFR
He published numerous works on theoretical mathematics along the lines of the Study-Segre school. He taught at Groton School, Conn. (1897-9) where one of his pupils was Franklin D Roosevelt, the future U.S. president. From 1899 he taught at Harvard University. Between 1902 and 1904, he went to Turin to study under Corrado Segre and then to Bonn where he studied under Eduard Study. His Mathematics of the Great Amateurs is perhaps his best-known work. *TIS

1881 Edward Ross studied at Edinburgh and Cambridge universities. After working with Karl Pearson in London he was appointed Professor of Mathematics at the Christian College in Madras India. Ill health forced him to retire back to Scotland. *SAU

1901 Kurt Otto Friedrichs (September 28, 1901 – December 31, 1982) was a noted German American mathematician. He was the co-founder of the Courant Institute at New York University and recipient of the National Medal of Science.*Wik

1925 Martin David Kruskal (September 28, 1925 – December 26, 2006) was an American mathematician and physicist. He made fundamental contributions in many areas of mathematics and science, ranging from plasma physics to general relativity and from nonlinear analysis to asymptotic analysis. His single most celebrated contribution was the discovery and theory of solitons. His Ph.D. dissertation, written under the direction of Richard Courant and Bernard Friedman at New York University, was on the topic "The Bridge Theorem For Minimal Surfaces." He received his Ph.D. in 1952.
In the 1950s and early 1960s, he worked largely on plasma physics, developing many ideas that are now fundamental in the field. His theory of adiabatic invariants was important in fusion research. Important concepts of plasma physics that bear his name include the Kruskal–Shafranov instability and the Bernstein–Greene–Kruskal (BGK) modes. With I. B. Bernstein, E. A. Frieman, and R. M. Kulsrud, he developed the MHD (or magnetohydrodynamic) Energy Principle. His interests extended to plasma astrophysics as well as laboratory plasmas. Martin Kruskal's work in plasma physics is considered by some to be his most outstanding.
In 1960, Kruskal discovered the full classical spacetime structure of the simplest type of black hole in General Relativity. A spherically symmetric black hole can be described by the Schwarzschild solution, which was discovered in the early days of General Relativity. However, in its original form, this solution only describes the region exterior to the horizon of the black hole. Kruskal (in parallel with George Szekeres) discovered the maximal analytic continuation of the Schwarzschild solution, which he exhibited elegantly using what are now called Kruskal–Szekeres coordinates.
This led Kruskal to the astonishing discovery that the interior of the black hole looks like a "wormhole" connecting two identical, asymptotically flat universes. This was the first real example of a wormhole solution in General Relativity. The wormhole collapses to a singularity before any observer or signal can travel from one universe to the other. This is now believed to be the general fate of wormholes in General Relativity.
Martin Kruskal was married to Laura Kruskal, his wife of 56 years. Laura is well known as a lecturer and writer about origami and originator of many new models.[3] Martin, who had a great love of games, puzzles, and word play of all kinds, also invented several quite unusual origami models including an envelope for sending secret messages (anyone who unfolded the envelope to read the message would have great difficulty refolding it to conceal the deed).
His Mother, Lillian Rose Vorhaus Kruskal Oppenheimer was an American origami pioneer. She popularized origami in the West starting in the 1950s, and is credited with popularizing the Japanese term origami in English-speaking circles, which gradually supplanted the literal translation paper folding that had been used earlier. In the 1960s she co-wrote several popular books on origami with Shari Lewis.*wik

1925 Seymour R. Cray (28 Sep 1925; 5 Oct 1996) American electronics engineer who pioneered the use of transistors in computers and later developed massive supercomputers to run business and government information networks. He was the preeminent designer of the large, high-speed computers known as supercomputers. *TIS Cray began his engineering career building cryptographic machinery for the U.S. government and went on to co-found Control Data Corporation​ (CDC) in the late 1950s. For over three decades, first with CDC then with his own companies, Cray consistently built the fastest computers in the world, leading the industry with innovative architectures and packaging and allowing the solution of hundreds of difficult scientific, engineering, and military problems. Many of Cray's supercomputers are on exhibit at The Computer Museum History Center. Cray died in an automobile accident in 1996.*CHM

1961 Enrique Zuazua Iriondo (September 28, 1961 'Eibar, Gipuzkoa, Basque Country, Spain - ) is a Research Professor at Ikerbasque, the Basque Foundation for Science in BCAM - Basque Center for Applied Mathematics that he founded in 2008 as Scientific Director. He is also the Director of the BCAM Chair in Partial Differential Equations, Control and Numerics and Professor in leave of Applied Mathematics at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM).
His domains of expertise in Applied Mathematics include Partial Differential Equations, Control Theory and Numerical Analysis. These subjects interrelate and their final aim is to model, analyse, computer simulate, and finally contribute to the control and design of the most diverse natural phenomena and all fields of R + D + i.
Twenty PhD students got the degree under his advice and they now occupy positions in centres throughout the world: Brazil, Chile, China, Mexico, Romania, Spain, etc. He has developed intensive international work having led co-operation programmes with various Latin American countries, as well as with Portugal, the Maghreb, China and Iran, amongst others. *Wik


1694 Gabriel Mouton was a French clergyman who worked on interpolation and on astronomy.*SAU

1869 Count Guglielmo Libri Carucci dalla Sommaja (1 Jan 1803, 28 Sept 1869) Libri's early work was on mathematical physics, particularly the theory of heat. However he made many contributions to number theory and to the theory of equations. His best work during the 1830s and 1840s was undoubtedly his work on the history of mathematics. From 1838 to 1841 he published four volumes of Histoire des sciences mathématiques en Italie, depuis la rénaissanace des lettres jusqu'à la fin du dix-septième siècle. He intended to write a further two volumes, but never finished the task. It is an important work but suffers from over-praise of Italians at the expense of others. *SAU

