Article ID: CBB000930655

La controverse de 1874 entre Camille Jordan et Leopold Kronecker (2007)


The 1874 Controversy between Camille Jordan and Leopold Kronecker During the whole of 1874, Camille Jordan and Leopold Kronecker quarrelled vigorously over the organisation of the theory of bilinear forms. That theory promised a general and homogeneous treatment of numerous questions arising in various 19th-century theoretical contexts, and it hinged on two theorems, stated independently by Jordan and Weierstrass, that would today be considered equivalent. It was, however, the perceived difference between those two theorems that sparked the 1874 controversy. Focusing on this quarrel allows us to explore the algebraic identity of the polynomial practices of the manipulations of forms in use before the advent of structural approaches to linear algebra. The latter approaches identified these practices with methods for the classification of similar matrices. We show that the practices---Jordan's canonical reduction and Kronecker's invariant computation---reflect identities inseparable from the social context of the time. Moreover, these practices reveal not only tacit knowledge, local ways of thinking, but also---in light of a long history tracing back to the work of Lagrange, Laplace, Cauchy, and Hermite---two internal philosophies regarding the significance of generality which are inseparable from two disciplinary ideals opposing algebra and arithmetic. By interrogating the cultural identities of such practices, this study aims at a deeper understanding of the history of linear algebra without focusing on issues related to the origins of theories or structures. Keywords : Algebraic practices. Generality. Jordan. Kronecker. Weierstrass. Canonical forms. Invariants; Elementary divisors. Invariant factors. Linear substitutions. Bilinear forms. Matrices. Spectral theory. Linear algebra. Algebra. Arithmetic. Mechanics.


Description On their quarrels over the organization of the theory of bilinear forms, and “the algebraic identity of the polynomial practices of the manipulations of forms.” (from the abstract)

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Authors & Contributors
Boniface, Jacqueline
Hawkins, Thomas
Alfonsi, Liliane
Alfonso-Goldfarb, Ana Maria
Brechenmacher, Frédéric
Bromberg, Carla
Archive for History of Exact Sciences
Historia Mathematica
Revue d'Histoire des Mathématiques
Archives Internationales d'Histoire des Sciences
Circumscribere: International Journal for the History of Science
Osmanli Bilimi Arastirmalari: Studies in Ottoman Science
American Mathematical Society
Johns Hopkins University Press
Kluwer Academic
Linear algebra
Controversies and disputes
Kronecker, Leopold
Hilbert, David
Albert, Adrian
Babbage, Charles
Bézout, Étienne
Bolzano, Bernard
Time Periods
19th century
20th century, early
17th century
18th century
16th century
20th century
University of Chicago

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