Maths - which many find so daunting - has always interested me. This is a thread for stamps relating to maths and mathematicians. Look out for stamps with portraits of mathematicians, visual proofs of Pythagoras's theorem, the first zillion decimal digits of pi, etc etc.
Bolyai (1802-1860) was a Hungarian pioneer of non-Euclidean geometry, in which parallel lines can meet. He also did a lot of work on complex numbers. Here he is on a Hungarian stamp of 1975, SG 2942, marking the bicentenary of his birth.
The German mathematician Leibniz (1646-1716) developed calculus at the same time as, and independently of, Newton. This led to a big quarrel between the two men and their supporters as to which of them had initiated the new branch of maths. Leibniz also did a lot of work on the binary system of arithmetic - work which has been heavily used in modern computing. Besides being a mathematician, he was a philosopher who believed we live in the best of all possible worlds - a view satirised in Voltaire's Candide. In 1996 Germany issued a stamp to mark the 350th anniversary of his birth, SG 1146.
Neils Heinrik Abel (1802-29) was a Norwegian who, despite dying young of tuberculosis, made major contributions to maths. Among his contributions are: - a proof that there is no single algebraic formula for solving equations with algebraic powers greater than 4 - major elements of group theory, which has become central to much modern mathematics (one family of groups, Abelian Groups, is named after him in recognition of this) - innovations in relation to elliptic functions - the discovery of a new type of mathematical function, the Abelian function, again named after him He struggled financially, and his work achieved proper recognition only after his death. Norway commemorated him with a Europa stamp of 1983 showing a statue of him, SG 917 - in a posture and (lack of) garb unlikely to have ever been adopted by him in public!
The French mathematician and philosopher Descartes (1596-1650) on a French stamp of 1937, SG 575, for the 300th anniversary of the publication of his major philosophical work, Discours de la méthode. This work, written in a clear simple style, includes the famous phrase "Je pense donc je suis" ("I think, therefore I exist", in Latin, "Cogito ergo sum"). He had a great influence on the development of the natural sciences and of modern philosophy, helping both escape the stranglehold of theology. For those of us interested in maths, at least as important is his development of cartesian geometry - the representation of algebra in graphs - which helped bring algebra into a more central place in mathematical thought, and which paved the way for calculus. He did other pioneering work on momentum and optics. He died in Sweden, where he had been invited to the royal court in 1649 by Queen Christina: his move there was disastrous - the cold draughty conditions turned a cold into a fatal chest infection, and he and the Queen found they were not in sympathy with each other.
Pascal (1623-1662) could equally appear in this thread and in scientists or famous authors. His most-read work is his Pensées, a series of snippets of philosophy and theology. He invented some of the earliest calculating machines, ancestors of the modern calculator. As a mathematician he devised Pascal's triangle, useful for finding binomial coefficients, which has all sorts of fascinating mathematic properties (for anyone with an interest in maths, the Wikipedia article on the triangle is fascinating - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal%27s_triangle). He also helped to develop projective geometry, a branch of maths which has gone somewhat out of fashion, and did a lot of the earlier work on probability, prompted by a gambling friend - so those of you who like to calculate the odds when you go to the gaming dens of Las Vegas owe a lot to him. As a scientist, among other things he disproved the widely held belief that nature abhors a vacuum. In 1654 he famously had an intense direct mystical experience of the divine, writing of it in terms of experiencing fire. He developed the argument known as Pascal's wager: if God, heaven and hell exist, then there is infinite benefit - eternal enjoyment of heaven - in acting in the belief that there is a God, and infinite harm from not acting in this belief; if God does not exist, the only loss from believing in God is finite and confined to our earthly life: therefore the rational thing to do is to live as if God, heaven and hell exist. SG 826 of 1944.
Henri Poincaré (1854-1912) was a French mathematician and scientist. He made advances in many fields of pure and applied maths, but also did much to popularise maths and physics in France, writing books for the ordinary public. Some of his work helped to pave the way for the theory of relativity. He is often regarded as having had something of a butterfly mind, flitting from topic to topic as something took his interest. He is shown on a French National Relief Fund stamp of 1952, SG 1154.
