Carl Friedrich Gauss
Carl Friedrich Gauss was born April 30, 1777 in Brunswick, Germany. He was born into a family of town workers who wove baskets for a living. His family started poorly and eventually worked their way up to middle class. He was the only son of his parents. It was said that Carl could calculate before he could even talk. By listening to his parents recite the alphabet, each letter correctly, he taught himself how to read. I his first arithmetic class at the age of eight, it was said that Carl astonished his teacher by solving a busy-work problem almost instantly.
When Gauss turned eleven, he studied with a man named Martin Bartels who was, at the time, an assistant and later a teacher of Laboachevsky at Kazan. Gauss’ father was encouraged to allow his son to study at the Gymnasium to make money to help support the family rather than spinning. He was accepted in 1788, and made progress in all subjects; he succeeded most in classics and mathematics. Gauss later went on to Brunswick Collegium Carolinium in 1792, with a scientific and classical education that was way ahead someone of his own age. Gauss would end up spending three years there.
Once he left Brunswick, he joined the University of Göttingen in 1795. While studying there Gauss researched to find that the discoveries he had previously made an already been discovered. In 1799 Gauss earned his doctorate. Gauss later became interested in astrology which led to the invention of the heliotrope. This instrument used the sun’s rays to obtain accurate measurements.
In 1805, Carl Friedrich Gauss married a woman by the name of Johanna Osthoff. They had a son and a daughter and shortly after she died in 1809. He soon remarried his widow’s best friend, Minna Waldeck they had three more children. It was said Gauss was rarely happy, his wife contracted tuberculosis and was rarely well. He discouraged his children from studying science because he doubted their work and didn’t think it could ever match up to his. He did not in anyway want anything mediocre to be associated with his name.
In 1817, Gauss took up yet another career, geodesy, his third. Until about 1825, it was said that Gauss did a great deal of surveying. In the 1830’s Gauss worked with a man by the name of Wilhelm Weber and together they worked on electricity and magnetism. The pair soon both created a worktable telegraph. For this Gauss was honored for his accomplishments by having a unit of magnetism named after him “gauss”. Today’s term, “degauss” means to demagnetize something.
Carl Friedrich Gauss developed heart disease in his later years. He had been under a doctor’s care for somewhere around 1 year, when he died in his sleep at the age of 77. April 23, 1855. From his young years of self-teachings to his middle years of inventions and discovered and created solutions and to his older years of reflecting on the past. This man has made many contributions. Inventor, mathematician, astronomer, geodesist, geometer, father, and husband this man had many roles and has had a great impact on the mathematical world.