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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Throwback Fact: Jacob and the Bernoullis


Earlier this month (on January 16th), Jacob Bernoulli would have reached the age of 360 years. His name is familiar to scientists of all kinds because of his immense number of accomplishments, many of which resulted in a theorem or mathematical  statement named after him. There is the Bernoulli differential equation, the Bernoulli number, the Bernoulli polynomial (of the first and second kind), the Bernoulli’s theorem…
... the list goes on and on, without even including his attributions to the lemniscate, the hypocycloid, or the epitrochoid functions. It is important to note as well that Bernoulli was among the first mathematicians to use the term “integral.”

image: | click to enlargen!

Jacob Bernoulli is not the only member of the family to contribute great mathematical content to the scientific community. His brother Johann as well as several nephews and descendants became known for their work as well. Each name highlighted in blue in the image above is a Bernoulli mathematician. Good genes, right?

Of course, there were many other Bernoulli family members. Jacob himself had two children, a son and a daughter, but neither went into the math field.  Among the non-mathematicians were astronomers and artists, perhaps hinting at a connection between mathematics and art.

Do you know any notable Bernoulli family facts? Let us know in the comments.

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