The Importance of Mathematics
Generally, mathematics is a field that many shy away from, but in history, there have been some people who had a real passion for numbers and making discoveries regarding measurements, equations, and other numerical solutions. Mathematics has always been referred to as a universal language and is essential in understanding the society that we live in today. Look around you. There is so much mathematical influence in our world. Almost everything we use on a daily basis wouldn’t function without it. From the satellite that beams television programs to your homes to the faucet in your kitchen, it’s very hard to argue about the importance of mathematics in the evolution of society today. Mathematics has not only allowed us to reach the moon and tease out the secrets of DNA but also to create and transmit electricity over thousands of miles and invent the computer.
Nudging Science and Technology Along
It’s because of this that the greatest mathematicians of all time are going to stand out from the rest and their names will forever remain embedded in the human psyche. History is so rich in brilliant mathematicians who aided our understanding of mathematics and nudged science and technology along. Through the ages, their discoveries and thoughts have continued to echo through our satellites, hula hoops, cell phones and automobiles. This is a quick trawl through the top five most brilliant and greatest mathematicians, whose work is still influencing and shaping our lives today, so many years after their deaths.
Pythagoras of Samos
Pythagoras was a Greek mathematician who is considered by circles in the know to be one of the first great mathematicians. He lived around 570 to 495 BC and was the founder of what became known as the Pythagorean cult, the first group that actively studied and advanced Maths as a driving force in society. He has always been credited as the father of Pythagorean Theorem, even if some sources claim that it was developed by his students. In today’s society, the theorem plays a major part in measurements as well as technological equipment. It also formed the basis of geometry and the worldwide study of Mathematics. Pythagoras is often given the honorary title of the founding father of Mathematics.
Sir Isaac Newton is a British mathematician, who lived from 1642 to 1727. Many consider him the greatest scientist of all time. Newton was responsible for several discoveries and, alongside Wilhelm Leibniz, is famous for inventing calculus. He also came up with mathematical principles of natural philosophy, as well as building the first reflecting telescope. Also, through his seminal work, he aided in the invention of the machine. Sir Isaac Newton became the first person to decompose white light and give it component colors, as well as coming up with the three laws of gravity, which are called Newton’s laws.
Carl Friedrich Gauss
Carl Gauss can easily be considered the greatest mathematician who ever lived. He lived fr0m 1777 to 1855. Some call him the prince of Mathematics, since he was such a brilliant mathematician at a tender age and, by the time he was 21, had already published a book on arithmetical investigations, which was all about the study of whole numbers. The number theory he invented is essential in computer operations since, at the basic level, they use 1s and 0s to operate. The major advancements made in the use of computers to solve problems used the number theory. Gauss was quite prolific. Before reaching 24, he proved the fundamental theorem of algebra, as well as introducing the Gaussian gravitational constant in physics. He was an obsessive perfectionist, who didn’t publish most of his work, but he was involved in most of the modern world mathematical subjects, including astronomy, algebra, optics, geometry and statistics.
This British mathematician, computer scientist and cryptanalyst is regarded as the father of computer science and one of the 20th century’s greatest minds. He lived from 1912 to 1954. Turing made quite significant discoveries during his stint with the British Code and Cypher School in the Second World War. He came up with code breaking discoveries, which were instrumental in the cracking of the German Enigma Encryptions. It is said that, without Turing’s work, the war would have continued an extra four years. After WWII, Turing invested most of his time in computing and was at the center of modern day computer developments. He invented the Turing Machine as well as the Turing Tests, which aid in the performance of computers. Sadly, he was persecuted for being homosexual by the very people he had helped in winning the war, and he took his own life by cyanide poisoning when he was 42.
Euler is the most prolific mathematician of all time. He lived from 1707 to 1783 and published around 900 books. In his late 50s he went blind but his productivity didn’t decline. He came up with the mathematical notations f(x), the Euler constant, e, pi in the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, as well as using sigma, the Greek letter, for summation. All of these are indispensable in modern mathematics. Also, he solved the Seven Bridges of Konigsberg problem in graph theory and continued developing number theory, topology, analysis, graph theory and calculus. It’s observed that during his time there were a lot of technological and industrial developments. Without Euler we wouldn’t have Sudoku.
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