Many biographists think that he got his good health from his father. Gauss said about himself that, he could count before he can talk. When Gauss was 7 years old he went to school. In the third gradestudents came when they were 10-15 years old, so teacher should work withstudents of different ages. Because of it he gave to half of students longproblems to count, so he in that time could teach other half.
One day he gavehalf of students, Gauss was in this half, to add all natural numbers from 1 to100. 10 year old Gauss put his paper with answer on the teacher’s desk firstand he was the only who has got the right answer. From that day Gauss waspopular in the whole school. On October 15, 1795, Gauss was admitted to Georgia Augusta as “matheseoscult. “; that is to say, as a mathematics student. But it is often pointed outthat at first Gauss was undecided whether he should become a mathematician or aphilologist.
The reason for this indecision was probably that humanists at thattime had a better economic future than scientists. Gauss first became completely certain of his choice of studies when hediscovered the construction of the regular 17-sided polygon with ruler andcompass; that is to say, after his first year at the university. There are several reasons to support the assertion that Gauss hesitatedin his choice of a career. But his matriculation as a student of mathematicsdoes not point toward philology, and probably Gauss had already made hisdecision when he arrived at Gottingen.
He wrote in 1808 that it was noteworthyhow number theory arouses a special passion among everyone who has seriouslystudied it at some time, and, as we have seen, he had found new results in thisand other areas of mathematics while he was still at Collegium Carolinum. Gauss made great discoveries in many fields of math. He gave the proofof the fundamental theorem of algebra: every polynomial equation with complexcoefficients has at least one complex root. He developed the theory of someimportant special functions, in particular, the theory of the hypergeometricfunction.
This function plays significant role in modern mathematical physics. Gauss discovered the method of so-called least squares. It is a method ofobtaining the best possible average value for a measured magnitude, for manyobservations of the magnitude. The other part of mathematics that also hasclose connections to Gauss, is the theory of complex numbers.
Gauss gave a veryimportant geometric interpretation of a complex number as a point in the plane. Besides pure mathemaics, Gauss made very important contributions in astronomy,geodesy and other applied disciplines. For example, he predicted the locationof some sky bodies. In 1803 Gauss had met Johanna Osthoff, the daughter of a tannery ownerin Braunschweig. She was born in 1780 and was an only child. They were marriedon October 9, 1805.
They were lived on in Braunschweig for a time, in the housewhich Gauss had occupied as a bachelor. On August 21, 1806, his first son Joseph was born. He received his nameafter Peazzi, the discoverer of Ceres. On February 29, 1808 a daughter followed,and gauss jokingly complained that she would only have a birthday every fourthyear.
As a mark of respect to Olbers she was christened Wilhelmina. The thirdchild, a son, born on september 10, 1809, was named Ludwig, after Harding, butwas called Louis. After a difficult third delivery, Johanna died on October 11,1809. Louis died suddenly on March 1, 1810. Minna Waldeck was born in 1799, she was the youngest daughter of aProfessor Of Law, Johann Peter Waldeck, Of Gottingen. Gauss married her onAugust 4, 1810.
The new marriage was a happy solution to Gauss’s nonscientificproblems. Two sons and a daughter were born in the new marriage, Eugene on July 29,1811, Wilhelm on October 23, 1813, and Therese on June 9, 1816. In 1816 Gauss and his family moved into the west wing, while Hardinglived in the east. During the following years, Gauss and Harding installed theastronomical instruments. New ones were ordered in Munich.
Among other times,Gauss visited Munich in 1816. After the intense sorrow of Johanna’s death had been mollified in hissecond marriage, Gauss lived an ordinary academic life which was hardlydisturbed by the violent events of the time. His powers and his productivitywere unimpaired, and he continued with a work program which in a short timewould have brought an ordinary man to collapse. Although Gauss was often upset about his health, he was healthy almostall of his life.
His capacity for work was colossal and it is best likened tothe contributions of different teams of researchers over a period of many years,in mathematics, astronomy, geodesy, and physics. He must have been as strong asa bear in order not to have broken under such a burden. He distrusted alldoctors and did not pay much attention to Olbers’ warnings. During the wintersof 1852 and 1853 the symptoms are thought to have become more serious, and inJanuary of 1854 Gauss underwent a careful examination by his colleague WilhelmBaum, professor of surgery.
The last days were difficult, but between heart attacks Gauss read agreat deal, half lying in an easy chair. Sartorius visited him the middle ofJanuary and observed that his clear blue eyes had not lost their gleam. The endcame about a month later. In the morning of February 23, 1855 Gauss diedpeacefully in his sleep.
He was seventy-seven years old. BIBLIOGRAPHYGindikin, S. G. , Stories about physicists and mathematicians, Russia, Moscow,”Nauka”, 1982 (in Russian). Hall, T.
, Carl Friedrich Gauss, The Massachusetts Institute ofTechnology, 1970. Muir, Jane, Of Men and Numbers: The Story of Great Mathematicians. Dodd,Mead, and Co, New York, 1961.