“Mathematics – the unshaken Foundation of Sciences, and the plentiful Fountain of Advantage to human affairs. ” (Barrow) Mathematics plays an integral function in our daily living since its conception, and we thank the great mathematicians for this essential tool. Mathematics has been used in various professions and academic fields. Undoubtedly, there have been many men of old that have contributed to the science of mathematics, but what really captivates our interest, are the ones who were passionate – who dedicated their lives to the study of mathematics; the originators of various fields of mathematics who displayed remarkable work.
I have narrowed the list of the top three mathematicians who I have deemed worthy of being named the Greatest Mathematician based on: 1) passion, and 2) originality of outstanding work. A fitting decisive factor – passion explains how great mathematicians of old truly demonstrated their intense commitment to this science. They have dedicated their lives to practicing mathematics, down to their deaths. Historical accounts have described their deep interest in mathematical principles, persistence in solving problems and the ecstatic reaction of achievement when successful.
It is their absolute love and pride for the science that we have come to respect. It is required that one follows specific mathematical principles and formulas in order to solve problems. This we take for granted, thus failing to appreciate the originality of these mathematicians. However, being original is what has shaped the history of mathematics. The past original work of great mathematicians has allowed for the development of new and/or advanced theories, formulas, and principles.
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Their mathematical discoveries have been used in many scientific disciplines such as physics and chemistry. It is therefore relevant that we explore the original work of these mathematical pioneers. Without a doubt, there are many great mathematicians of old; however, the mathematicians that I have chosen were, in my eye, truly passionate about their work, innovative, and overall, notable in advancing mathematical success. The three leading candidates I have chosen are: Archimedes, Blaise Pascal, and Isaac Newton.
Archimedes – a well rounded Greek scholar – “made revolutionary discoveries in mathematics, physics and engineering. ” (Kochman) Not much is known about his life; however, he was renowned for his passion, innovation, and work in mathematics. Archimedes was a passionate mathematician right down to his death. Archimedes was said to have a great amount of concentration when engaged in mathematical problems, to point where he would be unaware of the things happening around him. He would often avoid his food, bath and even be undressed until he was through with his work.
He would even draw geometrical figures on any surface possible. His great passion for mathematics sadly led to his death. “Archimedes was so deep in thought that he was unaware the city was being looted by the Romans. He may not have even noticed the Roman soldier who approached him as he drew diagrams in the dirt. ” (Hanson) It was reported that while deep in his mathematical work, Archimedes was disturbed by the soldier who then killed the mathematician with his sword. Archimedes passion for mathematics was him living and dying in mathematical thought.
Archimedes was well-known for his original works in mechanical engineering, but he also made great contributions to mathematics. Archimedes was associated with the Method of Exhaustion, Method of Compression, and the Mechanical Method. Despite not creating some theories on his own, what made Archimedes original, was the fact that he would take “particular discoveries made by his predecessors…extending them in new directions. ” (Cosimo Classics) A great example of this is his use of the Method of Exhaustion. He was the first person to use this method to estimate the area of a circle.
Blaise Pascal was a great mathematician who lived in 17 th Century France. His mother was Antoinette Began; she died when Blaise was three. His father, Etienne took the responsibility of bringing him up. Pascal had two sisters, Gilbert e and Jacqueline. Pascal began his studies in 1635 with his reading of Euclid's Elements and mastered them by age 12. This won the boy respect for his great talent ...
As the creator of the Mechanical Method, he used it to find the area of a parabola, volume of a sphere, and the surface area of a sphere. He “produced several theorems that became widely known throughout the world. He is credited with producing some of the principles of calculus long before Newton and Leibniz. He worked out ways of squaring the circle and computing areas of several curved regions. His interest in mechanics is credited with influencing his mathematical reasoning, which he used in devising new mathematical theorems.
He proved that the surface area and volume of a sphere are two-thirds that of its circumscribing cylinder. ” (Archimedes) Blaise Pascal was a French mathematician who spent the majority of his short but remarkable life practicing mathematics. Pascal’s passion for mathematics was intertwined with his outstanding work in the field. Like Archimedes, he used the studies of his predecessors, but perfected it. This is with the cases of Pascal’s arithmetic triangle and the probability theory. Pascal’s passion for mathematics began from his pre-teen years.
It has been claimed that the 12 year old Pascal was found playing with pieces of folded paper and later realized that the “sum of the angles in any triangle is equal to 180?. ” (Gilbert and Gilbert) By age 14, he was actively involved with French mathematicians, and by 16, “he had established significant results in projective geometry, and began developing a calculator to facilitate his father’s work of auditing chaotic government tax records. ” (Gilbert and Gilbert) He showed great passion when he spent 10 years of his life perfecting the Pascaline calculator, building over 50 versions.
Blaise Pascal was born at Clermont, Auvergne, France on June 19, 1628. He was the son of Etienne Pascal, his father, and Antoinette Begone, his mother who died when Blaise was only four years old. After her death, his only family was his father and his two sisters, Gilberte, and Jacqueline, both of whom played key roles in Pascal’s life. When Blaise was seven he moved from Clermont with his father ...
In spite of a near death experience which changed his course from a mathematician to a theologian, Pascal still had great passion for his first love – mathematics. According to historians, “Pascal suffered a toothache, which kept him awake at night. In an effort to take his mind off the pain he focused on the cycloid, the curve traced by a point on the circumference of a rolling circle. Pascal solved the problem of the area of any segment of the cycloid and the center of gravity of any segment. He also solved the problems of the volume and surface area of the solid of revolution formed by rotating the cycloid about the x-axis. ”