17th Century Mathematicians

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite 17th Century Mathematicians

 1 René Déscartes

René Déscartes
28
Famous As: Former Philosopher known as father of modern philosophy
Birthdate: March 31, 1596
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Descartes, France
Died: February 11, 1650
René Descartes, the father of modern philosophy, laid down the idea of rationalism, later followed by Spinoza and Leibniz. Descartes also contributed to the field of analytical geometry and led to the Cartesian coordinate system being named after him. His Meditations on First Philosophy is still taught at many universities.

 2 Blaise Pascal

Blaise Pascal
21
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: June 19, 1623
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Clermont-Ferrand, France
Died: August 19, 1662

Blaise Pascal was a French physicist, mathematician, philosopher, and inventor. A child prodigy, Pascal's work on projective geometry, at the age of 16 is commendable. He is one of the earliest inventors of the mechanical calculator, which he did when he was still a teenager. His work on probability theory influenced the development of social science and modern economics.

 3 Johannes Kepler

Johannes Kepler
16
Famous As: Astronomer Best Known for his Laws of Plantery Motion
Birthdate: December 27, 1571
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Weil der Stadt, Germany
Died: November 15, 1630

This 17th-century German mathematician, astronomer, and astrologer is remembered for his pathbreaking work on optics. He invented a developed version of the refracting telescope. He also laid down Kepler's laws of planetary motion and wrote Astronomia Nova, Harmonices Mundi, and Epitome Astronomiae Copernicanae.

Recommended Lists:

 4 Galileo Galilei

Galileo Galilei
6
Famous As: Astronomer
Birthdate: February 15, 1564
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Pisa, Italy
Died: January 8, 1642

An Italian astronomer, engineer, and physicist, Galileo Galilei is widely regarded as the father of observational astronomy, the father of the scientific method, the father of modern physics, and the father of modern science. He is credited with popularizing the telescope, which changed the course of history.

 5 Christiaan Huygens

Christiaan Huygens
14
Famous As: Mathematician, Physicist
Birthdate: April 14, 1629
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: The Hague, Netherlands
Died: July 8, 1695

From proposing the wave theory of light to discovering the actual shape of the rings of Saturn and inventing the pendulum clock, Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens had contributed a lot to science. Born to a diplomat, Huygens had the privilege of an elite education but remain sickly throughout his life.

 6 Pierre de Fermat

Pierre de Fermat
6
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: 1607 AD
Birthplace: Beaumont-de-Lomagne, France
Died: January 12, 1665

Seventeenth-century French mathematician Pierre de Fermat was also a qualified lawyer. Remembered mostly for his contribution to number theory, probability, calculus, and analytic geometry, he was also known for his proficiency in six languages, including Greek and Latin. One of his major works, Introduction to Loci, was released posthumously.

 7 Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton
15
Famous As: Formulated the Laws of Motion & Universal Gravitation
Birthdate: January 4, 1643
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lincolnshire, England
Died: March 31, 1727

One of the most influential and popular scientists of all time, Sir Isaac Newton played a prominent role in our understanding of natural phenomena. He formulated the law of universal gravitation and laws of motion. He also developed the Newtonian telescope among other devices. Apart from science, Newton was also intrigued by religion, occult, and alchemy.

You May Like

 8 Jacob Bernoulli

Jacob Bernoulli
4
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: December 27, 1654
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Basel, Switzerland
Died: August 16, 1705

Born into a family of drug merchants, Jacob Bernoulli was forced to study theology by his father but later deviated to math. He taught math and laid down the Bernoulli’s equation and calculus of variations. Apart from him and his brother, Johann Bernoulli, his family later produced more great mathematicians.

 9 Gottfried W. Leibniz

Gottfried W. Leibniz
7
Famous As: Polymath, Mathematician
Birthdate: July 1, 1646
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Leipzig, Germany
Died: November 14, 1716
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was a significant logician, mathematician, and philosopher of the Enlightenment era. He laid down his own concepts of differential and integral calculus. He was behind the invention of the mass-produced mechanical calculator and modified the binary number system. He also laid down a separate library cataloging system.

