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Favorite Mathematician?

Farmtalk

Active member
Dec 25, 2012
42
Does anyone here have a favorite mathematician?

Mine would be the Frenchmen, Rene' Descartes. I like him because not only was he mathematical but also very philosophical.

In math, you may have messed with Descartes' discoveries if you have ever messed with:

  • Descartes rule of signs (Roots of polynomials)
  • The Cartesian Coordinate System
  • The tangent line problem
 

ZaidAlyafey

Well-known member
MHB Math Helper
Jan 17, 2013
1,667
Mine are two :

1- Riemann , imagine mathematics without the idea of analytic continuation that he used to extend many functions like zeta.
2- Euler , his contribution can not be neglected . You will find his name almost any time we are talking about series ,integration and special functions.

I can say that these two guys complemented each other with there fantastic work . Euler was tackling various unsolved sophisticated problems and his idea of connecting zeta function to primes had opened a new field of interest in number theory. Riemann ,on the other hand , is a perfect analyst whose hypothesis remains undetermined. His contribution in complex analysis is enormous.
 
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MarkFL

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 24, 2012
13,775
Farmtalk, Nice choice...I believe Descartes was one of the giants to who Newton was referring when he said something along the lines of "If I appear to see farther than others, it is because I stand on the shoulders of giants."

I've always been intrigued by the life and works of Karl Gauss. He was a child prodigy, and remained a prodigy throughout his life.

Zaid, also good choices! If I recall correctly, Gauss was very impressed with the young Riemann and his works. And of course Euler is certainly a giant and should be on anyone's top 5 list. :D
 

ZaidAlyafey

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MHB Math Helper
Jan 17, 2013
1,667
Euler claimed that he made some of his greatest mathematical discoveries while holding a baby in his arms with other children playing round his feet.
 

ZaidAlyafey

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Jan 17, 2013
1,667
During the twenty-five years spent in Berlin, Euler wrote around 380 articles. He wrote books on the calculus of variations; on the calculation of planetary orbits; on artillery and ballistics (extending the book by Robins); on analysis; on shipbuilding and navigation; on the motion of the moon; lectures on the differential calculus; and a popular scientific publication Letters to a Princess of Germany (3 vols., 1768-72).

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(Euler was 59) he produced almost half his total works despite the total blindness.
 

ZaidAlyafey

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MHB Math Helper
Jan 17, 2013
1,667
For a brief history of Euler see the link.
 

Klaas van Aarsen

MHB Seeker
Staff member
Mar 5, 2012
8,774
I think mine is Leibniz.
It seems he's usually rated second behind Newton.
But I feel his notation and understanding with infinitesimals is much more intuitive than Newton's dot notation or Lagrange's prime notation.
Since at heart I'm an applied mathematician/physicist, as I see it, Leibniz's impact on applied calculus and analysis is incalculable. ;)

Second is Euler, specifically with his $e^{i\phi}$ that pops up in many applied mathematics branches.
And also with his $\phi(n)$ totient function in number theory.
 
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chisigma

Well-known member
Feb 13, 2012
1,704
Mine are two :

1- Riemann , imagine mathematics without the idea of analytic continuation that he used to extend many functions like zeta.
2- Euler , his contribution can not be neglected . You will find his name almost any time we are talking about series ,integration and special functions.

I can say that these two guys complemented each other with there fantastic work . Euler was tackling various unsolved sophisticated problems and his idea of connecting zeta function to primes had opened a new field of interest in number theory. Riemann ,on the other hand , is a perfect analyst whose hypothesis remains undetermined. His contribution in complex analysis is enormous.
I'm strongly certain that if someone Would have proposed to Leonhard Euler to demonstrate the Riemann's Hypothesis, he have though that the problem was not to difficult and and assigned it to a disciple (Nod)...

Kind regards

$\chi$ $\sigma$
 

Klaas van Aarsen

MHB Seeker
Staff member
Mar 5, 2012
8,774
I'm strongly certain that if someone Would have proposed to Leonhard Euler to demonstrate the Riemann's Hypothesis, he have though that the problem was not to difficult and and assigned it to a disciple ...

