Brilliant minds around the world are responsible for advancing our understanding of mathematics. Here are some mathematicians from our Word Search, whose work has had a lasting impact:
Known as the father of geometry, the Greek mathematician is best known for his treatise titled Elements. Written around 300 BC. AD, it defines how formal mathematics has been practiced for over 2,000 years. Euclid’s main idea was to start from certain axioms assumed to be true and then use purely deductive methods to establish a set of theorems. Among the 465 theorems he proposed, there are many famous results, such as the Pythagorean theorem, the triangle inequality and the fact that there are an infinite number of prime numbers.
One of the most famous mathematical formulas – the Pythagorean theorem – belongs to the Greek mathematician and philosopher Pythagoras. His influence on later philosophers and the advancement of Greek philosophy is considered enormous. Plato makes reference to Pythagoras in a number of his works, and Aristotle was one of his pupils. The elusive philosopher was known for being secretive and carefully guarding his mathematical processes – a mystique that only added to his reputation.
The Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan was a prodigy in this field and, despite his struggle with poverty at a young age, he rose to the forefront of mathematics in India, and later, in the West. Ramanujan worked out the Riemann series – a paradox that has baffled scholars for decades – and also contributed to elliptic integrals, hypergeometric series and functional equations of the zeta function. All this, without formal university training.
German mathematician Johann Gauss is sometimes referred to as the “princeps mathematicorum” (Latin for “the first of mathematicians”). Gauss is responsible for proving the fundamental theorem of algebra and making significant contributions to number theory. Gauss’s work is also essential to advances in physics – his work led to new insights into magnetism and the discovery of Kirchhoff’s circuit laws in electricity.