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Ness Creighton

Egyptian Muslim mathematician, also known as al-Hasib al-Misri, the Egyptian Calculator (or Reckoner). His full name was Abu Kamil Shujaʿ ibn Aslam ibn Muhammad ibn Shuja. Very few biographical details are known concerning Abu Kamil, but his productive peak appears to have been at the end of the ninth century. The year of his birth and the year of his death are known with a decent degree of certainty as he is known to have died before al-Imrani (who died in 955) but to have lived well beyond al-Khwarizmi (who died in 850). A direct successor in the development of algebra to al-Khwarizmi, his texts on algebraic theory helped to form the groundwork for later mathematicians, including al-Karaji. Fibonacci would later adopt his mathematical techniques.

Abu Kamil worked to perfect many of al Khwarizmi s algebraic methods including work with the multiplication and division of algebraic objects and the addition ...

Article

Peter Wallenstein

educator and civil rights litigant, was born in Norfolk, Virginia, the son of William Henry “Sonnie” Alston, a drayman, and Mary Elizabeth “Lizzie” Smith, a laundress. The Alstons owned their home, and Melvin grew up in a middle-class environment. After attending Norfolk's segregated black public schools and graduating from Booker T. Washington High School, he graduated in 1935 from Virginia State College, where he was honored for his debating and for excellence in scholarship. Following graduation he began teaching math at Booker T. Washington High School. Beginning in 1937 he served as president of the Norfolk Teachers Association, and he also held local leadership positions in the Young Men's Christian Association and the First Calvary Baptist Church.

Alston played a key role in an effort by black teachers in the Norfolk city public schools to challenge racial discrimination in their salaries. In 1937 the Virginia Teachers Association VTA and ...

Article

Ronald E. Mickens

mathematician, was born in Hampton, Virginia, the son of William Thaddeus Reid, who taught electricity at Hampton Institute's trade school, and Elaine Brown. Albert had a brother, William M., and a sister, Cora Mae. His strong interest in biology and mathematics led him to enroll at Iowa State University, where such joint disciplinary programs were encouraged. After obtaining his bachelor of science degree in 1949, Reid continued at Iowa State in the graduate program for mathematics and biology, but he left for the University of Chicago in 1950. There he studied mathematical biology, mathematics, probability and statistics, and physics, and he served as a research assistant in the mathematical biology program. In 1953 Reid accepted a position as a research associate in mathematical statistics at Columbia University He did not complete the PhD program at Chicago or Columbia because he did not believe that ...

Article

Richard M. Mizelle and Keith Wailoo

mathematician and professor, was born David Harold Blackwell in Centralia, Illinois, the oldest of four children, to Grover Blackwell, a locomotive mechanic for the Illinois Central Railroad, and Mabel Johnson. Although much of Blackwell's hometown was segregated, he attended an integrated elementary school. He first became interested in mathematics in high school where, although not particularly interested in algebra or trigonometry, he immediately took an interest in geometry—the scientific study of the properties and relations of lines, surfaces, and solids in space. Later in his life Blackwell credited his high school geometry instructor for showing him the beauty and the usefulness of mathematics. He joined his high school's mathematics club where his instructor pushed students to submit solutions to the School Science and Mathematics Journal which published one of Blackwell s solutions It was with geometry that Blackwell first began to apply mathematical methods and formulas to ...

Article

Courtney A. Howard

mathematician, was born Sylvia Trimble in Camp Hill, Alabama, the daughter of Horace Edward Trimble Sr., an insurance agent, and Robbie Jones Trimble. She had four siblings, three brothers and one sister. She attended the segregated public schools in her rural hometown, and was motivated by the standards and values instilled in her by her parents. Early in her education, Bozeman's parents helped her develop confidence that she was capable of accomplishing her goals. Though her father worked with numerical calculations in his career, it was her mother who encouraged Bozeman to pursue her interest in mathematics. Her enthusiasm for the subject grew into advanced mathematical knowledge when her high school mathematics teacher, Frank Holley returned after school to teach trigonometry to a small group of students because the course was not part of the school s curriculum Her excellence in mathematics and other subjects led ...

