Top 25 Mathematicians in History

Mathematics is not just a subject that’s being taught in classrooms. Math has enabled us to understand ourselves, our world, and even our universe throughout the years. It allowed us to develop computers and transmit electricity across thousands of miles. 

This wouldn’t be possible without the help of some mathematicians who devoted their lives to finding solutions and answers to some of humankind’s most important questions. Here are the top 25 mathematicians in history that we should give credit to:

Euclid

Euclid is a Greek Mathematician known as the ‘Father of Geometry.’ He gathered, compiled, organized, and reworked some of the mathematical concepts of his mentors and predecessors to form a consistent work, later known to the world as Euclidean geometry. 

Euclid wrote axioms related to Geometry called ‘Elements,’ which have significantly influenced the Mathematics that we know today. This writing is the primary source of geometric reasoning, theorems, and methods in the 19th century. 

Next to the Bible, Elements is the most translated and studied of all the books in the Western world.

Pythagoras

Pythagoras was known as a Greek philosopher and mathematician who made essential findings in Mathematics, astronomy, and even music theory. When he was alive, the society he was living in was very religious and followed a code of secrecy. 

Because of this, there are no known books or writings written by Pythagoras. He is known as the ‘Father of Numbers’ and is best known for his Pythagorean Theorem. 

The theorem shows the relation between the sides of a right triangle, the concept of square numbers, and square roots.

Archimedes

A Greek scientist, mathematician, and physician, Archimedes worked his entire life to discover mathematical formulas related to Physics. 

His most famous discovery is the Archimedes’ Screw. It is a compound pulley for raising water that is still used in today’s world in crop irrigation and sewage treatment plants.

 He also discovered a law of buoyancy that says a body submerged in a fluid is acted on by an upward force, which is equal to the weight of the fluid that the body displaces.

Diophantus

Diophantus is a Greek Mathematician known as ‘The Father of Algebra.’ Diophantus also wrote a series of books on Algebra called Arithmetica, which contains the best solution for all the algebraic equations and the theories related to numbers. 

He is known to be the first person to use algebraic notations, symbolisms, and polynomials. Up to this day, we still indicate unknown quantities in Algebra with the letter X.

Eratosthenes

Eratosthenes is a Greek mathematician, geographer, poet, astronomer, and music theorist. He is regarded as ‘The Father of Geography’ to credit his knowledge of the Earth. 

Eratosthenes also developed a system of latitude and longitude and is world-famous for his calculations of the Earth’s circumference and the Earth’s axis tilt.

Heron, the Hero of Alexandria

Heron, better known as ‘Hero of Alexandria’, is a Greek Mathematician, physicist, and engineer who studied the pressure of air and steam and built machines and toys that spurt water. 

He invented Heron’s fountain – a hydraulic machine that includes a steam turbine. He also discovered the square root of numbers, and he is known today for Heron’s formula.

Hypatia

Hypatia is among the very first women who pursued her interest in the field of Mathematics. She was a Greek mathematician and teacher in Egypt, where she taught astronomy and philosophy. She served as an inspiration and influence to many young women to pursue their dreams and studies.

Antiphon

Antiphon lived in Ancient Greece and was a mathematician, a politician, and an orator. He made a very significant contribution in Mathematics by discovering the value of Pi. 

He was the first to calculate Pi’s upper bound and lower bound values by inscribing a polygon in a circle and afterward inscribing the same circle into another polygon. This idea became very famous and changed Mathematics as we know it now.

Diocles

Diocles was a Greek mathematician who was renowned for his discoveries in the field of geometry. He invented the ‘Cissoid of Diocles’, a method used to find a solution to doubling the cube. He was the first mathematician to prove and study the focal property of a parabolic mirror.

Carl Friedrich Gauss

Carl Friedrich Gauss was a German mathematician called the ‘Prince of Mathematicians’ and the greatest mathematician since antiquity. 

He is recognized as among the greatest for his contributions to number theory, geometry, probability theory, planetary astronomy, and electromagnetism. Because of his work in electromagnetism, he co-invented the first electric telegraph.

Leonhard Euler

Leonhard Euler was a Swiss mathematician, physicist, geographer, and engineer who pioneered many influential discoveries in number theory, complex analysis, and infinitesimal calculus. 

He was the first mathematician to introduce the notation for the function f(x) and also used the Greek letter π to denote the ratio of the circle’s circumference to its diameter. 

The most well-known result of his various studies is the Euler-Lagrange equation in the calculus of variations. Euler united two different branches of mathematics and later on introduced analytic number theory.

Isaac Newton

Sir Isaac Newton was known as an English mathematician and physicist who revolutionized the field of science and math during his time. Newton used his studies and description of gravity to prove Kepler’s laws of planetary motion and explain the trajectories of tides. 

This led to establishing that the sun is the center of the solar system. He also made calculations that later proved that the Earth’s shape is an oblate spheroid, placing him at the center of math and science for centuries to come.

Pierre de Fermat

Pierre de Fermat was known as a French mathematician who made significant contributions to mathematics, especially in calculus, number theory, probability theory, and analytic geometry. 

He was famous for his last theorem, also called Fermat’s great theorem. After three centuries, this theorem was proved by a British mathematician named Andrew Wiles.

