Srinivasa Ramanujan was an Indian mathematician who contributed significantly to the field, especially in the arena of number partitions. He impressed his mentors and peers because he had very little formal training and worked out many complex concepts himself.Continue Reading
Srinivasa Ramanujan was born in Tamil Nadu, India, in 1887. When he was 15, he obtained a copy of the second volume of "Synopsis of Elementary Results in Pure and Applied Mathematics" by George Shoobridge. Much of the material in the book was out of date, but nevertheless it spurred Ramanujan to delve into the subject and formulate his own theories.
He studied in Cambridge, England, under Godfrey Hardy, after beginning a correspondence with him by mail. It was in England that he made significant progress in the partition of numbers. Partition of a number is a way of writing a number as a sum of positive integers. For example, 4 can be partitioned as the sum of 3 and 1. He and Hardy solved the problem of partitioning p(n), previously a mystery to mathematicians because while it is possible to partition it recursively, there is no explicit formula for it.
Through his work in Cambridge, Ramanujan earned considerable acclaim for his ideas, which were published in many academic journals throughout Europe.Learn more about Modern Asia
Antoine Lavoisier earns the nickname "Father of Modern Chemistry" for his profound contributions to the field of chemistry, including the creation of the theory of oxygen's chemical reactivity and joint authorship of the modern system of nomenclature for chemical elements. Antoine Lavoisier, whose full name is Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier, initially earned a law degree in accordance with the wishes of his father, a prominent lawyer himself. Ultimately, Lavoisier turned to a career in the sciences, his primary field of interest.Full Answer >
Isaac Newton, one of the most famous and influential scientists in history, may not have been knighted for his seminal contributions to the field of science, as most people might think. Rather, the knighting of the renowned English physicist and mathematician was likely connected with political considerations.Full Answer >
Although often remembered best for the quotation "I think, therefore I am," the philosopher and mathematician, Rene Descartes, also developed the Cartesian coordinate system, made significant contributions to the field of optics and devised a mechanistic model of physics. In addition to being considered the father of modern philosophy, based primarily on his breaking away from the previously adhered-to Scholastic-Aristotelian tradition, Descartes is also viewed as one of the major figures in the scientific revolution that was taking place in the 17th century. One of his most ambitious undertakings was the development of a systematic theory of deduction and knowledge based on methodological skepticism that eventually grew into 17th-century European rationalism.Full Answer >
Adam Smith's main contributions to the field of economics were to lay the conceptual foundations for measuring a nation's wealth not by its gold or silver reserves but by its levels of production, and also to champion free-market capitalism as the most effective economic system. Smith was very much in favor of a laissez-faire approach to economies, wherein governments intervene as little as possible in business practices and trade.Full Answer >