# These Great Mathematicians And Their Work Will Leave You Awestruck

The word 'mathematics' comes from the Greek word 'Mathematika', which means learning. The article below enlists some of the great mathematicians of all time.

ScienceStruck Staff

Last Updated: Feb 26, 2018

**Five of the Greatest Mathematicians**

**Pythagoras**

**Born in:**570 BC

**Died in:**495 BC

**Most famous for:**Pythagorean Theorem

This name marks the birth of mathematics. Pythagoras is known as "the Father of Numbers", and is immortalized, mainly because of his theorem. There are a lot of myths about Pythagoras. Some say he had a golden thigh, while others say that he could write on the moon. But, one fact that cannot be disputed, is that he gave birth to modern-day geometry. Historians also refer to Pythagoras as one of the greatest philosophers to have ever lived on the earth.

**Archimedes**

**Born in:**287 BC

**Died in:**212 BC

**Most famous for:**Archimedes' Principle, Archimedes' Screw

Any person who is interested in mathematics or science will definitely know the story of how Archimedes discovered the impurity in King Hiero II's crown, through a simple buoyancy experiment,that he performed unintentionally while taking bath. He discovered that the weight of the body divided by the volume of water displaced by it, gives its density. This was a revolutionary discovery, which many scientists and researchers consider, the event that heralded the birth of modern-day physics. His contributions to the field of geometry are also well-known. He found out that the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of any circle is a constant (22/7) which gave birth to the non-recursive number 'pi'. He also laid the foundations of the concepts of 'square root' and 'arithmetic and geometric progressions', but did not provide backing theories for them.

**Blaise Pascal**

**Born in:**1623

**Died in:**1662

**Most famous for:**Pascal's Theorem, Pascal's triangle

It may be hard to believe, but this great mathematician didn't study mathematics until the age of 12. His father had a low opinion about the educational system at that time and thought that it was undesirable for his son to study mathematics before he was 15 years old. However, Pascal showed his brilliance at the tender age of 12, when he derived that the sum of the two sides of a triangle is equal to the sum of two right angles. His father was stunned with the temperament and genius of the young boy and allowed him to study a copy of Euclid.

At a very young age, Pascal had derived a lot of geometrical theorems. These theorems together form the root of geometry. He proposed the idea of a 'mystic hexagon' when he was just 16 years old. Later, he wrote about the theory of probability, which is considered by many, as a major contribution to the field of economics. The other areas in which Pascal made everlasting contributions were hydrodynamics and hydrostatics. Among his chief inventions are the hydraulic press and the syringe, which were the results of his deep study of the principles of hydraulic fluids.

**Charles Babbage**

**Born in:**1791

**Died in:**1871

**Most famous for:**The first programmable computer

Charles Babbage, revered as the 'Father of Computer' invented the first modern analytical computer. He noticed the amount of human errors that occurred in calculations and decided to find out a mechanical means to calculate error-free. Charles Babbage made the first 'Difference Engine', which could compute mathematical values mechanically. At the age of 24, he was elected as a fellow to the Royal Society. In 1827, he joined the Cambridge University as a Lucasian professor of mathematics. In 1824, he won the 'Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society' for inventing an analytic engine that could calculate the values in astronomical and mathematical tables. During his lifetime, he contributed a lot to the field of mechanical calculations of mathematical and statistical data. He laid the foundation for the field of computers.

**Newton**

**Born in:**1642

**Died in:**1727

**Most famous for:**Newtonian mechanics, binomial series

Sir Isaac Newton's contributions to the field of mathematics are known to all. The three laws of motion, gravitational attraction between bodies, dispersion of light and Newton's rings are just a few of his world famous theories. Newton was born in Woolsthrope, England. He was a mediocre student in school. It was during the summer of 1665, that he proved his mettle by showing his genius in the field of mathematics. During this time, he solved calculus problems with a geometrical perspective. He found that addition of infinitesimal small lengths would result in integration, and their separation is what is called differentiation. He also proposed that white light or sunlight is not a single color, but a combination of seven colors. He also gave a theory that light is a wave and thus, the field of quantum physics came into existence. In 1687, Newton published the book 'Principia', which is considered as the greatest scientific book ever written. In this book, he applied the laws of motion and gravitation to the universe, and proved the gravitational attraction between astronomical bodies. Newton, like all other great mathematicians, was a great philosopher too. He provided the scientific world with an array of mathematical theories, from the swinging of a pendulum to the gravitational attraction between astronomical bodies.

These are just a few of many great names who laid down the foundations of the immense world of mathematics. People had contradicted their views and theories, but as they provided a mathematical explanation to each of their theories, their contributions remain valid even today. These theories still form the base of all modern technologies and sciences.