1953 Edwin Powell Hubble (20 Nov 1889, 28 Sep 1953)American astronomer, born in Marshfield, Mo., who is considered the founder of extragalactic astronomy and who provided the first evidence of the expansion of the universe. In 1923-5 he identified Cepheid variables in "spiral nebulae" M31 and M33 and proved conclusively that they are outside the Galaxy. His investigation of these objects, which he called extragalactic nebulae and which astronomers today call galaxies, led to his now-standard classification system of elliptical, spiral, and irregular galaxies, and to proof that they are distributed uniformly out to great distances. Hubble measured distances to galaxies and their redshifts, and in 1929 he published the velocity-distance relation which is the basis of modern cosmology.*TIS

1992 John Leech is best known for the Leech lattice which is important in the theory of finite simple groups.*SAU

2004 Jacobus Hendricus ("Jack") van Lint (1 September 1932, 28 September 2004) was a Dutch mathematician, professor at the Eindhoven University of Technology, of which he was rector magnificus from 1991 till 1996. His field of research was initially number theory, but he worked mainly in combinatorics and coding theory. Van Lint was honored with a great number of awards. He became a member of Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1972, received four honorary doctorates, was an honorary member of the Royal Netherlands Mathematics Society (Koninklijk Wiskundig Genootschap), and received a Knighthood.*Wik

Credits :
*CHM=Computer History Museum
*FFF=Kane, Famous First Facts
*NSEC= NASA Solar Eclipse Calendar
*RMAT= The Renaissance Mathematicus, Thony Christie
*SAU=St Andrews Univ. Math History
*TIA = Today in Astronomy
*TIS= Today in Science History
*VFR = V Frederick Rickey, USMA
*Wik = Wikipedia
*WM = Women of Mathematics, Grinstein & Campbell

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

On This Day in Math - September 27

Algebra exists only for the elucidation of geometry.

~William Edge

The 271st day of the year; 271 is a prime number and is the sum of eleven consecutive primes (7 + 11 + 13 + 17 + 19 + 23 + 29 + 31 + 37 + 41 + 43).

271 is also the difference of two consecutive cubes, 103 - 93. Such numbers are called Cuban Primes, and were named by the British mathematician Allan Joseph Champneys Cunningham in 1923.

Using the English alphabet code, a = 1, b = 2, etc, there are exactly 271 positive numbers that give larger numbers when you write out their English names and add the letters *primecurios


14 A.D.: A total lunar eclipse marked the death of Augustus: "The Moon in the midst of a clear sky became suddenly eclipsed; the soldiers who were ignorant of the cause took this for an omen referring to their present adventures: to their labors they compared the eclipse of the planet, and prophesied 'that if to the distressed goodness should be restored her wonted brightness and splendor, equally successful would be the issue of their struggle.' Hence they made a loud noise, by ringing upon brazen metal, and by blowing trumpets and cornets; as she appeared brighter or darker they exulted or lamented"
- Tacitus *NASA Lunar Eclipses

1830 American Statesman Charles Sumner (1811-1874) paid little attention as an undergraduate at Harvard, but a year after graduation he became convinced that mathematics was a necessary part of a complete education. To a classmate he wrote: “Just a week ago yesterday, I commenced Walker’s Geometry, and now have got nearly half through. All those problems, theorems, etc., which were such stumbling-blocks to my Freshman-year career, unfold themselves as easily as possible now. You will sooner have thought, I suppose, that fire and water would have embraced than mathematics and myself; but, strange to tell, we are close friends now. I really get geometry with some pleasure. I usually devote four hours in the forenoon to it.” Quoted from Florian Cajori’s Mathematics in Liberal Education (1928), p. 115. *VFR  (Sumner was nearly beaten to death by a South Carolina Congressional Representative after a vindictive speech attacking the Kansas-Nebraska act, and it's authors.  His speech included direct insults, sexual innuendo, and made fun of South Carolina Senator Andrew Butler, one of the authors, by imitating his stroke impaired speech and mannerisms.  Butler's Nephew,  Preston Brooks, having decided that a duel could not take place between a gentleman (himself) and a drunk-lout(Sumner) stopped by Sumner's desk to confront him and nearly beat him to death with his cane.  Sumner lost the fight, but the incident put his star on the rise in the Northern states.)

In 1831, the first annual meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science was held in York. The British Association had been established in the same year by Sir David Brewster, R.I. Murchison and others. One of the association's main objectives was to "promote the intercourse of those who cultivate science with each other." The second annual meeting was held at Oxford (1832), and in following years at Cambridge, Edinburgh, Dublin, Bristol, Liverpool, Newcastle, Birmingham, Glasgow, Plymouth, Manchester and Cork respectively, until returning to York in 1844. It is incorporated by Royal Charter dated 21 Apr 1928.*TIS

1905 E=mc2 the day that Einstein's paper outlining the significance of the equation arrived in the offices of the German journal Annalen der Physik.  "Does the inertia of a body depend on its energy content?" 

