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MOST INSPIRING MATHEMATICIANS

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J.JUHAINA JASLIN

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PYTHAGORAS OF SAMOS (CA 578-505 BC) Pythagoras, who is sometimes called the "First Philosopher," studied under Anaximander, Egyptians and Babylonians. he became the most influential of early Greek mathematicians. He is credited with being first to use axioms and deductive proofs, so his influence on Plato and Euclid may be enormous. He and his students (the "Pythagoreans") were ascetic mystics for whom mathematics was partly a spiritual tool. Pythagoras was very interested in astronomy and recognized that the Earth was a globe similar to the other planets. He believed thinking was located in the brain rather than heart. The words "philosophy" and "mathematics" are said to have been coined by Pythagoras. Pythagoras discovered that harmonious intervals in music are based on simple rational numbers. This led to a fascination with integers and mystic numerology. The Pythagorean Theorem was known long before Pythagoras, but he is often credited with the first proof. Apastambha proved it in India at about the same time, and some theorize that Pythagoras journeyed to India and learned of the proof there.

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ISAAC (SIR) NEWTON (1642-1727) ENGLAND Newton was an industrious lad who built marvelous toys (e.g. a model windmill powered by a mouse on treadmill). At about age 22, on leave from University, this genius began revolutionary advances in mathematics, optics, dynamics, thermodynamics, acoustics and celestial mechanics. He is famous for his Three Laws of Motion (inertia, force, reciprocal action) but, as Newton himself acknowledged, these Laws weren't fully novel, Newton credits the First Law itself to Aristotle. However Newton was also apparently the first person to conclude that the ordinary gravity we observe on Earth is the very same force that keeps the planets in orbit. His Law of Universal Gravitation was revolutionary and due to Newton alone. Newton's greatness is indicated by the wide range of his physics: even without his revolutionary Laws of Motion and his Cooling Law of thermodynamics, he'd be famous just for his work in optics, where he explained diffraction and observed that white light is a mixture of all the rainbow's colors. Newton also designed the first reflecting telescope, first reflecting microscope, and the sextant. Although others also developed the techniques independently, Newton is regarded as the Father of Calculus (which he called "fluxions").

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LEONHARD EULER (1707-1783) SWITZERLAND Leonhard Euler is hailed as the King of Mathematics. This blind genius is regarded as the greatest mathematician of all time. After the time of Euler, all mathematical formulas were named after the mathematicians who have discovered them. He has revolutionized the world of mathematics in his day and he was considered to be on par with Albert Einstein in terms of intelligence level. He has introduced mathematical notations, shorthand trigonometric functions, topology, calculus, analysis, graph theory and number theory, the idea of function and how it is written (f(x)), symbol pi for the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, the letter ‘/i’ for imaginary units, the Greek letter Sigma for summation and the concept of ‘e’ for the base of the natural logarithm which is more known as The Euler Constant. These concepts are very important in today’s mathematics. He was able to solve the Seven Bridges of Koenigsberg problem through graph theory and discovered the Euler characteristic in connecting the object’s number of faces, edges and vertices. He was also able to disprove a number of existing mathematical theories. Euler’s great contribution in the development of mathematics, made a rapid and drastic technological and industrial development during his time.

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SRINIVASA RAMANUJAN IYENGAR (1887-1920) INDIA Like Abel, Ramanujan was a self-taught prodigy who lived in a country distant from his mathematical peers, and suffered from poverty: childhood dysentery and vitamin deficiencies probably led to his early death. Yet he produced 4000 theorems or conjectures in number theory, algebra, and combinatorics. He might be almost unknown today, except that his letter caught the eye of Godfrey Hardy, who saw remarkable, almost inexplicable formulae. Ramanujan's specialties included infinite series, elliptic functions, continued fractions, partition enumeration, definite integrals, modular equations, gamma functions, "mock theta" functions, hypergeometric series, and "highly composite" numbers. Much of his best work was done in collaboration with Hardy, for example a proof that almost all numbers n have about log log n prime factors (a result which developed into probabilistic number theory). Ramanujan's most famous work was with the partition enumeration function p(),Together, Hardy and Ramanujan developed an analytic approximation to p().The theories of strings and crystals have benefited from Ramanujan's work.

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