A top five list.
4. Isaac Newton
Had Newton spent his entire life concentrating on math he would have no doubt been the greatest mathematician of all-time. One cannot analyze what could have happened however and only what did happen and what did happen was still fascinating. Newton is widely credited along with Gottfried Leibniz as the founders of Calculus. Additionally, Newton did a lot of work on polynomial theorems and identities that would set the course for later developments in Calculus. He also implied modern day concepts like logarithms, coordinate geometry, and power theorems to improve on his works.
Newton’s Principia is considered one of the greatest works of all-time
3. Leonhard Euler
Euler’s father Paul was a church pastor and during his childhood encouraged Leonhard to follow him into to church. However, after noticing Euler’s mathematical interest, he enrolled Leonhard into the University of Basel. There, Euler had an interest towards the works of Isaac Newton. Euler would later create mathematical concepts equal to the proportions of Newton. His achievements later on in his life include the development of functions. A simple creation but one that would help him on further theorems in trigonometry and logarithms. He is probably most famous however for his Euler’s Formula combining relationships between complex numbers, trigonometry, and natural logs.
Pctured Here, Euler had a major influence on later Enlightment Mathematicians.
Although his discoveries on paper were not quite as impressive by today’s standards but there was no one as far ahead of their time mathematically as Archimedes was. Born in 287 B.C Greece, Archimedes lived around 2000 years before anyone else on this list. He was known best for his works in 2 and 3 dimensional geometric concepts that later developed into more complex theorems. By using circle and regular polynomial relationships, Archimedes was able to develop an accurate calculation for pi. He also created countless derivatives for different measurements on three-dimensional objects. He is most famous however, for using his math skills during the great siege of Syracuse. The Romans had attempted to attack Syracuse in this battle by ship, it was said that Archimedes used quick thinking and ordered the gathering of several hundred mirrors and had them shined on the Romans. The Roman ships were burned and the soldiers left blinded and dazzled due to the calculations Archimedes made in order to reflect the sunlight with the mirrors directly into the heart of the Roman Navy. Rome would eventually win the war however and end one of the greatest minds in ancient times.
Pictured here is a drawing of what Archimede’s “Death Ray” might have looked like
1. Carl Friedrich Gauss
Gauss was a holy man who dedicated his entire life to mathematical studies. He too at a young age was a prodigy. The legend has it that when Gauss was in elementary school, he created the now famous Gauss’s formula. It was said that the elementary school teacher wanted to test her class on their knowledge of basic arithmetic. When Gauss decided to show off his skills, the teacher asked him to calculate 1-100 as fast as he could. Gauss stated the answer 5050 in a matter of seconds. When later asked how he came to this conclusion, Gauss simply explained that 1 and 100 equaled 101 and 2 and 99 equaled 101 so on 50 times; five times 101 he said equaled 5050. Throughout his life, Gauss created a numerous amount theories and was particularly interested in 3-dimension geometry. One such concept was the conic theories, which Gauss later developed upon. His systems of algebra and general equations are still accepted at schools today. Most interesting however are not the theorems and formulas he created however, but the way he simplified mathematical thinking. He made was able to identify simple relationships in Calculus, Geometry, and Algebra that other scientists simply overlooked. Without Gauss, the basic math teachings and theorems learned in modern school would not be the same.
Throughtout history, there has been no one quite like Carl Gauss.