He was a German mathematician who contributed significantly to many fields, including number theory, algebra, statistics, analysis, differential geometry, geodesy, geophysics, electrostatics, astronomy, matrix theory, and optics.
Sometimes referred to as the Princeps mathematicorum (Latin, “the Prince of Mathematicians” or “the foremost of mathematicians”) and “greatest mathematician since antiquity”, he had a remarkable influence in many fields of mathematics and science and is ranked as one of history’s most influential mathematicians.
He was born to poor working-class parents. His mother was illiterate and never recorded the date of his birth, remembering only that he had been born on a Wednesday, eight days before the Feast of the Ascension, which itself occurs 40 days after Easter. He would later solve this puzzle about his birthdate in the context of finding the date of Easter, deriving methods to compute the date in both past and future years.
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