Mathematics is the key to understanding the phenomenon of science and nature, and it is also known as the ‘Language of Nature’ or the ‘Language of the Universe’. However, for some students (like me), this subject happens to be a troublemaker and a brainteaser. Therefore, I have chosen 11 people whose work had influenced a lot but at the same time has increased hurdles for students in their studies. So let us take a glance at the contribution of these people in the field of maths.
1. Aryabhata (476-550 CE)
Starting the list with an Indian and well-known mathematician, Aryabhata was a mathematician and an astronomer. As a mathematician, he is known for his works in the place-value system and trigonometry. He was the mathematician who invented zero and devised series for the summation of squares and cubes. His book ‘Aryabhatia’ contains his works on algebra, plane trigonometry, spherical trigonometry and a Table of sines.
2. Abu Jaafar Mohammad Ibn Mousa Al Khwarizmi (780-850 AD)
Known as the ‘Father of Algebra’, Mohammad Al Khwarizmi introduced the fundamental algebraic methods and techniques for solving equations. He also devised a formula for solving a quadratic equation systematically. Fibonacci later adopted his works in algebra and lattice multiplication.
3. Leonhard Euler (1707 to 1783)
One of the greatest minds in mathematics, Leonhard Euler is also considered “The KING of Mathematics”. He is credited for introducing the concept of a function and its notation as f(x), shorthand trigonometric functions. Among his works in the field of mathematics, the notation ‘e’ for the base of the natural logarithm (The Euler Constant), the Greek letter Sigma ‘∑’ for summation and the letter ‘i’ for imaginary units, as well as the symbol pi ‘Π’ for the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter are considered most important of all.
4. Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727)
Newton’s all-round knowledge and phenomenal works in mathematics, science and physics made him the most influencing personality in human history. He proposed Infinitesimal Calculus’s principle, which opened the doors for mathematicians to explore the sense of motion and dynamic changes in the world around us. Well, it proved to be a great tool for the expansion of maths, but it also probably put huge pressure on our brains too.
5. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716)
Leibniz has also developed a system of infinitesimal calculus, independently of his contemporary Sir Isaac Newton. He demonstrated Matrices’ use for solving the equations and was the first to use the binary system. Although both Newton and Leibniz work simultaneously in infinitesimal calculus, Leibniz’s notations and writing method are mostly preferred because of their simplicity and ease of expression.
6. Euclid (330-275 BC)
Coming to the area of Geometry, here is the ‘Father of Geometry’. Euclid was a Greek Mathematician well known for his book ‘Elements’. His axioms proved to be very helpful for devising theorems, and the postulates provided fundamental knowledge about geometry. His book Elementals also contains information about the properties of integers and numbers and is also the source of the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic, i.e. every number can be represented as the product of prime numbers.
7. Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855)
Carl Friedrich Gauss is also referred to as “The Prince of Mathematics”; it is so because of his excellent and remarkable contribution in the field of mathematics. Gauss introduced Gaussian distribution in the field of probability and statistics. His numbers mostly deal with the distribution of prime numbers among integers and the combining of real and imaginary numbers. He also devised the arithmetic series when he was 9 years old.
8. Georg Cantor (1845-1918)
Georg Cantor is credited to be the first mathematician who understood the meaning of infinity and applied it on a mathematical scale. He proposed set theory and proved that the set of ‘Real numbers’ is much wider than the set of ‘natural numbers’. Thus, giving rise to his new theories such as Number theory and Function theory.
9. Gerolamo Cardano (1501-1576)
Gerolamo Cardano, an Italian mathematician and physician, is considered the first person to bring forward the probability theory. His book about the game of chances contains the first mathematical analysis on probability. In another book named ‘Opus novum de proportionibus’ he introduced the Binomial Coefficients and the Binomial Theorem, which is extensively used today.
10. René Descartes (1596-1650)
René Descartes is well known for developing the Cartesian coordinate system and often called the “Father of Analytical Geometry”. It is used to trace the algebraic equations in the space between X and Y coordinates. The Cartesian system’s introduction allowed us to plot larger distances in a graph drawn at any scale. He also contributed some part in the development of modern calculus along with Leibniz and Newton.
11. Pythagoras (570-495 BC)
None of us is unaware of the Pythagoras Theorem. This theorem finds its application in every aspect of study and measurement. We can consider it as the foundational step for the development of geometry. His works with Aristotle put forward the ideas for modern mathematics.
Love them or hate them, these mathematicians have brought about various changes in how we perceive mathematics today, and their discoveries and studies are worthy of being appraised.