(August 26, 1728 – September 25, 1777)
Poor but brilliant, a preadolescent Johann Lambert sacrificed his schooling in order to help fend for his family. He studied privately in his spare time while working full-time. As a result, he was able to build the strong math foundation which later opened doors for him. This versatile genius made contributions to mathematics, physics, philosophy, cartography and logic. His invention of hygrometer in 1755 was a huge step over the prototype Leonardo da Vinci devised in 1480. He would later become the first person to prove that pi is an irrational number. This he achieved in 1761 through his mastery of Continued Fractions. Alongside Vincenzo Riccati, he also became one of the first scientists to standardize notations for Hyperbolic Functions. As the first mathematician who dealt with the properties of map projections of a spherical earth, his findings would later inspire Carl Friedrich Gauss’ Theorema Egregium. They also prompted him to publish a treatise in 1772, titled: Anmerkungen und Zusätze zur Entwerfung der Land- und Himmelscharten. His ingenuity ensured that the success of this new publication surpassed that of his Photometria, (published in 1760), in which he dealt with photometry and geometrical optics. Lambert often blended his philosophies with tinctures of science. Immanuel Kant admired his brilliance so much as to maintain lifelong correspondence with him. He was among the first proponents of super-galaxies. His pioneering works on astronomy resulted in him being the eponyms of items, such as: the Lambert lunar impact crater, the Lambert Martian impact crater, and the 187 Lamberta asteroid.