Mathematicians Of The Day

20th February

On this day in 1648, a letter from Pierre de Fermat through Frenicle de Bessy to Kenelm Digby reached John Wallis saying that Fermat had solved equations of the type x2Ay2=1x^2 - Ay^2 = 1 for all non-square values up to 150. Thus begins the saga of the mis-naming of Pell's equation.

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Quotation of the day

From Ludwig Boltzmann
To go straight to the deepest depth, I went for Hegel; what unclear thoughtless flow of words I was to find there! My unlucky star led me from Hegel to Schopenhauer ... Even in Kant there were many things that I could grasp so little that given his general acuity of mind I almost suspected that he was pulling the reader's leg or was even an imposter.
Quoted in D Flamm. Stud. Hist. Phil. Sci. 14 (1983) 257.