top-rated free essay

Carl Friedrich Gauss

Oct 08, 1999 706 Words
Carl Friedrich Gauss

Carl Friedrich Gauss was a German mathematician and scientist who dominated the mathematical community during and after his lifetime. His outstanding work includes the discovery of the method of least squares, the discovery of non-Euclidean geometry, and important contributions to the theory of numbers.

Born in Brunswick, Germany, on April 30, 1777, Johann Friedrich Carl Gauss showed early and unmistakable signs of being an extraordinary youth. As a child prodigy, he was self taught in the fields of reading and arithmetic. Recognizing his talent, his youthful studies were accelerated by the Duke of Brunswick in 1792 when he was provided with a stipend to allow him to pursue his education.

In 1795, he continued his mathematical studies at the University of Gö ttingen. In 1799, he obtained his doctorate in absentia from the University of Helmstedt, for providing the first reasonably complete proof of what is now called the fundamental theorem of algebra. He stated that: Any polynomial with real coefficients can be factored into the product of real linear and/or real quadratic factors.

At the age of 24, he published Disquisitiones arithmeticae, in which he formulated systematic and widely influential concepts and methods of number theory -- dealing with the relationships and properties of integers. This book set the pattern for many future research and won Gauss major recognition among mathematicians. Using number theory, Gauss proposed an algebraic solution to the geometric problem of creating a polygon of n sides. Gauss proved the possibility by constructing a regular 17 sided polygon into a circle using only a straight edge and compass.

Barely 30 years old, already having made landmark discoveries in geometry, algebra, and number theory Gauss was appointed director of the Observatory at Göttingen. In 1801, Gauss turned his attention to astronomy and applied his computational skills to develop a technique for calculating orbital components for celestial bodies, including the asteroid Ceres. His methods, which he describes in his book Theoria Motus Corporum Coelestium, are still in use today. Although Gauss made valuable contributions to both theoretical and practical astronomy, his principle work was in mathematics, and mathematical physics.

About 1820 Gauss turned his attention to geodesy -- the mathematical determination of the shape and size of the Earth's surface -- to which he devoted much time in the theoretical studies and field work. In his research, he developed the heliotrope to secure more accurate measurements, and introduced the Gaussian error curve, or bell curve. To fulfill his sense of civil responsibility, Gauss undertook a geodetic survey of his country and did much of the field work himself. In his theoretical work on surveying, Gauss developed results he needed from statistics and differential geometry.

Most startling among the unpublished discoveries of Gauss is that of non-Euclidean geometry. With a fellow student at Göttingen, he discussed attempts to prove Euclid's parallel postulate -- Through a point outside of a line, one and only one line exists which is parallel to the first line. As he got closer to solving the postulate, the closer he was to non-Euclidean geometry, and by 1824, he had concluded that it was possible to develop geometry based on the denial of the postulate. He did not publish this work, conceivably due to its controversial nature.

Another striking discovery was that of noncommutative algebras, which has been known that Gauss had anticipated by many years but again failed to publish his results.
In the 1820s, in collaboration with Wilhelm Weber, he explored many areas of physics. He did extensive research on magnetism, and his applications of mathematics to both magnetism and electricity are among his most important works. He also carried out research in the field of optics, particularly in systems of lenses. In addition, he worked with mechanics and acoustics which enabled him to construct the first telegraph in 1833.

Scarcely a branch of mathematics or mathematical physics was untouched by this remarkable scientist, and in whatever field he labored, he made unprecedented discoveries. On the basis of his outstanding research in mathematics, astronomy, geodesy, and physics, he was elected as a fellow in many academies and learned societies. On February 23, 1855, Gauss died an honored and much celebrated man for his accomplishments.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • 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 cr...

    Read More
  • Carl Friedrich Gauss

    ...Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss was born on April 30, 1777 in Germany, to poor working class parents. His mother did not recorded the hate of his birth, she didn’t even remember the day he was born all she remembered was that it was eight days before the feast of the ascension, which happens 40 days after Easter Gauss ended up figuring out when he...

    Read More
  • Johann Carl Fredrich Gauss

    ...Johann Carl Fredrich Gauss Johann Carl Fredrich Gauss was born on April 30, 1777, in Brunswick, Germany. He was an only child, of a poor working class family. He had a harsh father who was a gardener and brick-layer; he was discouraging and discouraged his son of schooling. His father really wanted him to follow in his footsteps instead of att...

    Read More
  • Carl

    ...individuals. This is sense: fear of freedom shapes out personality Three techniques to ward off freedom: Authoritarianism; following someone else to alleviate freedom Destructiveness; destroying symbols of those we perceive to have power Individuation: Rather than fearing freedom, embracing it. This is the only healthy method. Abraham M...

    Read More
  • Friedrich Nietzsche

    ... September 17, 2013 Friedrich Nietzsche Friedrich Nietzsche was a philosopher born in the small German village of Röcken bei Lützen, located in a farmland area southwest of Leipzig, Germany. Nietzsche was named after the Prussian King, Friedrich Wilhelm IV and was coincidentally born on the Kings birthday. According to ,...

    Read More
  • Gauss & Gauss-Seidel Numerical Methods

    ...Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro Facultad de Ingeniería “Iterative Methods” “Gauss and Gauss-Seidel” Profesor | | Nieves Fonseca Ricardo | Mentado Camacho Félix Navarro Escamilla Erandy Péloquin Blancas María José Rubio Miranda Ana Luisa Abstract Many real life problems give us several simultaneous linear equ...

    Read More
  • Friedrich a Hayek

    ...Running head: FRIEDRICH HAYEK 1 Friedrich August Von Hayek Donotra Woods Post University FRIEDRICH HAYEK 2 ...

    Read More
  • Friedrich Engels

    ...On November 28th, 1820, a man by the name of Friedrich Engels was born in Prussia, Barmen. As the eldest son of Elisabeth and Friedrich Engels, a German industrialist, Engels became a well-known German revolutionist and social theorist. After attending a Barmen elementary school, Friedrich entered Elberfield at 14, and left a few years later. Af...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.