(October 6, 1831 – February 12, 1916)
Dedekind was one of Emmy Noether’s math heroes; and like her, a master of Abstract Algebra. He was also among the bigwigs who supported Georg Cantor when his Set Theory was being criticized by the likes of Henri Poincaré, Leopold Kronecker, Hermann Weyl and Luitzen Brouwer. His own redefinitions of Irrational Numbers (with regards to Arithmetic Concepts), were so ahead of their time that they were not fully appreciated during his lifetime. These redefinitions improved upon the geometric ones, which Eudoxus of Cnidus approximated some 2300 years earlier. It was during his tenure at the ETH Zurich, that he postulated and proved that both rational and irrational numbers can form a continuum of real numbers, if those real numbers have one-to-one relationship with linear points. He also proposed the Theory of Ideals with which he was able to solve the problems of Algebraic Structures, which until then had defied all known analyses. Dedekind was as well among the first to recognize the depth and significance of Évariste Galois’ works. And he proceeded to popularize them. A meticulous mastermind, he was entrusted with editing the works of Carl Gauss, Bernhard Riemann and Peter Dirichlet. Revered today for his foresight, the foundations he laid on Modules, Fields, Ideals and Rings inspired David Hilbert, Emmy Noether and André Weil; and helped advance both Abstract Algebra and Algebraic Number Theory in the 20th century. Apart from the numerous math concepts named after him, Richard Dedekind is the eponym of the 19293 Dedekind minor planet.