Article

Andre D. Vann

educator, author, and one of the first black women in the United States to obtain a PhD degree in Mathematics, was one of two children born to Lawrence Johnson Lee and Mary (Taylor) Lee in Memphis, Tennessee. Before she was two years old her mother died and her father remarried. Her father, a railway postal clerk, and her stepmother, Lottie Lee, a school teacher, instilled in her the value of hard work and gave her a love for mathematics. Lawrence Lee had attended college for approximately two years and was regarded as a talented student of mental arithmetic.

In a 1979 interview Browne remarked I always always always liked mathematics As far back as I can remember I liked mathematics because it was a lonely subject I do have plenty of friends and I talk with them for hours at a time But I also like to be ...

Article

was born in Trujillo, in northwestern Peru, between 1707 and 1728; his exact year of birth is unknown. He was the son of Magdalena Tirado, who might have been a slave, and Miguel de Herrera, a free man of mixed descent. He defined himself as a pardo, or black man. It has been confirmed that he was a slave belonging to the silversmith Martín de la Cadena, which would explain his last name as well as his knowledge of metalwork; however, during the period of time documented in his biography, José was a free man.

Cadena’s first marriage was to Pascuala Velarde. In 1761 he signed his Cartilla música, a small treatise of musical theory published in Lima two years later. He was imprisoned briefly for debts he acquired in printing the treatise. It is probable that between 1763 and 1767 he might have lived in ...

Article

Peter D. Fraser

was born on 26 January 1903 in New Amsterdam, British Guiana, the son of George Johnson Cameron (a druggist) and Sylvia Elizabeth Cameron (née Beete). The family lived in several places but eventually settled in Georgetown, where Cameron attended Christ Church Primary School, winning a scholarship to attend the leading secondary school, Queen’s College. In 1921 he won the prestigious Guiana Scholarship and departed in 1922 to study mathematics at Cambridge University, graduating in 1925.

Cameron had wanted to teach in Liberia but, unable to do so, returned to British Guiana. He established his own school, The Guianese Academy, in 1926 and that same year married Lurline Daly (they adopted a daughter, Joan, in 1941). He became an assistant master at Queen’s College in 1934, eventually being named deputy principal in 1958; in 1963 he joined the newly established University of Guyana which on his ...

Article

Camille Hazeur

mathematician, computer programmer, and consultant, was born Laura Cheatham on the west side of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the youngest of three daughters of Gertrude Richey and James Hammond Cheatham. Gertrude was born in Williamston, South Carolina, in 1888 to Mary Roberts and Mak Richey, who sent her to the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary (now Spelman College) in Atlanta, Georgia, from grade school through normal school. After receiving her teaching certificate, Gertrude took a job in Anderson, South Carolina, where she married James Hammond Cheatham, son of a wealthy white plantation owner, James Hammond Freeman, and a Cherokee woman named Emma Lenier. Previously married to a man of mixed race named Cheatham, Lenier had a long-established liaison with James Hammond Freeman, with whom she had five children. James Hammond Cheatham unable to take his biological father s name because of concubinage laws was apparently taught ...

Article

Charles W. Jr. Carey

mathematician, was born in Evansville, Indiana, the son of Johnson D. Cox, a high school principal, and Eugenia D. Talbot. From an early age Elbert demonstrated tremendous talent as a violinist and was offered a scholarship to study in Europe at the Prague Conservatory of Music. Instead he opted for a career in mathematics, and he received an AB from Indiana University in 1917. Cox became assistant principal and mathematics teacher at Alves Street School in Henderson, Kentucky, but resigned the next year to enlist in the U.S. Army. He spent the last six months of World War I in France as a clerk and was discharged in 1919 with the rank of sergeant.

