17th Century Mathematicians

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 1 
René Déscartes
(French Philosopher, Mathematician and Inventor of ‘Analytic Geometry’)
René Déscartes
78
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
(One of the Greatest Mathematicians of All Time Who Invented the Mechanical Calculator)
Blaise Pascal
52
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
(Astronomer Best Known for his Laws of Plantery Motion)
Johannes Kepler
42
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.

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 4 
Galileo Galilei
(Known as “Father” of Observational Astronomy who Invented the ‘Thermoscope’ and Various Military Compasses)
Galileo Galilei
27
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
(Mathematician, Physicist)
Christiaan Huygens
32
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
(French Mathematician and Founder of the Modern Theory of Numbers)
Pierre de Fermat
16
Birthdate: December 6, 1607
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
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
(One of the Most Influential Scientists of All Time)
Isaac Newton
38
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.

 8 
Jacob Bernoulli
(Mathematician)
Jacob Bernoulli
13
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
(German Mathematician Who Developed the Present Day Notation for the Differential and Integral Calculus)
Gottfried W. Leibniz
15
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
(Mathematician)
Johann Bernoulli
10
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 
Edmond Halley
(Mathematician known for Calculating the Orbit of a Comet & Was the Second Astronomer Royal in Britain)
Edmond Halley
20
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.

 12 
Johan de Witt
(Mathematician, Politician)
Johan de Witt
18
Birthdate: September 24, 1625
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dordrecht
Died: August 20, 1672
 13 
John Dee
(Mathematician, Philosopher)
John Dee
30
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.

 14 
Evangelista Torricelli
11
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
(Astronomer and Mathematician)
Giovanni Domenico Cassini
10
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
(Mathematician, Statistician)
Abraham de Moivre
9
Birthdate: May 26, 1667
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Vitry-le-François
Died: November 27, 1754
 17 
Brook Taylor
(English Mathematician and Barrister)
Brook Taylor
5
Birthdate: August 18, 1685
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Edmonton, Middlesex, England
Died: December 29, 1731
 18 
James Gregory
(Scottish Mathematician and Astronomer)
James Gregory
7
Birthdate: 1638
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Drumoak, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
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.

 19 
John Wallis
(mathematician, philosopher, musicologist, cryptologist)
John Wallis
5
Birthdate: November 23, 1616
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ashford
Died: October 28, 1703
 20 
Simon Stevin
(Flemish Mathematician, Scientist and Music Theorist)
Simon Stevin
7
Birthdate: 1548 AD
Birthplace: Bruges, Belgium
Died: 1620 AD

Simon Stevin was a Flemish physicist, mathematician, and military engineer. He is best remembered for his contributions to various fields of science and engineering. Simon Stevin is also credited with several discoveries and inventions. He pioneered the practical application of surveying and hydraulic engineering. 

 21 
Robert Fludd
(British Paracelsian Physician, Astrologer and Mathematician Known for His Compilations in Occult Philosophy)
Robert Fludd
8
Birthdate: January 17, 1574
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Milgate House, Bearsted, Kent, 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.

 22 
Isaac Barrow
(Mathematician)
Isaac Barrow
6
Birthdate: 1630
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London
Died: May 4, 1677
 23 
Marin Mersenne
(French Polymath Active in the 1600s)
Marin Mersenne
8
Birthdate: September 8, 1588
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Oizé, France
Died: September 1, 1648
 24 
Colin Maclaurin
(Edinburgh)
Colin Maclaurin
7
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.

 25 
Pierre Gassendi
(Philosopher, Mathematician, Astronomer, Professor, Astrologer)
Pierre Gassendi
8
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.

 26 
Ferdinand Verbiest
(Dutch Jesuit Missionary Who Was Influential in China during the Qing Dynasty)
Ferdinand Verbiest
8
Birthdate: October 9, 1623
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Pittem, Belgium
Died: January 28, 1688

Dutch Jesuit missionary and astronomer Ferdinand Verbiest had a huge influence in China during the reign of the Qing dynasty. Also known as Nan Huairen, he advised the Chinese emperor in significant matters and also worked as a translator and a cartographer. He penned several books and knew many languages.

 27 
Nicolas Fatio de Duillier
(Swiss Mathematician and Astronomer)
Nicolas Fatio de Duillier
6
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.

 28 
Denis Papin
(French physicist, mathematician)
Denis Papin
4
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 
Xu Guangqi
(Ming Dynasty Official and One of the Most Prominent Chinese Converts to Christianity)
Xu Guangqi
4
Birthdate: April 24, 1562
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Shanghai, Songjiang, Southern Zhili, China
Died: November 8, 1633

Xu Guangqi, or Paul, was a Chinese official of the Ming dynasty and one of the most prominent Chinese converts before the 20th century. An agronomist, a mathematician, an astronomer, a politician, and an author, he translated many Western works. He was also known as one of the Three Pillars of Chinese Catholicism.

