18th Century Mathematicians

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Find out more about the greatest 18th Century Mathematicians, including Charles Babbage, Leonhard Euler, Carl Friedrich Gauss, Pierre-Simon Laplace and Daniel Bernoulli.
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 1 
Carl F. Gauss
(One of the Greatest Mathematicians of All Tim)
Carl F. Gauss
26
Birthdate: April 30, 1777
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Brunswick, Germany
Died: February 23, 1855

German mathematician and physicist Carl Friedrich Gauss is remembered for his work in math and science. Known as the Princeps mathematicorum, he laid down tenets such as the Gauss's Law. He had exhibited his talent since an early age and had completed writing Disquisitiones Arithmeticae by 21.

 2 
Charles Babbage
(Father of the computer)
Charles Babbage
30
Birthdate: December 26, 1791
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England
Died: October 18, 1871
Charles Babbage, or the “father of the computer,” invented the prototype of the world’s first mechanical calculator, the Difference Engine. With the help of mathematician Ada Lovelace, he also created the Analytical Engine, the first general-purpose computer and a precursor of the modern computer, with its looping and sequential mechanism.
 3 
Leonhard Euler
(Mathematician, Physicist)
Leonhard Euler
21
Birthdate: April 15, 1707
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Basel
Died: September 18, 1783

Leonhard Euler was a Swiss physicist, mathematician, logician, geographer, astronomer, and engineer. He is credited with making influential and important mathematical discoveries, such as graph theory and infinitesimal calculus. Widely regarded as one of the greatest and most prolific mathematicians of all time, Leonhard Euler also made pioneering contributions to analytic number theory and topology.

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 4 
Pierre-Simon Laplace
(French Mathematician and Astronomer Who was Best Known for His Investigations into the Stability of the Solar System)
Pierre-Simon Laplace
14
Birthdate: March 23, 1749
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Beaumont-en-Auge, France
Died: March 5, 1827

Though French scholar Pierre-Simon Laplace is primarily known for his work on the solar system, his research extended to areas such as mathematics and physics, apart from astronomy. Widely known as the Newton of France, he escaped being executed during the French Revolution, owing to his lack of political views.

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 5 
Joseph Fourier
(Mathematician & Physicist)
Joseph Fourier
9
Birthdate: March 21, 1768
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Auxerre, Burgundy, Kingdom of France (now in Yonne, France)
Died: May 16, 1830

Joseph Fourier was a French physicist and mathematician best remembered for commencing the investigation of the Fourier series, which is used widely to solve problems of heat transfer and vibrations. Fourier's law of conduction and Fourier transform are named in his honor. Fourier is also said to have discovered the greenhouse effect.

 6 
Adrien-Marie Legendre
(Mathematician)
Adrien-Marie Legendre
7
Birthdate: September 18, 1752
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: January 10, 1833

Born into an affluent family, French mathematician Adrien-Marie Legendre probably never had to earn a living till the beginning of the French Revolution. Excelling in math and physics, he later contributed to areas such as elliptic functions, developed the least squares method, and lent his name to Legendre polynomials.

 7 
Joseph Louis Lagrange
(Mathematician)
Joseph Louis Lagrange
7
Birthdate: January 25, 1736
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Turin, Italy
Died: April 10, 1813

Joseph Louis Lagrange was an Italian mathematician and astronomer who made significant contributions to the fields of number theory, analysis, and both classical and celestial mechanics. He served as the director of mathematics at the Prussian Academy of Sciences in Berlin for over 20 years. He later moved to France and became a member of the French Academy of Sciences. 

 8 
Isaac Newton
(One of the Most Influential Scientists of All Time )
Isaac Newton
21
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.

 9 
Augustin-Louis Cauchy
(Mathematician)
Augustin-Louis Cauchy
5
Birthdate: August 21, 1789
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Paris
Died: May 23, 1857

French mathematician Augustin-Louis Cauchy was initially a military engineer. In his early days, he and his family escaped the Reign of Terror and settled in Arcueil. He was one of the pioneers of mathematical analysis and made significant contributions to subjects such as error theory, calculus, and complex functions.

 10 
Gottfried W. Leibniz
(German Mathematician Who Developed the Present Day Notation for the Differential and Integral Calculus)
Gottfried W. Leibniz
8
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.
 11 
Andre Marie Ampere
5
Birthdate: January 20, 1775
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Parish of St. Nizier, Lyon, France
Died: June 10, 1836

Andre Marie Ampere was a French physicist and mathematician. He is best known for being one of the founders of the science of classical electromagnetism. He was a professor at the École Polytechnique and the Collège de France and a member of the French Academy of Sciences. The base SI unit of electric current, the ampere, is named after him. 

