The Week in Math: March

Here are the highlights from the historical world of mathematics for the month of March.  While this list is not meant to be all-encompassing, I have tried to pick out those things that I find most interesting.

March 2:

Deaths: Charles de la Vallee Poussin (1866-1962)

March 3:

Birthdays: Georg Cantor (1845-1918),  Paul Halmos (1916-2006) – Click here to read my post about Paul Halmos

Deaths: Robert Hooke (1635-1703)

March 4:

Birthdays: George Gamow (1904-1968)

March 5:

Deaths: Julian Coolidge (1873-1954), Pierre-Simon Laplace (1749-1827)

March 6:

Math News: In 1805, Legendre introduces the Method of Least Squares.  Gauss, who had discovered this method 10 years earlier, never published his results due to his obsessive need for perfectionism.  As a result, there was some debate as to who was first to discover the method.  (See MathDL for details.)

March 7:

Deaths: Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC)

March 8:

Birthdays: William Talley (1950-2011)

March 10:

Birthdays: John Playfair (1748-1819),  William Osgood (1864-1943)

March 11:

Birthdays: Joseph Bertrand (1822-1900)

March 12:

Math News: In 1926, John von Neumann receives his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Budapest.  (See MathDLfor details.)

Birthdays: Gustav Kirchhoff (1824-1887)

Deaths: Louis Joel Mordell (1888-1972)

March 13:

Math News: In 1781, Sir William Herschel discovers Uranus.   (See MathDL for details.)

March 14:

Math News: In 1951, Kurt Godel and Julian Schwinger receive the first Einstein Award.  (See MathDL for details.)

Birthdays: Albert Einstein (1879-1955) – Click here to read about his penWaclaw Sierpinski (1882-1969)

March 15:

Deaths: James Joseph Sylvester (1814-1897)

March 16:

Birthdays: Georg Simon Ohm (1789-1854)

Deaths: Thomas Little Heath (1861-1940)

March 17:

Math News: In 1694, L’Hospital hires Johann Bernoulli as a mathematician to “work on what I shall ask you … and also to communicate to me your discoveries, with the request not to mention them to others.”  (In other words, L’Hospital plans to take credit for any discoveries made by Bernoulli!)  The result of this hiring is the first calculus textbook in 1696.  In addition, “L’Hospital’s Rule” makes it first appearance in print.   As history will show, it is Bernoulli, not L’Hospital, who discovers the rule.  However, since Bernoulli signed over his rights to L’Hospital, L’Hospital takes credit for the discovery.  (See MathDLfor details.) – Click here to read my post about the controversy 

Deaths: Daniel Bernoulli (1700-1782), Wilhelm Bessel (1784-1846), Christian Doppler (1803-1853)

March 18:

Birthdays: Christian Goldbach (1690-1764)

Deaths: Norbert Wiener (1894-1964)

March 19:

Deaths: Louis de Broglie (1892-1987), Gaston Julia (1893-1978)

March 21:

Math News: In 1543, Copernicus publicly announces his heliocentric model of the solar system in his book, De Revolutionibus.  (See MathDL for details.)

Birthdays: George Birkhoff (1884-1944), Joseph Fourier (1768-1830)

March 23:

Birthdays: Pierre-Simon Laplace (1749-1827), Emmy Noether (1882-1935)

March 24:

Birthdays: Joseph Liouville (1809-1882)

March 25:

Math News: In 1539, Niccolo Tartaglia reveals his method for solving cubic equations to Girolamo Cardano, leading to one of the greatest feuds in mathematical history.  (See MathDL for details.)

Deaths: Caspar Wessel (1745-1818)

March 26:

Math News: In 1619, Descartes writes of his discovery of an “entirely new science.”  This new science becomes known as Analytic Geometry.  (See MathDL for details.)

Birthdays: Paul Erdös (1913-1996) – Click here to read my post about Erdös, here for my post about his personality, here for an interesting theorem and here for his story of the √2

March 27:

Deaths: M.C. Escher (1898-1972)

March 28:

Math News: In 1809, Gauss completes his work on calculating planetary orbits using his method of least squares.  (See MathDL for details.)

March 29:

Birthdays: Tullio Levi-Civita (1873-1941)

Deaths: Marquis de Condorcet (1743-1794)

March 30:

Math News: In 1796, an 18-year-old Gauss makes the mathematical discovery that will change his life forever:  a regular n-gon is constructible if n is a product of a power of 2 and at most two distinct Fermat primes.  In other words, he discovers the long sought after method of constructing a 17-sided regular polygon.  It is with this discovery that Gauss decides to dedicate his life to mathematics.  (See MathDL for details.)

Birthdays: Stefan Banach (1892-1945)

March 31:

Math News: In 1854, Karl Weierstrass (a high school math teacher) is awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Königsberg.  (See MathDL for details.)

Birthdays: Rene Descartes (1596-1650)

Deaths: Isaac Newton (1643-1727), Donald Coxeter (1907-2003)

References: If you are interested in additional facts or birthdays, please visit the sites that I used to generate these lists:

2 Responses to The Week in Math: March

  1. Pingback: The Month in Math: March/April | Musings on Math

  2. Pingback: The Month in Math: March | Musings on Math

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