can we say Carl Gauss is the greatest mathematician to ever live

is there any mathematician that we can put ahead of him

if not him who are your top 3 greatest in your opinion

guy was a sheer genius

Ramanujan is my number one.
What the guy did in his short life, considering he largely started from 0 and rebuilt the entire foundation of Math on his own, and still got ahead of the world’s combined Mathematics knowledge in so many areas, before he was 30, is just mind blowing.

Ramanujan is a genius by first order…one of the most naturally gifted mathematicians ever…but honestly, in terms of accomplishments he is not as high as guys like Carl Gauss or Leonhard Euler…

i think most mathematicians, if asked this question…have deep respect for Ramanujan but don’t think his accomplishments put him up compared to the greats…

I’ve seen it claimed that Archimedes, Newton, and Gauss are the three Greatest Mathematicians Ever, but I think Euler is at least the equal of these three, especially when you consider how prolific he was.

What about the person who invented zero? Isn’t that more important than what the other people mentioned so far have done?

not necessarly…

Ah, that was nothing.
Seriously, you have to have more than one good idea, no matter how good it is, to be the greatest mathematician ever.

Really, if we consider the distribution of his works across the fields of mathematics, they’re sort of normal.

Gauss is by far the most influential mathematician ever…

I’m a big fan of Augustin-Louis Cauchy, who was quite prolific as well. But I’d still give the nod to Gauss.

He’s way out at the tip of the right tail in his own distribution. :slight_smile:


Well played. :smiley:

No worries; some of us got it!

The derivation of satellite orbits is what impresses me the most: Gauss was given two coordinates for the sightings of Ceres, and worked out the whole orbit.

(He even worked out the alternative orbit in which the satellite went from point A to point B – the long way, around the sun! Since then, lots of orbital calculations come with a “long way/short way” pair of solutions, even though the “short way” is nearly always the one that is intended. It’s a little like the second solution to the quadratic equation: it often isn’t physically useful, but it is a solution.)

His figuring out how we could measure the curvature of space itself is also a tour de force. He’s definitely at the top of the list, in my humble opinion.

Gauss is definitely at the very top. The only ones who could possibly compete have been mentioned, such as Euler, Newton (and Leibniz). I might also put up Euclid for consideration, but that’s sort of giving him the benefit of the doubt for the time he was born, and wondering how much more prodigious he could have been if he lived later, like around the time Euler or Gauss lived.

Archimedes, Newton and Leibniz in that order for me. Not familiar enough with Gauss to say.

Another vote for Cauchy.

He was, in fact, so prolific on the subject of complex variables, that his dog proved a theorem:

Around any closed path, the dog would leave a residue at every pole.


Wasn’t it Descartes who unified algebra and geometry? If so, he’s one of my top-3.

I that’s putting Descartes before the horse.

Euler, Gauss and Descartes, in that order, although I would be very very tempted to go with Euclid third.

Honorable mentions to Riemann, Newton, Leibniz and Neumann.

Perelman might have been somewhere on someone’s list of great mathematicians if he hadn’t given up mathematics.

The base of the natural logarithm is the letter “e” for Leonhard Euler; e ≈ 2.71828…

e^ix = cos(x) + i(sin(x)) is called Euler’s formula. The physicist Richard Feynman called the equation “our jewel” and “the most remarkable formula in mathematics.”

e^iπ + 1 = 0 is called Euler’s formula.
(π is pi)

Wikipedia: List of topics named after Leonhard Euler

Leonhard Euler gets my vote.