Famous Mathematicians Throughout History

Ada Lovelace was truly ahead of her time. She worked closely with Charles Babbage on his work in mathematics which helped lead to the computer. Babbage called her “the enchantress of numbers” and she was the first person to design an algorithm expressly designed for a machine to play. Why not check out some other incredible math facts while playing a game?

Perhaps the greatest mathematician of all time was Archimedes. The Greek mathematician discovered how water was displaced by a submerged object and was able to estimate the value of pi and calculate the area underneath a parabolic curve using techniques close to modern calculus (invented 1,800 years later!).

This list would not be complete without Isaac Newton. Newton invented calculus, allowing mathematics to finally describe how things change across time and space. Newton also made huge contributions to the field of physics, revealing the reasons why objects in motion follow certain patterns!

Hypatia was one of the first female mathematicians. She was the daughter of Theon and followed in her father’s footsteps, studying mathematics and physics. Together with her father, she created commentaries of classical mathematical works and drew crowds for her public lectures on Plato and Aristotle!

As a young woman, Sophie Germaine studied mathematics and geometry alone in her father’s study. Unable to study at École Polytechnique because she was a woman, Germaine was able to obtain the lecture notes and submit papers under a false name. She eventually became the first woman to receive a prize from the French Academy of Sciences for her work on a theory of elasticity!

Alan Turing was vital for the development of theoretical computer science. He helped formulate algorithms and computations for a computer called the Turing Machine. He also developed a number of techniques to crack intercepted coded messages during the Second World War, helping the Allies in many crucial engagements!

Though he had almost no formal training in pure mathematics, Srinivasa Ramanujan made significant contributions to mathematical analysis, number theory, and even found the solutions to several problems that were thought to be unsolvable. Though he was just thirty-two when he passed away, his work in mathematics was truly groundbreaking and unconventional, opening up new areas of work and research!

Emmy Noether was one of the most important mathematicians of her time. Her work on abstract algebra and her famous theorem in mathematical physics drew admiration from Albert Einstein, Pavel Alexandrov, and Hermann Weyl.

Benjamin Banneker was an author, landowner and farmer who used mathematics to predict an eclipse and the seventeen-year cycle of locusts. He had no formal education and was largely self-taught. He corresponded regularly with Thomas Jefferson and his work was praised by abolitionists and advocates of racial equality.

Nearly one thousand years ago, Omar Khayyam wrote the book, Treatise on Demonstration of Problems of Algebra, a ground-breaking work from which most algebraic principles have been drawn from!