Mathematicians Of The Day

23rd August

On this day in 1638, René Descartes, in a letter to Mersenne, proposed his folium (x3+y3=2axyx^3 + y^3 = 2axy) as a test case to challenge Fermat's differentiation techniques. To Descartes' embarrassment, Fermat's method worked better than his own.

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Quotation of the day

From Charles Augustin Coulomb
The sciences are monuments devoted to the public good; each citizen owes to them a tribute proportional to his talents. While the great men, carried to the summit of the edifice, draw and put up the higher floors, the ordinary artists scattered in the lower floors, or hidden in the obscurity of the foundations, must only seek to improve what cleverer hands have created.