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On This Day

  • 4-19-1486

    Michael Stifel born. He was a number mystic who became the greatest German algebraist of the sixteenth century. He died on the same date in 1567.

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    Michael Stifel
  • 4-19-1739

    Nicholas Saunderson died of scurvy at age 56 in Cambridge, England. At age 1 he became blind from smallpox. This did not prevent him from learning Greek, Latin and French and "hearing" the works of Euclid, Archimedes, and Diophantus in the original, learning some parts by heart. He created a "palpable arithmetic," a nailboard for doing arithmetic and forming diagrams with silk threads---the forerunner of the geoboard. He became Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge in 1711 and earned a reputation as an excellent teacher.

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    Nicholas Saunderson
    Geoboards
  • 4-19-1933

    Ernest William Hobson died in Cambridge, England. G. H. Hardy wrote, "Although he lived to be 76, he was active almost up to his death; his last book (and perhaps in some ways his best) was published when he was 74. He was a singular exception to the general rule that good mathematicians do their best work when they are young." (J. London Math. Soc. (1934) s1-9 (3): 225-237)

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    Ernest Hobson
    G. H. Hardy

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