1919 Einstein writes to his ailing mother that "H. A. Lorentz has just telegraphed me that the British Expeditions have definitely confirmed the deflection of light by the sun." He adds consolation on her illness and wishes her "good days", and closes with "affectionately, Albert *Einstein Archives

In 1922, scientists at the Naval Aircraft Radio Laboratory near Washington, D.C., demonstrated that if a ship passed through a radio wave being broadcast between two stations, that ship could be detected, the essentials of radar. *TIS

1996 Kevin Mitnick, 33, was indicted on charges resulting from a 2 ½-year hacking spree. Police accused the hacker, who called himself "Condor," of stealing software worth millions of dollars from major computer corporations. The maximum possible sentence for his crimes was 200 years. *CHM    Mitnick served five years in prison — four and a half years pre-trial and eight months in solitary confinement — because, according to Mitnick, law enforcement officials convinced a judge that he had the ability to "start a nuclear war by whistling into a pay phone". He was released on January 21, 2000. During his supervised release, which ended on January 21, 2003, he was initially forbidden to use any communications technology other than a landline telephone. Mitnick fought this decision in court, eventually winning a ruling in his favor, allowing him to access the Internet. Under the plea deal, Mitnick was also prohibited from profiting from films or books based on his criminal activity for seven years. Mitnick now runs Mitnick Security Consulting​ LLC, a computer security consultancy. *Wik


1677 Johann Doppelmayr was a German mathematician who wrote on astronomy, spherical trigonometry, sundials and mathematical instruments.*SAU

1719 Abraham Kästner was a German mathematician who compiled encyclopaedias and wrote text-books. He taught Gauss. His work on the parallel postulate influenced Bolyai and Lobachevsky*SAU

1814  Daniel Kirkwood (27 Sep 1814; 11 Jun 1895) American mathematician and astronomer who noted in about 1860 that there were several zones of low density in the minor-planet population. These gaps in the distribution of asteroid distances from the Sun are now known as Kirkwood gaps. He explained the gaps as resulting from perturbations by Jupiter. An object that revolved in one of the gaps would be disturbed regularly by the planet's gravitational pull and eventually would be moved to another orbit. Thus gaps appeared in the distribution of asteroids where the orbital period of any small body present would be a simple fraction of that of Jupiter. Kirwood showed that a similar effect accounted for gaps in Saturns rings.*TIS  The asteroid 1951 AT was named 1578 Kirkwood in his honor and so was the lunar impact crater Kirkwood, as well as Indiana University's Kirkwood Observatory. He is buried in the Rose Hill Cemetery in Bloomington, Indiana, where Kirkwood Avenue is named for him. *Wik

1824 Benjamin Apthorp Gould (27 Sep 1824; 26 Nov 1896) American astronomer whose star catalogs helped fix the list of constellations of the Southern Hemisphere Gould's early work was done in Germany, observating the motion of comets and asteroids. In 1861 undertook the enormous task of preparing for publication the records of astronomical observations made at the US Naval Observatory since 1850. But Gould's greatest work was his mapping of the stars of the southern skies, begun in 1870. The four-year endeavor involved the use of the recently developed photometric method, and upon the publication of its results in 1879 it was received as a signicant contribution to science. He was highly active in securing the establishment of the National Academy of Sciences.*TIS

1876 Earle Raymond Hedrick (September 27, 1876 – February 3, 1943), was an American mathematician and a vice-president of the University of California.
Hedrick was born in Union City, Indiana. After undergraduate work at the University of Michigan, he obtained a Master of Arts from Harvard University. With a Parker fellowship, he went to Europe and obtained his PhD from Göttingen University in Germany under the supervision of David Hilbert in 1901. He then spent several months at the École Normale Supérieure in France, where he became acquainted with Édouard Goursat, Jacques Hadamard, Jules Tannery, Émile Picard and Paul Émile Appell, before becoming an instructor at Yale University. In 1903, he became professor at the University of Missouri.
He was involved in the creation of the Mathematical Association of America in 1916 and was its first president.
His work was on partial differential equations and on the theory of nonanalytic functions of complex variables. He also did work in applied mathematics, in particular on a generalization of Hooke's law and on transmission of heat in steam boilers. With Oliver Dimon Kellogg he authored a text on the applications of calculus to mechanics.
He moved in 1920 to UCLA to become head of the department of mathematics. In 1933, he was giving the first graduate lecture on mathematics at UCLA. He became provost and vice-president of the University of California in 1937. He humorously called his appointment The Accident, and told jokingly after this event, "I no longer have any intellectual interests —I just sit and talk to people." He played in fact a very important role in making of the University of California a leading institution. He retired from the UCLA faculty in 1942 and accepted a visiting professorship at Brown University. Soon after the beginning of this new appointment, he suffered a lung infection. He died at the Rhode Island hospital in Providence, Rhode Island. Two UCLA residence halls are named after him: Hedrick Hall in 1963, and Hedrick Summit in 2005.
Earle Raymond Hedrick worked on partial differential equations and on the theory of nonanalytic functions of complex variables. He also did work in applied mathematics, in particular on a generalization of Hooke's law and on transmission of heat in steam boilers. With Oliver Dimon Kellogg he authored a text on the applications of calculus to mechanics. *Wik

1843 Gaston Tarry was a French combinatorialist whose best-known work is a method for solving mazes.*SAU

1855 Paul Appell (27 September 1855 – 24 October 1930), also known as Paul Émile Appel, was a French mathematician and Rector of the University of Paris. The concept of Appell polynomials is named after him, as is rue Paul Appell in the 14th arrondissement of Paris.*Wik

1876 Earle Raymond Hedrick (September 27, 1876 – February 3, 1943), was an American mathematician and a vice-president of the University of California. He worked on partial differential equations and on the theory of nonanalytic functions of complex variables. He also did work in applied mathematics, in particular on a generalization of Hooke's law and on transmission of heat in steam boilers. With Oliver Dimon Kellogg he authored a text on the applications of calculus to mechanics.*Wik

1879 Hans Hahn was an Austrian mathematician who is best remembered for the Hahn-Banach theorem. He also made important contributions to the calculus of variations, developing ideas of Weierstrass. *SAU

1892 Mykhailo Pilipovich Krawtchouk (27 Sept 1892 in Chovnitsy, (now Kivertsi) Ukraine - 9 March 1942 in Kolyma, Siberia, USSR) In 1929 Krawtchouk published his most famous work, Sur une généralisation des polynômes d'Hermite. In this paper he introduced a new system of orthogonal polynomials now known as the Krawtchouk polynomials, which are polynomials associated with the binomial distribution.
However his mathematical work was very wide and, despite his early death, he was the author of around 180 articles on mathematics. He wrote papers on differential and integral equations, studying both their theory and applications. Other areas he wrote on included algebra (where among other topics he studied the theory of permutation matrices), geometry, mathematical and numerical analysis, probability theory and mathematical statistics. He was also interested in the philosophy of mathematics, the history of mathematics and mathematical education. Krawtchouk edited the first three-volume dictionary of Ukrainian mathematical terminology. *SAU

