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On This Day

  • 10-29-1656

    Edmond Halley, English astronomer, born in London. He succeeded John Wallis as Savilian Professor of Geometry at Oxford University in 1704 and John Flamsteed as Royal Astronomer in 1720, and Halley's Comet bears his name.

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    Edmond Halley
    John Wallis
    John Flamsteed
  • 10-29-1669

    Isaac Newton appointed Lucasian Professor at Cambridge University at age 26. This post required Newton to lecture once each week on "some part of Geometry, Astronomy, Geography, Optics, Statics, or some other Mathematical discipline," and to deposit ten of those lectures in the library each year. Students were required to attend, but like all other requirements, they ignored this one, too. Only three people are known to have attended a lecture at Cambridge by Newton.

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    Isaac Newton
  • 10-29-1675

    Gottfried Leibniz first used the integral sign as well as the "d" for differential. He also constructed what he called the "triangulum characteristicum," which had been used before him by Pascal and Barrow.

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    Gottfried Leibniz
    Special Triangles (including the Characteristic Triangle)