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        Questions tagged [ho.history-overview]

        History and philosophy of mathematics, biographies of mathematicians, mathematics education, recreational mathematics, communication of mathematics.

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        Historically, how were Grothendieck topoi motivated?

        The question is about how did the person who invented Grothendieck topoi (presumably Grothendieck) arrive at the necessity of a such a notion. I do not know much about the history of the subject. What ...
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        votes
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        208 views

        Do we know what the impulse to “introduce” the Jordan canonical form was?

        Mo-ers, Do you know how it was that the study of the Jordan canonical form began? There are certain things that may be said once one has thought about the matter: for instance, one can say that the ...
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        votes
        1answer
        9k views

        Why is the Eisenstein ideal paper so great?

        I am currently trying to decipher Mazur's Eisenstein ideal paper (not a comment about his clarity, rather about my current abilities). One of the reasons I am doing that is that many people told me ...
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        votes
        1answer
        221 views

        History of the notion of $(G,X)$-structure

        I'm currently searching for sources and historical basis on the notion of $(G,X)$-structure as it appears in Thurston's work. So far, it appears that he was the first to set it. Many mathematicans ...
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        votes
        2answers
        2k views

        Status of proof by contradiction and excluded middle throughout the history of mathematics?

        Occasionally I see the claim, that mathematics was constructive before the rise of formal logic and set theory. I'd like to understand the history better. When did proofs by contradiction or by ...
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        2k views

        Why not adopt the constructibility axiom $V=L$?

        G?delian incompleteness seems to ruin the idea of mathematics offering absolute certainty and objectivity. But G?del‘s proof gives examples of independent statements that are often remarked as having ...
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        votes
        1answer
        149 views

        History of algebraic graph theory

        I need a source about the history of algebraic graph theory. I mean for solving which problems or responding to what needs it was created? Indeed, I want to write a note about the history of the ...
        8
        votes
        1answer
        214 views

        Yau's problem: Construct a triangle given a side, an angle, and an angle bisector

        In Shing-Tung Yau's autobiography The Shape of a Life, he mentions a problem that he came up with as a teenager. Suppose you know the length of one side of a triangle, one angle, and the length of ...
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        820 views

        History of the Frobenius Endomorphism?

        The existence of the Frobenius endomorphism probably goes back to Euler's proof of Fermat's little theorem. But why is it named after Frobenius? Who gave it this name? When was it first stated in full ...
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        1answer
        1k views

        Telling right from left

        I know a lot of people, some of them mathematicians, who have trouble telling right from left. This can lead to problems when you are composing functions, for example. When did this seemingly ...
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        votes
        0answers
        204 views

        Why are Thompson's groups called $F$, $T$ and $V$?

        Why are Thompson's groups called $F$, $T$ and $V$? I never saw Thompson's unpublished notes, in which he introduces these groups; maybe an explanation can be found there?
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        votes
        1answer
        265 views

        Where does the $\hat A$ class get its name?

        In K-theory we have the Todd class and the $\hat A$ class. The Todd class is named after the Cambridge geometer John Arthur Todd. Where does the name $\hat A$ come from? Does the A stand for Atiyah?...
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        2answers
        4k views

        How come mathematicians published in Annals of Eugenics?

        I was surprised to see that On the construction of balanced incomplete block designs by Raj Chandra Bose was published (in 1939) in a journal named Annals of Eugenics (see here) (published between ...
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        votes
        2answers
        676 views

        History of the kernel of a homomorphism?

        This previous question traces the notion of group homomorphism to Jordan (1870) and the term "homomorphic" to Fricke and Klein (1897) and to earlier lectures of Klein: Whence “homomorphism” and “...
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        178 views

        Why is the study of homology important? [closed]

        In some fields of studies, for example, Amenability of Banach algebras and $L^2$-Betti numbers, some chain complexes are studied, why is the study of these creatures important? When and why do these ...

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