It’s hard to imagine where modern society would be without maths, and it’s even more difficult to imagine what state modern mathematics would be in if it weren’t for the existence of several mathematical visionaries. These geniuses were able to see the world like never before, and the discoveries they made hundreds of years ago still impact our lives today. From explaining that what goes up must come down to solving problems once deemed to be impossible, these mathematicians achieved the impossible.
Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss
At the age of three, this Austrian-born mathematician was already displaying his genius by correcting his father’s arithmetic. At the age of twelve, Gauss stumped his match teachers by asking unanswerable questions about Euclid, the famous Greek mathematician. Euclid had been famous for his work in the study of Geometry; his theorems had accepted as valid for several thousand years. That is, until Gauss came along. At the age of 19, Gauss famously disproved many of Euclid’s ideas, which Gauss published in his book Disquisitiones Arithmeticae. This work is widely considered to be one of the most important book of mathematics ever published.
Sir Isaac Newton
Although Isaac Newton is most famous for his theory of gravity, he also made countless other discoveries that revolutionized mankind’s knowledge of physics. Newton was also an avid inventor, having produced the world’s first reflecting telescope, reflecting microscope, and a navigational instrument known as a sextant. Additionally, Newton is often credited as being the “Father of Calculus”, and invented several systems that would not be fully utilized until hundreds of years after his death. These systems included things such as polar coordinates, which are an integral part of studies in modern physics.
Galileo is often regarded as the “Father of Modern Science” due in large part to his theories on experimentation. Galileo was the first person to come up with the idea that results needed to be repeated and validated multiple times. Galileo was also made several important discoveries in the field of astronomy; his work laid the foundation which would later be used by Copernicus’s heliocentric theory. The heliocentric theory posited that the Earth revolved around the Sun, which was opposed to the commonly held belief that the other celestial object orbited around the Earth. It was once said of Galileo that “He stopped the heavens and moved the Earth.”