As a toddler, Carl showed signs of being highly intelligent. It is said that he could add and subtract almost before he could walk. Gauss asked his father, Gebhard Gauss, to teach him the alphabet. He easily learned to and taught himself to read. Not willing or unable to recognize his son’s genius, Carl’s father sent him to spin flax in the evening in order to make money to help at home. However, it was Carl’s uncle who recognized his nephew’s potential.
At age seven, Carl was sent to the local grammar school. Soon the teacher found that this young pupil moved beyond what could be taught there. Gauss’ father was called in and informed of his son’s brilliance. Most likely, Gebhard left feeling a sense of pride that his son would be more than a tradesman, but possibly a lawyer or even a professor. With that news, Carl was immediately put to work studying instead of spinning flax.
News of the boy prodigy spread all over Brunswick. Soon the ears of the Duke of Brunswick heard of him. The impressed Duke sent for Carl, and so began a friendship that would last until the Duke’s death. With all expenses paid by his new friend, Carl was sent to college at age 15. He studied modern and ancient languages as well as mathematics. At 18, he went to the University of Gottingen. There, he was between w...
... middle of paper ...
...same man once referred to Gauss as “that colossal genius.”
At the age of 77, Gauss began to complain of poor health, not being able to sleep, and “congestion in the chest.” This was diagnosed as an enlarged heart. His breathing became so short. That getting out of the house was nearly impossible. On February 23, 1855, Gauss died after several heart attacks. He was buried next to his mother in Gottingen. Gauss, like Isaac Newton, died a wealthy man, though his salary was simple. It is said the money he made from investments was enough to create a good fortune. Although he is gone, Carl Fiedrich Gauss contributions stand as a legacy in the worlds of mathematics.
Dunnington, G. W. (1937). Inaugual Lecture on Astronomy and Papers on the Foundations of Mathematics. New York: Lousianna Stae Univerty Press.
Muir, J. (1961). Of Men and Numbers. New York.
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