1918 Sir Martin Ryle (27 Sep 1918; 14 Oct 1984) British radio astronomer who developed revolutionary radio telescope systems and used them for accurate location of weak radio sources. Ryle helped develop radar for British defense during WW II. Afterward, he was a leader in the development of radio astronomy. With his aperture synthesis technique of interferometry he and his team located radio-emitting regions on the sun and pinpointed other radio sources so that they could be studied in visible light. Ryle's 1C - 5C Cambridge catalogues of radio sources led to the discovery of numerous radio galaxies and quasars. Using this technique, eventually radio astronomers surpassed optical astronomers in angular resolution. He observed the most distant known galaxies of the universe. For his aperture synthesis technique, Ryle shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1974 (with Antony Hewish), the first in recognition of astronomical research. He was the 12th Astronomer Royal (1972-82).*TIS

1919 James Hardy Wilkinson (27 September 1919 – 5 October 1986) was a prominent figure in the field of numerical analysis, a field at the boundary of applied mathematics and computer science particularly useful to physics and engineering.
He received the Turing Award in 1970 "for his research in numerical analysis to facilitate the use of the high-speed digital computer, having received special recognition for his work in computations in linear algebra and 'backward' error analysis." In the same year, he also gave the John von Neumann Lecture at the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.   The J. H. Wilkinson Prize for Numerical Software is named in his honour.*Wik


1783 Étienne Bézout was a French mathematician who is best known for his theorem on the number of solutions of polynomial equations.*SAU Bézout's theorem for polynomials states that if P and Q are two polynomials with no roots in common, then there exist two other polynomials A and B such that AP+BQ=1. *Wik

1997 William Edge graduated from Cambridge and lectured at Edinburgh University. He wrote many papers in Geometry. He became President of the EMS in 1944 and an honorary member in 1983. *SAU 

2014 Jacqueline Anne ( Barton)Stedall (4 August 1950; Romford, Essex, U.K.–27 September 2014; Painswick, Gloucestershire) was a well-known historian of mathematics. Although her career as a researcher, scholar and university teacher lasted less than 14 years, it was greatly influential. Her nine books, more than 20 articles, input to the online edition of the manuscripts of Thomas Harriot, journal editorships and contributions to Melvyn Bragg’s Radio 4 programme In Our Time showed her exceptional breadth of scholarship.
Jackie Stedall came to Oxford in October 2000 as Clifford-Norton Student in the History of Science at Queen’s College. She held degrees of BA (later MA) in Mathematics from Cambridge University (1972), MSc in Statistics from the University of Kent (1973), and PhD in History of Mathematics from the Open University (2000). She also had a PGCE in Mathematics (Bristol Polytechnic 1991). In due course she became Senior Research Fellow in the Oxford Mathematical Institute and at Queen’s College, posts from which, knowing that she was suffering from incurable cancer, she took early retirement in December 2013.
This was her fifth career. Following her studies at Cambridge and Canterbury she had been three years a statistician, four years Overseas Programmes Administrator for War on Want, seven years a full-time parent, and eight years a schoolteacher before she became an academic. *Obituaries at The Guardian, Oxford Mathemtics, and Wik

Credits :
*CHM=Computer History Museum
*FFF=Kane, Famous First Facts
*NSEC= NASA Solar Eclipse Calendar
*RMAT= The Renaissance Mathematicus, Thony Christie
*SAU=St Andrews Univ. Math History
*TIA = Today in Astronomy
*TIS= Today in Science History
*VFR = V Frederick Rickey, USMA
*Wik = Wikipedia
*WM = Women of Mathematics, Grinstein & Campbell

Monday, 26 September 2016

On This Day in Math - September 26

"mathematics is not yet ready for such problems"
~Paul Erdos in reference to Collatz's problem

The 270th day of the year; the harmonic mean of the factors of 270 is an integer. The first three numbers with this property are 1, 6, and 28.. what is the next one? These are sometimes called Ore numbers for Øystein Ore, who studied them.  Many of them also have the arithmetic mean of their divisors is an integer, but not all.

270 is the sum of eight consecutive primes, 270 = 19 + 23 + 29 + 31 + 37 + 41 + 43 + 47 ; and the sum of three cubes \(270 = 3^3+ 3^3 + 6^3 \).

10! = 3628800 has 270 factors. (A good high school student should be able to confirm this quickly.)

1679 On September 26, 1679, a fierce fire consumed the Stellaburgum — Europe’s finest observatory, built by the pioneering astronomer Johannes Hevelius in the city of Danzig, present-day Poland, decades before the famous Royal Greenwich Observatory and Paris Observatory existed.
And while he rebuilt the observatory, it simply did not compare with the original. He never fully recovered from the loss. His resilience in continuing was in large part fueled by the miraculous salvation of one of his manuscripts — his fixed-star catalog, which contained the results of thousands of calculations of the positions of the stars made over decades of patient observation. The small leather-bound notebook was the sole manuscript to survive the fire, presumably saved by Hevelius’s 13-year-old daughter Katharina Elisabeth, the sole family member in Danzig at the time of the fire, who had a key to her father’s study. Half a millennium later, it was rediscovered. In 1971, it made its way to Utah’s Brigham Young University, becoming the one-millionth acquisition by the institution’s library.
 Nearly two centuries before Maria Mitchell, Elisabeth Hevelius essentially became the first Western female astronomer. After his death, Elisabeth, who had assisted him in the catalog all along, took it upon herself to finish Hevelius’s lifelong quest. She completed the book, dedicating it to the generous Polish monarch. The finished catalog included more than 600 new stars that Johannes and Elisabeth had observed, as well as a dozen new constellations, whose names, as given by Hevelius, astronomers still use today.
*History of Astronomy @HistAstro
*Maria Popova at

