The MacTutor Archive

The MacTutor History of Mathematics archive is a website hosted by the University of St Andrews in Scotland. It was established, and is maintained, by Dr John O’Connor and Prof Edmund Robertson of the School of Mathematics and Statistics at St Andrews.

MacTutor contains biographies of a large number of mathematicians, both historical and contemporary. In many cases, the Wikipedia entry on a mathematician directs to MacTutor for more complete biographical information.

Screen image of the MacTutor page listing History Topics.

Screen image of the MacTutor page listing History Topics.

Various topics in mathematics and its history are also included on MacTutor. Above is a screen-image from the page indexing these topics.

Mathematicians of the Day

For each day of the year, the site gives a list of mathematicians who were born on or died on that day.

Mathematicians who were born on New Year’s Day include Agner Krarup Erlang (1878), Satyendranath Bose (1894), Stanislaw Mazur (1905) and Daniel Gorenstein (1923). Mathematicians who died on 1st January include Johann Bernoulli (1748), Alexandre-Théophile Vandermonde (1796), Mikhail Vasilevich Ostrogradski (1862) and Grace Hopper (1992).

The site also has a body of information on famous mathematical curves.

A selection of mathematical quotations for each day of the year are given. For New Year’s Day, a quote of Johann Bernoulli is given:

But just as much as it is easy to find the differential of a given quantity, so it is difficult to find the integral of a given differential. Moreover, sometimes we cannot say with certainty whether the integral of a given quantity can be found or not.

This will remind many students of occasions when they struggled to evaluate a difficult integral.

The URL of MacTutor is: http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk

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Happy New Year to all thatsmaths.com visitors.


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