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Famous Mathematicians Archimedes, Euclid, Sir Isaac Newton, Pythagoras, Blaise Pascal, Carl Gauss, Aryabhatta, Ramanujam - find

out about the works of these famous mathematicians.

Ads by Google Become a Published Author We want to read your book. What are you waiting for? Submit today. CBSE 4-12, ICSE 6-10 Free NCERT Solution, All Subjects. Solved Board Papers, Lessons, Video Circle Geometry Class VI to X Study CBSE Maths / Science Syllabus from Home. Register free The contributions in the subject of mathematics of some famous mathematicians are furnished below. Archimedes Archimedes is remembered as the greatest mathematician of the ancient era. He contributed significantly in geometry regarding the areas of plane figures and the areas as well as volumes of curved surfaces. His works expected integral calculus almost 2000 years before it was invented by Sir Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm

von Leibniz. He also proved that the volume of a sphere is equal to two-thirds the volume of a circumscribed cylinder. He regarded this as his most vital accomplishment. So, he desired that a cylinder circumscribing a sphere ought to be inscribed on his tomb. He found an approximate value of pi by circumscribing and inscribing a circle with regular polygons of 96 sides. His works have original ideas, impressive demonstrations and excellent computational techniques. Some of these which have survived are:

on the sphere and cylinder measurement of a circle on conoids and spheroids on spirals on plane equilibriums the sand reckoner quadrature of the parabola on floating bodies stomachion

Euclid Euclid is the most famous mathematician of all time. "Euclid's Elements" is divided into 13 books.

the initial six are related to plane geometry seven, eight and nine are pertaining to number theory number ten is regarding Eudoxus's theory of irrational numbers eleven to thirteen comprise of solid geometry the last part throws light on the properties of five regular polyhedrons and an evidence that there can be maximum five of these

These Elements have an impressive clarity regarding the selection and order of the theorems and problems. There are minimum assumptions, less extraneous material and an excellent logic in the propositions. The Elements was first published in 1482. The other works of Euclid which survive are:

optics phaenomena on divisions of figures


The works of Euclid that have not survived are:

elements of music book of fallacies conics porisms surface loci

Sir Isaac Newton Newton created the basis for elementary differential and integral calculus during the plague years. This occurred several years prior to its independent discovery by the German mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz. He called it as the method of fluxions. He proposed that the integration of a function is the opposite procedure of its differentiation. Using differentiation as a basic operation, he developed simple analytical methods concerning issues like finding areas, lengths of curves, areas, maxima and minima. Newton is credited for development of a potent problem solving and analysis tool in pure mathematics and physics. Pythagoras He was a Greek mathematician. His belief was that all relations could be expressed as number relations i.e. all things are numbers. He deduced this conclusion due to observations in mathematics, music and astronomy. The Pythagorean theorem is thought to be first proved by the Pythagoreans. However, it is thought that this was known in Babylonia, where Pythagoras traveled in his young days. The Pythagoreans also observed that vibrating strings created harmonious tones if the ratios of the length of the strings are whole numbers. These ratios could be extended to other devices also. The important discovery was that the diagonal of a square was not an integral multiple of its side. This led to the proof of existence of irrational numbers. Blaise Pascal The French mathematician had been involved in imaginative and subtle work in geometry and other branches of mathematics. In 1645, Pascal invented the first calculating machine and sold it. His work in hydrostatics led to the invention of the syringe and hydraulic press. In 1647, he published an essay on conic sections

using the methods of Gerard Desargues and deserted the field of mathematics. However, later he developed an interest in probability due to his involvement in gambling. Carl Friedrich Gauss Gauss was a German mathematician. While he attended Caroline college from 1792 to 1795, he formulated the least-squared method and a surmise on the distribution of prime numbers amongst all numbers. In 1795, he discovered the basic theorem of quadratic residues relating to the concept of congruence in number theory. In 1796, he proved the possibility of constructing a 17-sided regular polygon with the help of a ruler and compass only. In 1799, his dissertation revealed the first evidence of the fundamental theorem of algebra. In 1801, his treatise Disquisitiones arithmeticae set a basis for future research and enabled Gauss to have a major recognition amongst mathematicians. His became very popular when he correctly predicted where the asteroid Ceres would reappear by calculating the orbit by an improved theory. Aryabhatta "Aryabhatiya" is the name of Aryabhatta's work. There are an introductory 13 verses followed by 108 verses, all of them divided into 4 chapters. Aryabhatta found out the approximate value of pi and writes about it in the second part of his works (Ganitapada 10). It is possible that he found out that pi is irrational. In Ganitapada 6, he mentions the formula to calculate the value of a triangle. He developed the "Kuttaka" method to solve first order Diophantine equations. This is termed as the "Aryabhatta algorithm". The number place-value system was obviously present in his work. Later, this system was noticed in the 3rd century Bakhshali manuscript. Georges Ifrah, the French mathematician, states that the number "zero" was implicit in this system. Ramanujam Srinivasa Ramanujan Iyengar contributed to number theory, mathematical analysis, infinite series and continued fractions. He was a great Indian mathematical genius of the 20th century. He compiled about 3900 results that were original and highly unconventional. The Ramanujan prime and the Ramanujan theta function have lead to a tremendous further research. A few major discoveries entered the mathematical mainstream a bit slowly.

After his death, his formulae were found useful in string theory and crystallography. The Ramanujan Journal is an international publication that publishes his works concerning those areas that have been influenced by them. Some other famous mathematicians are:

Stefan Banach Georg Cantor Joseph Fourier John von Neumann Brook Taylor

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Archimedes was a great mathematician of ancient times. His greatest contributions were in geometry. He also spent some time in Egypt, where he invented the machine now called Archimedes' screw, which was a

mechanical water pump. Among his most famous works is Measurement of the Circle, where he determined the exact value of pi between the two fractions, 3 10/71 and 3 1/7. He got this information by inscribing and circumscribing a circle with a 96-sided regular polygon. Archimedes made many contributions to geometry in his work on the areas of plane figures and on the areas of area and volumes of curved surfaces. His methods started the idea for calculus which was "invented" 2,000 years later by Sir Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz. Archimedes proved that the volume of an inscribed sphere is two-thirds the volume of a circumscribed cylinder. He requested that this formula/diagram be inscribed on his tomb. His works (that survived) include: Measurement of a Circle On the Sphere and Cylinder On Spirals The Sand Reckoner The Romans highest numeral was a myriad (10,000). Archimedes was not content to use that as the biggest number, so he decided to conduct an experiment using large numbers. The question: How many grains of sand there are in the universe? He made up a system to measure the sand. While solving this problem, Archimedes discovered something called powers. The answer to Archimedes' question was one with 62 zeros after it (1 x 1062).. When numbers are multiplied by themselves, they are called powers.

Some powers of two are: 1 = 0 power=20 2 = 1st power=21 2 x 2 = 2nd power (squared)=22 2 x 2 x 2= 3rd power (cubed)=23 2 x 2 x 2 x 2= 4th power=24 There are short ways to write exponents. For example, a short way to write 81 is 34.This is read as three to the fourth power. On Plane Equilibriums On Floating Bodies This problem was after Archimedes had solved the problem of King Hieros gold crown. He experimented with liquids. He discovered density and specific gravity.


Copernicus, Nicolaus (1473-1543), Polish astronomer, best known for his astronomical theory that the sun is at rest near the center of the universe, and that the earth, spinning on its axis once daily, revolves annually around the sun. This is called the heliocentric, or sun-centered, system. See Astronomy; Solar System. Early Life and Education Copernicus was born on February 19, 1473, in Thorn (now Torun), Poland, to a family of merchants and municipal officials. Copernicus's maternal uncle, Bishop Lukasz Watzenrode, saw to it that his nephew obtained a solid education at the best universities. Copernicus entered

Jagiellonian University in 1491, studied the liberal arts for four years without receiving a degree, and then, like many Poles of his social class, went to Italy to study medicine and law. Before he left, his uncle had him appointed a church administrator in Frauenberg (now Frombork); this was a post with financial responsibilities but no priestly duties. In January 1497 Copernicus began to study canon law at the University of Bologna while living in the home of a mathematics professor, Domenico Maria de Novara. Copernicus's geographical and astronomical interests were greatly stimulated by Domenico Maria, an early critic of the accuracy of the Geography of the 2nd-century astronomer Ptolemy. Together, the two men observed the occultation (the eclipse by the moon) of the star Aldebaran on March 9, 1497. In 1500 Copernicus lectured on astronomy in Rome. The following year he gained permission to study medicine at Padua, the university where Galileo taught nearly a century later. It was not unusual at the time to study a subject at one university and then to receive a degree from anotheroften less expensiveinstitution. And so Copernicus, without completing his medical studies, received a doctorate in canon law from Ferrara in 1503 and then returned to Poland to take up his administrative duties. Return to Poland From 1503 to 1510, Copernicus lived in his uncle's bishopric palace in Lidzbark Warminski, assisting in the administration of the diocese and in the conflict against the Teutonic Knights. There he published his first book, a Latin translation of letters on morals by a 7th-century Byzantine writer,

Theophylactus of Simocatta. Sometime between 1507 and 1515, he completed a short astronomical treatise, De Hypothesibus Motuum Coelestium a se Constitutis Commentariolus (known as the Commentariolus), which was not published until the 19th century. In this work he laid down the principles of his new heliocentric astronomy. After moving to Frauenburg in 1512, Copernicus took part in the Fifth Lateran Council's commission on calendar reform in 1515; wrote a treatise on money in 1517; and began his major work, De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres), which was finished by 1530 but was first published by a Lutheran printer in Nuremberg, Germany, just before Copernicus's death in 1543. Early 16th-Century Cosmology The cosmology that was eventually replaced by Copernican theory postulated a geocentric universe in which the earth was stationary and motionless at the center of several concentric, rotating spheres. These spheres bore (in order from the earth outward) the following celestial bodies: the moon, Mercury, Venus, the sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. The finite outermost sphere bore the so-called fixed stars. (This last sphere was said to wobble slowly, thereby producing the precession of the equinoxes; see Ecliptic.) One phenomenon had posed a particular problem for cosmologists and natural philosophers since ancient times: the apparent retrograde (backward) motion of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. From time to time the daily motion of these planets

through the sky appears to halt and then to proceed in the opposite direction. In an attempt to account for this retrograde motion, medieval cosmology stated that each planet revolved on the edge of a circle called the epicycle, and the center of each epicycle revolved around the earth on a path called the deferent (see Ptolemaic System). The Copernican System and Its Influence The major premises of Copernicus's theory are that the earth rotates daily on its axis and revolves yearly around the sun. He argued, furthermore, that the planets also circle the sun, and that the earth precesses on its axis (wobbles like a top) as it rotates. The Copernican theory retained many features of the cosmology it replaced, including the solid, planet-bearing spheres, and the finite outermost sphere bearing the fixed stars. On the other hand, Copernicus's heliocentric theories of planetary motion had the advantage of accounting for the apparent daily and yearly motion of the sun and stars, and it neatly explained the apparent retrograde motion of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn and the fact that Mercury and Venus never move more than a certain distance from the sun. Copernicus's theory also stated that the sphere of the fixed stars was stationary. Another important feature of Copernican theory is that it allowed a new ordering of the planets according to their periods of revolution. In Copernicus's universe, unlike Ptolemy's, the greater the radius of a planet's orbit, the greater the time the planet takes to make one circuit around the sun. But the price of accepting the concept of a moving earth was too high for most 16thcentury readers who understood

Copernicus's claims. In addition, Copernicus's calculations of astronomical positions were neither decisively simpler nor more accurate than those of his predecessors, even though his heliocentric theory made good physical sense, for the first time, of planetary movements. As a result, parts of his theory were adopted, while the radical core was ignored or rejected. There were but ten Copernicans between 1543 and 1600. Most worked outside the universities in princely, royal, or imperial courts; the most famous were Galileo and the German astronomer Johannes Kepler. These men often differed in their reasons for supporting the Copernican system. In 1588 an important middle position was developed by the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe in which the earth remained at rest and all the planets revolved around the sun as it revolved around the earth. After the suppression of Copernican theory occasioned by the ecclesiastical trial of Galileo in 1633, some Jesuit philosophers remained secret followers of Copernicus. Many others adopted the geocentricheliocentric system of Brahe. By the late 17th century and the rise of the system of celestial mechanics propounded by the English natural philosopher Sir Isaac Newton, most major thinkers in England, France, the Netherlands, and Denmark were Copernicans. Natural philosophers in the other European countries, however, held strong anti-Copernican views for at least another century. Euclid

Euclid is one of the most influential and

best read mathematician of all time. His prize work, Elements, was the textbook of elementary geometry and logic up to the early twentieth century. For his work in the field, he is known as the father of geometry and is considered one of the great Greek mathematicians. Very little is known about the life of Euclid. Both the dates and places of his birth and death are unknown. It is believed that he was educated at Plato's academy in Athens and stayed there until he was invited by Ptolemy I to teach at his newly founded university in Alexandria. There, Euclid founded the school of mathematics and remained there for the rest of his life. As a teacher, he was probably one of the mentors to Archimedes. Personally, all accounts of Euclid describe him as a kind, fair, patient man who quickly helped and praised the works of others. However, this did not stop him from engaging in sarcasm. One story relates that one of his students complained that he had no use for any of the mathematics he was learning. Euclid quickly called to his slave to give the boy a coin because "he must make gain out of what he learns." Another story relates that Ptolemy asked the mathematician if there was some easier way to learn geometry than by learning all the theorems. Euclid replied, "There is no royal road to geometry" and sent the king to study. Euclid's fame comes from his writings, especially his masterpiece Elements. This 13 volume work is a compilation of Greek mathematics and geometry. It is unknown how much if any of the work included in Elements is Euclid's original work; many of the theorems found can be traced to previous thinkers including Euxodus,

Thales, Hippocrates and Pythagoras. However, the format of Elements belongs to him alone. Each volume lists a number of definitions and postulates followed by theorems, which are followed by proofs using those definitions and postulates. Every statement was proven, no matter how obvious. Euclid chose his postulates carefully, picking only the most basic and self-evident propositions as the basis of his work. Before, rival schools each had a different set of postulates, some of which were very questionable. This format helped standardize Greek mathematics. As for the subject matter, it ran the gamut of ancient thought. The subjects include: the transitive property, the Pythagorean theorem, algebraic identities, circles, tangents, plane geometry, the theory of proportions, prime numbers, perfect numbers, properties of positive integers, irrational numbers, 3-D figures, inscribed and circumscribed figures, LCD, GCM and the construction of regular solids. Especially noteworthy subjects include the method of exhaustion, which would be used by Archimedes in the invention of integral calculus, and the proof that the set of all prime numbers is infinite. Elements was translated into both Latin and Arabic and is the earliest similar work to survive, basically because it is far superior to anything previous. The first printed copy came out in 1482 and was the geometry textbook and logic primer by the 1700s. During this period Euclid was highly respected as a mathematician and Elements was considered one of the greatest mathematical works of all time. The publication was used in schools up to 1903. Euclid also wrote many other works including Data, On Division, Phaenomena, Optics and the lost books Conics and

Porisms. Today, Euclid has lost much of the godlike status he once held. In his time, many of his peers attacked him for being too thorough and including self-evident proofs, such as one side of a triangle cannot be longer than the sum of the other two sides. Today, most mathematicians attack Euclid for the exact opposite reason that he was not thorough enough. In Elements, there are missing areas which were forced to be filled in by following mathematicians. In addition, several errors and questionable ideas have been found. The most glaring one deals with his fifth postulate, also known as the parallel postulate. The proposition states that for a straight line and a point not on the line, there is exactly one line that passes through the point parallel to the original line. Euclid was unable to prove this statement and needing it for his proofs, so he assumed it as true. Future mathematicians could not accept such a statement was unproveable and spent centuries looking for an answer. Only with the onset of non- Euclidean geometry, that replaces the statement with postulates that assume different numbers of parallel lines, has the statement been generally accepted as necessary. However, despite these problems, Euclid holds the distinction of being one of the first persons to attempt to standardize mathematics and set it upon a foundation of proofs. His work acted as a springboard for future generations.


Galileo Galilei was born on February 15, 1564 in Pisa, Italy. Galileo pioneered

"experimental scientific method," and was the first to use a refracting telescope to make important astronomical discoveries. In 1604 Galileo learned of the invention of the telescope in Holland. From the barest description he constructed a vastly superior model. With it he made a series of profound discoveries, including the moons of planet Jupiter and the phases of the planet Venus (similar to those of Earth's moon). As a professor of astronomy at University of Pisa, Galileo was required to teach the accepted theory of his time that the sun and all the planets revolved around the Earth. Later at University of Padua he was exposed to a new theory, proposed by Nicolaus Copernicus, that the Earth and all the other planets revolved around the sun. Galileo's observations with his new telescope convinced him of the truth of Copernicus's sun-centered or heliocentric theory. Galileo's support for the heliocentric theory got him into trouble with the Roman Catholic Church. In 1633 the Inquisition convicted him of heresy and forced him to recant (publicly withdraw) his support of Copernicus. They sentenced him to life imprisonment, but because of his advanced age allowed him serve his term under house arrest at his villa outside of Florence, Italy. Galileo's originality as a scientist lay in his method of inquiry. First he reduced problems to a simple set of terms on the basis of everyday experience and commonsense logic. Then he analyzed and resolved them according to simple mathematical descriptions. The success with which he applied this technique to the analysis of motion opened the way for modern

mathematical and experimental physics. Isaac Newton used one of Galileo's mathematical descriptions, "The Law of Inertia," as the foundation for his "First Law of Motion." Galileo died in 1642, the year of Newton's birth. Newton

Isaac Newton (1642-1727) is perhaps the most famous Lucasian Professor of Mathematics. He is probably best known to the average person because of the story of the falling apple and its relationship to the discovery of gravity. Newton discovered the force of gravity, and today the search is for its carrier: gravity waves. The years in between are a fascinating scientific story, detailed in a book edited by the current Lucasian professor, Stephen Hawking, Three Hundred Years of Gravitation. Newton arrived at Cambridge in 1661, was elected scholar in 1664, graduated BA in 1664/5 in a class of twenty-six from Trinity, and made MA in 1668. During a wonderful surge of scientific production Newton produced three great achievements in the short space of two years. The first great achievement was the invention of fluxions, which resulted in calculus. He used this knowledge to advance his other work. Newton's second great achievement was the discovery of the law of the composition of light, later used in the development of optics. His third great achievement, the discovery of the universal force of gravity, was the basis for the Principia , his ultimate achievement. Newton served as a member of Parliament

representing the university. He took the Lucasian Chair in 1669. He was elected to the Royal Society in 1672, and elected president of the Royal Society in 1703, the year after he retired from the Lucasian professorship. He was knighted in 1705 at Trinity by Queen Anne. Later in life, Newton continued to achieve and was awarded numerous honors. He left Cambridge for London while still Lucasian professor. He was appointed Warden of the Mint in 1696 and Master of the Mint in 1699, when he led the effort for a recoinage. A milestone event in Newton's life was the controversy with Leibniz. The Leibniz controversy is a low point in the history of science, revolving around the question of who was to receive the credit for the invention of calculus. It seems clear that each discovered it independently, but Newton somewhat earlier. Today we have adopted the notation created by Leibniz because it is easier to use and understand. Newton's notation is blamed for holding back the development of mathematics in England for a century. While it is not uncommon for controversies of this nature to develop, most are not as tangled and acrimonious as this one became. The facts are not as clear as one would like, but it seems that during the initial stages in the development of calculus, when Newton and Leibniz were on good terms, letters from Newton to Leibniz contained hints of the fluxions. Newton is credited with the earliest discovery, but he asserted that no one should share in the honor of the discovery, implying that Leibniz had completely stolen his ideas. This naturally did not sit well with Leibniz, nor with his

supporters. Leibniz developed a method of his own, perhaps with help from Newton's hints, but Leibniz created a more general method, more easily learned than Newton's. Both men were diminished somewhat by this controversy, with negative consequences for British mathematics, whose practitioners followed Newton out of blind loyalty. He had left Cambridge to avoid the plague in 1665 eturning in 1667, as did many others. Cambridge dismissed everyone in the summer of 1665 and again in the summer of 1666 due to the severity of the plague. Newton's relationship with Isaac Barrow is important but not entirely clear. As a student at Trinity, he seems to have been required to attend Barrow's lectures, with some evidence that he was present at least twice. There is also a story about Barrow's examination of Newton that found Newton wanting in his mastery of Euclid. This story has been relegated to that of a myth by several later Newton scholars. Newton's own notes indicate his study of Euclid took place in his first two years at Cambridge, before this examination allegedly took place. It is an accepted fact that Barrow vacated the Chair in favor of Newton, who at that time had demonstrated his capabilities and impressed Barrow. Barrow acknowledged in his published lectures Newton's help on the manuscript, calling Newton a great genius. Newton's monumental work Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (1687) forever changed science, providing the basis for the modern understanding of the universe. The Principia is composed of three books. The first and second books present the laws and conditions of motions

and forces. The third deduces the constitution of the universe from the principles offered in books one and two. The first book deals with the general dynamics in ideal conditions, that is with no friction. The second book deals mainly with fluids and friction.