Carl Friedrich Gauss

Giuseppe Piazzi and the Discovery of Dwarf Planet Ceres

Giuseppe Piazzi and the Discovery of Dwarf Planet Ceres

On January 1, 1801, Italian Catholic priest of the Theatine order, mathematician, and astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi discovered Ceres, today known as the largest member of the asteroid belt. We already had several articles on almost all the planets of the Solar System, including the dwarf planets. [14] As you might know, our Solar System does not only comprise the Sun and the planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Besides…
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Benoît Mandelbrot and the Beauty of Mathematics

Benoît Mandelbrot and the Beauty of Mathematics

On November 20, 1924, French American mathematician Benoît B. Mandelbrot was born. Mandelbrot worked on a wide range of mathematical problems, including mathematical physics and quantitative finance, but is best known as the popularizer of fractal geometry. He was the one who coined the term ‘fractal’ and described the Mandelbrot set named after him. “Clouds are not spheres, mountains are not cones, coastlines are not circles, and bark is not smooth, nor does…
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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, famous French mathematician Évariste Galois was killed in a duel. He was only 20 years of age. And why did he have to die so young? Just because of a girl… Her name was Stéphanie-Félicie Poterine du Motel, the daughter of a physician. But, there have been rumors that the duel has been set up by his political opponents while this could never be proven. His opponent was a…
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Caroline Herschel – The Comet Sweeper

Caroline Herschel – The Comet Sweeper

On January 9, 1848, Caroline Lucretia Herschel, German-British astronomer and sister of astronomer Sir William Herschel, passed away at age 98. She is best know for the discovery of several comets, in particular the periodic comet 35P/Herschel-Rigollet, which bears her name. Early Years Caroline Lucretia Herschel was born in the German town of Hanover on 16 March 1750. She was the eighth child and fourth daughter of Isaac Herschel, a self-taught oboist,…
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Wilhelm Pfeffer – a Pioneer of Plant Physiology

Wilhelm Pfeffer – a Pioneer of Plant Physiology

On March 9, 1845, German botanist and plant physiologist Wilhelm Pfeffer was born. Pfeffer’s work on osmotic pressure made him a pioneer in the study of plant physiology. With Julius von Sachs, he was a leader in systematizing the fundamentals of plant physiology. Youth and Education Wilhelm Pfeffer was the son of a pharmacist. At first he attended the Kurfürstliche Gymnasium in Kassel, then became an apprentice pharmacist and passed the assistant examination…
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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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Nikolai Lobachevsky – The Copernicus of Geometry

Nikolai Lobachevsky – The Copernicus of Geometry

On February 24, 1856, Russian mathematician and geometer Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky passed away. He is known primarily for his work on hyperbolic geometry. Lobachevsky’s main achievement is the development (independently from János Bolyai) of a non-Euclidean geometry, also referred to as Lobachevskian geometry. Nikolai Lobachevsky was born as one of three children either in or near the city of Nizhny Novgorod in Russia in 1792 to parents of Polish origin. His father…
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Ernst Kummer and the Introduction of Ideal Numbers

Ernst Kummer and the Introduction of Ideal Numbers

On January 29, 1810, German mathematician Ernst Eduard Kummer was born. One of his major contributions is the introduction of ideal numbers, which are defined as a special subgroup of a ring, extended the fundamental theorem of arithmetic to complex number fields.He also discovered the fourth order surface based on the singular surface of the quadratic line complex. This Kummer surface has 16 isolated conical double points and 16 singular tangent planes.…
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Janos Bolyai and the Discovery of Non-Euclidian Geometry

Janos Bolyai and the Discovery of Non-Euclidian Geometry

On December 15, 1802, Hungarian mathematician János Bolyai was born. He is most famous for being one of the founders of non-euclidian geometry, a geometry that differs from Euclidean geometry in its definition of parallel lines. Bolyai was born in the Transylvanian town of Kolozsvár (Klausenburg), then part of the Habsburg Empire (now Cluj-Napoca in Romania), the son of Zsuzsanna Benkő and the well-known mathematician Farkas Bolyai. Farkas Bolyai always wanted his…
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Heinrich Olbers and the Olbers’ Paradox

Heinrich Olbers and the Olbers’ Paradox

Heinrich Olbers (1758-1840) On October 11, 1758, German physician and astronomer Heinrich Wilhelm Matthias Olbers was born. Besides his discovery of coments and minor planets, Olbers is best known for his new method to calculate the velocity of falling stars. Maybe you have also heard of the famous Olbers’ paradox, which asks “why is the night sky dark if there are so many bright stars all around to light it?” Heinrich Olbers was born…
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