(October 31, 1815 – February 19, 1897)
Despite his son’s intelligence and love for mathematics, Karl Weierstrass’ father insisted that he study law and finance in order to chart a career in administration. This contributed to the dismayed student’s waywardness. He indulged more in revelry than in studying. Consequently, he dropped out of University of Bonn without any degree. But while working as a secondary school tutor, he devoted himself to advanced mathematics: proving theorems and publishing a panoply of monographs which stunned the mavens of his era. Chief among these publications centered on Abelian Functions. It appeared in the prestigious Crelle’s Journal in early 1854. And in recognition, the Koenigsberg University awarded him an honorary doctorate degree, while the Berlin Technical University offered him lectureship. In this capacity, Karl Weierstrass emulated Augustin-Louis Cauchy’s efforts by focusing on the soundness of calculus. He consolidated the Calculus of Variations and used rigorous proofs to bolster numerous Analytical theorems. Brilliant and meticulous, his reputation quickly soared. After refining some works of the great Cauchy, Dirichlet, Bolzano and Gudermann, he expanded those of Abel and Jacobi. His obsession with rigor ensured that his analyses were deep and detailed. This led to him being referred to as the “Father of modern Analysis”. In addition to publishing voluminous works, Weierstrass supervised several gifted students like Georg Cantor, Ferdinand Frobenius and Sofya Kovalevskaya. With regards to ace mathematicians born in 19th century, he ranks among the finest. Alongside other honors, he is the eponym of Weierstrass lunar crater and the 14100 Weierstrass asteroid.