That same year Cox was appointed chairman of the department of natural sciences at Shaw University in Raleigh North Carolina He left Shaw to enroll at Cornell University where he was awarded a ...

Article

Charles W. Jr. Carey

Cox, Elbert Frank (05 December 1895–28 November 1969), mathematician, was born in Evansville, Indiana, the son of Johnson D. Cox, a high school principal, and Eugenia D. Talbot. From an early age he demonstrated tremendous talent as a violinist and was offered a scholarship to study in Europe at the Prague Conservatory of Music. Instead, he opted for a career in mathematics and received an A.B. from Indiana University in 1917. He became assistant principal and mathematics teacher at Alves Street School in Henderson, Kentucky, but resigned the next year to enlist in the U.S. Army. He spent the last six months of World War I in France as a clerk and was discharged in 1919 with the rank of sergeant.

That same year Cox was appointed chairman of the Department of Natural Sciences at Shaw University in Raleigh North Carolina In 1922 he left Shaw to ...

Article

Winifred W. Thompson

Christine Mann Darden is best known for her work as a researcher for NASA, where she was instrumental in conducting research on supersonic aerodynamics and the reduction of the sonic boom in supersonic travel. Darden was a pioneer in the design of supersonic aircraft. She developed several mathematical algorithms as well as devising new wing and nose cone shapes for their aerodynamic and sonic properties. She is in an administrative leadership position, playing a critical role in making decisions at NASA.

Darden was born in Monroe, North Carolina, to Noah Horace Sr., an insurance agent, and Desma Chaney Mann an elementary school teacher She was the youngest of five children At the age of three she went to school with her mother who taught first through fourth grades At the age of four she was enrolled in the first grade After grade school she attended Winchester Avenue ...

Article

Tiffany K. Wayne

aeronautical engineer at NASA, was born Christine Voncile Mann in Monroe, North Carolina, the youngest of five children born to two schoolteachers, Noah Horace Mann, Sr. (a former Latin teacher who later became an insurance salesman), and Desma Chaney Mann Darden credits her success and her early interest in science to her parents emphasis on their children s education She recalls that when she was just three years old her mother began taking Darden and her siblings to classes she taught at the two room schoolhouse across the street from the family home Darden began doing the schoolwork that the other children did and was soon working two grades ahead in school Her father also encouraged his daughter s interest in auto mechanics and fixing things around the house early training for an engineer Because she was younger than her classmates and therefore socially vulnerable her parents sent ...

Article

Georgia L. Irby-Massie

Greek mathematician, called “the father of algebra,” worked at Alexandria, the main center of scientific intellectualism in antiquity. Diophantus’s dates have been much debated. The mathematician quotes from Hypsikles of Alexandria (fl. c. 150–100 BCE) on polygonal numbers and is himself first cited by Theon of Alexandria (fl. 360–385 CE). Saint Dionysius of Alexandria (d. c. 264 CE) is possibly the addressee of the Arithmetika’s introduction. We know little of Diophantus’s life beyond the testimony of a contrived and possibly apocryphal arithmetical epigram preserved in the sixth-century Anthologia Graeca 14 126 that dates major personal events in his life marriage at age twenty six birth of a son at thirty eight his son s death four years before his own at eighty four his boyhood lasted 1 6th of his life he married after 1 7th more his beard grew after 1 12th more and his son was ...

Article

Jamane Yeager

computer scientist and mathematician, was born in Birmingham, Alabama, the youngest child of Samuel Bird Easley and Mary Melvina Hoover Disdaining the segregated schools in the South her mother put Annie in parochial school in the fifth grade Easley s mother encouraged her to succeed by telling her that you can be anything you want to be but you have to work at it Johnson 4 Easley went on to become valedictorian of her high school class She then attended the School of Pharmacy at Xavier University in New Orleans Louisiana for two years and worked as a substitute teacher in Jefferson County Alabama before marrying and moving to Cleveland Ohio In Birmingham as soon as Easley turned twenty one she attempted to vote State law however required her to pass a literacy test and pay a poll tax She would later describe the test giver looking at ...

