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Topic:
[HM] L'Hopital, Pythagoras, Ptolemy and Hilbert
Replies:
25
Last Post:
Jul 19, 2000 9:37 PM




Re: [HM] L'Hopital, Pythagoras, Ptolemy and Hilbert
Posted:
Mar 18, 2000 2:51 PM


> I need some examples of results which are not named after the people who > derived them  ie [sic]  L'Hopital's rule, found by his tutor Johann > Bernoulli.
HEINEBOREL THEOREM. Heine's name was connected to this theorem by A. Schoenfliess, although he later omitted Heine's name. The validity of the name has been challenged in that the covering property had not been formulated and proved before Borel. (DSB, article: "Heine")
PELL'S EQUATION was so named by Leonhard Euler (17071783) in a paper of 17321733, even though Pell had only copied the equation from Fermat's letters (Burton, page 504).
WILSON'S THEOREM was given its name by Edward Waring (17341798) for his friend, John Wilson (17411793). The first published statement of the theorem was by Waring in his Meditationes algebraicae (1770), although manuscripts in the Hanover Library show that the result had been found by Leibniz.
The above quotes are from URL http://members.aol.com/jeff570/mathword.html
> Where on earth (!) can I find information about how man's conception > of the size of universe has changed throughout history?
This question is discussed, although maybe implicitly, in most books about the history of astronomy. Some of the high points:
SomeoneI cannot recall whom or whendeduced that the universe was finite. If it were infinte (and stars were distributed randomly) then any line of sight will reach a star and the night sky will not be dark
One of the arguments against a heliocentric solar system was that nobody had observed the stellar parallax that would result from the earth's going around the sun. Once the Copernican theory was accepted, it necessarily was accepted that the "fixed stars" were so far away their parallax was too small to be observed
Then during the 19th century the first stellar parallaxes were observed, and it became obvious that the universe was measured in light years or parsecs
Circa 1920 Henrietta Leavitt discovered the relationship between the period and the brightness of Cephieid variables, which gave the first means of measuring distances beyond what could be done by parallax. This "yardstick", as modified by Baade just after World War II, is still in use today.
The Theory of Relativity brought up a new question: is the universe closed or open? That is, does the universe have Riemannian geometry ("closed") or Euclidean/Lobachevskian geometry ("open")
James A. Landau



