February 23, 2009

Carl Friedrich Gauss (30 April 1777 – 23 February 1855)

Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss - "Princeps mathematicorum", died in Göttingen on February 23, 1855

The problem of distinguishing prime numbers from composite numbers and of resolving the latter into their prime factors is known to be one of the most important and useful in arithmetic. It has engaged the industry and wisdom of ancient and modern geometers to such an extent that it would be
superfluous to discuss the problem at length... Further, the dignity of the science itself seems to require that every possible means be explored for the solution of a problem so elegant and so celebrated. [Disquisitiones Arithmeticae (1801) Article 329].

Finally, two days ago, I succeeded— not on account of my hard efforts, but by the grace of the Lord. Like a sudden flash of lightning, the riddle was solved. I am unable to say what was the conducting thread that connected what I previously knew with what made my success possible. [Mathematical Circles Squared: A Third Collection of Mathematical Stories and Anecdotes (1972) by Howard W. Eves]

There are problems to whose solution I would attach an infinitely greater importance than to those of mathematics, for example touching ethics, or our relation to God, or concerning our destiny and our future; but their solution lies wholly beyond us and completely outside the province of science. [as quoted in The World of Mathematics (1956) Edited by J. R. Newman]. More Gauss quotations - here.
Image: Grave of Gauss at Göttingen

In 1826, on the same day, February 23 (that's February 11 in old style) - Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky reported to the session of the department of physics and mathematics at the University of Kazan on a geometry in which the fifth postulate was not true. The general consensus is that both Nikolai Lobachevsky and János Bolyai, working independently of each other around 1830, are to be credited with the discovery of non-Euclidean geometry. However, Lobachevsky's 1826 report appears to be the first time that non-Euclidean geometry results were publicly announced to the mathematical community.

February 17, 2009

"en-theoria" - the English segment of the blog (administrative stuff!)

All entries in English are now labeled with "en-theoria". This will be the English segment of our blog. There is a link to "en-theoria" in the sidebar, right after the blog archive.

Fr. Sofian Boghiu (1912-2002) - short video, english subtitles

Fr. Sofian Boghiu (1912-2002) - archimandrite, Antim Monastery's abbot, sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in 1958 by the communists.

(YouTube URL)

Fr. Dumitru Staniloae (1903-1993) - short video, english subtitles

Fr. Dumitru Staniloae (1903-1993)

(YouTube URL)

From Wikipedia: "Father Stăniloae worked for over 45 years on a comprehensive Romanian translation of the Philokalia, a collection of writings by the Church Fathers, together with the hieromonk Arsenie Boca, who brought manuscripts from Mount Athos. His masterpiece, The Dogmatic Orthodox Theology (1978), makes him one of the most reputed Christian Theologians of the second half of the 20th century. He produced valuable comments on the works of the Fathers of the Church, such as Gregory of Nyssa, Maximus the Confessor, or Athanasius the Great."

February 4, 2009

Soljenitsin predand matematica

In 1941, Aleksandr Soljenitsin (1918-2008) isi termina studiile de Matematica si Fizica la Universitatea de Stat din Rostov. Aceasta imagine il arata oferind explicatii matematice propriilor sai copii.

In 1941, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008) graduated from Rostov University (currently Southern Federal University) - where he studied Mathematics and Physics. In this picture he is shown teaching mathematics to his children. For more details, see the "Solzhenitsyn mathematician" note from the "Math in the Media" magazine.

February 1, 2009