algebra

Diophantus of Alexandria – the father of Algebra

Diophantus of Alexandria – the father of Algebra

Probably sometime between AD 201 and 215, Alexandrian Greek mathematician Diophantus of Alexandria was born. He is often referred to as the father of algebra. He is the author of a series of books called Arithmetica, many of which are now lost, which deal with solving algebraic equations. Diophantus was the first Greek mathematician who recognized fractions as numbers; thus he allowed positive rational numbers for the coefficients and solutions. The name…
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Emil Artin and Algebraic Number Theory

Emil Artin and Algebraic Number Theory

On March 3, 1898, Austrian mathematician Emil Artin was born. Artin was one of the leading mathematicians of the twentieth century. He is best known for his work on algebraic number theory, contributing largely to class field theory and a new construction of L-functions. He also contributed to the pure theories of rings, groups and fields. Early Years Emil Artin was born in Vienna to parents Emma Maria Artin, a soubrette on…
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Francois Viète and the Foundations of Algebra

Francois Viète and the Foundations of Algebra

On February 23, 1603, French mathematician François Viète passed away. Viète‘s work on a  algebra was an important step towards modern algebra, due to its innovative use of letters as parameters in equations. He was a lawyer by trade, and served as a privy councillor to both Henry III and Henry IV. Francois Viète – Early Years Vieta was born at Fontenay-le-Comte, in western France about 50 km east of the coastal town of…
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Lodovico Ferrari and the quartic equations

Lodovico Ferrari and the quartic equations

On February 2, 1522, Italian mathematician Lodovico Ferrari was born, who was the first to find an algebraic solution to the biquadratic, or quartic equation. Lodovico Ferrari – Early Years Born in Bologna, Italy, Lodovico’s grandfather, Bartholomew Ferrari, was forced out of Milan to Bologna. Lodovico settled in Bologna, Italy and by chance, he was able to start his career as servant of one of the most famous mathematicians of the time,…
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Richard Dedekind and the Real Numbers

Richard Dedekind and the Real Numbers

On October 6, 1831, German mathematician Julius Wilhelm Richard Dedekind was born. He is known for making important contributions to abstract algebra (particularly ring theory), algebraic number theory and the foundations of the real numbers. “Numbers are the free creation of the human mind.” Richard Dedekind Richard Dedekind – Early Years Richard Dedekind, the son of the Braunschweig lawyer and university teacher Julius Dedekind, attended the Martino-Katharineum Braunschweig and studied mathematics at the Collegium…
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Carl Jacobi and the Elliptic Functions

On December 10, 1804, German mathematician Carl Gustav Jacob Jacobi was born. He made fundamental contributions to elliptic functions, dynamics, differential equations, and number theory. “Any progress in the theory of partial differential equations must also bring about a progress in Mechanics.” – Carl Jacobi, Vorlesungen über Dynamik [Lectures on Dynamics] (1842/3) Carl Jacobi – A Child Prodigy Carl Jacobi was the son of a banker and grew up in a rather…
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Felix Hausdorff and the Basic Principles of Set Theory

Felix Hausdorff and the Basic Principles of Set Theory

On November 8, 1868, German mathematician Felix Hausdorff was born. He is considered a co-founder of general topology and made significant contributions to general and descriptive set theory, measure theory, functional analysis and algebra. In addition to his profession, he also worked as a philosophical writer and literary figure under the pseudonym Paul Mongré. Felix Hausdorff – Early Years Felix Hausdorff was born in Breslau, Kingdom of Prussia, today Wroclaw in Poland. Hausdorff’s…
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William Hamilton and the Invention of Quaterions

William Hamilton and the Invention of Quaterions

On August 4, 1805, Irish physicist, astronomer, and mathematician William Rowan Hamilton was born. He made important contributions to classical mechanics, optics, and algebra, but is perhaps best known as the inventor of quaternions, a number system that extends the complex numbers. ‘This young man, I do not say will be, but is, the first mathematician of his age.’ (Astronomer Bishop Dr. John Brinkley about 18-year-old Hamilton) At Age 13 Hamilton spoke…
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Carl Friedrich Gauss – The Prince of Mathematicians

Carl Friedrich Gauss – The Prince of Mathematicians

On April 30, 1777, German mathematician and physical scientist Carl Friedrich Gauss was born. He contributed significantly to many fields, including number theory, algebra, statistics, analysis, differential geometry, geodesy, geophysics, electrostatics, astronomy and optics. He is often referred to as Princeps mathematicorum (Latin, “the Prince of Mathematicians”) as well as “greatest mathematician since antiquity”. “Mathematics is the Queen of Science, and Arithmetic is the Queen of Mathematics” – handed down in Wolfgang Sartorius…
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Only the Good Die Young – the Very Short Life of Évariste Galois

Only the Good Die Young – the Very Short Life of Évariste Galois

On June 1st, 1832, French mathematician Évariste Galois was killed in a duel. He was only 20 years of age. He left an elaborate manuscript three years earlier, in which he established that an algebraic equation is solvable by radicals, if and only if the group of permutations of its roots has a certain structure, thereby solving a problem standing for 350 years. But why did he have to die so young? Just because…
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