(December 1, 1792 – February 24, 1856)
Nikolai Lobachevsky achieved fame through his groundbreaking development of Hyperbolic Geometry, which many now referred to as Lobachevskian Geometry. William K. Clifford (the proponent of Geometric Algebra) dubbed Lobachevsky “the Copernicus of Geometry”. Carl Gauss and Janos Bolyai, both of whom rediscovered this non-Euclidean Geometry independently, had nothing but pludits for the Russian pathfinder. An impressed Gauss facilitated Lobachevsky’s election into Goettingen’s Science Academy (in 1842), and lauded him via mail. These extolments were well-deserved: given the magnitude of his revolution. Previously, geometers sought to deduce Euclid’s Fifth Postulate from other axioms and/or postulates. But Lobachevsky approached the problem differently: by devising the kind of geometry which invalidated that fifth postulate. He published the details in a monograph titled: A Concise Outline of the Foundations of Geometry. However, the revolutionary ideas in that publication made the maths arbiters of St. Petersburg Science Academy to reject it. Needless to stress that this rejected “stone” has become one of the “cornerstones” of non-Euclidean Geometry. Like several of his Russian contemporaries, Lobachevsky’s career commenced with his master’s degree in Maths and Physics. He quickly made inroads in Algebraic Equations and Functional Analysis; and even came-up with the definition of Function before Peter Dirichlet did. His academic adviser, (Johann Bartels), was the same professor who nurtured Gauss, whereas his own remarkable students include Nikolai Brashman who founded Moscow’s Mathematical Society. Among his several publications are: Geometriya and Pangeometry. He is the eponym of both the 84-kilometer-wide Lobachevskiy lunar crater and the 1858 Lobachevskij asteroid.