Carl Friedrich Gauss

German mathematician and physicist (1777–1855) / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss (German: Gauß [kaʁl ˈfʁiːdʁɪç ˈɡaʊs] ;[2][3] Latin: Carolus Fridericus Gauss; 30 April 1777  23 February 1855) was a German mathematician, geodesist, and physicist who made significant contributions to many fields in mathematics and science. Gauss ranks among history's most influential mathematicians and has been referred to as the "Prince of Mathematicians".

Quick facts: Carl Friedrich Gauss, Born, Died, Alma m...
Carl Friedrich Gauss
Portrait by Christian Albrecht Jensen, 1840 (copy from Gottlieb Biermann, 1887)[1]
Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss

(1777-04-30)30 April 1777
Died23 February 1855(1855-02-23) (aged 77)
Göttingen, Kingdom of Hanover, German Confederation
Alma mater
Known forFull list
Johanna Osthoff
(m. 1805; died 1809)
Minna Waldeck
(m. 1810; died 1831)
Scientific career
FieldsMathematics and sciences
InstitutionsUniversity of Göttingen
ThesisDemonstratio nova... (1799)
Doctoral advisorJohann Friedrich Pfaff
Doctoral students
Other notable students

Gauss was a child prodigy in mathematics. While still a student at the University of Göttingen, he propounded several mathematical theorems. Gauss completed his masterpieces Disquisitiones Arithmeticae and Theoria motus corporum coelestium as a private scholar. Later he was director of the Göttingen Observatory and professor at the university for nearly half a century, from 1807 until his death in 1855.

Gauss published the second and third complete proofs of the fundamental theorem of algebra, made contributions to number theory and developed the theories of binary and ternary quadratic forms. He is credited with inventing the fast Fourier transform algorithm and was instrumental in the discovery of the dwarf planet Ceres. His work on the motion of planetoids disturbed by large planets led to the introduction of the Gaussian gravitational constant and the method of least squares, which he discovered before Adrien-Marie Legendre published on the method, and which is still used in all sciences to minimize measurement error. He is considered one of the discoverers of non-Euclidean geometry alongside Nikolai Lobachevsky and János Bolyai and coined that term.

Gauss invented the heliotrope in 1821, a magnetometer in 1833 and, alongside Wilhelm Eduard Weber, the first electromagnetic telegraph in 1833.

Gauss was a careful author. He refused to publish incomplete work. Although he published extensively during his life, he left behind several works to be published posthumously. He believed that the act of learning, not possession of knowledge, provided the greatest enjoyment. Although Gauss was known to dislike teaching, some of his students became influential mathematicians.

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