Famous Math Minds

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

Can you imagine what life was like before computers? Many of the world's most famous and important mathematicians came up with complicated theories and inventions well before the high-tech tool was developed!

Archimedes Many people consider Archimedes to be one of the most influential mathematicians of all time, an amazing claim considering he was born around 287 B.C.! He discovered buoyancy (he's said to have yelled “Eureka” in delight when he figured out why some things float and others do not), many weapons of war, several formulas for measuring capacity and pi.

Charles Babbage Considered the “father of computing,” Babbage devoted most of his life to inventing mechanical calculating machines. Around 1830, he designed the Difference Engine, a machine that would perform simple mathematical calculations. Next, he tried to make a device that used cards with holes to compute complicated functions at great speed, the Analytical Engine. Although both contraptions were too advanced for the mechanical devices available at the time, his designs became the basis for modern computers. He was born in England in 1791.

Albert Einstein Probably the most famous genius of all time, Einstein changed history when he scribbled E=mc² in 1905. This theory of relativity became the foundation for much of modern science. The famous theory says that the speed of light inside a vacuum, or a space where no matter exists, is the fastest speed in the universe. Einstein was born in Germany in 1879 and became a U.S. citizen in 1940. He won the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Sir Isaac Newton Newton is considered one of the greatest mathematicians and physicists in history. He discovered the mathematical laws of gravity and solved difficult problems in geometry. Newton invented a type of math called calculus. He was born in England in 1643.

Blaise Pascal This French philosopher and mathematician was a math expert by age 12, and he invented the first calculator when he was only 19. He also invented the barometer, the hydraulic press and the syringe. He was born in 1623.

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