Even his tombstone bears the inscription of a spiral by Areeba Merriam, Researcher published in Cantor’s Paradise.
Photo: Illustration of the logarithmic spiral
Jacob Bernoulli (1655–1705) was a very prominent Swiss mathematician. He belonged to the Bernoulli family, which included a bunch of well-known mathematicians. His father wanted him to peruse theology but in disagreement with his father, he changed his path and learned about mathematics and astronomy.
He was first introduced to the subject of calculus by G.W Leibniz. After that, he has made significant contributions to the subject.
- The word ‘integral’ was first used by him to analyze the area underneath the curve.
- His collaboration with his brother Johann Bernoulli resulted in a new field of study ‘the calculus of variations’. This branch involves finding maxima and minima of functionals instead of functions.
- He was a major contributor to probability theory. In his work “The art of conjecturing” he derived the ‘law of large numbers’ which now serves as the basic to modern sampling theory.
- He was also responsible for the discovery of fundamental mathematical constant e.
Let’s reminisce about the things that are named after him in mathematics; such as Bernoulli differential equation, Bernoulli no.s, Bernoulli distribution, Bernoulli polynomials, Bernoulli’s inequality, and the Bernoulli’s Golden Theorem aka Law of Large numbers..
Translation of the Latin inscription on Bernoulli’s tombstone
Photo: Tombstone of Jacob Bernoulli
His wife wrote the following details on his tombstone, to acknowledge him. It says,
“Jacob Bernoulli, the incomparable Mathematician,
Professor at the University of Basel for more than eighteen years;
Member of the Royal Academies of Paris and Berlin; famous for his writings.
Of a chronic illness, of sound mind to the end;
Succumbed in the year of Grace 1705, the 16th of August, at the age of 50 years and 7 months, awaiting the resurrection.
Judith Stupanus, his wife for 20 years, and his two children have erected a monument to the husband and father they miss so much.”
Now if you keenly observe at the bottom of this tombstone, you can see a spiral and a motto. Unfortunately, the stonemasons carved an Archimedean spiral at the bottom of his tombstone and not a logarithmic spiral, by ignorance maybe. The archimedean spiral doesn't grow exponentially or by some common factor, rather it grows with the constant spacing.