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in your opinion?

- Thread starter Phypro
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in your opinion?

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Imhotep

Euclid

Archimedes

Al-Khwārizmī

Newton

Turing

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So this is a typical example of criteria being important! I already disagree ... (Not with the people in the list being important, that much is obvious, but there are others I would put before.)

Edit: It also becomes difficult to judge contributions from people who lived very different amounts of time as tended to be relatively common historically. How do you compare the lifetime achievements of giants like Gauss with those of Galois or Abel who died in their 20s? What would those two have achieved if they had lived to be 77 (i.e., like Gauss)?

Edit: It also becomes difficult to judge contributions from people who lived very different amounts of time as tended to be relatively common historically. How do you compare the lifetime achievements of giants like Gauss with those of Galois or Abel who died in their 20s? What would those two have achieved if they had lived to be 77 (i.e., like Gauss)?

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I'd be interested to see the professions of the different people who answer. I chose what I thought of as most important with the bias of an computer engineer.

Edit based on @Orodruin's edit: Also people who lived in extremely different cultures and had access to different tools. For example, what would Imhotep have accomplished if he had lived in England at the time of Newton and what could Newton have accomplished if he had lived in Egypt of the time of Imhotep?

Edit based on @Orodruin's edit: Also people who lived in extremely different cultures and had access to different tools. For example, what would Imhotep have accomplished if he had lived in England at the time of Newton and what could Newton have accomplished if he had lived in Egypt of the time of Imhotep?

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the criteria for this question is who moved the fields of math the most?

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Euclid

Joseph Fourier (Fourier Series, laws of heat transfer, Fourier transforms)

Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi (invented algebra)

Runners-up:

Leonhard Euler

Rene Descartes (more known for philosophy, but also significant for devising the coordinate plane)

Aristotle (formal logic)

Neils Abel (group theory)

Bernhard Riemann (most of the mathematical framework on which general relativity was built)

But my personal favorite mathematician is Tarn Adams, the man behind Dwarf Fortress, who apparently has a math PhD.

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StatGuy2000

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Euclid

Archimedes

Leonhardt Euler

Carl Gauss

Isaac Newton

Runners-up include Rene Descartes, al-Khwarizmi, Niels Abel, Bernhard Riemann, David Hilbert, Alan Turing, Kurt Godel, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Joseph Fourier, Joseph Louis Lagrange, Gottfried Leibniz, Nikolai Lobachevsky, and Henri Poincare.

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Gauss

Euler

.

.

DiracPool

Euler

.

.

DiracPool

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So you could say he advanced maths a lot by helping mathematicians focus for hours on end

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what were his accomplishments?

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gleem

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bigfooted

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He discovered the mechanism behind the greenhouse effect. And also that you can write functions as infinite series of trigonometric functions.

what were his accomplishments?

He was also the PhD advisor of the PhD advisor of the PhD advisor of the PhD advisor of the PhD advisor of the PhD advisor of the PhD advisor of the PhD advisor of the PhD advisor of my PhD advisor.

I think that Felix Klein and Emmy Noether were great mathematicians (And Felix Klein was the PhD advisor of....).

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i think Grothendieck would probably be the most influential of the 20th century

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Gauss

Euclid

Sheldon Cooper

Euclid

Sheldon Cooper

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mathwonk

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gleem

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Today a mathematician has the advantage of centuries of formal development of the field. Thus the quote "If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants" belies the question of who is the greatest mathematician or even the three best." The field of higher arithmetic alone is probably beyond the complete mastery of any two men, while geometry, algebra and analysis, especially the last are of even greater extent. "

While we may grossly rank mathematician according to contributions in the subfields of mathematics it is difficult to if not impossible to say if A is greater than B. In his book Bell lists over a hundred mathematician (applied and pure) who contributed both directly and indirectly to Physics. Without studying all their contributions how can one rank them. and by what criteria e.g. most cited in the literature? That would be questionable because of the advantage that present day mathematician have since there are probably more mathematician alive today than have existed who can cite a paper. This is not meant to minimize any contemporary mathematicians contributions for even Newton had the advantage of Euclid's work.

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Samy_A

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No way I can pick three