Greatest Mathematician of all time?

For the discussion of math. Duh.

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xo503
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Re: Greatest Mathematician of all time?

Postby xo503 » Sat Jul 04, 2015 3:45 am UTC

tarascon wrote:
Wildcard wrote:Personally, I would vote for either Euler or Gauss.


Certainly would agree with those two lads. And which of the two would cross the finish line as the greatest? I would say Gauss though if Zeno's paradox of the Tortoise and Achilles applies I'd say that line might never be crossed.

I'm smitten with the work of Bernhard Riemann and Georg Cantor--why is a topic for later because I have to rush off to work--and of these two my favorite is Cantor because I love the deep imagination inducing science fiction-like realm of Transfinite numbers (and Set Theory in general). That and the fact that during his final institutionalization, Cantor decided to spend the rest of his time writing about Shakespeare. I guess he took Hamlet's line to heart: "I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space..."


Gauss always wins the polls on various forms when it comes to this question

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Re: Greatest Mathematician of all time?

Postby xo503 » Wed Nov 11, 2015 4:02 am UTC

why has the answer traditionally been Gauss...what are his great achievements?

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Re: Greatest Mathematician of all time?

Postby Wolfkeeper » Sun Nov 29, 2015 1:46 am UTC

By sheer output, the only correct answer is Nicolas Bourbaki.

/thread

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Re: Greatest Mathematician of all time?

Postby Thesh » Sun Nov 29, 2015 1:52 am UTC

Henry Counting, who invented counting which is the foundation for all modern mathematics.
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Re: Greatest Mathematician of all time?

Postby jestingrabbit » Sun Nov 29, 2015 10:31 am UTC

Thesh wrote:Henry Counting, who invented counting which is the foundation for all modern mathematics.


This clearly neglects the contribution of Barry Quantity.
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Re: Greatest Mathematician of all time?

Postby Wolfkeeper » Sun Nov 29, 2015 2:32 pm UTC

now you're just being silly

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Re: Greatest Mathematician of all time?

Postby doogly » Sun Nov 29, 2015 3:45 pm UTC

They're as much real people as Bourbaki.
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Re: Greatest Mathematician of all time?

Postby lorb » Sun Nov 29, 2015 10:59 pm UTC

although they don't have as much real and published material to their names.
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Re: Greatest Mathematician of all time?

Postby f5r5e5d » Tue Dec 01, 2015 6:13 pm UTC

Q: When did Bourbaki stop writing books?
A: When they realized that Serge Lang was a single person...

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Re: Greatest Mathematician of all time?

Postby Lothario O'Leary » Sat Feb 06, 2016 2:26 am UTC

lorb wrote:Greatest by work actually achieved/done or by talent/potential?
I nominate Galois as the greatest Mathematician measured by talent.
Would you even know Gauss or Euler had they been shot at the age of 20?

This (though Niels Abel, who survived a bit longer but also died very young, is a very close second).
That said, I still believe that Christian Friedrich Heinecken (1721-1725) might well have become an even greater mathematician had he survived to the age of 20 :D

Incidentally, I consider Ramanujan to be the greatest mathematician of the 20th century, and can agree with Terence Tao being the greatest modern (i.e. 2000s and/or early 2010s) mathematician (though not necessarily "greatest mathematician alive today" - that might well be Victor Vassiliev or someone else of that [or earlier] generation... or indeed, depending on your definitions, even someone who's not going to become great until the 2030s).

And continuing with the jokes, I nominate Shalosh B. Echad (I might have misspelled his name - not sure how exactly it's actually spelled - but you probably know which mathematician I'm talking about).

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Re: Greatest Mathematician of all time?

Postby desiresjab » Wed Feb 10, 2016 5:33 am UTC

Euler cleared some forests, Gauss built the ranches and cities. Gauss was able to put abstract structures into place, such as modular arithmetic and imaginary numbers, and find all their laws and properties. Before Gauss, Euler and others used these concepts loosely and without the support of proofs or a complete structure.

A correct proof of quadratic reciprocity eluded Euler (and several other greats) for many years. A young child was working in isolation, with no knowledge of what others had been doing in the field that dominated his mind. It was this child Gauss who would do what none of the others could accomplish. He came across their names and work in the field as he was completing his own first great work. He paid them all credit where they were due, and amazed at some of their shortcomings. That Euler had been so close yet had failed to close the deal on quadratic reciprocity seemed to stun Gauss. He applied the term magna to Euler, but for Newton he reserved summa.

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Re: Greatest Mathematician of all time?

Postby Plasma_Wolf » Tue Mar 01, 2016 7:53 pm UTC

My personal favourite is Euler.

Though, when it comes down to the greatest mathematician ever born, I have to say "me".

