Carl Friedrich Gauss

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Carl Friedrich Gauss

Carl Friedrich Gauss was born in Brunswick on April 30, 1777. (He was baptized Johann Friedrich Carl, but he later dropped his first name and reversed the second and third.) His father was a gardener and his mother worked as a maid. At the age of three, Gauss is said to have corrected an arithmetical error for his father. Then at age ten he reportedly solved a problem that was given by his math teacher which required the student to add all the numbers 1 - 100. Gauss solved the answer within seconds. His mathematical skills came to the attention of Duke Carl Wilhelm Ferdinand who paid for Gauss to attend college. Gauss first attended Collegium Carolinum and then the Universtiy of Gottingen. Gauss had two major achievements in 1801. The first was the publication of his Disquisitiones Arithmeticae. The second was caused by the discovery of the asteroid Ceres. It had been briefly observed in January 1801 but had then disappeared from view. Gauss spent several months working on the problem and predicted a position which turned out to be accurate. Gauss had been married twice and had six children. Gauss was not much of a family man and spent most of his time working on math and research. This was evident from the statement he made when he was told his wife was dying, he stated, "ask her to wait a moment, I am almost done". Some of great his contributions to math were: 1) Proving the Fundemental Theorem of Algebra.2) Discovered the Cauchy Integral theorem.3) Contributed to potential theory and development of the Principle of Conservation of Energy.4) Theory of motion of the celestial bodies.5) Introduced the Method of Least Squares. Gauss continued to do research and invented the heliotrope while surveying. He developed the magnetometer while working on a worldwide project to study the earth's magnetic field. In 1840, Causs published Dioprtische Untersuchungen which showed that under a paraxial approxiamtion an optical system can be characterized by it cardinal points and he derived the Gaussian lens formula. Gauss died in 1855 in Gottingen.


1777 - Carl Friedrich Gauss was born on 30 April.1792 - Attended Collegium Carolinum.1795 - Attended University of Gottingen.1799 - Received his PhD. 1801 - Disquisitiones Arithmeticae first published.1807 - Appointed Professor of Astronomy and Director of the astronomical observatory in Göttingen, a post he held for the remainder of his life.1809 - Death of his first wife, Johanna Osthoff and one child.1818 - Invented the heliotrope.1831 - Second wife died after a long illness.1833 - Invented the first electromechanical telegraph and magnetometer.1855 - Gauss' Death

Constucted a heptadecagon (17 sided polygon) using a ruler and compass alone.Awarded his PhD at the age of 22 for his proof of the fundamental theorem of algebra.Invented the heliotrope, an instrument that reflects the Sun’s rays in a focused beam that can be observed from several miles away.Invented the magnetometer to measure the earth's magnetic field.Made the first electric telegraph.

Lasting Impact

His Theory of Celestial Movement remains a cornerstone of astronomical computation.


"Gauss, Carl Friedrich." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. 2013. Retrieved April 28, 2014 from Unknown. (2014). Carl Friedrich Gauss. Retrieved from Famous Mathematicians:, J. J. (2014). Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from

Carl Friedrich Gauss(1777 - 1855)





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