Carl Friedrich Gauss was a German mathematician and scientist who

dominated the mathematical community during and after his lifetime. His

outstanding work includes the discovery of the method of least squares,

the discovery of non-Euclidean geometry, and important contributions to

the theory of numbers.

Born in Brunswick, Germany, on April 30, 1777, Johann Friedrich

Carl Gauss showed early and unmistakable signs of being an extraordinary

youth. As a child prodigy, he was self taught in the fields of reading

and arithmetic. Recognizing his talent, his youthful studies were

accelerated by the Duke of Brunswick in 1792 when he was provided with a

stipend to allow him to pursue his education.

In 1795, he continued his mathematical studies at the University

of GÃÂ¶ttingen. In 1799, he obtained his doctorate in absentia from the

University of Helmstedt, for providing the first reasonably complete

proof of what is now called the fundamental theorem of algebra.

He

stated that: Any polynomial with real coefficients can be factored into

the product of real linear and/or real quadratic factors.

At the age of 24, he published Disquisitiones arithmeticae, in

which he formulated systematic and widely influential concepts and

methods of number theory -- dealing with the relationships and

properties of integers. This book set the pattern for many future

research and won Gauss major recognition among mathematicians. Using

number theory, Gauss proposed an algebraic solution to the geometric

problem of creating a polygon of n sides. Gauss proved the possibility

by constructing a regular 17 sided polygon into a circle using only a

straight edge and compass.

Barely 30 years old, already having made landmark discoveries in

geometry, algebra, and number theory Gauss was appointed director of the

Observatory at GÃÂ¶ttingen. In 1801, Gauss turned his attention to

astronomy and applied his computational skills to...