 12 
Daniel Bernoulli
(Mathematician)
Daniel Bernoulli
5
Birthdate: February 8, 1700
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Groningen
Died: March 17, 1782

Daniel Bernoulli was a Swiss physicist and mathematician. Born into the popular Bernoulli family of mathematicians, Daniel Bernoulli is renowned for his applications of mathematical equations to mechanics. He is also remembered for his pioneering work in statistics and probability. In 2002, he was inducted into the International Air & Space Hall of Fame.

 13 
Edmond Halley
(Mathematician known for Calculating the Orbit of a Comet & Was the Second Astronomer Royal in Britain)
Edmond Halley
5
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.

 14 
Émilie du Châtelet
5
Birthdate: December 17, 1706
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 10, 1749
 15 
Sophie Germain
(French Mathematician Known for Her 'Sophie Germain Prime Numbers')
Sophie Germain
6
Birthdate: April 1, 1776
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Rue Saint-Denis, Paris, France
Died: June 27, 1831

French mathematician Sophie Germain had used the pseudonym M. Le Blanc to get hold of notes from the École Polytechnique, as being a woman, she was not allowed to attend the institute. She later contributed to the number theory and also pioneered the elasticity theory. She died of breast cancer.

 16 
Anders Celsius
(Astronomer, Physicist, Mathematician)
Anders Celsius
3
Birthdate: November 27, 1701
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Uppsala
Died: April 25, 1744
Inventor of the centigrade or the Celcius scale of temperature, Swedish astronomer and scientist Anders Celsius was no stranger to science, being the son of an astronomy professor and the grandson of mathematician Magnus Celsius. His expeditions confirmed Isaac Newton's belief that the earth was flattened at the poles.
 17 
Mary Somerville
(Mathematician, Linguist, Translator, Astronomer, Scientist)
Mary Somerville
6
Birthdate: December 26, 1780
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Jedburgh
Died: November 28, 1872

One of the two pioneering female honorary members of the Royal Astronomical Society, Mary Somerville was a 19th-century polymath and science writer. Though she specialized in math and astronomy, she was also well-versed in botany and geology. The Connection of the Physical Sciences remains her most notable work.

 18 
Johann Heinrich Lambert
(Mathematician who Proved that π is Irrational)
Johann Heinrich Lambert
3
Birthdate: August 26, 1728
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Mulhouse, France
Died: September 25, 1777

Johann Heinrich Lambert was a Swiss polymath whose contributions to the fields of physics, mathematics, map projections, astronomy, and philosophy are considered important by many scholars. He is credited with introducing hyperbolic functions into trigonometry. He is also credited with inventing a hygrometer, which is used to measure the quantity of water vapor in soil and air.

 19 
Marquis de Condorcet
(French Philosopher and Mathematician)
Marquis de Condorcet
3
Birthdate: September 17, 1743
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Ribemont, France
Died: March 29, 1794

French mathematician and philosopher Marquis de Condorcet was a champion for liberal economy and women’s rights. He was a significant contributor of the Encyclopédie and was part of the Academy of Sciences. He is also remembered for his political activities in the wake of the French Revolution.

 20 
Thomas Bayes
(Former Statistician who is known for formulating a specific case of the theorem that bears his name: Bayes' theorem)
Thomas Bayes
4
Birthdate: 1701 AD
Birthplace: London, England
Died: April 7, 1761
 21 
Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon
(French Mathematician, Cosmologist Encyclopédiste and One of the First Naturalists to Recognize Ecological Succession)
Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon
3
Birthdate: September 7, 1707
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Montbard, France
Died: April 16, 1788

Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon was a French mathematician, encyclopédiste, cosmologist, and naturalist. He is best known for authoring and publishing Histoire Naturelle, an encyclopaedic collection of 36 volumes, which he worked on for 50 years. His work had a strong influence on two subsequent generations of naturalists, including popular French scientists like Georges Cuvier and Jean-Baptiste Lamarck.

 22 
David Rittenhouse
(American Astronomer, Inventor, Clockmaker and Mathematician)
David Rittenhouse
3
Birthdate: April 8, 1732
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: June 26, 1796

American astronomer, inventor, mathematician, clockmaker and surveyor David Rittenhouse, who served as first director of the United States Mint and remained a  member of the American Philosophical Society, made several significant breakthroughs for the US. His achievements include discovering the atmosphere of Venus and observing its transit, becoming the first American to sight Uranus, and completing an advanced orrery.

