It is very sad that some of the most brilliant mathematicians had died early in their life. Had these men lived their full lives, they would have made tremendous advancement in the field of mathematics. Get to know the 10 mathematicians who died at the age of 40 and below.
1. Evariste Galois (25 October 1811 – 31 May 1832; aged 20)
Evariste Galois was a French mathematician. He was probably the most unfortunate among all the mathematicians. His father committed suicide; he failed the entrance exam at Ecole Polytechnique for failure to explain his answers. He was jailed for six months and was killed in a duel over a young lady at the age of 20 (see his 10 misfortunes).
Galois was ahead of his time. His work was not understood until 20 years after his death. Despite his short life, his groundbreaking work made him the ‘father’ of group theory, an important branch of modern mathematics.
2. Niels Abel (5 August 1802 – 6 April 1829; aged 26)
Niels Henrik Abel was a Norwegian mathematician. At age 16, he proved that the binomial theorem is valid for all numbers. At age 19, he proved that it is impossible to solve quintic equations using radicals. He also invented Group theory (independently of Galois). The Abel Prize was named after him.
In December 1828, while in Paris, Abel contracted tuberculosis and died five months after.
3. René Gâteaux (5 May 1889 — 3 October 1914; aged 26)
René Gâteaux was a French mathematician. He was known for Gâteaux derivative. He died at the age of 26 while fighting the German army during World War I.
4. Pavel Urysohn (February 3, 1898, – August 17, 1924; aged 26)
Pavel Urysohn was Russian mathematician. He was known for his contribution in topology particularly on the theory of dimensions. He drowned while swimming at Brittany, France.
5. Frank Ramsey (22 February 1903 — 19 January 1930; aged 26)
Frank Ramsey was a British mathematician. He was also a renowned philosopher and economist. Ramsey suffered from chronic liver problems.
Ramsey died at the age of 26 when he developed jaundice after an operation.
6. Gotthold Eisenstein (16 April 1823 – 11 October 1852; aged 29)
Gotthold Eisenstein was a German mathematician. He was noted for his work in number theory particularly law of quadratic, cubic, and quartic reciprocity. In 1848, he was arrested and imprisoned by the Prussian army for his revolutionary activities in Berlin. Although he was released after a day, the harsh treatment affected his health.
In 1852, he died of tuberculosis at the age of 29.
7. Srinivasa Ramanujan ( December 1887 – 26 April 1920; aged 32)
Srivanasa Ramanujan was an Indian mathematician. Despite the fact that he had almost no formal training in mathematics, he showed extraordinary feat by discovering more than 3000 theorems and identities (some were already known). He was known for his contributions to mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series, and continued fractions.
Ramanujan suffered health problems throughout his life. They worsened when he went to England to work with G. H. Hardy. In 1919, he returned to India and died. According to the analysis of his medical record, he likely died of hepatic amoebiasis.
8. William Kingdong Clifford (4 May 1845 – 3 March 1879; aged 33)
William Clifford was an English mathematician. His work on Non-Euclidean Geometry played a fundamental role Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. He was remembered for Clifford algebras, and his work on quaternions and biquaternions.
Clifford broke down several times probably due to overwork. He died of tuberculosis.
9. Alfred Clebsch (19 January 1833 – 7 November 1872; aged 39)
Alfred Clebsch was a German mathematician. He was known for his contribution in algebraic geometry and invariant theory. He was the co-founder of the mathematical research journal he founded the mathematical research journal Mathematische Annalen in 1868.
Clebsch died of diphtheria in 1872.
10. Bernard Riemann (September 17, 1826 – July 20, 1866; aged 40)
Bernard Riemann was a German mathematician and one of the most influential mathematicians in the 19th century. He made numerous contributions in analysis, number theory, and differential geometry. He was one of the few students of Gauss and founded Riemannian geometry, the geometry used by Einstein in his theory of relativity.
In 1866, Riemann fled Gottingen during the Austro Prussian war. He died of tuberculosis during his journey to Italy.
Image Credit: All images in this post are from Wikipedia.