Famous Mathematicians and Their Contributions

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Mathematicians played the most significant role in our lives much more than we realize. Mathematics is used in almost every field such as Physics and even in arts and music. It can be rightly said that the world is what it is due to the efforts and struggles of the mathematicians who worked strenuously day and night to give the world new notions that were used not only in the development of mathematics but several other fields which, without these concepts, cannot work at all.

Pythagoras

 

 Influential Greek philosopher and religious leader. He taught that numbers and ratios of numbers were the foundation of reality. He discovered many number patterns and the proof that the square root of two is not rational. He is also commonly credited with the Pythagorean Theorem within trigonometry.  What is known is that he was born at Samos on the western coast of what is now Turkey, the son of a prominent citizen, Mnesarchus.

He studied with Pherecydes of Syros and later with Anaximander. Thereafter he supposedly went to Egypt, where he spent several years studying at Thebes and Memphis. He returned to Samos to set up a school, but it was not successful. About 529 BCE he moved to Sicily, then on to Tarentum, and at last to Croton in Southern Italy, where he developed most of his important ideas and theories. At Croton, the schools he opened were crowded with people from all walks of life, and although law forbade it, even women attended. From the vast numbers of his students, Pythagoras chose especially talented and like-thinking disciples who earned the name Pythagoreans

Euclid

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Organized Greek geometry into a mathematical system based on fundamental definitions, a few postulates and theorems that are logically deduced. This work, known as the Elements, had a profound influence on mathematics for thousands of years. He has had the greatest influence of all mathematicians on this list.  He founded a scholarly society called the Pythagorean brotherhood (it was an academy for the study of philosophy, mathematics and natural science; it was also a society with secret rites).

The Pythagoreans believed in the special role of “whole number” as the foundation of all natural phenomena. The Pythagoreans gave us 2 important results: Pythagoras theorem, and more importantly (albeit reluctantly), the irrational quantities (which struck a blow against the supremacy of the whole numbers).

Euler

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 A founding father to many branches of mathematics. He lived in the generation that followed Newton and Leibniz. Modern calculus textbooks derive from his works on calculus. He is also responsible for many modern symbols, such as f(x), e, i, π. and ultimately he paved the way for modern mathematics and all its revelations. It is probably no coincidence that industry and technological developments rapidly increased around this time.

Carl Friedrich Gauss

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 Carl Friedrich is regarded as one of the greatest mathematicians of all time. He was a pioneer in many areas of modern mathematics. His biographer G. Waldo Dunnington wrote: “No other name in nineteenth-century mathematics has received recognition equal that of Gauss. His standing in physics and astronomy was perhaps slightly less. Contemporary scholars recognised his unconditional intellectual superiority in his own field.  It was Gauss who gave the first genuine proof of the fundamental theorem of algebra—that every algebraic equation with complex coefficients has at least one root that is a complex number. He also worked in observational astronomy, surveying, geodesy, capillarity, geomagnetism, electromagnetism, optics and the design of scientific instruments. He discovered the Gaussian error curve and also the method of least squares, which he used in his geodesic work.

Rene Descartes

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Rene Descartes was born on March 31, 1569 in La Haye, France. He used a sophisticated symbolic algebra to show how algebra formulas can be used to solve geometry problems and how algebra problems can be solved with geometry. Descartes is best known for developing analytic geometry and thus the beginning of the modern era of mathematics. This can be traced back to a November 10, 1619, when Descartes had three vivid dreams. From these dreams Descartes derived “ is that the key to understanding nature was to apply algebra to geometry and thereby use mathematics to unlock the secrets of the universe”. Descartes would not publish his method until eighteen years later. Finally in 1637, his friend convinced him to publish Method and analytic geometry was given to the world.

These famous mathematicians taught us the value of numbers and their importance in our daily lives. Each contributed to a very important part of maths whether it is for algebra, geometry or for probability & statistics.

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