pythagoras born c. 580 BC, Samos, Ionia died c. 500, Metapontum, Lucania Greek philosopher and mathematician.

He established a community of followers in Croton who adhered to a way of life he prescribed. His school of philosophy reduced all meaning to numerical relationships and proposed that all existing objects are fundamentally composed of form and not material substance. The principles of Pythagoreanism, including belief in the immortality and reincarnation of the soul and in the liberating power of abstinence and asceticism, influenced the thought of Plato and Aristotle and contributed to the development of mathematics and Western rational philosophy. The proportions of musical intervals and scales were first studied by Pythagoras, and he was the first influential Western practitioner of vegetarianism. None of his writings survive, and it is difficult to distinguish the ideas he originated from those of his disciples. His memory is kept alive partly by the Pythagorean theorem, probably developed by his school after he died. Ramanujam srinavasa born Dec. 22, 1887, Erode, India died April 26, 1920, Kumbakonam Indian mathematician. Extremely poor, he was largely self-taught from age 15. In 1913 he began a correspondence with Godfrey H. Hardy (1877–1947) that took him to England, where he made advances, especially in the theory of numbers, the partition of numbers, and the theory of continued fractions. He published papers in English and European journals, and in 1918 he became the first Indian elected to the Royal Society of London. He died of tuberculosis at age 32, generally unknown but recognized by mathematicians as a phenomenal genius.

born 476, possibly Ashmaka or Kusumapura, India Astronomer and the earliest Indian mathematician whose work survives. He composed at least two works, Aryabhatiya (c. 499) and the now lost Aryabhatasiddhanta, which circulated mainly in the northwest of India and influenced the development of Islamic astronomy. Written in verse couplets, Aryabhatiya deals with mathematics and astronomy. Topics include prediction of solar and lunar eclipses and an explicit statement that the apparent westward motion of the stars is due to the spherical Earth's rotation about its axis. Aryabhata also correctly ascribed the luminosity of the Moon and planets to reflected sunlight. The Indian government named its first satellite Aryabhata (launched 1975) in his honour.
What is maths?

Science of structure, order, and relation that has evolved from counting, measuring, and describing the shapes of objects. It deals with logical reasoning and quantitative calculation. Since the 17th century it has been an indispensable adjunct to the physical sciences and technology, to the extent that it is considered the underlying language of science. Among the principal branches of mathematics are algebra,

analysis, arithmetic, combinatorics, Euclidean and non-Euclidean geometries, game theory, number theory, numerical analysis, optimization, probability, set theory, statistics, topology, and trigonometry. More info! Scientific inquiry into the nature of mathematical theories and the scope of mathematical methods. It began with Euclid's Elements as an inquiry into the logical and philosophical basis of mathematics—in essence, whether the axioms of any system (be it Euclidean geometry or calculus) can ensure its completeness and consistency. In the modern era, this debate for a time divided into three schools of thought: logicism, formalism, and intuitionism. Logicists supposed that abstract mathematical objects can be entirely developed starting from basic ideas of sets and rational, or logical, thought; a variant of logicism, known as mathematical Platonism, views these objects as existing external to and independent of an observer. Formalists believed mathematics to be the manipulation of configurations of symbols according to prescribed rules, a “game” independent of any physical interpretation of the symbols. Intuitionists rejected certain concepts of logic and the notion that the axiomatic method would suffice to explain all of mathematics, instead seeing mathematics as an intellectual activity dealing with mental constructions (see constructivism) independent of language and any external reality. In the 20th century, Gödel's theorem ended any hope of finding an axiomatic basis of mathematics that was both complete and free from contradictions. Branch of philosophy concerned with the epistemology and ontology of mathematics. Early in the 20th century, three main schools of thought—called logicism, formalism, and intuitionism—arose to account for and resolve the crisis in the foundations of mathematics. Logicism argues that all mathematical notions are reducible to laws of pure thought, or logical principles; a variant known as mathematical Platonism holds that mathematical notions are transcendent Ideals, or Forms, independent of human consciousness. Formalism holds that mathematics consists simply of the manipulation of finite configurations of symbols according to prescribed rules; a “game” independent of any physical interpretation of the symbols. Intuitionism is characterized by its rejection of any knowledge- or evidence-transcendent notion of truth. Hence, only objects that can be constructed (see constructivism) in a finite number of steps are admitted, while actual infinities and the law of the excluded middle (see laws of thought) are rejected. These three schools of thought were principally led, respectively, by Bertrand Russell, David Hilbert, and the Dutch mathematician Luitzen Egbertus Jan Brouwer (1881–1966). Godels theorem Principle of the foundations of mathematics. One of the most important discoveries of 20th-century mathematics, it states the impossibility of defining a complete system of axioms that is also consistent (does not give rise to contradictions). Any formal system (e.g., a computer program or a set of mathematical rules and axioms) powerful enough to generate meaningful statements can generate statements that are true but that cannot be proven or derived within the system. As a consequence, mathematics cannot be placed on an entirely rigorous basis. Named for Kurt Godel, who published his proof in 1931, it immediately had consequences for philosophy (particularly logic) and other areas. Its ramifications continue to be debated.

