24 junio, 2024

The 41 most famous and important mathematicians in history

Throughout history, there have been famous mathematicians who stood out for their achievements and contributions to this formal science. Mathematics is one of the oldest sciences of humanity. They arose from the study of geometric shapes and arithmetic with numbers.

Some of these mathematicians have had a great passion for numbers, making discoveries regarding equations, measurements, and other numerical solutions that have changed the course of history.

They searched for ways to understand the world as it relates to numbers and their contributions have been very important for their generations and beyond. Here is a list of the most notable in history.

List of the most important mathematicians in history

1. Hypatia of Alexandria (Greece, 360-415)

Hypatia was one of the first female mathematicians in history, and also a philosopher. She was part of and directed the Neoplatonic School of Alexandria in the 5th century. She wrote on algebra, astronomy and geometry and implemented important changes in primitive astrolabes.


The invention of a hydrometer. He improved the models of algebraic equations. The invention of a distiller.

2. Isaac Newton (England, 1642-1727)

Sir Isaac Newton’s book Mathematical principles of natural philosophy, became the catalyst for understanding mechanics. He also developed the binomial theorem.


centripetal force,
The decomposition of light into colors,
universal gravitation,
Kepler’s Laws,
The corpuscular hypothesis of light,
newtonian mechanics,
The optics,
the laws of motion,

3. Leonardo Pisano Bigollo (Italy, 1170-1250)

Leonardo Pisano, better known as Fibonacci, was considered «the most talented Western mathematician of the Middle Ages.»

He introduced the Arabic-Hindu number system to the Western world. In his book Liber Abaci (calculation book), included a sequence of numbers known today as the “Fibonacci numbers.”

4. Thales of Miletus (Greece, 624 BC-547/546 BC)

Thales used the principles of mathematics, specifically geometry, to solve everyday problems.

He is considered the «first true mathematician.» The principles of deductive reasoning from him are applied in geometry. Thales’ theorem is used to divide a segment into several equal parts.

5. Pythagoras (Greece, 570 BC-495 BC)

The Pythagorean theorem says that in a right triangle “the sum of the squares of the legs is equal to the square of the hypotenuse”.

Pythagoras also devised the «Tetraktys», a triangular figure made up of ten points arranged in four rows. Likewise, he contributed to various astronomical theories, to the theory of music and to the theory of weights.

6. René Descartes (France, 1596-1650)

He Cartesian coordinate system in mathematics he is named after René Descartes. As a mathematician, he is seen as the father of analytic geometry, and he also explained calculus. He also invented the method of exponents.

7. Archimedes (Greece, 287 BC-212 BC)

Archimedes provided principles and methods used in mathematics today. Among them the exact numerical value of pi, the development of a system for expressing large numbers, and the exhaustion method.

He invented the Law of the Lever, which states that two weights are in equilibrium when they are at distances inversely proportional to their weights. He enunciated the lever principle: “Give me a foothold and I will move the world.

Archimedes’ Principle: Any body immersed in a fluid experiences a vertical and upward force equal to the weight of the displaced fluid.

8. John Forbes Nash, Jr. (United States, 1928-2015)

Economist, Nobel Prize in Economics in 1994 for his contributions to game theory and negotiation processes.

American mathematician John Nash’s work includes studies in differential geometry, game theory, and partial differential equations. He is best known for the Nash embedding theorem. His work on algebraic geometry is also considered a landmark in mathematics.

9. Blaise Pascal (French, 1623-1662)

Pascal is recognized for two mathematical areas of study, projective geometry and probability theory. Pascal invented the first calculator. He found that the atmospheric pressure decreases as the altitude increases.

Pascal’s triangle: Triangular arrangement of the binomial coefficients in a triangle.

10. Euclid (Greece, 365 BC-275 BC)

The first known «mathematics book» was written by the Greek mathematician Euclid. It serves as a textbook for teaching geometry and mathematics. His mathematical system is known as “Euclidean geometry”. Regarding mathematics, Euclid stated: «In mathematics there are no real paths.»

Euclid’s Five Principles:

A straight line can be drawn through two points.
A straight line can be extended indefinitely from a finite line.
A circle can be drawn with a given center and radius.
All right angles are equal.
If a straight line that intersects two other straight lines forms interior angles with them on the same side whose sum is less than two right angles, the last two indefinitely prolonged lines intersect on the side where the sum of the angles is less than two right angles.

11. Aryabhata (India, 476-550)

Famous for the Āryabhaṭīya scripture and the Arya-siddhanta. He is also known for solving the quadratic equation. Some consider him the father of decimal numbering.