 10 Johann Bernoulli

Johann Bernoulli
3
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: August 6, 1667
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Basel
Died: January 1, 1748

Brother and colleague of Swiss mathematician Jacob Bernoulli and part of the famous Bernoulli family of mathematicians, Johann Bernoulli was initially pushed to join his family business of drug and spices. He later took up medicine, eventually deviating to math and contributing to infinitesimal calculus, along with Jacob.

 11 John Dee

John Dee
13
Famous As: Mathematician, Philosopher
Birthdate: July 13, 1527
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Tower Ward, London
Died: February 29, 1609

Anglo-Welsh mathematician, occultist, astronomer, teacher, astrologer and alchemist John Dee is best-remembered as advisor to Queen of England, Elizabeth I. Dee coined the term British Empire and advocated its formation by founding of English colonies in the New World. He had one of the largest libraries in England at the time and wrote on astrology, geography, trigonometry, navigation and calendar reform.

 12 Edmond Halley

Edmond Halley
4
Famous As: Astronomer
Birthdate: November 8, 1656
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Haggerston, London, England
Died: January 14, 1742

Edmond Halley was an English astronomer and mathematician who was mainly concerned with practical applications of science. He abandoned college education to travel to St. Helena. He published catalogue of 341 southern stars with telescopically determined locations. Known for his wide range of interest, he helped Newton to publish his magnum opus,  Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica. He used Newton's Law of Motion to compute periodicty of Halley’s Comet.

 13 Johan de Witt

Johan de Witt
9
Famous As: Mathematician, Politician
Birthdate: September 24, 1625
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dordrecht
Died: August 20, 1672

 14 Evangelista Torricelli

Evangelista Torricelli
3
Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: October 15, 1608
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Faenza
Died: October 25, 1647

Evangelista Torricelli, a student of Galileo, later made a name for himself as a physicist and a mathematician with his invention of the barometer. He also laid down the Torricelli’s theorem and discovered the Torricellian vacuum. The torr, a unit of pressure, bears his name.

 15 Giovanni Domenico Cassini

Giovanni Domenico Cassini
3
Famous As: Astronomer and Mathematician
Birthdate: June 8, 1625
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Perinaldo, Italy
Died: September 14, 1712
Italian-French mathematician and astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini is best remembered for his discovery of four moons of Saturn, the computation of Jupiter’s rotational period, and the observation of the Cassini Division, or the gap between Saturn’s rings. King Louis XIV made him a member of the Académie des Sciences

 16 Abraham de Moivre

Abraham de Moivre
3
Famous As: Mathematician, Statistician
Birthdate: May 26, 1667
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Vitry-le-François
Died: November 27, 1754

 17 James Gregory

James Gregory
2
Famous As: mathematician, astronomer, inventor,university teacher
Birthdate: October 31, 1638
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Drumoak
Died: September 30, 1675

James Gregory was a Scottish astronomer and mathematician. A celebrated mathematician, Gregory served as a professor of mathematics in several institutions like the University of Edinburgh and the University of St Andrews. He is also remembered for publishing several books, including Optica Promota, which describes Gregory's design for a reflecting telescope which came to be known as the Gregorian telescope.

 18 Brook Taylor

Brook Taylor
3
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: August 18, 1685
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Edmonton
Died: December 29, 1731

 19 John Wallis

John Wallis
3
Famous As: mathematician, philosopher, musicologist, cryptologist
Birthdate: November 23, 1616
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ashford
Died: October 28, 1703

 20 William Petty

William Petty
3
Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: May 26, 1623
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Romsey, Hampshire, England
Died: December 16, 1687

Initially a physician and anatomy professor, William Petty also taught music. However, he later established himself as a noted economist and became famous for his works such as Treatise of Taxes and Contributions. He was a surveyor under Oliver Cromwell and was a pioneer of political arithmetic.

