Georg Cantor

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by Lauren93979
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Georg Cantor

Georg Cantor


Georg Cantor was born in St Petersburg Russia in 1845, then moved with his family to Germany in 1856. There in Germany he excelledacademically, pursuing his mathematical talent, he then studied at the University of Berlin, earning his doctorate in 1867. After recieving his doctorate he continued to study the focus of his dissertation: number theory. Soon after, however, Cantors focus shifted to trigonometic series, solving problems that many mathematicians before him couldnot. throughout the next few years he continued to publish papers dealing with trigonometric series. His work then turned transcendental numbers and the sizes of infinite number series. Cantor made waves with his research dealing with a 1-1 correspondence between a line and square, which made large implications for geometry and the notion of dimension of a space. With this research Cantor started to recieve heavy opposition from other mathematicians. Around this time he started working on set theory, but hit quite a few pot holes. He couldn't successfully climb any higher on the ladder of prestigious chairs at his university (Halle) and around the same time, Cantors rich correspondence with Dedekind came to an end. Then criticism on his set theory publications sent him over the edge for the first time as depression took hold. Cantor never fully recovered, he began having trouble with his research. He reached a major road blog when his new correspondance buddy, Mittag-Leffler, suggested pulling one of his papers saying the world was not ready for it. Mittag-Leffler and Cantor ended their correspondance soon after and Cantor's set theory ideas came to a halt. He turned to a more philosophical path rather than mathematical as his mental health continued to decline. From then on he continued to have spells of depression, effectively ending any major mathematical breakthroughs that he might have been able to achieve. Every time a spectacular opportunity came about, Cantor became ill. He gave up his work in 1913, spending his last few years ill and starved because of WWI. Georg Cantor died in a mental institution due to a heart attack.

The essence of mathematics lies in its freedom.

In mathematics the art of proposing a question must be held of higher value than solving it.

-Georg Cantor (1945-1918)

Created by Lauren Williams

While Cantor spent most of the second half of his life ill, he still made major achievements throughout his life: creating modern set theory, defining cardinal numbers, well-ordering, ordinal numbers, and discovering the theory of transfinite numbers. Cantor spent 12 years working on set theory, and it paid off. He never got to see his work accepted, but if he could see it now, he would be so proud.


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