The contribution of the Indian mathematician Aryabhatta includes his work in providing an approximate value for pi. He also touched on the concepts of sine, cosine, and the place value system. He also affirmed that the stars are fixed and the Earth rotates.

12. Ptolemy (Greece, 90-168)

Ptolemy was famous for the Almagest or mathematical compilation, a treatise of 13 books where he explains the movement of the Sun, the Moon and the planets.

His model of the Universe is based on the idea that the Earth was stationary and was the center of the Universe, and that the Sun, the Moon, the planets and the stars revolved around it.

13. Ada Lovelace (England, 1815-1852)

Ada Lovelace is recognized as the world’s first computer programmer. Her math skills were evident at a young age. As part of her work, she produced a mathematical algorithm that would later be used in computers.

She thought that “imagination is the faculty of discovery, pre-eminently. It is what penetrates the never-before-seen worlds around us, the worlds of science.» The first programming language was named ADA in honor of her. She was the daughter of the poet Lord Byron.

14. Alan Turing (England, 1912-1954)

Turing’s fame as a mathematician can be attributed to his formulation of algorithms and calculations for a computer, the Turing machine.

His mathematical knowledge aided the device’s techniques in breaking codes, specifically in World War II. He cracked the «unbreakable» Nazi code called Enigma and thanks to him, the Nazis arguably lost World War II. In 1948 Turing became interested in mathematical biology.

15. Shrinivasa Ramanujan (Indian, 1887-1920)

Theorems and discoveries:

Property of highly composite numbers.
Ramanujan’s theta function.
Partition functions and their asymptotics.

Ramanujan was a genius in mathematics. He helped expand mathematical theory, particularly on continued fractions, infinite series, mathematical analysis, and number theory. He performed mathematical research in isolation.

16. Benjamin Banneker (United States, 1731-1806)

Benjamin Banneker was a self-taught mathematician. He used his mathematical skills to predict an eclipse and the seventeen year cycle of locusts.

17. Omar Khayyám (Persia, 1048-1131)

Omar Khayyám wrote one of the most important books in mathematics, the Treatise on the proof of algebra problems. In the area of ​​geometry, Khayyám worked on the “theory of proportions”. He studied the cubic equations and gave solutions to some of them.

18. Eratosthenes (Greece, 276 BC-194 BC)

Eratosthenes provided the concept of a simple algorithm as a way to locate prime numbers. The Eratosthenes sieve has been used to find the prime numbers. He was the first to calculate the radius of the Earth.

19. John von Neumann (Hungary, 1903-1957)

The mathematical evaluation of self-replication by John von Neumann came before the DNA model was introduced. Other mathematical topics that he addressed include the mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics, game theory, mathematics, and mathematical economics. His contribution to the study of operator theory is an extremely important contribution.

20. Pierre de Fermat (French, 1601-1665)

As an amateur mathematician, Fermat is given credit for his work that has led to the infinitesimal calculus. He applied the use of «adequacy» to explain his mathematical constructions. He also contributed to the mathematical fields of analytic geometry, differential calculus, and number theory.

21. John Napier (Scotland, 1550-1617)

John Napier is responsible for the manufacture of logarithms. It was also he who applied the daily use of the decimal point in mathematics and arithmetic. There is a mathematical unit of measurement related to the area of ​​telecommunications that was dedicated to him: the neper or neperio.

His contributions in applied mathematics consist of methods that helped to simplify the numerical calculation used in applied mathematics.

22. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (Germany, 1646-1716)

Leibniz’s work on the infinitesimal calculus was completely separate from Isaac Newton’s study. His mathematical notation is still in use.

He also proposed the mathematical principle known as the Transcendental Law of Homogeneity. The refinement of the binary system has become fundamental in mathematics.

23. Andrew Wiles (England, 1953)

Andrew Wiles succeeded in proving «Fermat’s Last Theorem». He also used the «Iwasawa theory» to identify elliptic curves using his complex multiplication system. Wiles, with a colleague, worked on rational numbers under the «Iwasawa theory.»

24. David Hilbert (Germany, 1862-1943)

In cumulative algebra, the use of «Hilbert’s basis theory» has produced variable results. David Hilbert explored and improved ideas such as «axiomatization of geometry» and «invariant theory.» Functional analysis, a branch of mathematical analysis, is based on the formulation of the “theory of Hilbert spaces”.

25. Daniel Bernoulli (Swiss, 1700-1782)

hydrodynamics, by Daniel Bernoulli, was a book that addressed the mathematical principles applied in other sciences. He also provided the theoretical explanation of the gas pressure on the walls of a container:

«Throughout any flowing current energy…

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