From Rainbows to Rings: A History of the Idea of the Spectrum

  • D. E. Taylor

Abstract

In twentieth century mathematics the word ’spectrum’ occurs in many places and is used to describe a wide variety of apparently unrelated ideas. The evolution of the meaning of this word begins with the rainbow of light created by a prism and passes by way of integral equations and quantum mechanics to the space of prime ideals of a ring. Along the way one glimpses much of modern harmonic analysis and operator theory.

Keywords

Manifold Topo 

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References

  1. J. Dieudonné, History of Functional Analysis, Notas de Matemática ( 77 ), North-Holland (Amsterdam, New York, Oxford, 1981 ).Google Scholar
  2. LA. Steen, “Highlights in the history of spectral theory”, Amer. Math. Monthly 80(1973) 359–381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. E. Taylor
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pure MathematicsUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

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