Math Blog 3: The Incredible Carl Friedrich Gauss

Carl Gauss, 1777-1855.

From the very young age of three till the end of his life he was doing math. He accomplished much from proving things about patterns in the primes to inventing new geometries. This man is also known as the "Prince of Mathematics" as he contributed so much to the study of number theory and just all around mathematics. 

His beginnings were with his working class family, where he was managing the books as a mere 5 year old. The Duke in the area realized his potential and sent him to college, and provided him a stipend while he conducted his research. Later in life he worked with the physicist Wilhelm Weber to study magnetism and electricity. He was married twice, and had six children. 

Gauss contributed to many branches of the sciences, an incomplete list of some being: algebra, number theory, statistics, differential geometry, astronomy, and magnetic fields.

He made quite a few progressions in mathematics. At the young age of 15, Gauss proved his result about the distribution of the prime numbers. Also while in college, he created the first ever seen regular 17 sided shape with only a straightedge and compass: the heptadecagon. This lead him to finding a way to construct regular F-gons for all Fermat Primes. This is said to be the discovery that made him choose pursuing mathematics over philosophy. Before leaving college he naturally proved the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra which opened the path for more work to be done with the complex numbers. He also cleaned up some notation for modular arithmetic while developing proofs about it. He claims to have discovered Non-Euclidean geometries but did not publish anything about them out of fear of ridicule. There are far more many things that he accomplished for mathematics alone that I am not including.

For statistics, Gauss also made important discoveries.  He discovered (or rediscovered) the Binomial Theorem while at college (he was much more productive than myself). Further, he took this idea and applied it to find the Normal Distribution which is very often used in statistics.  Also he found the formula for the Hypergeometric distribution. As far as electric fields and magnetism go, he has a law named after him (Gauss' Law) describing the distribution of an electric charge to the created electric field around it. 

This man made so many contributions to science that it is unbelievable. He made all sorts of discoveries in a plethora of scientific fields. Even more amazing is that almost all of them were incredibly useful and had important applications far ahead of Gauss' time.
Image result for gauss signature
(His signature)

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  1. Glad you're writing about Gauss. He deserves some good PR. To be an exemplar, you probably want more content: either a listish paragraph about his may accomplishments, or some depth on one of them. Someone also might wonder what he was like. What's your impression?

    C's: 4/5


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