Mathematics is one of the oldest and most important fields of study, and it has contributed significantly to the progress of humankind since thousands of years ago. Throughout history, great mathematicians have introduced numerous innovative theories to provide solutions for economic, engineering, scientific, business, and other problems. Their theories have contributed to a more prosperous and sophisticated world.
Here are some of the most famous mathematicians from the past.
Pythagoras of Samos is regarded by some scholars as the first pure mathematician. He is also known as the “father of numbers”. To Pythagoras, numbers existed as concrete objects, and he established a cult that was dedicated to studying numbers. His cult studied figural numbers, which refer to numbers that are represented by certain geometrical shapes formed by equally spaced dots. His studies of figural numbers led to the discoveries of two concepts that had a great impact on the development of mathematical theories. These concepts were the theory of proportionals and the Platonic solids. Pythagoras is best-known for the discovery of the Pythagoras’ Theorem, a mathematical theory that makes it possible for people to find out the length of one side of a right-angled triangle when two sides are already known.
Lewis Carroll is widely known as the author of the children classic Alice in Wonderland, but not many people know that he was a great mathematician too. In the book, there are many instances where mathematical logic is represented, and these clearly show Carroll’s ingenuity as a mathematician. He implied the inversion of a number of mathematical theories, the use of bases and positional systems of numbers, the substitution of variables, and other concepts throughout Alice’s adventures. Carroll was actually a mathematician by profession, and his real name was Charles Dodgson. Dodgson formulated the Dodgson Condensation theory, which is a method used for calculating determinants.
Sir Andrew Wiles is considered one of the most influential mathematicians in the modern era. His success in proving the Fermat’s Last Theorem had significantly influenced modern ma thematicians’ perception of the theory of numbers. Wiles’ study of numbers opened up new solutions to problems that were previously unsolved in the modern number theory, and his achievements were celebrated by many mathematicians around the world. He received awards from prestigious societies in Sweden, Germany, and the US, and he was knighted in the year 2000.
Ada Lovelace is known as a pioneer in computer programming. More than one hundred years before the computer was invented, Lovelace was already writing programs for a general-purpose “computer”. She spent many hours calculating logarithm values and trig functions, which are computed with electronic calculators nowadays. She also wrote a description of Charles Babbage’s analytical engine, which was used as a model for computers in 1953. Later on, the US Department of Defense created a programming language and called it Ada.