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Johann Carl Friedrich GAUSS

Mathematician of the millennium

Mathematics is known as the "queen of sciences," and Gauss is widely regarded as the most influential mathematician of the past 1000 years. Some even call him the greatest mathematician of all time, but it seems difficult to compare mathematical achievements of recent centuries to those of the ancient Greeks. Some settle for the more modest title ``greatest mathematician since antiquity.''

Today, students of all technical disciplines are required to take math classes, in particular, analysis, linear algebra, and statistics. In all of these fields, essential results and methods are due to Gauss: the fundamental theorem of algebra, Gauss elimination, the method of least squares, the Gaussian distribution of statistics, etc.

The ``prince of math'' also pioneered differential geometry, number theory (his favorite subject), and non-Euclidean geometry.

Furthermore, he made major contributions to astronomy and physics. The basic unit of magnetism is 1 Gauss.

Bio highlights:

1777: Born in Brunswick
1798: Construction of a regular 17-gon by ruler and compass, first major advance in this field for 2000 years
1799: Dissertation on fundamental theorem of algebra
1801: Gains fame by correctly predicting the position of asteroid Ceres, after developing basics of pattern recognition
1809: Treatise on the motion of celestial bodies
Early 1800s: Non- Euclidean geometry (later publications by Bolyai). Discussion of statistical estimators. Geodesy / Heliotrope
1828: Main work on differential geometry; Gaussian curvature
1830s: Theory of magnetism
1855: Dies in Göttingen

Archimedes, greatest scientist ever

Did you note the bell-shaped Gaussian curve on this 10DM note?