Paul Erdos: The Wandering Mathematician

One of the notable mathematicians who have dedicated his life (literally) to mathematics was Paul Erdos. Erdos, a Hungarian mathematician, was one of the most prolific mathematicians. He has published more research papers than any mathematician in history, 1500 research papers in his lifetime.

paul erdos

Paul Erdos

Starting at age 25, Erdos started traveling from one university to another, and collaborating with numerous mathematicians. Later in his life, he lived almost as a vagabond; he gave up most of his belongings leaving only what is needed for travel. He would use his earnings to help mathematics students. He would offer prizes to solutions to unresolved mathematical problems ranging from $25 to several thousands. The most famous of these problems is the Erdos Conjecture on arithmetic progressions which has a prize of $5000.

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7 Extraordinary Mathematicians You Should Know About

There are numerous mathematicians who have made significant contributions in the field of mathematics. We cannot argue the mathematical greatness of Euclid, Newton, Gauss, Euler, and others who have set the foundation to the many branches of mathematics. In this post, we learn about 7 extraordinary mathematicians who are quite less known — less known in the sense that they are probably familiar to those who study mathematics and related fields.

1. Evariste Galois (1811-1832, France)
Evariste Galois was probably the most unfortunate mathematician who ever lived. He lived during the political turmoil in France. He failed the entrance examinations at Ecole Polytechnique twice because he could not explain his answers, was jailed for six months, and died in a duel at the age of 21.

Evariste Galois

Galois was  ahead of his time. In his teens, he was able to determine necessary and sufficient conditions for algebraic solutions of polynomials to exist. He barely attended college, but most of his contemporaries could not understand his work. He submitted research papers that were either lost or “incomprehensible.”  It was only 14 years after his death that the mathematics community was able to recognize the value of his work.

Despite his short life and his numerous misfortunes, his works gave a firm foundation to group theory. » Read more