Download A Century of mathematics in America (History of Mathematics, by Peter L. Duren, Richard Askey, Uta C. Merzbach PDF

By Peter L. Duren, Richard Askey, Uta C. Merzbach

ISBN-10: 0821801309

ISBN-13: 9780821801307

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Example text

To be a good mathematics thesis adviser at any level, one should be acquainted with a variety of interesting possible thesis topics, and the mathematical thinking processes of a variety of students. At Harvard, a substantial fraction of theses in the 1930s dealt with such simple topics as relating the vibrating string and Fourier series to musical scales and harmony; there was (and is) a Wister Prize for excellence in "mathematics and music". My tutee Russell ("Rusty") Greenhood, later a financial officer at the Massachusetts General Hospital, got a prize for his thesis on "The x2 test and goodness of fit", a statistical topic about which I knew nothing.

Your aim will be knowl- edge and wisdom, not the reflected glamour of fame. You will MATHEMATICS AT HARVARD, 1836-1944 43 not accept credit that is due to another, or harbor jealousy of an explorer who is more fortunate. You will seek not a near, but a distant, objective, and you will not be satisfied with what you may have done.

Peirce in 1914, together with the deaths of Bocher and G. M. Green, and the departure of Dunham Jackson after six years as secretary in 1919,41 created a serious void in Harvard mathematics. This void was filled slowly, at first (in 1920) by Oliver D. Kellogg (1878-1932), and William C. 's in Germany before the war with Hilbert and Study, respectively. Then came Joseph L. Walsh (1895-1973) in 1921, and (after H. W. Brinkmann in 1925) H. Marston Morse (1892-1977) in 1926. D. B. B. 1916) had been Harvard undergraduates.

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