Karl Gauss: Biography

Topics: Carl Friedrich Gauss, Mathematics, Complex number Pages: 2 (646 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Karl Gauss: Biography

Karl Gauss lived from 1777 to 1855. He was a German mathematician, physician, and astronomer. He was born in Braunschweig, Germany, on April 30th, 1777. His family was poor and uneducated. His father was a gardener and a merchant's assistant.

At a young age, Gauss taught himself how to read and count, and it is said that he spotted a mistake in his father's calculations when he was only three. Throughout the rest of his early schooling, he stood out remarkably from the rest of the students, and his teachers persuaded his father to train him for a profession rather than learn trade.

His skills were noticed while he was in high school, and at age 14 he was sent to the Duke of Brunswick to demonstrate. The Duke was so impressed by this boy, that he offered him a grant that lasted from then until the Duke's death in 1806.

Karl began to study at the Collegium Carolinum in 1792. He went on to the University of Gottingen, and by 1799 was awarded his doctorate from the University. However, by that time most of his significant mathematical discoveries had been made, and he took up his interest in astronomy in 1801.

By about 1807, Gauss began to gain recognition from countries all over the world. He was invited to work in Leningrad, was made a member of the Royal Society in London, and was invited membership to the Russian and French Academies of Sciences. However, he remained in his hometown in Germany until his death in 1855.


During his Teen years, Karl Gauss developed many mathematical theories and proofs, but these would not be recognized for decades because of his lack of publicity and publication experience. He discovered what we now call Bode's Law, and the principle of squares, which we use to find the best fitting curve to a group of observations.

Having just finished some work in quadratic residues in 1795, Karl Gauss moved to the University to access the works of previous mathematicians. He...
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