(Brunswick, current Germany, 1777 - Göttingen, id., 1855) Mathematician, physicist and astronomer German. Born in the bosom of a humble family, from an early age Karl Friedrich Gauss showed no sign of a prodigious capacity for Mathematics (according to the legend, at age three broke off his father when he was busy in his business accounting to indicate an error of calculation), to the point of being recommended to the Duke of Brunswick by its primary school teachers.
Karl Friedrich Gauss
Karl Friedrich Gauss
The Duke gave him financial assistance in their secondary and university studies performed at the University of Göttingen between 1795 and 1798. His doctoral thesis (1799) dealt with the fundamental theorem of algebra (which stipulates that any algebraic equation of complex coefficients has equally complex solutions), which Gauss showed.
In 1801 Gauss published a work intended to influence a decisive role in the formation of the mathematics of the rest of the century, and particularly in the field of the theory of numbers, the arithmetic digressions, whose numerous findings include: the first proof of the law of quadratic reciprocity; an algebraic solution to the problem of how to determine if a regular polygon of n sides can be built (unresolved since the time of Euclid) geometrical manner; a comprehensive treatment of the theory of congruent numbers; and numerous results with numbers and functions of a complex variable (which would treat in 1831, describing the exact mode of developing a complete theory about them from their representations in the plane x and) that marked the starting point of the modern theory of algebraic numbers.
His fame as a mathematician grew considerably that same year, when he was able to accurately predict the orbital behavior of the asteroid Ceres, sighted for the first time just months before, which employed the method of least squares, developed by himself in 1794 and even today the computational basis of modern astronomical estimate tools.
In 1807, he accepted the post of Professor of astronomy at Göttingen Observatory, charge that remained throughout his life. Two years later, his first wife, with whom he had married in 1805, died giving birth to her third child; He married later remarried and had three more children. In those years, Gauss matured his ideas on non-Euclidean geometry, that is, the construction of a logically coherent geometry that dispenses of the postulate of Euclid of the parallel; Although he did not publish its conclusions, came in over thirty years to the later works of Lobachewski and Bolyai.
Around 1820, busy in the correct mathematical determination of the shape and size of the globe, Gauss developed numerous tools for the processing of observational data, which include the distribution curve of errors that bears his name, also known with the nickname of normal distribution and constitutes one of the pillars of the statistics.
Other findings associated with your interest by Geodesy are the invention of Heliotrope, and, in the field of pure mathematics, its ideas on the study of the characteristics of the curved surfaces, made explicit in his work Disquisitiones General circa curved surfaces (1828), laid the foundations of modern differential geometry. Also deserved attention to the phenomenon of magnetism, which culminated with the installation of the first electric telegraph (1833). Intimately related to its investigations into the matter were the principles of the mathematical theory of the potential, published in 1840.
Other areas of physics that Gauss studied were mechanics, acoustics, capillarity and, especially, optics, discipline on which published the treatise Dioptric research (1841), which showed that one system of lenses is always reducible to a single lens with the appropriate characteristics. It was perhaps the last fundamental contribution of Karl Friedrich Gauss, a scientist whose depth of analysis, breadth of interests and thoroughness of treatment deserved it in life the nickname of "Prince of mathematicians".