René Descartes

René Descartes was a French philosopher and mathematician who made the vital link between geometry and algebra through the Cartesian plane. He associated pairs of numbers with points, allowing him to describe lines through equations with two variables. Finally, he also developed a rule of signs which determines if numbers are positive or negative.

Aryabhatta

Aryabhatta was an Indian mathematician and astronomer known as the ‘Father of Mathematics in India.’ He made several studies that explained lunar and solar eclipses, the diameter of the Earth, and the rotation of our Earth on its own axis. 

He also found the solution to single-variable quadratic equations. He was the first to find the correct value of π to 4 decimal places. In addition to that, he also discovered and named the digit “0,” which we still call zero in today’s world.

Ramanujan

Ramanujan was an Indian mathematician best known for his contributions to number theory and infinite series. He wrote and invented some formulas that can be used to calculate digits of π in unusual ways.

Joseph Fourier

Joseph Fourier was a mathematician and physicist from France who is best known for initiating the investigation of the Fourier series. 

Later on, this developed into harmonic analysis and its applications to heat transfer and vibrations. Fourier used mathematical theories to understand heat conduction which then led to the basis of modern music synthesizers and MP3 players.

Fibonacci

Leonardo Pisano Fibonacci was an Italian mathematician known as the most talented mathematician of the Middle Ages. 

He introduced to the world some important mathematical concepts such as the Arabic numbering system, number sequencing, and the idea of square roots. 

In today’s world, we still use his most famous work – the Fibonacci sequence, a number sequence wherein every number is the sum of the preceding two.

Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace was a Victorian mathematician and logician who pioneered the first programmable computers. She became a friend of Charles Babbage, who was famous for the creation of calculating machines. 

She revolutionized Babbage’s work so that the calculating machines were compact and small, thus earning her nickname the ‘Mother of the Computer.’

Thales of Miletus

Thales of Miletus was a mathematician and astronomer and is one of the Seven Sages of Greece. 

He was known for his innovative and genius approach to geometry and is believed to be the first mathematician to apply deductive reasoning to geometry. He was known for some geometric theorems that we still use and acknowledge to this day.

Blaise Pascal

Blaise Pascal was a mathematician, physicist, and inventor from France. He is the mathematician who laid the foundation for what is now known as the modern theory of probabilities, invented Pascal’s principle of pressure, and developed the first digital calculator to help his father. The latter was working as a tax collector during that time. This device was called the Pascaline.

Ptolemy

Claudius Ptolemy was a mathematician, astronomer, and geographer born in Greece. He pioneered the geocentric belief, which led to the more advanced findings of other astronomers. Ptolemy made significant contributions in mathematics and optics using trigonometry. 

Lastly, he established mathematically that an object and its mirror image must make equal angles to a mirror.

David Hilbert

David Hilbert was a mathematician from Germany who lived in the 19th and early 20th centuries. He was a teacher who contributed significantly to the development of mathematics in the fields of proof theory and mathematical logic. 

Hilbert is the one to reduce geometry to a series of axioms. He also extended the vector algebra and calculus technique to spaces with any number of dimensions. This development is now known as the Hilbert space.

Anaxagoras

Anaxagoras was a Greek philosopher and mathematician born in the Pre-Socratic era. He was the first to correctly explain the eclipses of the sun and moon, given his profound knowledge of geometry. Anaxagoras was also the first to attempt squaring a circle.

Xenocrates

Xenocrates was a Greek philosopher, mathematician, and teacher. He taught Plato’s teachings which he defined more closely and with more mathematical elements. Xenocrates has also written a book on numbers, number theory, and geometry. 

He also attempted to calculate the total number of syllables that could be made from the letters of the alphabet.

Mathematical Toys

Now that we have learned all about mathematicians and their significant contributions to other related fields – let’s check these cool toys that can further improve our mathematical skills! 

1. GeoBoard

This 10×10 wooden GeoBoard is a good mathematical brain teaser for toddlers and older kids alike. This toy enriches the creativity of young kids and introduces them early to the field of Geometry. It is easy to play and is very reusable! It is also fun and interactive.

2. Counting Mathematical Sticks

This mathematical intelligence stick can be used to learn how to count, add, subtract, multiply and divide. It is a graphic way to learn about what happens in each of the operations and is a good visual toy to learn and improve mathematical skills.

3. Fractions Wooden Educational Toy

Learning about fractions can be daunting and challenging, especially for little kids. Good thing that there is a toy that can supplement learning on this! 

This wooden fractions toy makes visualizing fractions easy. It is a great toy for homeschooling and instills a deep understanding of the concept of the parts of a whole.

 4. Abacus for Kids

This wooden abacus for kids can teach toddlers to count, add and subtract. Aside from that, it can also teach young ones about the relationship of numbers, such as what’s greater than or less than. It has counting sticks and number toy cards from 1 to 100 that can help toddlers up to 2nd graders. 

5. Balance Math Game

For children who are just starting to learn about Math, digits are meaningless and can be quite confusing. This balance math game can aid in teaching kids the concept behind these digits and the concept of increasing values. It is very interactive and fun to introduce math and counting to your little ones.

Takeaway

Mathematics and all its applications will not be possible without the contributions of mathematicians from the prehistoric era to the mathematicians of today’s world. 

There are a lot of significant mathematical studies made by these mathematicians, which allowed for inventions and later led to important discoveries.

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Elena Jones

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