 21 Marin Mersenne

Marin Mersenne
4
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: September 8, 1588
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Oizé, France
Died: September 1, 1648

 22 Isaac Barrow

Isaac Barrow
3
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: September 30, 1630
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London
Died: May 4, 1677

 23 Ferdinand Verbiest

Ferdinand Verbiest
3
Famous As: Missionary
Birthdate: October 9, 1623
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Pittem, Belgium
Died: January 28, 1688

 24 Pierre Gassendi

Pierre Gassendi
3
Famous As: Philosopher, Mathematician, Astronomer, Professor, Astrologer
Birthdate: January 22, 1592
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Champtercier
Died: October 24, 1655

French Catholic priest and astronomer Pierre Gassendi is remembered for his efforts to reconcile atomism with Christian ideals and for his anti-Aristotelianism. His studies included research on Epicurean philosophy. Apart from observing the transit of Mercury, he also studied the speed of sound and horizontal momentum.

 25 Colin Maclaurin

Colin Maclaurin
3
Famous As: Edinburgh
Birthdate: February 1, 1698
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Argyll
Died: June 14, 1746

Colin Maclaurin was a Scottish mathematician best remembered for his contributions to algebra and geometry. A child prodigy, Maclaurin became one of the youngest professors in history when he became a professor of mathematics at the age of 19. Colin Maclaurin also contributed immensely to the study of elliptic integrals and is credited with discovering the Euler–Maclaurin formula.

 26 Nicolas Fatio de Duillier

Nicolas Fatio de Duillier
2
Famous As: Astronomer, Mathematician
Birthdate: February 26, 1664
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Basel, Switzerland
Died: May 10, 1753

A close associate of Isaac Newton, Swiss mathematician Nicolas Fatio de Duillier, was, according to many, the reason for Newton’s nervous breakdown after they fell apart. He is best remembered for co-discovering the phenomenon of zodiacal light and for inventing the shadow theory of gravitation.

 27 Robert Fludd

Robert Fludd
4
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: January 17, 1574
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bearsted, England
Died: September 8, 1637

Best remembered for his study of occult philosophy, Robert Fludd, the son of English diplomat Sir Thomas Fludd, was also a physician. However, he was criticized for being a medical professional who believed in magic and defended Rosicrucianism. His other interests included cosmology, astrology, and Freemasonry.

 28 Denis Papin

Denis Papin
2
Famous As: French physicist, mathematician
Birthdate: August 22, 1647
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Blois, France
Died: August 26, 1713

Best remembered for his ground-breaking invention of the pressure cooker, Denis Papin was also the man behind the first piston steam engine, which played a major part in ushering in the Industrial Revolution. Unfortunately, he died a destitute and remains buried in an unmarked grave in London.

 29 William Whiston

William Whiston
2
Famous As: Mathematician, Physicist, Historian, University teacher
Birthdate: December 9, 1667
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Leicestershire
Died: August 22, 1752

Anglican priest and mathematician William Whiston is remembered for his efforts in popularizing the works of his mentor Isaac Newton. His A New Theory of the Earth aimed at explaining the historical and scientific validity of biblical events. He was also a supporter of Arianism and Primitive Christianity.

 30 Xu Guangqi

Xu Guangqi
2
Famous As: Mathematician, Astronomer, Politician
Birthdate: April 24, 1562
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Shanghai, Songjiang, Southern Zhili, China
Died: November 8, 1633

 31 Giovanni Alfonso Borelli

Giovanni Alfonso Borelli
2
Famous As: Physicist, Mathematician, Astronomer, Historian of mathematics, Entomologist
Birthdate: January 28, 1608
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Naples
Died: December 31, 1679

While he matriculated in math and taught the subject later, Giovanni Alfonso Borelli also made pioneering discoveries as a physicist and physiologist. With works such as De Motu Animalium, he revolutionized the field of biomechanics, explaining muscular movements with the help of statics and dynamics.

 32 Seki Takakazu

Seki Takakazu
2
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: 1642 AD
Birthplace: Fujioka, Japan
Died: December 5, 1708

 33 Pierre Vernier

Pierre Vernier
2
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: August 19, 1580
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ornans, France
Died: September 14, 1637

 34 Henry Briggs

Henry Briggs
2
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: February 1, 1561
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Warleywood, Yorkshire, England
Died: January 26, 1630

 35 Benedetto Castelli

Benedetto Castelli
1
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: 1578 AD
Birthplace: Brescia, Italy
Died: April 9, 1643

Benedetto Castelli, a Benedictine priest and a student of Galileo, later became a math professor at the University of Pisa. His On the Measurement of Water Currents is considered a fundamental work in hydraulics. He was the first to work on the principle of the barometer and sustained vacuum.

