Thursday, April 30, 2009

Happy birthday, Carl

Only 232 years old and doing fine

Today is the anniversary of the birth of Carl Friedrich Gauss in 1777. Although we claim him for the mathematicians, lots of people share in Gauss's legacy. He did pioneering work in celestial mechanics, geodesy, and physics as well as mathematics. Fortunately for many mathematicians (but perhaps not for mathematics), Gauss did not publish all his results, allowing them to get credit for discoveries he had long since made on his own.

By the way, some people insist on writing Gauss's first name as “Karl.” That's the German way, right? Don't be fooled. The man himself favored “Carl” when he signed his name and I render his name as he preferred. The only catch: He wrote his last name as Gauß, of course, but we Anglophones have difficulty following him there.

Happy Gauss's Birthday, everyone!

5 comments:

Blake Stacey said...

I've heard it said that the rule is that a theorem was first proved by Euler and then again by Gauss, so it is named for the third person to prove it.

Karen said...

I like the portrait on the 10-mark bill. It suggests someone with a well-honed sense of humor.

ods15 said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_topics_named_after_Carl_Friedrich_Gauss

Oh is that all he's done. Meh.


Somehow took me a while to realize "Gauss", as in, "Gaussian distribution"... I never realized that was an actual name...

Sili said...

What theorem?

WV: "prestio" = presto+, when your music can't be through fast enough.

jd2718 said...

What's with the funny hat?