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A Mathematician’s Journeys: Otto Neugebauer and Modern by Alexander Jones, Christine Proust, John M. Steele

By Alexander Jones, Christine Proust, John M. Steele

This e-book explores features of Otto Neugebauer's occupation, his impression at the historical past and perform of arithmetic, and the ways that his legacy has been preserved or reworked in contemporary a long time, anticipating the instructions within which the examine of the background of technological know-how will head within the twenty-first century. Neugebauer, greater than the other pupil of contemporary instances, formed the best way we understand premodern technological know-how. via his scholarship and impression on scholars and collaborators, he inculcated either an method of ancient study on old and medieval arithmetic and astronomy via unique mathematical and philological learn of texts, and a imaginative and prescient of those sciences as platforms of data and technique that unfold outward from the traditional close to japanese civilizations, crossing cultural barriers and circulating over an incredible geographical expanse of the outdated global from the Atlantic to India.

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From Graz to Göttingen: Neugebauer’s Early Intellectual Journey 29 in order to prove a theorem. These were masterful performances, but not at all easy to follow. So students generally adopted one of two main strategies: some tried to take down careful notes without really pausing to think (unless they could think about one thing, while writing about another: not easy); others took only sporadic notes while listening carefully and trying to follow the main arguments. The latter approach, which Neugebauer evidently followed, was probably chosen by most listeners.

Courant’s later reputation as a “tricky operator” surely harkens back to his early exploits in Göttingen, but this particular use of inside information in order to upgrade the Lesezimmer was merely a clever tactic. Courant’s real talents were as a bold-thinking scientific entrepreneur. In the period from 1919 to 1925 mathematics publishing took on a vital new importance for Germany, both scientifically and economically. In an era of growing international contacts, German mathematicians and scientists were generally barred from attending congresses and meetings held in the countries of their wartime enemies.

This meeting, which took place on 28 September 1917, was facilitated by the editor of Die Naturwissenschaften, Arnold Berliner, whom Courant had known growing up in Breslau. By the following year, plans for Courant’s Grundlehren der mathematischen Wissenschaften— better known as the “yellow series” or the “yellow peril” (“die gelbe Gefahr”)—were already underway. Courant not only lined up Hilbert’s support for the plan, he also persuaded Hamburg’s Wilhelm Blaschke and his father-in-law, Carl Runge, to join him as associate editors.

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