Mathematicians

Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss

Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss biography
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Carl Gauss biography

Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss (May 4, 1777 – February 23, 1855), mathematician, physicist, and German astronomer. He was born in Brunswick, Germany. His full name is Johann Friedrich Carl Gauss. Although in the world it is known as Carl Gauss. He was the son of a humble couple, made up of Geghard Dietrich Gauss and Dorothea Benze. His father was a gardener. For her part, her mother was raised in the homes of wealthy families.

From the age of three, he showed his genius, being very skilled in mathematical operations, which in his family had not been taught by the lack of illustration of his parents. The boy was sent to a precarious school, where he quickly learned to read and write. As he moved forward, he embraced broader aspirations, he asked his father to admit him to the school run by J.G Büttner, the Katherine Volkschule. This school governed by extreme discipline was a favorable space to exploit their ingenuity. In an arithmetic class, Carl Gauss had surprised his classmates and professor by answering a complex problem, which would later be known as the algorithm of the sum of the terms.

Gauss worked with Martin Bartels. Despite the age difference, Bartels took him almost 10 years, together they worked in mathematics. This little boy learned from Bartels, topics such as Newton’s binomial for non-integer exponents. This was key to his future. Then, enter the Gymnasium Catharineum, despite the refusal of his father. There he studied Latin and Greek.

When finishing his studies, he begins to be known in the illustrated circles of Brunswick. His name will reach the ears of Duke Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand. Thus, in 1791, he is sponsored by Zimmerman, professor of Collegium Carolinum and provincial advisor to the duke. The duke, impacted and fascinated by the intellectual ability of the young Carl Gauss, provided him with the funds to continue his training. Interested in his performance, he gave him the logarithm tables elaborated by Johann Carl Schulze.

Gauss remained most of the time doing mathematics readings like Principia Mathematica by Isaac Newton, Ars Conjectandi by Jakob Bernoulli and some of Euler’s memoirs. In the Collegium Carolinum Gauss will initiate some of his future mathematical investigations related to the distribution of prime numbers or the fundamentals of geometry. In 1795 he moved to the Georgia Augusta University of Göttingen, with a scholarship from the Duke. There he met Wolfgang Bolyai, this was one of the few characters who managed to interpret his metaphysical criteria about Mathematics.

Carl Gauss returned to his home in Brunswick, where he made a discovery that was key: the heptadecágono, a regular 17-sided polygon built with ruler and compass. His discovery was noted by him with great enthusiasm in his diary, a small notebook, which accompanied Gauss all his life. This would be the most important scientific journal in the history of mathematics, in it is a high percentage of mathematical discoveries of the nineteenth century.

Thanks to the Duke, this young man was able to build his work called the Disquisitiones Arithmeticae. But the benefits of the duke did not end here, helped Gauss to obtain a Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Helmstedt. From the result of his thesis in 1849, he expanded his study on the field of variation of the coefficients to complex numbers.

Beginning in the 19th century, he reached the top of European mathematics and was recognized by the entire scientific community. Carl Gauss began his research on number theory during the Collegium Carolinum, in 1795. A year later he was able to decompose any whole number into three triangular ones and carried out the construction of the regular heptadecagon. This produced a new orientation to the Theory of Numbers, it became a branch of the most important mathematics.

In 1805, he married Johanna Osthoff with whom he will have three children: Joseph, Minna, and Louis. The following year, of the birth of his first son, he advanced with the French colonel Epailly the triangulation of Brunswick, which motivated his interest in geodesy. Later he was appointed professor at Gottingën and undertook the foundation of his astronomical observatory, which was interrupted by the Napoleonic occupation of the Germanic states.

After several years, he published the Theory of the movement of celestial bodies that revolve around the Sun following conic sections, published in 1809, a work consisting of two volumes, in these, deals: differential equations, conic sections, and elliptical orbits, explains its least-squares method for determining the orbit of a planet. He also presented his work Least Squares Method before the Royal Society of Gottingen. Theory of the combination of observations.

His wife died giving birth to her third child, and then her son will die only three months after birth. Carl Gauss married Minna Waldeck, Johanna’s friend, this union was born two sons Eugen and Wilhelm and a daughter Therèse. At this time he was already director of his observatory, he investigated infinite series, hypergeometric series, the approximation of integrals and statistical estimators.

For years, Gauss devoted his energies to tedious astronomical and geodetic calculations. His efforts were worthwhile because of this task will be born more than 70 writings on Geodesy: the application of the method of least squares to terrestrial measurements, the invention of the heliotrope, and the geometry of surfaces.

His curious spirit led him to visit railway works in Hannover, Gottingen to see technological progress. While there he suffered a serious accident in the horse carriage in which he was traveling. As of that moment, his health deteriorated considerably, dropsy was detected. Finally, on February 23, 1855, he died.

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