1775 John Adams writes to his wife to entreat her to teach his children geometry and... "I have seen the Utility of Geometry, Geography, and the Art of drawing so much of late, that I must intreat you, my dear, to teach the Elements of those Sciences to my little Girl and Boys. It is as pretty an Amusement, as Dancing or Skaiting, or Fencing, after they have once acquired a Taste for them. No doubt you are well qualified for a school Mistress in these Studies, for Stephen Collins tells me the English Gentleman, in Company with him, when he visited Braintree, pronounced you the most accomplished Lady, he had seen since he left England.—You see a Quaker can flatter, but dont you be proud. *Natl. Archives

1874 James Clerk Maxwell in a letter to Professor Lewis Campbell describes Galton, "Francis Galton, whose mission it seems to be to ride other men's hobbies to death, has invented the felicitous expression 'structureless germs'. " *Lewis Campbell and William Garnett (eds.), The Life of James Clerk Maxwell (1884), 299.

1991 The first two year closed mission of Biosphere 2 began just outside Tucson, Arizona. *David Dickinson ‏@Astroguyz

1999 The Kobe meteorite fell on September 26 (local time 20:23), 1999, in Kita-ku in the north of Kobe city, Japan. The meteorite fall was widely observed in Kobe and the surrounding area, and was photographed by an amateur photographer in Imabari city, 200 km southwest of Kobe. The meteorite struck a house with an explosive sound but otherwise caused only minor property damage. The approximately 20 fragments of the meteorite had a total mass of 136 g. *

 2011 Astronauts had this view of the aurora on September 26, 2011. Credit: NASA

We’ve had some great views of the aurora submitted by readers this week, but this one taken from the International Space Station especially highlights the red color seen by many Earth-bound skywatchers, too. Karen Fox from the Goddard Space Flight Center says the colors of the aurora depend on which atoms are being excited by the solar storm. In most cases, the light comes when a charged particle sweeps in from the solar wind and collides with an oxygen atom in Earth’s atmosphere. This produces a green photon, so most aurora appear green. However, lower-energy oxygen collisions as well as collisions with nitrogen atoms can produce red photons — so sometimes aurora also show a red band as seen here. *Universe Today


1688 Willem 'sGravesande (26 September 1688 – 28 February 1742)was a Dutch mathematician who expounded Newton's philosophy in Europe. In 1717 he became professor in physics and astronomy in Leiden, and introduced the works of his friend Newton in the Netherlands.
His main work is Physices elementa mathematica, experimentis confirmata, sive introductio ad philosophiam Newtonianam or Mathematical Elements of Natural Philosophy, Confirm'd by Experiments (Leiden 1720), in which he laid the foundations for teaching physics. Voltaire and Albrecht von Haller were in his audience, Frederic the Great invited him in 1737 to come to Berlin.
His chief contribution to physics involved an experiment in which brass balls were dropped with varying velocity onto a soft clay surface. His results were that a ball with twice the velocity of another would leave an indentation four times as deep, that three times the velocity yielded nine times the depth, and so on. He shared these results with Émilie du Châtelet, who subsequently corrected Newton's formula E = mv to E = mv2. (Note that though we now add a factor of 1/2 to this formula to make it work with coherent systems of units, the formula as expressed is correct if you choose units to fit it.) *Wik

1754 Joseph-Louis Proust (26 Sep 1754; 5 Jul 1826) French chemist who proved (1808) that the relative quantities of any given pure chemical compound's constituent elements remain invariant, regardless of the compound's source, and thus provided crucial evidence in support of John Dalton's “law of definite proportions,” which holds that elements in any compound are present in fixed proportion to each other. *TIS

1784 Christopher Hansteen (26 Sep 1784; 15 Apr 1873) Norwegian astronomer and physicist noted for his research in geomagnetism. In 1701 Halley had already published a map of magnetic declinations, and the subject was studied by Humboldt, de Borda, and Gay-Lussac, among others. Hansteen collected available data and also mounted an expedition to Siberia, where he took many measurements for an atlas of magnetic strength and declination.*TIS

1854 Percy Alexander MacMahon (26 Sept 1854 , 25 Dec 1929) His study of symmetric functions led MacMahon to study partitions and Latin squares, and for many years he was considered the leading worker in this area. His published values of the number of unrestricted partitions of the first 200 integers which proved extremely useful to Hardy and Littlewood in their own work on partitions. He gave a Presidential Address to the London Mathematical Society on combinatorial analysis in 1894. MacMahon wrote a two volume treatise Combinatory analysis (volume one in 1915 and the second volume in the following year) which has become a classic. He wrote An introduction to combinatory analysis in 1920. In 1921 he wrote New Mathematical Pastimes, a book on mathematical recreations. *SAU

1887 Sir Barnes (Neville) Wallis (26 Sep 1887; 30 Oct 1979) was an English aeronautical designer and military engineer whose famous 9000-lb bouncing "dambuster" bombs of WW II destroyed the German Möhne and Eder dams on 16 May 1943. He designed the R100 airship, and the Vickers Wellesley and Wellington bombers. The specially-formed RAF 617 Squadron precisely delivered his innovative cylindrical bombs which were released from low altitude, rotating backwards at high speed that caused them to skip along the surface of the water, right up to the base of the dam. He later designed the 5-ton Tallboy and 10-ton Grand Slam earthquake bombs (which used on many enemy targets in the later years of the war). Postwar, he developed ideas for swing-wing aircraft. *TIS (His courtship with his wife has been written by his daughter, Mary Stopes-Roe from the actual courtship in the entertaining, but perhaps overpriced book, Mathematics With Love: The Courtship Correspondence of Barnes Wallis, Inventor of the Bouncing Bomb.)