A Czech Republic block of 4 stamps of 2000 showing Fermat's last theorem, which states that, if x, y and z are integers, no positive integers for n greater than 2 can satisfy the equation xn + yn = zn. Fermat (1601-65) was a French lawyer and brilliant mathematician who alleged that he had a proof of the theorem which was too long to write in the margins of his copy of one of the classic ancient Greek mathematical works. Despite huge labours, the theorem was not finally proved until 1994 (by Andrew Wiles, drawing heavily on work of others), and the proof ran to several hundred pages and involved superficially unrelated branches of maths of which Fermat would have been totally unaware.
Last Edit: Jun 10, 2016 10:00:03 GMT -5 by Deleted
Joseph Louis Lagrange (1736-1813) - he is usually known by the French version of his name - was an Italian-born mathematician who spent some 20 years as Director of mathematics at the Prussian Academy of Sciences in Berlin and moved to Paris in 1787. In 1793, during the French reign of Terror, he was given a specific exemption from the decree requiring foreigners to leave France. In 1799 Napoleon made him a Senator, and in 1802 he became a full French citizen when Piedmont, his birth region, was annexed by France. As a mathematician he did major work on group theory (with one group theory theorem named after him), algebra, number theory, calculus, mechanics and mathematical aspects of astronomy. He was one of the most important mathematicians of the last three centuries. French stamp of 1958.
Issued on April 24, 1949, to honor Julio Garavito Armero, Mathematician.
Scott# 573 - Julio Caravito Armero
Colombian mathematician, astronomer, engineer, economist and politician Julio Garavito Armero was born and died in Santafé de Bogotá (1865-1928). He had to work from a very young age in order to survive because of the scarce economic means of his family. After conducting some studies in the College of San Bartolomé, between 1885 and 1887 he dedicated himself to deepen his own mathematical knowledge.
Already student, Julio Garavito worked like Essayer of the House of the Currency in Santafé of Bogota. In 1893 he was director of the Astronomical Observatory, this same year, contracted marriage with Maria Luisa Cadena. In 1902 he proposed to the government of President Jose Manuel Marroquín a plan for the Observatory to carry out the letter of Colombia, using astronomical methods, starting from the latitude of Santafé de Bogotá.
The project was approved and the Bureau of Longitudes was created, under the direction of Garavito. This entity was in charge of delimiting the borders of the country and of publishing general and regional maps of Colombia. In 1916 he traveled to Puerto Berrio (Antioch) to study an eclipse of the sun.
As a teacher, Garavito was a professor of calculus, rational mechanics and astronomy, which he held until his death. As an economist sympathized with some ideas of the Regeneration era promoted by Rafael Núñez, such as the centralist system and the founding of a National Bank. He also worried about currency fluctuations and the devaluation of paper money.
Garavito achieved numerous national and international distinctions such as being a supernumerary member of the Colombian Society of Engineers, the Geographical Society of Lima, the Astronomical Society of France and the Belgian Society of Astronomy. He was also a candidate to join the Academy of Hispanic American History of Sciences and Arts.
In 1919, the Colombian government issued a decree ordering the honoring of Garavito's memory as a Colombian scientist, publishing all his works and adopting these works as teaching texts in the country's universities. The National Congress also recognized Garavito as one of the symbols of Colombian engineering, and gave the name of this scientist to the order he created in order to honor the Colombian engineers. In 1970 the International Astronomical Union paid its greatest homage to Garavito by assigning its name to one of the craters of the hidden face of the moon.
Julio Garavito Armero was ingenious and recursive in the works of astronomy, thanks to his analytical and philosophical capacity. He used simple methods that allowed him to obtain correct interpretations of the observed values and to face the great problems of the mechanics. He delved into problems of mechanical physics of electrons and the theory of relativity regarding optics and the aberration of light. He reconstructed the mathematical optics, criticized the non-Euclidean geometries and the old physical hypotheses, in order to update the old principles of mechanics. He put forward an important research on the final equations for the construction of new tables of the moon.
Last Edit: Sept 19, 2017 18:52:59 GMT -5 by kacyds
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