But no one knows that yet :)

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Re: Greatest Mathematician of all time?

Postby Wolfkeeper » Wed Mar 02, 2016 4:06 pm UTC


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Re: Greatest Mathematician of all time?

Postby stopmadnessnow » Sat Mar 12, 2016 9:32 am UTC

Thesh wrote:Henry Counting, who invented counting which is the foundation for all modern mathematics.


Though it sounds daft, the idea that numbers followed each other was a pretty substantial mathematical achievement. Then there's the Babylonian who invented the concept of zero.

It all comes down to what was the greatest mathematical achievement. It may be published in a paper or it may be there all the time.
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Re: Greatest Mathematician of all time?

Postby Wolfkeeper » Sat Mar 12, 2016 3:43 pm UTC

There's a subtle difference between the greatest mathematician of all time, and the greatest mathematician in history.

Some animals are able to count up to low numbers. Presumably an animal must have evolved the whole idea of counting stuff, and we've inherited this ability.

GREATEST MATHEMATICIAN EVER!!!

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Re: Greatest Mathematician of all time?

Postby stopmadnessnow » Sat Mar 12, 2016 5:48 pm UTC

I think the mathematicians (or whatever you wish to call them) who learnt how to count to huge numbers are not in the same league as animals who can count to five or thereabouts.
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Re: Greatest Mathematician of all time?

Postby Wolfkeeper » Sat Mar 12, 2016 6:26 pm UTC

But this animal invented the entire field of mathematics from scratch.

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Re: Greatest Mathematician of all time?

Postby Wildcard » Sun Mar 13, 2016 6:28 am UTC

Wolfkeeper wrote:There's a subtle difference between the greatest mathematician of all time, and the greatest mathematician in history.

There is, but it appears you missed it too....

All time includes more time than just the past.

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Re: Greatest Mathematician of all time?

Postby xo503 » Tue Oct 11, 2016 7:14 am UTC

Ramanujan is overrated

the greatest of the 20th century is Grothendieck

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Re: Greatest Mathematician of all time?

Postby Soupspoon » Tue Oct 11, 2016 12:44 pm UTC

jestingrabbit wrote:
xo503 wrote:if we were talking in terms of 20th century...who would it be, i think Ramanujan?


A lot of people would join you on that bus, but there's other contenders. Alan Turing for instance.

I'd take a taxi, for obvious reasons. First name that came to me (but perhaps more because I recently referenced him elsewhere).

Turing's a definite candidate, though.

Depends upon the measurement used. Sheer quantity of output, diversity of ouput/cross-discipline competance, novel and independent thought (i.e. not standing on shoulders of giants), taking things that extra step (i.e. ability to stand upon the shoulders of giants and advance other people's ideas further), proven ability despite adversity of upbringing, proven ability despite being rejected by the establishment of the time, the ability to enthuse their peers and/or successors to new heights, the ability to enthuse the layperson to take up mathematics (or at least appreciate it), ... etc.

There's a veritable Awards Ceremony possible. "And the winner for mathematician most admired by the public at large is..."

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Re: Greatest Mathematician of all time?

Postby MartianInvader » Sat Oct 15, 2016 6:45 pm UTC

We'll need a rigorous definition of "great" before we can realistically solve this optimization problem.
Let's have a fervent argument, mostly over semantics, where we all claim the burden of proof is on the other side!

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Re: Greatest Mathematician of all time?

Postby EmelinaVollmering » Tue Oct 18, 2016 10:32 am UTC

I would say, the mathematicians that invented things before people could imagined those things. Like deriving the complex real world problem with simplicity. This would include Lebneiz, Khwarizmi, Joseph Fourier, Thales and Pythagorus. If you include applied math, I would say Einstein and Alan Turing.

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Re: Greatest Mathematician of all time?

Postby doogly » Tue Oct 18, 2016 12:28 pm UTC

Fourier! The Fast Fourier Transform is like an even better Fourier Transform, and it was invented prior to his work. I mean I love the guy, but he's only tier 1, not tier 0.

Thales I don't think did anything? And Pythagoras certainly didn't.
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Re: Greatest Mathematician of all time?

Postby lorb » Tue Oct 18, 2016 1:39 pm UTC

While some applications involving similar and right triangles have been around earlier than Thales he can be credited with having formalised and put them on a somewhat rigorous base. Also stuff like finding a proof that vertical angles are always the same. I don't think it's fair to say he didn't do anything.
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Re: Greatest Mathematician of all time?

Postby doogly » Tue Oct 18, 2016 2:34 pm UTC

Oh hey, he did things besides the water nonsense! Yeah, they're not nothing.
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Re: Greatest Mathematician of all time?

Postby xo503 » Wed Oct 26, 2016 12:41 am UTC

seems like it always comes down to gauss or euler


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