Eastern Europe

Stamp Corner Robin Wilson

Ruđer Bošcović (Roger Boscovich) (17111787) was born in Dubrovnik, in the Republic of Ragusa (now in Croatia). Interested in astronomy, trigonometry, and optics, he was the first to compute a planet’s orbit from just three observations of its position. Later he anticipated atomic theory by regarding atoms not as hard indivisible entities, but as centers of force. He also developed an early version of the method of least squares in statistics.

Croatia’s first mathematical instruction book was Mihalj Šilobod Bolšić’s Arithmetika Horvatszka (Croatian arithmetic book). Published in Zagreb in 1758, it presents the arithmetic of integers and fractions, the rule of three, practical work in accounting, and mathematical tables.

Bernard Bolzano (17811848) was born in Prague. Like Cauchy, he wished to formalize the idea of a continuous function, and in 1817 proved the intermediate value theorem that the graph of a continuous function takes on all values between its lowest and highest points. He also discovered a function that is continuous everywhere but differentiable nowhere. Living in Prague, he was isolated from mainstream European mathematical activity and his contributions had little impact.

The Union of Czechoslovak Mathematicians and Physicists was founded in 1862, and its 125th and 150th anniversaries were commemorated philatelically. One of the 1987 stamps features the Prague astronomical clock and a computer graphic from the theory of functions, superimposed on a result from analysis.

The Romanian monthly Gazeta Matematica was first published in 1895. With its aim of developing the mathematical knowledge of high-school students, it has had a major influence on mathematical life in Romania.

Ruđer Bošković

Croatian arithmetic book

Bernard Bolzano

Czech Union 1987

Czech Union 2012

Gazeta Matematica

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

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