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On This Day

  • 3-31-1596

    Rene Descartes, inventor of analytic or Cartesian geometry, born in Lay Haye, France.

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    Rene Descartes
  • 3-31-1727

    Isaac Newton, inventor of differential and integral calculus, died in London, England.

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    Isaac Newton
  • 3-31-1730

    Birthdate of French mathematician Etienne Bezout who worked on the theory of algebraic equations, including an incorrect proof that the quintic was solvable by radicals. In the early nineteenth century, some of his influential textbooks were translated into English. One translator, John Farrah, used them to teach calculus at Harvard.

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    Etienne Bezout
    Quintic Equations
  • 3-31-1806

    Thomas Kirkman born near Manchester, England. This self-educated mathematician delighted in versifying problems and devising mnemonics for troublesome formulas--in fact he wrote a whole book on this topic. He is best remembered for a problem he posed in 1850 in the Lady's and Gentleman's Diary: Fifteen schoolgirls took daily walks arranged in five rows of three each so that each might have a companion. How can they arrange it so that they can take seven walks without any girl walking with any other girl in a triplet more than once?

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    Thomas Kirkman
  • 3-31-1854

    The University of Konigsberg awarded Weierstrass an honorary doctorate. Previously he was a Gymnasium teacher without a university degree.

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    Karl Weierstrass