CARL FRIEDRICH GAUSS
\kˈɑːl fɹˈiːdɹɪt͡ʃ ɡˈa͡ʊs], \kˈɑːl fɹˈiːdɹɪtʃ ɡˈaʊs], \k_ˈɑː_l f_ɹ_ˈiː_d_ɹ_ɪ_tʃ ɡ_ˈaʊ_s]\
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A German mathematician (1777  1855), one of all timegreatest. Gauss discovered the method of least squares andGaussian elimination.Gauss was something of a child prodigy; the most commonly toldstory relates that when he was 10 his teacher, wanting a rest,told his class to add up all the numbers from 1 to 100. Gaussdid it in seconds, having noticed that 1+...+100 = 100+...+1 = (101+...+101)/2.He did important work in almost every area of mathematics.Such eclecticism is probably impossible today, since furtherprogress in most areas of mathematics requires much hardbackground study.Some idea of the range of his work can be obtained by notingthe many mathematical terms with "Gauss" in their names. E.g.Gaussian elimination (linear algebra); Gaussian primes(number theory); Gaussian distribution (statistics); Gauss[unit] (electromagnetism); Gaussian curvature (differentialgeometry); Gaussian quadrature (numerical analysis);GaussBonnet formula (differential geometry); Gauss'sidentity (hypergeometric functions); Gauss sums (numbertheory).His favourite area of mathematics was number theory. Heconjectured the Prime Number Theorem, pioneered the theoryof quadratic forms, proved the quadratic reciprocitytheorem, and much more.He was "the first mathematician to use complex numbers in areally confident and scientific way" (Hardy & Wright, chapter12).He nearly went into architecture rather than mathematics; whatdecided him on mathematics was his proof, at age 18, of thestartling theorem that a regular Nsided polygon can beconstructed with ruler and compasses if and only if N is apower of 2 times a product of distinct Fermat primes.
By Denis Howe
Word of the day
impressio duodenalis
 A slight depression lower surface right lobe the liver, in relation below with descending portion of duodenum.