The Pigeonhole Principle, Two Centuries Before Dirichlet

  title={The Pigeonhole Principle, Two Centuries Before Dirichlet},
  author={Beno{\^i}t Rittaud and Albrecht Heeffer},
  journal={The Mathematical Intelligencer},
The name of Dirichlet is commonly associated with the pigeonhole principle, because it is widely believed that he was the first to state it. In the writings of Dirichlet, the application of the principle is to be found in 1842 in [7] and [5] (both reproduced in [8], see pp. 579–580 and 633–638) and, later, in [6]. It seems that no one knows any precise previous reference, even if 1834 is frequently mentioned as the year of the discovery (for some details on later references, see [15]). In [7… 
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