30 Apr, 2021

Karl Friedrich Gauss – mathematician, physicist, astronomer

Johann Carl Friedrich Gauß was born on April 30, 1777 in Braunschweig, in the family of a plumber.

Already in childhood, he showed pronounced mathematical abilities. In 1795-1798 he studied at the University of Göttingen. At the age of 10, he solved the problem of summing numbers from 1 to 100, which attracted the attention of the teacher and he began to study with him individually. On March 30, 1796, he solved the problem of constructing a regular 17-gon, which was a turning point in the life of Gauss. He decides to devote himself not to philology, but exclusively to mathematics.

Since 1807 – professor of mathematics and astronomy at the University of Göttingen and at the same time director of the observatory. By the end of his studies, he prepared a fundamental work on number theory and higher algebra “Arithmetic Research”.

Gauss became world famous after he developed a method for calculating the elliptical orbit of a planet from three observations. The application of this method to the small planet Ceres made it possible to find it again in the sky after it was lost shortly after its discovery by G. Piazzi in 1801.

In the fundamental work “Theory of the motion of celestial bodies” (1809) Gauss outlined the methods for calculating planetary orbits, with minor improvements used today.

Foreign honorary member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences since 1824. His name is inscribed on the moon map.

Karl Friedrich Gauss died on 23 February 1855 in Göttingen.