Kind regards

$\chi$ $\sigma$
I just knew that if you would respond to this thread it would likely relate to the ζ(s) function!
It seems to me as if most of your contributions relate to this function.
You seem to be the ultimate authority as far as this function is concerned.
I'd like to suggest that you incorporate ζ into your signature. ;)
 

Farmtalk

Active member
Dec 25, 2012
42
As far as more modern mathematicians, I like George Polya. He wrote a book on the approach of mathematics known as "How to Solve It".

Though his approach to mathematics is likely what made him more important in mathematical history, he also had a lifetime of study in number theory and series.
 

MarkFL

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 24, 2012
13,775
For my contemporary choice, see my avatar...Dr. Ed Witten. (Yes)

From Wikipedia:

"He has made contributions in mathematics and helped bridge gaps between fundamental physics and other areas of mathematics. In 1990 he became the first physicist to be awarded a Fields Medal by the International Union of Mathematics. In 2004, Time magazine stated that Witten was widely thought to be the world's greatest living theoretical physicist."
 

chisigma

Well-known member
Feb 13, 2012
1,704
I just knew that if you would respond to this thread it would likely relate to the ζ(s) function!
It seems to me as if most of your contributions relate to this function.
You seem to be the ultimate authority as far as this function is concerned.
I'd like to suggest that you incorporate ζ into your signature. ;)
The two 'Goldenkeys' that allow You to access to the 'Holy Graal' of Mathematics were both discovered by Leonhard Euler...

$\displaystyle \zeta(1-s) = 2\ (2\ \pi)^{-s}\ \cos (\frac{\pi}{2}\ s)\ \Gamma(s)\ \zeta(s)$ (1)

$\displaystyle \zeta(s) = \sum_{n=1}^{\infty} \frac{1}{n^{s}} = \prod_{\text{p prime}} \frac{1}{1-p^{-s}}$ (2)

In my opinion the Riemann Hypothesis is a 'simple' consequence of (1) and (2)... for Leonhard Euler no more than a 'homework' (Wink)...


Kind regards


$\chi$ $\sigma$
 

Klaas van Aarsen

MHB Seeker
Staff member
Mar 5, 2012
8,774
The two 'Goldenkeys' that allow You to access to the 'Holy Graal' of Mathematics were both discovered by Leonhard Euler...

$\displaystyle \zeta(1-s) = 2\ (2\ \pi)^{-s}\ \cos (\frac{\pi}{2}\ s)\ \Gamma(s)\ \zeta(s)$ (1)

$\displaystyle \zeta(s) = \sum_{n=1}^{\infty} \frac{1}{n^{s}} = \prod_{\text{p prime}} \frac{1}{1-p^{-s}}$ (2)

In my opinion the Riemann Hypothesis is a 'simple' consequence of (1) and (2)... for Leonhard Euler no more than a 'homework' (Wink)...


Kind regards


$\chi$ $\sigma$
So how do you feel about xi?

 

chisigma

Well-known member
Feb 13, 2012
1,704
So how do you feel about xi?

All what I say is that, like Dante in 'Divine Comedy', the way to 'Holy Graal' is for me still very very long (Thinking)...

Kind regards

$\chi$ $\sigma$
 

ModusPonens

Well-known member
Jun 26, 2012
45
Mine is Gödel. He may not be the best mathematician, but he was the best logician ever. And he proved the most deep/interesting theorem in the history of mathematics: his first incompleteness theorem.

Anyone who has read "The man who loved only numbers" can't help but "fall in love" with such an amazing human being: Paul Erdös. If you haven't read the book yet, read it imediatly! From the review on amazon (I couldn't put it better, except to mention that this book is also about many of his mathematician friends):

A mathematical genius of the first order, Paul Erdos was totally obsessed with his subject – he thought and wrote mathematics for nineteen hours a day until he died. He travelled constantly, living out of a plastic bag and had no interest in food, sex, companionship, art – all that is usually indispensible to a human life. Paul Hoffman, in this marvellous biography, gives us a vivid and strangely moving portrait of this singular creature, one that brings out not only Erdos’s genius and his oddness, but his warmth and sense of fun, the joyfulness of his strange life.

