## 1777 – Gauss – bio

“Mathematics is the queen of sciences and number theory the queen of mathematics. She often condescends to render service to astronomy and other natural sciences, but in all relations she is entitled to the first rank.”

Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss was born in Braunschweig, Germany in 1777. He made great contributions to mathematics, but was also an astronomer and did some work with magnetism and optics.

In 1796 at the age of 19, he discovered a method to construct a regular 17 sided polygon using only a compass and ruler.

In 1801, he published a book that introduced modular arithmetic. This later became significant in group theory, cryptography and several other fields.

Gauss claimed to have worked on non-Euclidean geometries but never published his work. Janos Bolyai gained credit for this discovery when he published his work in 1832. Gauss did a lot of work with number theory and also on construction methods of polygons. When Ceres was discovered in 1801, he was able to use a “least squares” approximation method to calculate its orbit and accurately predict where to find it next.

He worked on an equation to describe the distribution of prime numbers which included the zeta function later made famous in the Riemann Hypothesis.

Gauss invented the heliotrope which used mirrors and a small telescope to perform surveying measurements.

Differential geometry studies three dimensional curves and surfaces using calculus. Theorema Egregium (“Remarkable Theorem”) by Gauss says that the curvature of a surface can be determined by measuring angles and distance without regard to the space in which it is embedded.

“You know that I write slowly. This is chiefly because I am never satisfied until I have said as much as possible in a few words, and writing briefly takes far more time than writing at length.”

PRECURSOR:
-0325 – Euclid
-0276 – Eratosthenes
1596 – Descartes
1601 – Fermat
1643 – Newton
1707 – Euler
1717 – d’Alembert

CONCURRENT:
1746 – Piazzi
1752 – Legendre
1768 – Fourier
1775 – Bolyai (Farkas)
1781 – Poisson
1792 – Lobachevsky
1802 – Bolyai (Janos)
1804 – Weber
1805 – Dirichlet
1829 – Non-Euclidean geometry
1838 – telegraph

SUBSEQUENT:
1809 – Grassman
1824 – Kirchoff
1826 – Riemann
1831 – Maxwell
1845 – Clifford
1849 – Klein
1879 – Einstein
1885 – Kaluza
1906 – Weil

Timeline of Group Theory