He wrote Ganitatilaka (“The Ornament of Mathematics”) and the astronomical works Siddhantashekhara (“The Crest of Established Doctrines”), Dhikotidakarana (“Procedure Giving Intellectual Climax”), and Dhruvamanasa (“Permanent Mind”). Siddhantashekhara includes two chapters on mathematics; as one of the few surviving documents from this period, it sheds important light on the state of Indian algebra between Brahmagupta and Bhaskara II. For horoscopic astrology, Shripati wrote Jatakakarmapaddhati (“Way to the Computation of Nativity”) and Jyotisharatnamala (“A Jewel Necklace of Astral Science”), which were highly influential on the development of astrology in India

flourished c. 750, India Highly esteemed Hindu mathematician who wrote several treatises on Indian mathematics. His extant works are the partially preserved Patiganita (“Mathematics of Procedures”), Ganitasara (“Essence of Mathematics”), and Ganitapanchavimashi (“Mathematics in 25 Verses”). Patiganita consists of versified mathematical rules, without proofs. The first part treats arithmetic operations (including the calculation of squares, square roots, cubes, and cubic roots) for both integers and fractions, reductions of fractions, and proportions. The second part presents mixture problems and various series before it breaks off in the midst of rules for plane figures. He composed Ganitasara and Ganitapanchavimashi as epitomes of a larger work, which may or may not have been Patiganita. He gave the first correct formulas in India for the volume of a sphere and of a truncated cone.

set theory
Branch of mathematics that deals with the properties of sets. It is most valuable as applied to other areas of mathematics, which borrow from and adapt its terminology and concepts. These include the operations of union (∪), and intersection (∩). The union of two sets is a set containing all the elements of both sets, each listed once. The intersection is the set of all elements common to both original sets. Set theory is useful in analyzing difficult concepts in mathematics and logic. It was placed on a firm theoretical footing by Georg Cantor, who discovered the value of clearly formulated sets in the analysis of problems in symbolic logic and number theory.

In the philosophy of mathematics, the thesis that all mathematical propositions are expressible as or derivable from the propositions of pure logic.

Gottlob Frege attempted to establish the thesis in his Die Grundlagen der Arithmetik (1884) and other works; Bertrand Russell argued for logicism in The Principles of Mathematics (1903) and attempted a formal proof with Alfred North Whitehead in Principia Mathematica (1910–13)

Kant, Immanuel
born April 22, 1724, Königsberg, Prussia died Feb. 12, 1804, Königsberg German philosopher, one of the foremost thinkers of the Enlightenment. The son of a saddler, he studied at the university in Königsberg and taught there as privatdocent (1755–70) and later as professor of logic and metaphysics (1770–97). His life was uneventful. His Critique of Pure Reason (1781) discusses the nature of knowledge in mathematics and physics and demonstrates the impossibility of knowledge in metaphysics as it was traditionally conceived. Kant argued that the propositions of mathematics and physics, but not those of metaphysics, are “synthetic a priori,” in the sense that they are about objects of possible experience (synthetic) but at the same time knowable prior to, or independently of, experience (a priori), thus making them also necessarily true, rather than merely contingently true (see necessity). Mathematics is synthetic and a priori because it deals with space and time, both of which are forms of human sensibility that condition whatever is apprehended through the senses. Similarly, physics is synthetic and a priori because in its ordering of experience it uses concepts (“categories”) whose function is to prescribe the general form that sensible experience must take. Metaphysics in the traditional sense, understood as knowledge of the existence of God, the freedom of the will, and the immortality of the soul, is impossible, because these questions transcend any possible sense experience. But though they cannot be objects of knowledge, they are nevertheless justified as essential postulates of a moral life. Kant's ethics, which he expounded in the Critique of Practical Reason (1788) and the earlier Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (1785), was based on the principle known as the “categorical imperative,” one formulation of which is, “Act only on that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.” His last great work, The Critique of Judgment (1790), concerns the nature of aesthetic judgment and the existence of teleology, or purposiveness, in nature. Kant's thought represents a turning point in the history of philosophy. In his own words, he effected a Copernican revolution: just as the founder of modern astronomy, Nicolaus Copernicus, had explained the apparent movements of the stars by ascribing them partly to the movement of the observers, so Kant had accounted for the existence of a priori synthetic knowledge by demonstrating that in knowing, it is not the mind that conforms to things but instead things that conform to the mind. See also analytic-synthetic distinction; deontological ethics; idealism; Kantianism.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful