This Mathematician Was Just 3 Years Old When He Corrected An Adult's Calculations

Dhir Acharya - Jul 16, 2019, 2:36 pm IST


Johann Carl Gauss, 'Prince of Mathematicians,' was born in 1777 and died in 1855. He made significant contributions to various fields besides Maths.

Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss, 'Prince of Mathematicians,' was born in 1777 and died in 1855. He was a German physicist and mathematician who significantly contributed to a number of fields in both sciences and mathematics, including statistics, optics, number theory, mechanics, matrix theory, magnetic fields, geophysics, geodesy, electrostatics, differential geometry, astronomy, analysis, and algebra. He is also considered one of the most influential mathematicians in history.

Johann-Carl-Friedrich-Gauss-1
Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss

Now, maybe you are familiar with Gauss and his work, maybe you’re not. But let’s look at some of the most interesting facts about this genius.

  1. Gauss was an only child.
  2. Gauss was born to a poor family and his parents were illiterate. However, he was already a prodigy in his childhood, showing signs of brilliance as a toddler.
  3. Thanks to groundbreaking discovery in mathematical theory, Gauss got attention from a nobleman and was supported for higher education.
  4. At the age of 21, Gauss had already drafted his most influential writing, which is the ground for number theory till this day.
  5. His findings’ impacts even expanded to the field of construction and architecture.
  6. Gauss became the first-ever mathematician that constructed a 17-sided heptadecagon with a straight edge and a compass. He was also the first one to prove the laws of quadratic reciprocity.
  7. Gauss called math ‘the queen of sciences.’
  8. Gauss is the man behind the prime number theorem, which still applies broadly to math these days.
  9. One of the greatest contributions Gauss made to astronomy was using conic equations to keep track of Ceres dwarf planet, which couldn’t be located for months after being discovered.
  10. Gauss’ mother couldn’t even record his date of birth, but he managed to calculate it using the information his mother gave him.
  11. At the age of three, Gauss corrected his father’s payroll calculations.
  12. At the age of seven, he quickly summed up the integers 1 – 100.
  13. At the age of 12, Gauss was already criticizing Euclid’s geometry.
  14. When Gauss was in university, he started discovering a number of important mathematical theorems and concepts.
  15. In 1796, Gauss got his first major work when he demonstrated that a 17-sided polygon can be constructed using just a compass and a ruler. This discovery was huge because mathematicians had struggled with constructions problems for hundreds of years.
  16. In 1799, this mathematician submitted a doctoral thesis in which he proved algebra fundamental theorem. The theorem states that each non-constant single-variable polynomial which has complex coefficients will have at least one complex root.
  17. He formulated the Gauss Law that related electric charge distribution to the resulting electric field.
  18. Gauss was the inventor of the heliotrope, which an instrument used for marking positions in land surveys, using a mirror to reflect sunlight over great distances.
  19. Gauss was awarded several important prizes, including the Lalande Prize (1810) and the prize of the Danish Academy of Sciences (1823).
  20. He got married twice to two women who were best friends and had three children with each of them. Both of his wives died.
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