# The Week in Math: May

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

**May 1:**

*Math News:* In 1893, the Chicago World’s Fair opens. Felix Klein came all the way from Germany to attend, bringing along with him some of his plaster models representing various mathematical surfaces. (See MathDL for details.)

**May 2:**

*Deaths:* Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)

**May 3:**

*Birthdays:* Vito Volterra (1860-1940)

**May 4:**

*Deaths: *Issac Barrow (1630-1677)

**May 5:**

*Math News:* In 1961, Alan Shepard becomes the first American in space. (See MathDL for details.)

*Deaths:* Lejeune Dirichlet (1805-1859)

**May 6:**

*Birthdays:* Willem de Sitter (1872-1934), Andre Weil (1906-1998)

**May 8:**

*Deaths:* Henry Whitehead (1904-1960)

**May 9:**

*Math News:* In 1694, Johann Bernoulli writes to Leibniz explaining his discovery of the process of “separation of variables.” (See MathDLfor details.)

**May 11:**

*Birthdays: *Richard Feynman (1918-1988)

*Deaths: *Karl Schwarzschild (1873-1916)

**May 12:**

*Birthdays:* Florence Nightingale (1820-1910)

**May 13:**

*Math News:* In 1829, Charles Sturm presents his famous theorem to the French Academy. The theorem, known as Sturm’s Theorem, deals with finding the real roots of a polynomial equation. (See MathDL for details.)

*Deaths:* Stanislaw Ulam (1909-1984)

**May 14:**

*Birthdays:* Rudolf Lipschitz (1832-1903), John Fields (1863-1932)

*Deaths:* Thomas Simpson (1710-1761)

**May 15:**

*Math News: *In 1619, Johannes Kepler discovers his Third Law of Planetary Motion. (See MathDL for details.)

*Birthdays:* Hermann Wiener (1857-1939)

**May 16:**

*Birthdays:* Pafnuty Chebyshev (1821-1894)

*Deaths: *Joseph Fourier (1768-1830)

**May 17:**

*Deaths: *Samuel Clarke (1675-1729)

**May 18:**

*Birthdays: *Oliver Heaviside (1850-1925), Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)

**May 19:**

*Deaths:* Francis Maseres (1731-1824)

**May 20:**

*Math News:* In 1665, Newton first uses “dots” to represent derivatives. In 1930, the Institute for Advanced Study is incorporated in Princeton, NJ. (See MathDL for details.)

*Birthdays:* Henry White (1861-1943)

*Deaths:* Henry White (1861-1943)

**May 21:**

*Birthdays:* Edouard Goursat (1858-1936)

*Deaths:* Pierre Wantzel (1814-1848), Ernst Zermelo (1871-1953)

**May 22:**

*Math News: *In 1866, Hermann Helmholtz publishes his account of Elliptical Geometry. (See MathDL for details.)

*Deaths:* Martin Gardner (1914-2010)

**May 23:**

*Deaths: *Augustin-Louis Cauchy (1789-1857)

**May 24:**

*Math News:* In 1973, Pi is calculated to one million decimal places. (See MathDL for details.)

*Deaths: *Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543)

**May 25:**

*Math News:* In 1842, Christian Doppler first presents the effect that will share his name, the Doppler Effect. (See MathDL for details.)

**May 26:**

*Birthdays:* Abraham de Moivre (1667-1754)

*Deaths: *Frank Cole (1861-1926)

**May 28:**

*Birthdays:* Jacopo Riccati (1676-1754), Johann(II) Bernoulli (1710-1790)

**May 29:**

*Math News: *In 1832, Galois predicts his own death. He will suffer a gunshot wound in a duel the next day. In 1919, using data from a solar eclipse, a key prediction from the General Theory of Relativity is verified, helping to catapult Einstein to international fame. (See MathDL for details.)

*Birthdays:* Erwin Freundlich (1885-1964)

**May 30:**

*Math News:* In 1832, Galois suffers a gunshot wound as the result of a duel. (See MathDL for details.)

*Birthdays:* Eugene Catalan (1814-1894)

**May 31:**

*Deaths: *Evariste Galois (1811-1832), George Green (1793-1841)

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

- http://mathdl.maa.org – general mathematical facts
- http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk:80/~history/Day_files/Now.html – birthdays

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