Archive for Era – First Industrial

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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 […]

1844 – Boltzmann – bio

Ludwig Boltzmann was born in 1844 in Vienna, Austria and was a physicist and mathematician. He is considered to be the “father” of statistical mechanics for his work on the statistical nature of gases. Maxwell and Gibbs also contributed to this area independently. When most other scientists thought that atoms were only statistical theoretical constructs, […]

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 […]

1896 – Zeeman effect

The Faraday effect showed magnetic fields interact with beams of light by rotating the plane of polarization of the light. Lorentz hypothesized that a magnetic field would also effect the frequency of light given off. Then, in 1896 Pieter Zeeman discovered that when you place an atom that is emitting photons into a magnetic field, […]

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. […]

1802 – Abel – bio

Niels Henrik Abel was born in 1802 in Norway and became a mathematician. He tried and failed to find a solution for the quintic equation and then completed Ruffini’s incomplete proof that it could not always be solved using radicals. This is now known as Abel’s impossibility theorem or the Abel–Ruffini theorem. Jacobi and Abel […]

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 […]