Sunday, July 17, 2005

An Unfortunate Legacy

The Bell Numbers are named after Eric Temple Bell. Unfortunately, because of the Wikipedia and Mathworld articles on Umbral Calculus, as well as the introduction to Steven Roman's book on the subject, Bell will now go down in history as the person who failed to make the subject rigorous. Poor guy. Mathematical programs that don't quite work out are generally forgotten, so I don't know what Bell did to deserve this.

But Bell is doubly unfortunate. He is the author of a book, that despite being an inspiration to many, is notorious for its unreliability. He is the same Bell that wrote Men of Mathematics.

BTW He also wrote science fiction under the pseudonym "John Taine".



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