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The Curious History of Faa du Bruno's Formula
Year of Award: 2003
Publication Information: The American Mathematical Monthly, vol. 109, 2002, pp. 217-234
Summary: The history of di Bruno's formula for the mth derivative of a composite function g(f(t)) is recounted, including the fact that di Bruno was neither the first to state the formula nor the first to prove it.
About the Author: (from The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 109, (2002)), Warren P. Johnson was an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin under the direction of Richard Askey. He has taught at Penn State University, Beloit College, and the University of Wisconsin, and is now at Bates College. He always enjoyed the historical notes in Askey's special functions courses, and this paper satisfies the vague ambition he had of discovering such a thing himself some day. His other research interests are in combinatorics and q-series.