Five Famous German Mathematicians in the 19th Century

famous german mathematicians list – carl friedrich gauss.

Famous Mathematicians from Germany |  List of German Mathematicians | German Mathematician 19th Century

Who are some famous German mathematicians who were active in the 19th century?

Carl Friedrich Gauss

Who is the German mathematician who developed the fundamental theorem of algebra?

German mathematician, physicist and astronomer Carl Friedrich Gauss was born in 1777 in the German city Braunschweig. He published fundamental works about higher arithmetic, differential geometry and the movement of celestial bodies.

Together with the physicist Wilhelm Weber, Carl Gauss dedicated himself to the study of geomagnetism, setting up the absolute physical measurement system named after him. Because of his unusual talent, Gauss received a scholarship from the Duke of Braunschweig to attend the secondary school and the University of Göttingen for three years. At the age of 18, Gauss found the method of least squares as well as the law of normal error distribution, which is known to be reflected in the Gaussian bell curve.

As professor of astronomy and director at the observatory in Göttingen, Gauss calculated the location of the Ceres planetoid, which was actually found by Wilhelm Olbers. He published the new methods of orbit determination applied in his major astronomical work called Theory of the Movement of the Celestial Bodies (1809).

In the field of mathematics, Gauss works on the Gauss theory of complex numbers is still worth mentioning, especially with regard to their geometrical interpretation (gaussian integer). Furthermore, Gauss math in the differential and integral calculus, his divergence theory (Gauss theorem), is one of his major achievements. Until today, Carl Gauss is one of the most important German mathematicians ever.

Georg Cantor

Georg Cantor was born in 1945 in St. Petersburg. The German mathematician founded one of the fundamental theories of modern mathematics, the theory of sets and introduced the transfinite series of numbers (infinite sets) into mathematics. Among other things, Cantor studied mathematics in Zurich, Berlin and Göttingen, worked as a private lecturer at the University of Halle and published in 1874 “On a property of the Class of all Real Algebraic Numbers”, the first publication on set theory.

Felix Klein

German mathematician Felix Klein was born in 1849 in Düsseldorf. His father was the personal secretary of the district president. He studied at university of Bonn and was first very interested in Physics, but then started focusing on projective geometry.

Felix Kleins most important research results were the projective justification of the non-Euclidean geometries, i. e. those geometries in which the parallel postulate is not fulfilled, and on the other hand the systematization of the geometries within the framework of the “Erlangen programme”.

Throughout his whole life, Klein stood up for an improvement of the theoretical level of math at schools and a clearer, application-oriented design as well as for a correspondingly changing teacher training.

Karl Weierstraß

German mathematician Karl Weierstrass was born in 1815 in Ostenfelde as the son of the secretary of the mayor. After studying some semester law, the exceptional student changed to mathematics and finally became a schoolteacher. After a published essay about abelian functions, Karl Weierstrass was given leave of absence by his school and was appointed as a scientific assistant at the university of Königsberg.

Weierstrass taught many pupils in private such as Sonja Kowalewsky, who was the first woman getting a PhD in mathematics and who finally became a professor in University of Stockholm.

The names of various sentences in mathematics are named after Weierstrass, including the Weierstrass product theorem and the Weierstrass approximation theorem.

Peter Gustav Lejeune Dirichlet

Peter Gustav Lejeune Dirichlet was born in 1805 in Düren and is one of the most famous German mathematicians who worked in the 19th century. He studied in Paris and did his postdoc in Bonn. He continued his research in Berlin. People say that with Dirichlet, the golden age of mathematics in Berlin began, where he was the first mathematician of world standing.

Dirichlet mainly worked in the fields of number theory and analysis. His two most important doctoral students are Leopold Kronecker in 1845 and Rudolph Lipschitz in 1853. Dirichlets lectures left a lasting impression, several of his manuscripts were published posthumously.

Featured image (cropped): Carl Friedrich GaußChristian Albrecht Jansen Painting Wikimedia – Public Domain


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