(April 30, 1777 – February 23, 1855)
This is the Princeps Mathematicorum. Oh yes, the Prince of Mathematicians! Even as a teenager, this child prodigy unraveled concepts which eluded the great masterminds of his era. He took maths to cumulus realm: by reworking many of the existing solutions; and the rigors of his analyses were exemplary. Carl Friedrich Gauss was adept in all things mathematical. He contributed to various areas: including mathematical physics. His textbook, Disquisitiones Arithmeticae, easily became the magnum opus of the 19th century maths. But his perfectionistic obsession prevented him from publishing much. Till today, mathematicians across the world lament that Gauss did not publish many of his ideas simply because he did not want to write anything which is not absolutely perfect: even if the only error is something as irrelevant as a punctuation mark. He was so obsessed with perfection that he urged his son not to pursue mathematics: just because he did not want “another Gauss” to fall short of the exalted heights he attained. Some scholars opine that he probably could have garnered enough clout to challenge Euler for the title of The Greatest Mathematician, had he published all his knowhow. Others argue that more publications would have increased his chances of making errors. But what is indisputable is the fact that his mathematical prowess was extreme.