### 1791 – Babbage – bio

Charles Babbage was born in London, England, in 1791 and was a mathematician and inventor who is mostly known for designing the first calculating machine, that he called a “difference engine”. Babbage had the idea that tables of logarithms “might be calculated by machinery”, which would save time and reduce errors. He went on to […]

### 1776 – Avogadro – bio

Amedeo Avogadro was born in 1776 in Turin, Italy and is mostly known for discovering a relationship between mass and volume of gases that is now known as “Avogadro’s Law”. This law states that equal volumes of two different gases, at equal temperature and pressure, contain an equal number of molecules. It follows that the […]

### 1733 – Arkwright – bio

Richard Arkwright was born in Preston, England (near Liverpool) in 1733 and became known for his invention of the “water frame”, which was a spinning frame that used water power. He employed John Kay, a watchmaker to produce a spinning machine that Kay and Thomas Highs had been working on. They succeeded in developing a […]

### 1752 – Legendre – bio

Adrien-Marie Legendre was born in 1752 in Paris, France and was a mathematician. He studied ellipsoids, worked on elliptical functions and published papers on the integration of elliptical arcs, laying the groundwork for Jacobi and Abel. Legendre and Gauss independently developed the prime number theorem. He contributed to geometry by rewriting and simplifying Euclid’s “Elements”. […]

### 1749 – Laplace – bio

Pierre-Simon Laplace was born in France in 1749 and was a mathematician and astronomer. His greatest work was a five volume set called, “Celestial Mechanics” which he wrote over a twenty six year period from 1799 to 1825. In addition to summarizing the state of astronomy at the time, he transformed Newton’s geometrical mechanics to […]

### 1781 – Poisson – bio

Simeon Denis Poisson was born in 1781 in France and was a mathematician and physicist. He did work with integrals, differential equations and fourier analysis that laid foundations for many mathematicians who came later. Poisson’s “Treatise on Mechanics”, published in 1811, included work not just on mechanics but also key equations describing electricity and magnetism. […]

### 1765 – Ruffini – bio

Paolo Ruffini was born in Italy in 1765 and was a mathematician. After the cubic equation was solved in 1539 by del Ferro, Tartaglia and Cardano, and Ferrari had solved the quartic equation by 1545, mathematicians turned their attention toward attempting to solve the quintic. The previous polynomial equations (quadratic, cubic and quartic) had all […]

### 1773 – Young – bio

Thomas Young was born in 1773 in England and made important contributions in several areas of physics and also did significant work in many other fields, including: music, Egyptology and physiology. Grimaldi collected some of the earliest observations of the diffraction, or bending of light as it passes an obstacle. Newton studied this, but concluded […]

### 1792 – Lobachevsky – bio

Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky was born in 1792 in Russia and became a mathematician known for developing non-euclidian geometry. He also found a method for approximating roots of algebraic equations that is now known as the Dandelin-Graffe method. Lobachevsky, Bolyai and Gauss all appear to have independently discovered the form of non-euclidean geometry called hyperbolic geometry […]

### 1793 – cotton gin

In 1793, Eli Whitney created an improved version of a mechanical device designed to separate cotton seeds from cotton fiber prior to processing the fiber into cotton thread and weaving the thread into cloth. Prior devices that served a similar function existed for over a thousand years but were not very efficient. The term “gin” […]