 23 
Jean Le Rond d’Alembert
(Mathematician, Philosopher)
Jean Le Rond d’Alembert
3
Birthdate: November 16, 1717
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: October 29, 1783

Jean le Rond d'Alembert was a French mathematician, physicist, philosopher, and music theorist. He is credited with coming up with d'Alembert's formula, a solution to the one-dimensional wave equation, which is named after him. His life and work inspired Andrew Crumey's 1996 novel, D'Alembert's Principle.

 24 
Giovanni Domenico Cassini
(Astronomer and Mathematician)
Giovanni Domenico Cassini
4
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
 25 
Abraham de Moivre
(Mathematician, Statistician)
Abraham de Moivre
3
Birthdate: May 26, 1667
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Vitry-le-François
Died: November 27, 1754
 26 
Maria Gaetana Agnesi
(First Woman to Write a Mathematics Handbook and the First Woman Appointed as a University Mathematics Professor)
Maria Gaetana Agnesi
3
Birthdate: May 16, 1718
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Milan, Italy
Died: January 9, 1799

Italian mathematician Maria Gaetana Agnesi, daughter of an affluent silk trader, was well-versed in a number of languages as a child. Most of her work was regarding algebra, calculus, and the Witch of Agnesi. She was also the first female academic to write a math book and to teach math.

 27 
Siméon Denis Poisson
(Mathematician)
Siméon Denis Poisson
4
Birthdate: June 21, 1781
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Pithiviers, France
Died: April 25, 1840
 28 
Jacques Charles
(Physicist, Chemist, Inventor, Balloonist, Mathematician)
Jacques Charles
3
Birthdate: November 12, 1746
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Beaugency
Died: April 7, 1823

Best known for developing the Charles’s law, which explains the expansion of gases when heated, Jacques Charles was a prominent French physicist. He was the first to ascend in a hydrogen-filled gas balloon, thus pioneering hot-air balloon flight. The Académie des Sciences member later became a professor of physics.

 29 
François Arago
(Astronomer, Mathematician, Physicist, Politician, Scientist, University teacher)
François Arago
4
Birthdate: February 26, 1786
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Estagel
Died: October 2, 1853

French physicist and mathematician François Arago discovered rotatory magnetism, named Arago's rotations. He is also remembered for his research on the wave theory of light and for the reforms he introduced as the French minister of war and the navy. The Eiffel Tower has his name inscribed on it.

 30 
David Brewster
(Scientist)
David Brewster
3
Birthdate: December 11, 1781
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Jedburgh, Scotland
Died: February 10, 1868

David Brewster was a British scientist, inventor, and author. He conducted many experiments in physical optics, especially concerned with the study of the polarization of light. Fellow scientist William Whewell dubbed him the "father of modern experimental optics." He was also a pioneer in photography and invented an improved stereoscope. He wrote numerous works of popular science as well. 

 31 
William Whewell
(Economist, Physicist, Historian, Philosopher, Writer, University teacher, Mathematician)
William Whewell
3
Birthdate: May 24, 1794
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lancaster
Died: March 6, 1866

William Whewell was an English polymath, scientist, philosopher, theologian, and historian of science. He worked in a wide range of fields, publishing works in the disciplines of physics, mechanics, geology, economics, and astronomy. He also wrote poetry, sermons, and theological tracts. He is credited with coining the terms linguistics, physicist, consilience, scientist, catastrophism, and uniformitarianism.

 32 
Lazare Carnot
(Mathematician, Politician, Engineer, Officer, Physicist)
Lazare Carnot
3
Birthdate: May 13, 1753
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Nolay
Died: August 2, 1823

Lazare Carnot was a French physicist, mathematician, and politician. His role in the Napoleonic Wars and French Revolutionary Wars earned him the sobriquet Organizer of Victory. Carnot is credited with developing innovative defensive designs for forts, such as the Carnot wall which served as a defensive mechanism against infantry and artillery attack.

