Mathematicians Of The Day

15th March

On this day in 1590, François Viète cracked the code of a message from Philip II of Spain and sent it to Henry IV of France.
... when Philip, assuming that the cipher could not be broken, discovered that the French were aware of his military plans, he complained to the Pope that black magic was being employed against his country.

Click on for a poster.

Quotation of the day

From James Joseph Sylvester
The world of ideas which it [mathematics] discloses or illuminates, the contemplation of divine beauty and order which it induces, the harmonious connexion of its parts, the infinite hierarchy and absolute evidence of the truths with which it is concerned, these, and such like, are the surest grounds of the title of mathematics to human regard, and would remain unimpeached and unimpaired were the plan of the universe unrolled like a map at our feet, and the mind of man qualified to take in the whole scheme of creation at a glance.
Presidential Address to British Association, 1869.