Published November 24, 2016
Tags: Analysis, History
FIg. 1: Brook Taylor (1685-1731). Image from NPG.
The English mathematician Brook Taylor (1685-1731) introduced the calculus of finite differences in his Methodus Incrementorum Directa et Inversa, published in 1715. This work contained the famous formula known today as Taylor’s formula. In 1772, Lagrange described it as “the main foundation of differential calculus” (Wikipedia: Brook Taylor). Taylor also wrote a treatise on linear perspective (see Fig. 1).
It is noteworthy that the series for , and were known to mathematicians in India about 400 years before Taylor’s time.
Continue reading ‘Taylor Expansions from India’
Log tables, invaluable in science, industry and commerce for 350 years, have been consigned to the scrap heap. But logarithms remain at the core of science, as a wide range of physical phenomena follow logarithmic laws [TM103 or search for “thatsmaths” at irishtimes.com].
Android app RealCalc with natural and common log buttons indicated.
Continue reading ‘Marvellous Merchiston’s Logarithms’
Published November 10, 2016
Published November 3, 2016
Tags: Astronomy, Relativity
The motto of the Pythagoreans was “All is Number” and Pythagoras may have been the first person to imagine that the workings of the world might be understood in mathematical terms. This idea has now brought us to the point where, at a fundamental level, mathematics is the primary means of describing the physical world. Galileo put it this way: the book of nature is written in the language of mathematics [TM102, or search for “thatsmaths” at irishtimes.com].
Visualization of gravitational waves. Image credit MPI/Gravitational Physics/ITP Frankfurt/ZI Berlin.
Continue reading ‘A New Window on the World’