How many famous mathematicians are you able to mention by name? Now, what are their most famous achievements and contributions?
If you struggle with answering these questions, check our list of some of the most famous mathematicians throughout the centuries.
Of course, the list is far from complete, as there are at least a few dozen of brilliant individuals, who contributed to math and changed the way we think about numbers and shapes.
Archimedes of Syracuse
Archimedes was one of the leading scientists in the ancient Greece and although we do not know much about his life, we do know that he invented or participated in the invention of a screw pump and siege machines, due to his great knowledge of hydrostatics and physics in general.
Archimedes’ discoveries in the field of math were lesser known to his contemporaries, but today we consider Archimedes as the father of computation techniques used to calculate area and volume of several different shapes. Archimedes is also renowned for defining the spiral bearing his name and providing one of the first accurate approximations of pi.
Pythagoras of Samos
Most kids are able to mention at least this one famous mathematician, as he is the father of Pythagorean theorem, which is currently included in the basic math curriculum. What you might not know about Pythagoras is the fact that he was also a philosopher, a mystic and a religious leader. His works and ideas had a great impact on Plato and his philosophy.
Euclid of Alexandria
Another ingenious Greek, whose discoveries in the field of geometry were the reason why we now call this discipline the “Euclidean geometry”. Euclid’s book Elements is one of the most influential publications in the history of math and it was used as the source of math for teachers long before we developed our modern math curricula.
In fact, this ancient text was used to teach math until the beginning of the twentieth century! In Elements Euclid discussed in details many geometrical concepts and his discoveries laid the foundations for disciplines such as spherical geometry, number theory and conic sections.
Like his predecessors, Rene Descartes was not only a brilliant mathematician, but also a philosopher and played a major role in the scientific revolution, which started in the Renaissance.
Although for most of us Rene Descartes is most renowned for his philosophical statement “Cogito ergo sum”, for mathematicians, Rene Descartes is most of all the father of analytical geometry.
The Cartesian coordinates are also named after this brilliant scholar. Other discoveries of Descartes are currently used in the field of energy conservation and optics.
Carl F. Gauss
Carl F. Gauss wasn’t called “the Prince of mathematicians” for no reason. From the very young age Gauss showed signs of genius and he was only a teenager when he first contributed to mathematics.
Carl F. Gauss is currently most renowned as the mathematician, who proved the fundamental theorem of algebra.
He also made numerous contributions to disciplines such as statistics, number theory, differential geometry, analysis, geophysics, geodesy, electrostatics, optics and astronomy.