(September 17, 1826 – July 20, 1866)
Despite recurrent ill-health and a lifespan of only 39 years, Georg Bernhard Riemann is among the most productive mathematicians who ever lived. And in terms of ingenuity, he was a genius par excellence: fittingly in the same league as Euler, Gauss, Cauchy and Ramanujan. His math mentors included some of the best professors this world has ever seen: masterminds such as Carl Gauss, Gustav Jacobi, Gotthold Eisenstein and Peter Dirichlet. Riemann dissected Complex Analysis and projected Number Theory in a manner that stunned everyone except Gauss. His extraordinary flair was strengthened by his groundbreaking works on Differential Geometry. As if that was not enough, he expanded the entire Non-Euclidean Geometry far beyond the scopes of his predecessors. The brilliance and the originality of his concepts had everyone referring to Elliptic Geometry as Riemannian Geometry. He was the prime mover whose geometrical prowess unveiled the viability of General Relativity, whose topological realms Henri Poincaré conjured, before Hermann Minkowski even explained it to Albert Einstein. So, as we credit Einstein with Relativity, we remain mindful of the fact that Riemannian Geometry assigned hyper-dimensions to our physical reality some 20 years before Einstein was born; and nearly a century before the Superstring Theory was developed. Georg Riemann is the eponym of 4167 Riemann minor planet and the Riemann lunar crater (adjacent to Gauss’). Regarding his yet-to-be-resolved Riemann Hypothesis, David Hilbert famously said (last century) that assuming he wakes from dead after a millennium; his first question would be if Riemann Hypothesis has been proven.