Article

Duane W. Roller

Greek polymath most noted for his calculation of the circumference of the earth and his invention of the discipline of geography, was born in Cyrene in modern Libya, an outpost of Greek culture; he was exposed early to exotic contacts at the end of the Greek world. Nothing is known about his youth, but by the 260s BCE he was studying in Athens, primarily with the founder of Stoicism, Zeno of Citium, and Arcesilaus of Pitane, the director of the Academy. He was also a close associate of the mathematician Archimedes, who dedicated at least one work to him. Eratosthenes was thus trained in the wide variety of thought that Hellenistic Athens offered, and his early writings demonstrate his ability in philosophy, philology, and mathematics. But there are few details about the nearly twenty years that he spent in the city.

In 246 BCE the new Ptolemaic king Ptolemy III ...

Article

Euclid  

Carmen De Michele

ancient Hellenistic mathematician, also known as Euclid of Alexandria, is considered the “father of geometry.” He is one of the most prominent mathematicians of Greco-Roman antiquity; his best known work is his treatise on geometry, the Elements.

Little is known about Euclid s life His date and place of birth as well as the circumstances of his death are unknown so that they can only be estimated by looking at contemporaries named in references The only reliable source is Proclus s 410 485 CE summary of the history of Greek mathematicians written centuries later Euclid was probably one of Plato s students at his Academy in Athens where he studied mathematics Euclid moved to Alexandria the largest city in the ancient world and taught mathematics at the Library of Alexandria under the reign of Ptolemy I Soter A questionable anecdote describes how when Ptolemy I asked the mathematician if ...

Article

Olivia A. Scriven

mathematician, educator, college administrator, and mentor to hundreds of black women in science, was born Etta Zuber in Tupelo, Mississippi, the younger of two girls of Walter A. Zuber, a physician, and Zadie L. Montgomery Zuber, a musician. The Zubers were part of a small, black middle class that chose to stay in economically devastated Tupelo during the Depression era. The Zubers' social standing, however, provided little insulation from the closed society that was characteristic of Jim Crow-era Mississippi. Etta attended segregated public schools. She graduated from George Washington High School in 1949 at the age of fifteen and left the security of her home to attend the all black Fisk University in Nashville Tennessee Young Etta had intended to major in chemistry and become a public school teacher But by her sophomore year she had decided that she liked mathematics better ...

Article

Stephen Cory

, famous mathematician born in Pisa, spent much of his youth in Algeria where his father, Guilieimo Bonaccio, served as a representative for Italian merchants engaged in the leather trade. Fibonacci is often known as Leonardo of Pisa. Leonardo was one of the first mathematicians to introduce the Arabic (Hindu) numeral system into Europe. He also brought the concepts of the ancient Greek mathematician Euclid into European use, having encountered an Arabic translation of Euclid’s Elements in North Africa. Fibonacci is best known for introducing a number series that is named after him (the Fibonacci sequence) and whose ratios closely approximate the “golden ratio,” or 1.618034, which reproduces a geometric symmetry often found in nature. His work was noticed by the king of Sicily, Frederick II, who also served as the Holy Roman Emperor from 1215 As a result Leonardo conducted his research and published his texts with royal ...

Article

William F. Mugleston

Thomas Fuller was born in West Africa. Nothing is known of his parents or other family. At the age of fourteen he was brought as a slave to British North America and apparently lived the remainder of his life in Virginia. In his old age he was owned by Elizabeth Coxe of Alexandria, Virginia.

Fuller led the typical life of a slave and never learned to read or write but was widely noted late in his life for his extraordinary ability to perform rapid and complicated mathematical calculations in his head. Travelers wanting to witness his skill often visited him. One of them was Benjamin Rush of Philadelphia the noted physician and educator Rush quizzed him and verified the accuracy of his answers Fuller could multiply nine figures by nine give the number of seconds in a year calculate how many seconds anyone had lived determine the number ...