Monk's 'Startling' Math Discovery

Not since the Piltdown-Sokal Theorem was discovered to have first been proved in 1907 by a provincial Russian electrical engineer, and not in 1979 by Piltdown and Sokal as originally had been thought, has the date of a first proof been so misjudged.

There is only one case of misattribution in the history of mathematics that is of comparable magnitude. The famous triangular array of numbers discovered by Pascal in the 17th century was anticipated five centuries before him by the Chinese mathematician Chia Hsien.

Even this example, however, is trumped by the 700 year differential between Udo’s and Mandelbrot’s discovery.

Professor of mathematics at Temple University, John Allen Paulos is the author of several best-selling books, including Innumeracy and A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper. His Who’s Counting? column on appears on the first day of every month.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston stopped a would be smuggler from bringing nearly 7 ounces of cocaine into the country in tamales, Aug. 22, 2014.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Real Housewife Phaedra Parks Lists Home in Suburban Atlanta
Real Housewives of Atlanta star, Phaedra Parks, has listed her 4,000-square-foot home with 5 bedrooms and 6 baths for $340,900.
In this image from video posted on Facebook, courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, former President George W. Bush participates in the ice bucket challenge with the help of his wife, Laura Bush, in Kennebunkport, Maine.
(Courtesy George W. Bush Presidential Center/AP)