(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 maths, physics, logic, cartography and philosophy. His invention of hygrometer in 1755 outclassed the prototype Leonardo da Vinci devised in 1480. He would later tender the first prove that pi is an irrational number. This he achieved in 1761 through his mastery of Continued Fractions. Alongside Vincenzo Riccati, he was as well a pioneer of Hyperbolic Functions. As the first mathematician who dealt with the properties of map projections of a spherical earth, his findings later inspired Carl Gauss’ “Theorema Egregium”. They also prompted him to produce a dissertation in 1772 titled Anmerkungen und Zusätze zur Entwerfung der Land- und Himmelscharten. His proficiency ensured that the success of this new publication surpassed that of his well-received Photometria (of 1760), in which he dealt with photometry and optics. Lambert often blended his philosophies with tinctures of science. Immanuel Kant admired his intelligence so much as to maintain lifelong correspondence with him. He was among the first proponents of super galaxies. His phenomenal contributions to physics and mathematics resulted in him being the eponym of: the Lambert series, the Lambert quadrilateral, the Lambertian reflectance, the Lambert’s cosine law, the 187 Lamberta main-belt asteroid, the 92-kilometer-wide Lambert Martian crater, and the 30-kilometer-wide Lambert lunar crater.