1891 Hans Reichenbach (September 26, 1891, April 9, 1953) was a leading philosopher of science, educator and proponent of logical empiricism. Reichenbach is best known for founding the Berlin Circle, and as the author of The Rise of Scientific Philosophy.*Wik

1924 Jean Hoerni, a pioneer of the transistor, is born in Switzerland. A physicist, Hoerni in 1959 invented the planar process, which, combined with Robert Noyce's technique for placing a layer of silicon dioxide on a transistor, led to the creation of the modern integrated circuit. Hoerni's planar process allowed the placement of complex electronic circuits on a single chip. *CHM

1926 Colin Brian Haselgrove (26 September 1926 , 27 May 1964) was an English mathematician who is best known for his disproof of the Pólya conjecture in 1958. the Pólya conjecture stated that 'most' (i.e. more than 50%) of the natural numbers less than any given number have an odd number of prime factors. The conjecture was posited by the Hungarian mathematician George Pólya in 1919.. The size of the smallest counter-example is often used to show how a conjecture can be true for many numbers, and still be false. *Wik

1927 Brian Griffiths (26 Sept 1927 , 4 June 2008) He was deeply involved in the 'School Mathematics Project', he served as chairman of the 'Joint Mathematical Council', and chaired the steering group for the 'Low Attainers Mathematics Project' from 1983 to 1986. This project became the 'Raising Achievement in Mathematics Project' in 1986 and he chaired this from its foundation to 1989. *SAU


1766 Giulio Carlo Fagnano dei Toschi died. He is important for the identity
\pi = 2i\log{1 - i \over 1 +i}
and for his rectification of the lemmiscate. *VFR An Italian mathematician who worked in both complex numbers and on the geometry of triangles.*SAU
The lemniscate is of particular interest because, even if it has little relevance today, it
the catalyst for immeasurably important mathematical development in the 18th and 19th centuries. The figure 8-shaped curve first entered the minds of mathematicians in 1680, when Giovanni Cassini presented his work on curves of the form, appropriately known as the ovals of Cassini. Only 14 years later, while deriving the arc length of the lemniscate, Jacob Bernoulli became the first mathematician in history to define arc length in terms of polar coordinates.
The first major result of work on the lemniscate came in 1753, when, after reading Giulio Carlo di Fagnano’s papers on dividing the lemniscate using straightedge and compass, Leonhard Euler proved that:

Jacobi called December 23,1751 "the birthday of elliptic functions", as this was the day that Euler began reviewing the papers of Fagnanao who was being considered for membership in the Berlin Academy. *Raymond Ayoub, The lemniscate and Fagnano's contributions to elliptic integrals

1802 Jurij Vega (23 Mar 1754, 26 Sept 1802) wrote about artillery but he is best remembered for his tables of logarithms and trigonometric functions. Vega calculated π to 140 places, a record which stood for over 50 years. This appears in a paper which he published in 1789.
In September 1802 Jurij Vega was reported missing. A search was unsuccessful until his body was found in the Danube near Vienna. The official cause of death was an accident but many suspect that he was murdered. *SAU

1867 James Ferguson (31 Aug 1797, 26 Sep 1867) Scottish-American astronomer who discovered the first previously unknown asteroid to be detected from North America. He recorded it on 1 Sep 1854 at the U.S. Naval Observatory, where he worked 1848-67. This was the thirty-first of the series and is now known as 31 Euphrosyne, named after one of the Charites in Greek mythology. It is one of the largest of the main belt asteroids, between Mars and Jupiter. He was involved in some of the earliest work in micrometry was done at the old U.S. Naval Observatory at Foggy Bottom in the midst of the Civil War using a 9.6 inch refractor. He also contributed to double star astronomy. Earlier in his life he was a civil engineer, member of the Northwest Boundary Survey, and an assistant in the U.S. Coast Survey *TIS

1868 August Ferdinand Mobius died. He discovered his famous strip in September 1858. Johann Benedict Listing discovered the same surface two months earlier.*VFR (It is somewhat amazing that we call it after Mobius when Listing discovered it first and published, and it seems, Mobius did not. However Mobius did seem to have thought on the four color theorem before Guthrie, or anyone else to my knowledge.)

1877 Hermann Günther Grassmann (15 Apr 1809, 26 Sep 1877) German mathematician chiefly remembered for his development of a general calculus of vectors in Die lineale Ausdehnungslehre, ein neuer Zweig der Mathematik (1844; "The Theory of Linear Extension, a New Branch of Mathematics"). *TIS

1910 Thorvald Nicolai Thiele (24 Dec 1838, 26 Sept 1910) He is remembered for having an interpolation formula named after him, the formula being used to obtain a rational function which agrees with a given function at any number of given points. He published this in 1909 in his book which made a major contribution to numerical analysis. He introduced cumulants (under the name of "half-invariants") in 1889, 1897, 1899, about 30 years before their rediscovery and exploitation by R A Fisher. *SAU

1976 Paul (Pál) Turán (18 August 1910, 26 September 1976) was a Hungarian mathematician who worked primarily in number theory. He had a long collaboration with fellow Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdős, lasting 46 years and resulting in 28 joint papers. *SAU

1978 Karl Manne Georg Siegbahn (3 Dec 1886, 26 Sep 1978) Swedish physicist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1924 for his discoveries and investigations in X-ray spectroscopy. In 1914 he began his studies in the new science of x-ray spectroscopy which had already established from x-ray spectra that there were two distinct 'shells' of electrons within atoms, each giving rise to groups of spectral lines, labeled 'K' and 'L'. In 1916, Siegbahn discovered a third, or 'M', series. (More were to be found later in heavier elements.) Refining his x-ray equipment and technique, he was able to significantly increase the accuracy of his determinations of spectral lines. This allowed him to make corrections to Bragg's equation for x-ray diffraction to allow for the finer details of crystal diffraction. *TIS

