Biography of Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855)

Carl Friedrich Gauss.

Famous mathematician and German astronomer, born in 1777 in Braunschweig and died in Göttingen in 1855.

Son of a gardener and commercial Assistant, showed from very small a singular intellectual precocity, an example of which is the legend that attributes to him to learn to read and write by itself. Exploits intellectual as correct miscalculation of his father three years of age and the deduction of the arithmetic series solution (a, a + b, a+2b,...) to the ten earned you the sympathy of the Duke of Brunswick, who introduced him at the Carolinum College of that city in 1792 with a generous bag of studies and then by supporting research grant, against the advice of his mother, who preferred a profession for the young Gauss. Gauss always kept gratitude to his patron, and suffered a strong shock when he/she learned of his death at the battle of Jena against Napoleon (1806).

One of the best mathematicians of all time.

In 1795 entered the University of Göttingen approximately at the same time they found his famous method of the least squares to find the best soft mathematical curve that passes through a given number of points, which would later appear in his Theoria combinationis observationum erroribus minimis obnoxiae (1823). At the same time described why it is impossible to draw a polygon by odd number either side except the prime numbers 3, 5, 17, 257, and 65.537 with a ruler and a compass, corollary of a Treaty on solving binomial equations which was later published in his Disquisitiones Arithmeticae (1801). This book is considered the germ from which emerged the modern theory of numbers, and it is the demonstration of the so-called fundamental theorem of arithmetic, which establishes that the natural numbers can be represented as the single product of a series of prime numbers. Also discussed the so-called binomial congruences (equations of the form xn = A) intertwined with arithmetic, algebra and geometry in a way so elegant that it is considered by many to be a true work of art. In 1799 he/she achieved PhD degree by the University of Helmstadt, with a thesis in which is contained the so-called fundamental theorem of algebra, thereafter known as Gauss's theorem, which States that any algebraic equation has a solution, real or complex, that allows to express any polynomial as a product of simple binomial factors.

After this work he/she turned all his attention on astronomy. The asteroid Ceres, discovered in Palermo by the astronomer Piazzi, had been observed the first day of the 19th century, but was lost sight of, and astronomers incessantly sought his trail. From the few endorsements that took Piazzi, Gauss was able, demonstrate that the orbits calculated by other astronomers were erroneous, and calculate its own ephemeris, which would be tested years later by f. S. Zach. He/She was appointed Professor of mathematics at the University of Göttingen (1807) and, at the behest of Olbers; OLBERS, HEINRICH WILHELM, director of the Astronomical Observatory of the city. He/She composed a work on planetary orbits (Theoria motus corporum coelestium), extension of the analysis to the asteroid. In the meantime, their leisure time occupied them in reading foreign literature, political works (of conservative tendency) and the study of languages, and came to become a notable scholar. He/She married Johanne Osthof once had a sufficiently loose economic position (1805). In 1809 he/she died his wife during the birth of the third child of the couple, which plunged him into a deep depression which failed to leave, even if he/she contracted a new marriage, fruit of which jurisdiction three more children. Gauss were detained in mathematical research.

Shortly afterwards published Disquisitiones General circa seriem infinitam 1 + a·b/1·g + â·(a+1) ·b·(b+1) / 1·2·g·(g+1) +..., entitled series of Gauss hypergeometric series. It was named in 1820 added to the Commission of Hanover for the measurement of the degree of the terrestrial meridian, and invented an optical device called Heliotrope, intended for the measurement by means of simple trigonometry of the shape of the Earth for that purpose. In 1827 he/she published Disquisitiones circa curved surfaces, first Treaty of topology on the curvature of surfaces.

Between 1820 and 1830, his interest was decanted to physics, where his contributions were also numerous. He/She founded the first magnetic Observatory in Göttingen, where he/she worked together with W. Weber since 1831. He/She built the first magnetic Telegraph and published the first magnetic atlas of the Earth's surface. From 1837 he/she studied the more abstract principles of magnetism and electricity, Gravitation and optics; Thus, it obtained called theorem of Gauss (third!) that indicates that the total flow of field that passes through a closed surface is proportional to the charge enclosed inside.

There was no mathematical discipline that not revolutionized. He/She was often silent when the mathematicians of his time reached conclusions that he/she had discovered years before. Scoring their research in a small diary, full of cryptic headings that he/she only knew. For example, an annotation like EgPHKA! num = D + D + D means the finding that any number can be written as the sum of three triangular numbers D = n (n + 1) / 2 to an integer n. Many of these notes not have able to decrypted yet, as for example one that reads "Vicimus GEGAN", what is frustrating, given that many mathematical findings of times after his death had already been noted by Gauss in his diary (often without any demonstration). It is often said that if Gauss had shown less neglect to publish their results mathematics had advanced the equivalent to an entire century of discoveries. Gauss anticipated J. Bolyai thirty years in the description of the geometry not Euclidean, Hamilton in the discovery of the cuaternios, Abel, Jacobi and Legendre in their descriptions of mathematical groups, elliptic functions, and the solution of differential equations.