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Carl Gauss

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Carl Gauss

Carl Gauss was a man who is known for making a great deal breakthroughs in the wide variety of his work in both mathematics and physics. He is responsible for immeasurable contributions to the fields of number theory, analysis, differential geometry, geodesy, magnetism, astronomy, and optics, as well as many more. The concepts that he himself created have had an immense influence in many areas of the mathematic and scientific world.

Carl Gauss was born Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss, on the thirtieth of April, 1777, in Brunswick, Duchy of Brunswick (now Germany). Gauss was born into an impoverished family, raised as the only son of a bricklayer. Despite the hard living conditions, Gauss's brilliance shone through at a young age. At the age of only two years, the young Carl gradually learned from his parents how to pronounce the letters of the alphabet. Carl then set to teaching himself how to read by sounding out the combinations of the letters. Around the time that Carl was teaching himself to read aloud, he also taught himself the meanings of number symbols and learned to do arithmetical calculations.

When Carl Gauss reached the age of seven, he began elementary school. His potential for brilliance was recognized immediately. Gauss's teacher Herr Buttner, had assigned the class a difficult problem of addition in which the students were to find the sum of the integers from one to one hundred. While his classmates toiled over the addition, Carl sat and pondered the question. He invented the shortcut formula on the spot, and wrote down the correct answer. Carl came to the conclusion that the sum of the integers was 50 pairs of numbers each pair summing to one hundred and one, thus simple multiplication followed and the answer could be found.

This act of sheer genius was so astounding to Herr Buttner that the teacher took the young Gauss under his wing and taught him fervently on the subject of arithmetic. He paid for the best textbooks obtainable out of his own pocket and presented them to Gauss, who reportedly flashed through them.

In 1788 Gauss began his education at the Gymnasium, with the assistance of his past teacher Buttner, where he learned High German and Latin. After receiving a scholarship from the Duke of Brunswick, Gauss entered Brunswick Collegium Carolinum in 1792. During his time spent at the academy Gauss independent...

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...a great deal of concrete results. The Magnetischer Verein and its journal were conceived, and the atlas of geomagnetism was published.

From 1850 onwards Gauss's work was that of nearly all practical nature. He disputed over a modified Foucalt pendulum in 1854, and was also able to attend the opening of the new railway link between Hanover and Gottingen, but this outing proved to be his last. The health of Carl Gauss deteriorated slowly and he died in his sleep early in the morning of February 23, 1855.

Carl Gauss's influence in the worlds of science and mathematics has been immeasurable. His abstract findings have changed the way in which we study our world. In Gauss's lifetime he did work on a number of concepts for which he never published, because he felt them to be incomplete. Every one of these ideas (including complex variable, non-Euclidean geometry, and the mathematical foundations of physics) was later discovered by other mathematicians. Although he was not awarded the credit for these particular discoveries, he found his reward with the pursuit of such research, and finding the truth for its own sake. He is a great man and his achievements will not be forgotten.
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