A fate of the great mathematical discoveries

The history of mathematics shows that there exists a "strange" tradition in mathematics regarding to the outstanding mathematical discoveries. Many mathematicians (even very famous), as a rule, are not able to access properly the mathematical achievements of their contemporaries. The revolutionary mathematical discoveries either remain to be unnoticed or are subjected to ridicule by the contemporaries and only 40-50 years later it begins of their recognition and general admiration. In this connection the Russian mathematics of the 19th Century is the brilliant example. When in 1826 the young Russian mathematician Nikolay Lobatchevski from the Kazan University came to the new geometric system (Lobatchevski's geometry) his paper on the new geometry was sent to the Russian Academy of Sciences. The famous Russian mathematician academician Ostrogradski gave sharply negative review to Lobatchevski's paper and then in the journal "The Son of Fatherland" the anonymous mocking article regarding to geometric "compositions" of the "Kazan's rector" Mr. Lobatchevski was published.

Nikolay Lobatchevski (1792 - 1856)Mikhail Ostrogradski (1801 - 1862)
Nikolay Lobatchevski (1792 - 1856)Mikhail Ostrogradski (1801 - 1862)

And during all his life Lobatchevski was subjected to ridicule on the part of the official Russian academic science of that period. Lobatchevski's recognition came from the West science due the genius mathematician Gauss who became the only mathematician who could access properly Lobatchevski's works in geometry. According to Gauss' proposal Lobatchevski was chosen by the Corresponding Member of the Gettingen scientific society.

It was other example from the history of the French 19th century mathematics. The name of the French mathematician Evarist Galois is well-known in mathematics. His mathematical works gave the origin of modern algebra. However at his life Evarist Galois was well-known as revolutionary. For public speeches against royal regime he was twice in prison. In 1832 in the age of 21 he was killed on the duel organized by his enemies.

His basic mathematical works named later by his name Evarist Galois obtained in the age of 16-18 when he studied in the Lyceum. Galois sent his works to the Paris Academy of Sciences. However even the greatest French mathematicians Cauchy and Fourier cannot understand Galois works. According to legend, academician Cauchy threw out all mathematical Galois' works to the garbage.

Cauchy (1789 - 1857)Galois (1811-1832)
Cauchy (1789 - 1857)Galois (1811-1832)

Galois' works were read and published for 14 years later of his died. In 1870, that is for 38 years later of his died the famous French mathematician Jordan wrote the book on mathematical Galois' investigations and due this book Galois' theory became common property of the world.

In spite of great difference between Lobatchevski and Galois' theories they have something common. They are revolutionary mathematical discoveries in corresponding mathematics branches.

It is a question: "Is there in modern mathematics such mathematical discoveries, which are evaluated insufficiently by modern mathematicians?" And we try to tell about such discovery based on the Golden Section in our Museum.

The American mathematician G. Bergman had introduced in 1957 the positional number system of the special kind. Bergman called it the "number system with an irrational base" or the "Tau System". Although Bergman's paper contained the result of a principal importance for the number system theory and modern computing however in that period it simply did not be noticed neither mathematicians nor engineers. Moreover. And the same author of the article George Bergman cannot understand an importance of his discovery for future development of the number system theory. And in conclusion of his paper Bergman wrote:

"I do not know of any useful application for systems such as this, except as a mental exercise and pastime, though it may be of some service in algebraic number theory".

More then 40 years had gone since Bergman's discovery and, according to the "mathematical tradition", the time has came to access properly Bergman's mathematical discovery. And we will tell about Bergman's discovery at the next pages of our Museum. Follow us!