1990 Lothar Collatz​ (July 6, 1910, , September 26, 1990) was a German mathematician. In 1937 he posed the famous Collatz conjecture, which remains unsolved. The Collatz-Wielandt formula for positive matrices important in the Perron–Frobenius theorem is named after him. *Wik The Collatz conjeture is an iteration problem that deals with the following algorithm..
If a number n is odd, then f(n)= 3n+1
if n is even, then f(n) = 1/2 (n)
Each answer then becomes the new value to input into the function. The problem, or should I say problems, resolve around what happens to the sequence of outcomes when we keep putting the answer back into the function. For example if we begin with 15 we get the following sequence, also called the orbit of the number:
15, 46, 23, 70, 35, 106, 53, 160, 80, 40, 20, 10, 5, 16, 8, 4, 2, 1...
One of the unproven conjectures is that for any number n, the sequence will always end in the number 1. This has been shown to be true for all numbers up to just beyond 1016. A second interesting question is how long it takes for a number to return to the value of 1. For the example above, the number 15 took 17 steps to get back to the unit value. Questions such as which three (or other n) digit number has the longest orbit. There are many vairations of the problem, but if you are interested in a good introduction, check this link from Simon Fraser University"
Collatz's Problem is often also called the Syracuse Algorithm, Hasse's problem, Thwaite's problem, and Ulam's problem after people who have worked and written on the problem. It is unclear where the problem originated, as it seems to have had a long history of being passed by word of mouth before it was ever written down. It is often attributed to Lothar Collatz from the University of Hamburg who wrote about the problem as early as 1932. The name "Syracuse Problem" was applied by after H. Hasse, an associate of Collatz, visited and discussed the problem at Syracuse University in the 1950's. During the 1960's Stan Ulam circulated the problem at Los Alamos laboratory. One famous quote about the problem is from Paul Erdos who stated, "mathematics is not yet ready for such problems". *Personal notes

Credits :
*CHM=Computer History Museum
*FFF=Kane, Famous First Facts
*NSEC= NASA Solar Eclipse Calendar
*RMAT= The Renaissance Mathematicus, Thony Christie
*SAU=St Andrews Univ. Math History
*TIA = Today in Astronomy
*TIS= Today in Science History
*VFR = V Frederick Rickey, USMA
*Wik = Wikipedia
*WM = Women of Mathematics, Grinstein & Campbell

Sunday, 25 September 2016

On This Day in Math - September 25

I am undecided whether or not the Milky Way​ is but one of countless others all of which form an entire system. Perhaps the light from these infinitely distant galaxies is so faint that we cannot see them.

~ Johann H Lambert

This is the 269th day of the year, (on non-leap years, the 269th day is Sep 26, and the date is written 26/9 in much of Europe. This is the only day of the year which presents itself in this way. (Are there any days that work using month/day?)

269 is a regular prime, an Eisenstein prime with no imaginary part, a long prime, a Chen prime, a Pillai prime, a Pythagorean prime, a twin prime, a sexy prime, a Higgs prime, a strong prime, and a highly cototient number. So many new terms to look up... Well? Look them up.

269 is the smallest natural number that cannot be represented as the determinant of a 10 × 10 (0,1)-matrix


1493 Columbus set sail on his second voyage to America.

1513 Balboa discovered the Pacific.

1608 The oldest written mention of the telescope: In a letter of introduction from the Council of Zeeland to Zeeland’s Delegates to the States General (the Netherlands parliament) in Den Haag asking them to organise an audience with Prince Maurice of Nassau for a spectacle maker from Middelburg who had invented a “…certain device by means of which all things at a very great distance can be seen as if they were nearby, by looking through glasses…”; the oldest written mention of the telescope. On an unknown day between 25th and 29th September: Hans Lipperhey (1570 – 1619) the spectacle maker from Middelburg (who was actually a German from Wesel) demonstrates his new invention at the court of Prince Maurice, where a peace conference in the Dutch-Spanish War is taking place along with the first visit to Europe of the Ambassador of Siam. Lipperhey’s demonstration is described in detail in a French flyer describing the Ambassadors visit and the news of the new invention is thus spread rapidly throughout Europe. *Renaissance Mathematicus,

1654 Fermat writes to Pascal defending his combinatorial method that Pascal had previously regarded as incorrect.*VFR

1820 Arago announces electromagnetism ... Francois Arago announced that a copper wire between the poles of a voltaic cell, could laterally attract iron filings to itself (Ann. de Chim. et de Physique., xv. p.93). His discovery came in the same year that Oersted discovered that an electric current flowing in a wire would deflect a neighbouring compass needle. Arago in the same publication described how he had successfully succeeded in causing permanent magnetism in steel needles laid at right angles to the copper wire. Arago and André-Marie Ampère, discussed and experimented with forming the copper wire into a helix to intensify the magnetizing action. However, it was not until 1825 that the electromagnet in its familiar form was invented by William Sturgeon. *TIS

1944 Denmark issued a stamp commemorating the 300th anniversary of the birth of Ole Roemer,*VFR

1989 IBM announces plans to develop a new design for transmitting information within a computer, called Micro Channel Architecture, which it said could transfer data at 160 million bytes per second or eight times faster than the fastest speed at the time. Although IBM was hoping to make its system the industry standard, manufacturers of IBM-compatible computers largely chose other methods. *CHM


