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On This Day

  • 8-20-1672

    Jan de Witt murdered by a mob from the (William of) Orange faction. For the previous twenty years he had served as grand pensionary in Holland, essentially the prime minister of the Netherlands, leaving little time to devote to mathematics. A talented mathematician, he wrote the first systematic account of the analytic geometry of the straight line and conics, published in Van Schooten's second Latin edition of Descartes' Geometrie (1659-1661).

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    Jan de Witt
    William of Orange
    Descartes' La Geometrie
  • 8-20-1898

    Leopold Infeld born in Krakow, Poland. A theoretical physicist, in 1948 he published Whom the Gods Love, a biographical novel about Evariste Galois.

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    Leopold Infeld
    Evariste Galois
  • 8-20-1955

    2500th anniversary of the Pythagorean school of philosophy. Observances were held on the island of Samos to honor the anniversary of the founding of the school by Pythagoras. Four postage stamps were issued by Greece, one showing the celebrated 47th Proposition of Euclid, the Pythagorean Theorem.

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    Pythagoras of Samos
    Pythagorean Theorem