Category History

Foucault and The Culture of the Self

Writing history in about 20 minutes

    Here is an abstract from an interview with Edsger Dijkstra about his shortest path algorithm. There’s a curious story behind your “shortest path” algorithm. In 1956 I did two important things, I got my degree and we had the festive opening of the ARMAC.c We had to have a demonstration. Now the ARRA, […]

Liu Hui Elimination

A fact which I heard first from my co-author Richard Peng during one his talks on Laplacian solvers is that Gaussian elimination is not due to Gauss but due to Liu Hui an ancient Chinese mathematician.  You can read more on the history here.

Einstein, Dirac, Godel, Selberg, Harish-Chandra in Princeton

Pontic Greek Jokes, The Rhine Paradox and Bonferroni

Pontians, a significant part of Hellenism which was heavily persecuted by Turks, are for some unknown reason to me mocked in Greek jokes. The following “joke” is representative: a Pontic Greek scientist (typically named Giorikas, Panikas) was making experiments with a frog. It cuts successively one leg after the other and asks the frog to […]

Albert Camus & The Meaning of Life

These days I started reading through Plato’s monumental work “Republic”. However, the philosophical quest of  this blog begins with Albert Camus. He was born in Algeria in 1913. His lost his father at the age of 1 and his mother raised him in poverty. Albert Camus became a distinguished novelist, journalist and philosopher. He was […]

Proclus and Math

Yesterday I received from Amazon the book of Terence Tao “Solving Mathematical Problems, a personal perspective”. In the preface I read the following interesting saying by the Greek Philosopher Proclus which I quote here: This therefore is Mathematics:  She reminds you of the invisible forms of the soul;  She gives life to her own discoveries; […]