1644 Olaus Roemer, Danish astronomer, born. He was the first to measure the speed of light. *VFR (25 Sep 1644;23 Sep 1710) Astronomer who demonstrated conclusively that light travels at a finite speed. He measured the speed by precisely measuring the length of time between eclipses of Jupiter by one of its moons. This observation produces different results depending on the position of the earth in its orbit around the sun. He reasoned that meant light took longer to travel the greater distance when earth was traveling in its orbit away from Jupiter.*TIS "Ole Rømer took part in several other achievements considering measurement. He developed a temperature scale that is now famous as the Fahrenheit scale. Fahrenheit improved and distributed his ideas after visiting Rømer. In his last years, he was even given the position as second Chief of the Copenhagen Police and invented the first street oil lamps in the city of Copenhagen.
Further achievements and inventions may be added to Rømer's biography, like his innovative water supply system and his urban planning concept. " *Yovista.blogspot

1819 George Salmon (25 September 1819 – 22 January 1904) made many discoveries about ruled surfaces and other surfaces. *SAU His publications in algebraic geometry were widely read in the second half of the 19th century. A Treatise on Conic Sections remained in print for over fifty years, going though five updated editions in English, and was translated into German, French and Italian. *Wik

1825 Carl Harald Cramer,(25 September 1893 ,5 October 1985) was a Swedish mathematical statisticians and is one of the prominent figures in the statistical theory. He was once described by John Kingman as "one of the giants of statistical theory". 
In number theory, Cramér's conjecture,in 1936 states that
p_{n+1}-p_n=O((\log p_n)^2),\
where pn denotes the nth prime number, O is big O notation, and "log" is the natural logarithm. Intuitively, this means the gaps between consecutive primes are always small, and it quantifies asymptotically just how small they can be. This conjecture has not been proven or disproven.

1846 Wladimir (Peter) Köppen (25 Sep 1846; 22 Jun 1940) German meteorologist and climatologist best known for his delineation and mapping of the climatic regions of the world. He played a major role in the advancement of climatology and meteorology for more than 70 years. The climate classification system he developed remains popular because it uses easily obtained data (monthly mean temperatures and precipitation) and straightforward, objective criteria. He recognized five principal climate groups: (A) Humid tropical -winterless climates; (B) Dry - evaporation constantly exceed precipitation; (C) humid mid-latitude, mild winters; (D) humid mid-latitude, severe winters; and (E) Polar - summerless climates. *TIS

1888 Stefan Mazurkiewicz (25 Sept 1888 , 19 June 1945) His main work was in topology and the theory of probability. His notion of dimension of a compact set preceded that of Menger and Urysohn by seven years. Mazurkiewicz applied topological methods to the theory of functions, obtaining powerful results. His theory gave particularly strong results when applied to the Euclidean plane, giving deep knowledge of its topological structure. *SAU


1777 Johann Heinrich Lambert (26 Aug 1728, 25 Sep 1777) Swiss-German mathematician, astronomer, physicist, and philosopher who provided the first rigorous proof that pi ( the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter) is irrational, meaning it cannot be expressed as the quotient of two integers. He also devised a method of measuring light intensity. *TIS In 1766 Lambert wrote Theorie der Parallellinien which was a study of the parallel postulate. By assuming that the parallel postulate was false, he managed to deduce a large number of non-euclidean results. He noticed that in this new geometry the sum of the angles of a triangle increases as its area decreases. *SAU

1852 Christoph Gudermann (March 25, 1798, September 25, 1852) was born in Vienenburg. He was the son of a school teacher and became a teacher himself after studying at the University of Göttingen, where his advisor was Karl Friedrich Gauss. He began his teaching career in Kleve and then transferred to a school in Münster.
He is most known today for being the teacher of Karl Weierstrass, who took Gudermann's course in elliptic functions, 1839–1840, the first to be taught in any institute. Weierstrass was greatly influenced by this course, which marked the direction of his own research.
Gudermann originated the concept of uniform convergence, in an 1838 paper on elliptic functions, but only observed it informally, neither formalizing it nor using it in his proofs. Instead, Weierstrass elaborated and applied uniform convergence.
His researches into spherical geometry and special functions focused on particular cases, so that he did not receive the credit given to those who published more general works. The Gudermannian function, or hyperbolic amplitude, is named after him.Gudermann died in Münster. *Wik

1877 Urbain-Jean-Joseph Le Verrier (11 May 1811, 25 Sep 1877) French astronomer who predicted the position of a previously unknown planet, Neptune, by the disturbance it caused in the orbit of Uranus. In 1856, the German astronomer Johan G. Galle discovered Neptune after only an hour of searching, within one degree of the position that had been computed by Le Verrier, who had asked him to look for it there. In this way Le Verrier gave the most striking confirmation of the theory of gravitation propounded by Newton. Le Verrier also initiated the meteorological service for France, especially the weather warnings for seaports. *TIS (He died the day after the anniversary of the sighting of his most famous prediction. Between that moment of fame in 1846 and his death, he mistakenly attributed the variability of Mercury's orbit to another small planet he named "Vulcan". It took the theory of General Relativity to explain the variations. He was buried in Montparnasse cemetery in Paris. A large globe sits atop grave. Arago described him as, "the man who discovered a planet with the point of his pen."

1933 Paul Ehrenfest (January 18, 1880, September 25, 1933) was an Austrian and Dutch physicist and mathematician, who made major contributions to the field of statistical mechanics and its relations with quantum mechanics, including the theory of phase transition and the Ehrenfest theorem. *Wik

Credits :
*CHM=Computer History Museum
*FFF=Kane, Famous First Facts
*NSEC= NASA Solar Eclipse Calendar
*RMAT= The Renaissance Mathematicus, Thony Christie
*SAU=St Andrews Univ. Math History
*TIA = Today in Astronomy
*TIS= Today in Science History
*VFR = V Frederick Rickey, USMA
*Wik = Wikipedia
*WM = Women of Mathematics, Grinstein & Campbell