 30 
William Whiston
(Mathematician, Physicist, Historian, University teacher)
William Whiston
5
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.

 31 
William Oughtred
(English Mathematician and Anglican Clergyman)
William Oughtred
4
Birthdate: March 5, 1575
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Eton, Buckinghamshire, England
Died: June 30, 1660
 32 
Giovanni Alfonso Borelli
(Italian Physiologist, Physicist and Mathematician)
Giovanni Alfonso Borelli
4
Birthdate: January 28, 1608
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Naples, Italy
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.

 33 
Christopher Clavius
(German Mathematician and Astronomer Who Was the Main Architect of the Modern 'Gregorian Calendar')
Christopher Clavius
4
Birthdate: March 25, 1538
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bamberg, Germany
Died: February 6, 1612

Christopher Clavius was a Jesuit German astronomer and mathematician. Clavius was one of the members of the Vatican commission that gave a green signal to Aloysius Lilius' calendar which came to be known as the Gregorian calendar. He was one of Europe's most respected astronomers; his books were used for over 50 years for astronomical education in and around Europe.

 34 
Seki Takakazu
(Japanese Author and Mathematician Active During the Edo Period)
Seki Takakazu
4
Birthdate: 1642
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Fujioka, Japan
Died: December 5, 1708

Seki Takakazu was a Japanese author and mathematician active during the Edo period. Referred to as Japan's Newton, Seki laid foundations for the ensuing development of Japanese mathematics. Seki Takakazu is also credited with creating a new algebraic notation system. 

 35 
Pierre Vernier
(Mathematician)
Pierre Vernier
4
Birthdate: August 19, 1580
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ornans, France
Died: September 14, 1637
 36 
Jeremiah Horrocks
(Astronomer Who Predicted the Transit of Venus of 1639)
Jeremiah Horrocks
4
Birthdate: 1618 AD
Birthplace: Toxteth Park, Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Died: January 3, 1641
 37 
Henry Briggs
(Mathematician)
Henry Briggs
4
Birthdate: February 1, 1561
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Warleywood, Yorkshire, England
Died: January 26, 1630
 38 
Benedetto Castelli
(Mathematician)
Benedetto Castelli
3
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.

 39 
Thomas Bartholin
(Danish Physician, Mathematician, and Theologian Known for His Work in the Discovery of the Lymphatic System in Humans)
Thomas Bartholin
3
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.    

 40 
Guarino Guarini
(Italian Architect of the Piedmontese Baroque)
Guarino Guarini
3
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.
 41 
Edmund Gunter
(Mathematician)
Edmund Gunter
3
Birthdate: 1581 AD
Birthplace: Hertfordshire, England
Died: December 10, 1626
 42 
Antoine Arnauld
(Philosopher)
Antoine Arnauld
3
Birthdate: February 6, 1612
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, Kingdom of France
Died: August 8, 1694
 43 
Girard Desargues
(French Mathematician Who was a Founder of Projective Geometry)
Girard Desargues
2
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.

 44 
Joost Bürgi
(Swiss Mathematician Who Invented Logarithms Independently of the Scottish Mathematician John Napier)
Joost Bürgi
3
Birthdate: February 28, 1552
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Lichtensteig, Switzerland
Died: January 31, 1632

Known as the man who invented logarithms in a study independent of John Napier, Swiss mathematician Joost Bürgi was initially a clockmaker of Duke Wilhelm IV’s court. His geometrical and astronomical instruments made him popular, and he joined the service of Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II.

 45 
John Machin
(Mathematician)
John Machin
5
Birthdate: 1686 AD
Birthplace: England, United Kingdom
Died: June 9, 1751
 46 
John Hadley
(Mathematician)
John Hadley
3
Birthdate: April 16, 1682
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bloomsbury, London, England
Died: February 14, 1744
 47 
Giovanni Ceva
(Italian Mathematician Known for Proving 'Ceva’s Theorem' in Elementary Geometry)
Giovanni Ceva
2
Birthdate: September 1, 1647
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Milan, Italy
Died: May 13, 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.

 48 
Gilles de Roberval
(Mathematician)
Gilles de Roberval
2
Birthdate: August 9, 1602
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Roberval, France
Died: October 27, 1675
 49 
John Greaves
(Mathematician, astronomer, and antiquary)
John Greaves
1
Birthdate: 1602 AD
Birthplace: Colemore, United Kingdom
Died: October 8, 1652
 50 
Johann von Wowern
(Philologist, Lawyer)
Johann von Wowern
2
Birthdate: March 10, 1574
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Germany
Died: March 30, 1612