TOP Google searches in the US (in April, 2018) : Know About Johann Carl Friedrich Gausß
Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss: Why Google honours him today
Johann Carl Friedrich Gausß: Who was Germany’s ‘Prince of Mathematicians’? : TOP 100 Google searches in the US,Know About Johann Carl Friedrich Gausß
The ‘Prince of Mathematicians’ is hailed for contributions to number theory, geometry, probability theory and astronomy. – TOP 100 Google searches in the US,Know About Johann Carl Friedrich Gausß
Born 241 years ago on April 30, Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss is often described as the “Prince of Mathematicians” and hailed for his contributions to number theory, geometry, probability theory and astronomy.
In the German mathematician’s honour, Google is changing its logo in 28 countries to a doodle of him and his achievements.
This is his story:
- Gauss was born in 1777 in Brunswick to poor, working-class parents.
- His mother, who was illiterate, never recorded her son’s birthday. However, she recalled that he had been born on a Wednesday, eight days after the Feast of Ascension, 40 days after Easter.
- So, Gauss used that information to determine his birthday, developing his algorithm for calculating the date of Easter during the 1700s or 1800s.
- His father was a gardener and regarded as an upright, honest man. However, he was known for being harsh and discouraging his son from attending school.
- Gauss’s mother was the one who recognised his talents and insisted that he develop them through education.
- He was described as a child prodigy, and he often said he could count before he could talk. At the age of seven, he is said to have amused his teachers by adding the integers from one to 100 almost instantly.
- While still a young teenager, he became the first person to prove the Law of Quadratic Reciprocity, a math theory determining whether quadratic equations can be solved.
- By the age of 15, his reputation had reached the Duke of Brunswick, and in 1791 he granted him financial assistance to continue his education.
- Gauss entered the Collegium Carolinum in 1792. There, he studied modern and ancient languages.
- For a time, he was undecided on whether to devote his life to mathematics or philology (the study of languages). He chose mathematics, specifically arithmetic, saying famously: “Mathematics is the queen of sciences and arithmetic is the queen of mathematics.”
- Gauss’s first significant discovery was that a regular polygon of 17 sides could be constructed by ruler and compass alone. This was done through analysis of the factorisation of polynomial equations – a revelation that opened the door to other theories.
- By the time he was 21, he had written a textbook on number theory, Disquisitiones Arithmeticae. The text is widely credited for paving the way for modern number theory as we know it. Among other things, it introduced the symbol for congruence.
- His work established him as the era’s pre-eminent mathematician.
- Gauss summarised his views on the pursuit of knowledge in a letter dated September 2, 1808, as follows:
- “It is not knowledge, but the act of learning, not possession but the act of getting there, which grants the greatest enjoyment. When I have clarified and exhausted a subject, then I turn away from it, in order to go into darkness again.”
It is not knowledge, but the act of learning, not possession but the act of getting there, which grants the greatest enjoyment
- Gauss married Johanna Osthoff in 1805 and had two children with her. She died four years later, and the couple’s youngest child, Louis, died the year after.
- After his wife’s death, Gauss sank into a depression from which he never fully recovered.
- In 1810, Gauss married Minna Waldeck, his first wife’s best friend, and had three more children with her. She took over the household and cared for him and his family.
- In 1831, Gauss developed a working relationship with Wilhelm Weber, leading to new knowledge in magnetism and the discovery of Kirchhoff’s circuit laws in electricity.
- They constructed the first electromechanical telegraph in 1833, and later both founded the “Magnetischer Verein”, an observatory which measured the Earth’s magnetic field around the world.
- The mathematician was made a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Science and was also elected a foreign honourary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
- During his life, Gauss had excellent health and a strong constitution. He was never seriously ill, but in the last two years, he suffered from insomnia and several other ailments due to his age.
- He had a heart attack and died on February 23, 1855, surrounded by relatives and friends.
- Gauss’s brain was preserved and studied by Rudolf Wagner, who found its mass to be slightly above average. Highly developed convolutions were also found, which in the early 20th century was suggested as an explanation of his genius.
- After his death, the mathematician was widely honoured. Many streets were named after him.
- In Gottingen, there is the Gauss-Weber monument in honour of the two scientists’ invention of the telegraph.
- Berlin’s Potsdam bridge also features a monument to Gauss.
- His centenary was widely celebrated in Germany on April 30, 1877.
- Gauss’s portrait was featured on the German 10-mark banknote. Germany has also issued three postage stamps honouring him. One appeared in 1955 on the 100th anniversary of his death.
Soon after the dwarf planet Ceres was discovered in 1801, it was lost. The massive object within the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter had traveled behind the sun, but astronomers hadn’t had a chance to calculate its orbit. Enter Johann Carl Friedrich Gauß (or Gauss), who used math to find the lost Ceres and is honored today with a Google Doodle on what would be his 241st birthday.
Born in 1777 in Germany, Gauss quickly rose to become one of the most prominent mathematicians of his time — and was sometimes called “the prince of mathematics.” As a child, Gauss impressed teachers with his ability to add every single whole number from 1 to 100 in an instant. And by age 24, when he found the lost Ceres, he had already discovered that any 17-sided figure with sides of equal length could be sketched with just a ruler and compass. (This is more significant than it might seem: The discovery rested on some very tricky mathuniting algebra and geometry.) He had also completed an impressive doctoral dissertation on a proof of the fundamental theorem of algebra.
The discovery of Ceres was important. Back in the 1500s, Johannes Kepler himself was mystified by the lack of a planet between Mars and Jupiter. The gap was so large, it was said to have “offended Kepler’s sense of proportion.” Ceres helped validate Kepler’s suspicion that there was a planetary body inside that gap.
When Ceres was lost behind the sun, Gauss did some quick math to find it. Giuseppe Piazzi, the Italian monk who discovered Ceres, had only observed it for 41 days before falling ill and losing it in the brightness of the sun. Imagine seeing a tiny sliver of a line and being asked to draw the ellipse that line was a part of — that was the mathematical challenge.
Gauss took it on, writing that the problem of orbiting celestial bodies “commended itself to mathematicians by its difficulty and elegance.” He saw a profound importance in the work of “discovering in the heavens this planetary atom, among innumerable small stars.”
The math here is so tricky because Gauss only had observations of Ceres’s motion in relation to the Earth. To figure out its orbit, he needed to deduce Ceres’s motion in relation to the sun. A 1978 history of Gauss’s work explained what he did:
Gauss worked from the assumption that Ceres’s orbit was elliptical with the Sun at a focus, and used his mathematical skill to calculate six theoretical quantities, or elements. These, in effect, replaced the three observed positions from which they had been derived. However, they had a more general significance; for they uniquely specified the size, shape, and orientation of the orbit in space, from which the celestial position of Ceres in it could be calculated at any past or future time.
French astronomers rediscovered Ceres in January 1802, looking where Gauss predicted it would be.
After his feat with Ceres, Gauss continued to make impressive findings in math, physics, and astronomy. In statistics, he introduced the world to the idea of the normal distribution (the bell curve). And he contributed to research in electricity and magnetism that led to the invention of the telegraph.
Gauss, who died in 1855, was a rare genius who contributed to discoveries both in the skies above and for our everyday lives.