 36 Thomas Bartholin

Thomas Bartholin
1
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: October 20, 1616
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Malmö Municipality, Sweden
Died: December 4, 1680

Thomas Bartholin was a Danish physician, theologian, and mathematician. He is best remembered for discovering the lymphatic system in human beings. Thomas Bartholin is also known as the first person to scientifically describe refrigeration anesthesia, which is widely used today, especially while performing major amputations of the limbs.    

 37 Pieter van Musschenbroek

Pieter van Musschenbroek
1
Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: March 14, 1692
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Leiden, Netherlands
Died: September 19, 1761

Dutch physicist and mathematician Pieter van Musschenbroek is remembered for introducing the principle of the Leyden jar. He also taught at several universities. Born to an instrument maker, he initially studied medicine but later also focused on philosophy. He made pioneering contributions to tribology.

 38 Edmund Gunter

Edmund Gunter
1
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: 1581 AD
Birthplace: Hertfordshire, England
Died: December 10, 1626

 39 Guarino Guarini

Guarino Guarini
1
Famous As: Architect
Birthdate: January 17, 1624
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Modena, Italy
Died: March 6, 1683
A major influence on European Baroque architects, Guarino Guarini was not just a talented architect but also a mathematician and a priest. He had also penned books on architecture, astronomy, and mathematics, such as Euclides adauctus, and built buildings such as royal palaces, castles, churches, and chapels.

 40 Antoine Arnauld

Antoine Arnauld
1
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: February 6, 1612
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, Kingdom of France
Died: August 8, 1694

 41 John Machin

John Machin
2
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: 1686 AD
Birthplace: England, United Kingdom
Died: June 9, 1751

 42 Girard Desargues

Girard Desargues
1
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: February 21, 1591
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Lyon, France
Died: August 31, 1661

One of the founders of projective geometry, French mathematician Girard Desargues began his career as an architect and an engineer, designing several private and public buildings in Paris and Lyon and also a project for lifting water. Eventually he became associated with a group of Parisian mathematicians and undertook researches on perspective and geometrical projections, publishing several papers on it.

 43 John Hadley

John Hadley
1
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: April 16, 1682
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bloomsbury, London, England
Died: February 14, 1744

 44 Thomas Brattle

Thomas Brattle
1
Famous As: Merchant
Birthdate: June 20, 1658
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Massachusetts, United States
Died: May 18, 1713

American merchant, mathematician, astronomer, and traveller Thomas Brattle is best known for his participation in the Salem Witch Trials and in formation of the Brattle Street Church. A member of the Royal Society, Brattle and his younger brother William improved Harvard College, where he often donated money and served as treasurer and as an unofficial professor of astronomy and mathematics.

 45 Giovanni Ceva

Giovanni Ceva
1
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: December 7, 1647
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Milan, Italy
Died: June 15, 1734

Giovanni Ceva had proposed the geometric theory, the Ceva's theorem, named after him. The Italian mathematician taught at the universities of Pisa and Mantua. Apart from geometry, he had also worked on hydraulics and mathematical economics. He was the brother of poet and mathematician Tommaso Ceva.

 46 John Greaves

John Greaves
0
Famous As: Mathematician, astronomer, and antiquary
Birthdate: 1602 AD
Birthplace: Colemore, United Kingdom
Died: October 8, 1652

 47 Bernard Forest de Belidor

Bernard Forest de Belidor
0
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: 1698 AD
Birthplace: Catalonia, Spain
Died: September 8, 1761

 48 Gilles de Roberval

Gilles de Roberval
1
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: August 9, 1602
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Roberval, France
Died: October 27, 1675

 49 Johann von Wowern

Johann von Wowern
0
Famous As: Philologist, Lawyer
Birthdate: March 10, 1574
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Germany
Died: March 30, 1612

 50 Diego de Torres Villarroel

Diego de Torres Villarroel
0
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: June 17, 1693
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Salamanca, Spain
Died: June 19, 1770