1
vote
0answers
97 views

Default Orientation of Vectors [closed]

When I started studying math in 1982 in Germany, there seemed to have been a change in the choice of the default orientation of vectors; while it was row-vectors till then, it changed to ...
25
votes
3answers
2k views

Who invented diagrammatic algebra?

There is a strong and growing trend to do mathematics via diagrammatic algebra, which involves constructing and manipulating equations whose elements are diagrams drawn in the plane. The manipulations ...
9
votes
2answers
367 views

Historical quotation search: Equations/formulae in (Latin?) prose, before modern symbolic notation

I have been trying, without success, to find a vaguely-remembered quotation: the quadratic equation (or perhaps the quadratic formula), given in (Latin?) prose, along lines like “Consider that ...
6
votes
1answer
401 views

Where does the notation $\pi_1(X,x)$ for the fundamental group first appear?

I've spent the last half hour browsing Stillwell's translation of Poincaré's Analysis Situs and Dieudonné's History of Algebraic and Differential Topology, and I haven't found the source of this ...
6
votes
3answers
291 views

Meaning of historical fluxion notation

I've noticed that in 18th century books on calculus writers would say that 'the fluxion of $ax$ is $a\dot{x}$' and 'the fluxion of $x^n$ is $n x^{n-1} \dot{x}$'. What does this extra '$\dot{x}$' at ...
10
votes
1answer
735 views

Why is the identity element of a group denoted by $e$?

The question was asked by a student, and I did not have a ready answer. I can think of the German word ``Einheit'', but since in German that is not how the identity element of a group is called, I ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

Fraktur symbols for Lie algebras: $\mathfrak{g}$, etc.

Does anyone know when and why the Fraktur script was introduced for Lie and other algebras—$\mathfrak{g}$, $\mathfrak{gl}_n$, $X/\mathfrak{g}$, $\mathfrak{g}\oplus\mathfrak{g}$, $\mathfrak{su}$, ...
13
votes
3answers
519 views

Certain notations in Cayley's work

Two quick questions on notation, motivated by my being reading Cayley at the moment (I stumbled across a random volume of his Collected Works and now I am unable to do anything else but read it ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

Notation in Frege's Grundgesetze der Arithmetik: The U with a flourish

In the Grundgesetze der Arithmetik, Frege used a number of strange characters for notation. I would be most interested to know anything about the typography (origin, usage and so on) of the strange U ...
19
votes
2answers
1k views

The Origin of the Musical Isomorphisms

In Riemannian geometry, the "lowering indices" operator is denoted by $\flat:TM \to T^*M$ and the "raising indices" operator by $\sharp:T^*M \to TM$. These isomorphisms are sometimes referred to as ...
1
vote
4answers
992 views

Kro-necker versus Kron-ecker: which hyphenation is preferred? [closed]

Synopsis and concrete practices Everyone is thanked for their comments, and in view of the diversity of views expressed, I have converted this question to a community wiki. Here is a working ...
19
votes
2answers
3k views

Explanation why $x,y,z$ are always variables

I heard or have read the following nice explanation for the origin of the convention that one uses (almost) always $x,y,z$ for variables. (This question was motivated by question Origin of symbol *l* ...