(April 29, 1854 – July 17, 1912)

Intuitive and creative, Henri Poincaré is befittingly the last of the universal mathematicians. While still a kid, his schoolteacher nicknamed him “The Math Monster”, after realizing his great aptitude. He would go on to win the Concours Général competition in France, before taking the math world by the storm. His works ramified every branch of mathematics, although those pertaining to Homology and Algebraic Topology made more headlines. As with other math geniuses before him, Poincaré dabbled into theoretical physics: helping to strengthen the bases of several concepts. He also founded the Chaos Theory, advanced many aspects of Differential Equations, and proposed his Poincaré Conjecture in 1904. Nobody succeeded in resolving that conjecture until 2002, when Grigori Perelman proved it and became entitled to the world’s first million dollar prize in mathematics. Having analyzed Bernhard Riemann’s wonderful works, Henri Poincaré anticipated the Minkowski’s Space, with which he lent geometrical support to Albert Einstein’s Relativity Theory. Among others, he is credited with clarifying (as a paradox) the mass-energy equivalence of Special Relativity. His credibility, alongside those of others like Max Planck’s, helped facilitate early acceptance of the theory. And despite habitual absentmindedness, he remained very innovative and productive. The fact that he excelled in all branches of mathematics reaffirmed his prestige as the last tour-de-force. Apart from the Relativity Theory, Henri Poincaré’s works helped (and are still helping) to advance many areas of science. The 319-kilometer-wide Poincaré lunar crater, the 2021 Poincaré asteroid, as well as several concepts are named in his honor.

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