For six decades Erdos had no job, no hobbies, no wife, no home; he never learnt to cook, do laundry, drive a car and died a virgin. Instead he travelled the world with his mother in tow, arriving at the doorstep of esteemed mathematicians declaring ‘My brain is open’. He travelled until his death at 83, racing across four continents to prove as many theorems as possible, fuelled by a diet of espresso and amphetamines. With more than 1,500 papers written or co-written, a daily routine of 19 hours of mathematics a day, seven days a week, Paul Erdos was one of the most extraordinary thinkers of our times.

Here's a picture of Erdös passing the torch to Terry Tao

photo.jpg

I also like Grigori Perelman, both for his monumental feat and for his detachment from wroldly concerns. Very admirable man.

And, for last, I have to mention Gröthendieck. Although I barely know what he realy did, it is said that his influence in mathematics was absolutely gigantic! There's a saying "There are two types of mathematicians: those who don't understand Gröthendieck and those who pretend to understand Gröthendieck"

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Great topic! Thanks to the OP. :)
 

Plato

Well-known member
MHB Math Helper
Jan 27, 2012
196
Does anyone here have a favorite mathematician?
Here is my entry: R L Moore.

Now I confess that he is my mathematical "grandfather". I also spent my life rejecting his social views. Nevertheless, his impact on the teaching of mathematics cannot be under-stated.
 

tkhunny

Well-known member
MHB Math Helper
Jan 27, 2012
267
Jules Henri Poincaré

One historian, I recall vaguely, characterized him as the last mathematician to know ALL of mathematics. It is not that there have not been greater mathematicians since, or that there were none greater before, but there is now so much mathematics, no one ever will be characterized in this way again.
 

ZaidAlyafey

Well-known member
MHB Math Helper
Jan 17, 2013
1,667
The two 'Goldenkeys' that allow You to access to the 'Holy Graal' of Mathematics were both discovered by Leonhard Euler...

$\displaystyle \zeta(1-s) = 2\ (2\ \pi)^{-s}\ \cos (\frac{\pi}{2}\ s)\ \Gamma(s)\ \zeta(s)$ (1)

$\displaystyle \zeta(s) = \sum_{n=1}^{\infty} \frac{1}{n^{s}} = \prod_{\text{p prime}} \frac{1}{1-p^{-s}}$ (2)

In my opinion the Riemann Hypothesis is a 'simple' consequence of (1) and (2)... for Leonhard Euler no more than a 'homework' (Wink)...


Kind regards

$\chi$ $\sigma$
To prove the Riemann hypothesis , I believe , anyone needs no more than an equation that explicitly states how to find the non-trivial roots . Now , does such a formula even exist!
 

ZaidAlyafey

Well-known member
MHB Math Helper
Jan 17, 2013
1,667
Ramanujan a genius whose work is enormous in many fields of mathematics .He worked on mathematics developing his own ideas without any help and without any real idea of the then current research topics other than that provided by Carr's book.
 

princeps

New member
Mar 1, 2012
3

mathbalarka

Well-known member
MHB Math Helper
Mar 22, 2013
573
chisigma said:
In my opinion the Riemann Hypothesis is a 'simple' consequence of (1) and (2)...
Absolutely not! In the proof hat 40% of the zeros lie on the 1/2-line (1) is no where to be seen and (2) isn't been directly applied. Yes, in a proof (1) and (2) will always be needed but it wouldn't be very obvious that they are being used; so your "simple" idea is wrong.

My favorites are three (in no particular order, just the numerals being used) :

1) Carl Gustav Jacob Jacobi
2) Felix Klein
3) John Von Neumann
 

Fernando Revilla

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MHB Math Helper
Jan 29, 2012
661

kanderson

Member
Jul 7, 2012
13
My favourite is john forbes nash jr and john von neumann. They all had something to do with economics.
 

Prometheus

Member
Mar 25, 2013
11