 33 
Brook Taylor
(Mathematician)
Brook Taylor
4
Birthdate: August 18, 1685
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Edmonton
Died: December 29, 1731
 34 
William Playfair
(Economist, Mathematician, Engineer, Statistician)
William Playfair
3
Birthdate: September 22, 1759
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Dundee
Died: February 11, 1823

Scottish engineer and political economist William Playfair is best-remembered as the inventor of statistical graphs and secret agent for Great Britain during its war with France. He published the first data graphs in his book The Commercial and Political Atlas. He used line, area and bar charts to represent the economy of 18th Century England and introduced the pie chart.

 35 
Bernard Bolzano
(Mathematician)
Bernard Bolzano
3
Birthdate: October 5, 1781
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Prague, Czechoslovakia
Died: December 18, 1848
 36 
Jakob Steiner
(Mathematician)
Jakob Steiner
1
Birthdate: March 18, 1796
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Utzenstorf, Switzerland
Died: April 1, 1863

Swiss mathematician Jakob Steiner is remembered for pioneering the field of projective geometry. Born to a farmer, he didn’t have initial schooling and couldn’t write until age 14. His parents were against his decision to join school at 18. He later rose to be a significant figure of synthetic geometry.

 37 
Nathaniel Bowditch
(Mathematician, Astronomer, Actuary, Physicist, Sailor)
Nathaniel Bowditch
4
Birthdate: March 26, 1773
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Salem
Died: March 16, 1838

At 10, Nathaniel Bowditch was forced to quit studies due to poverty and started working, first at his father’s shop and then as a clerk in other shops. During his voyages in merchant ships, he discovered his love for math. He later redefined maritime navigation with his mathematical research.

 38 
Colin Maclaurin
(Edinburgh)
Colin Maclaurin
3
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.

 39 
Nicolas Fatio de Duillier
(Astronomer, Mathematician)
Nicolas Fatio de Duillier
2
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.

 40 
Gaspard Monge
(Mathematician)
Gaspard Monge
2
Birthdate: May 9, 1746
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Beaune, France
Died: July 28, 1818
 41 
William Jones
(Philologist)
William Jones
2
Birthdate: September 28, 1746
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England
Died: April 27, 1794
 42 
Richard Price
(Moral Philosopher and Mathematician Best Known for Editing, Publishing and Developing 'Bayes–Price Theorem')
Richard Price
3
Birthdate: February 23, 1723
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Llangeinor, Wales
Died: April 19, 1791
 43 
Jean Sylvain Bailly
(French Astronomer, Mathematician and Former Mayor of Paris)
Jean Sylvain Bailly
2
Birthdate: September 15, 1736
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: November 12, 1793

A major figure of the French Revolution, Jean Sylvain Bailly is remembered for leading the Tennis Court Oath. He also made a name for himself as an astronomer and studied the Halley’s Comet and the satellites of Jupiter extensively. As a mayor of Paris, he later defended Marie-Antoinette and was guillotined.

 44 
James Ivory
(Mathematician)
James Ivory
0
Birthdate: February 17, 1765
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Dundee, Scotland
Died: September 21, 1842

James Ivory was a British mathematician and astronomer best remembered for developing Ivory's Theorem. In 1814, he was honored with the prestigious Copley Medal for publishing several important memoirs.

 45 
Pierre Louis Maupertuis
(Mathematician Known for Formulating the Principle of Least Action)
Pierre Louis Maupertuis
2
Birthdate: September 28, 1698
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Saint-Malo, France
Died: July 27, 1759

Pierre Louis Maupertuis was a French mathematician and man of letters. He is credited with having invented the principle of least action; his version is known as Maupertuis's principle. He was also a philosopher and his work in natural history touched upon a range of topics. He was the first President of the Prussian Academy of Science. 

 46 
Gabriel Cramer
(Mathematician, Physicist, University teacher)
Gabriel Cramer
3
Birthdate: July 31, 1704
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Geneva
Died: January 4, 1752

Born to a doctor, Gabriel Cramer showed an interest in math since childhood. He received his doctoral degree at 18 and was named the co-chair of the University of Geneva at 20. Known for his research on algebraic curves, he is also remembered for devising Cramer’s rule and Cramer’s paradox.

 47 
John Arbuthnot
(Physician)
John Arbuthnot
2
Birthdate: April 29, 1667
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kincardineshire
Died: February 27, 1735
 48 
Giuseppe Piazzi
(Astronomer, University teacher, Mathematician)
Giuseppe Piazzi
2
Birthdate: July 16, 1746
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Ponte in Valtellina
Died: July 22, 1826

Italian Theatine priest, astronomer and mathematician Giuseppe Piazzi discovered and identified the first asteroid Ceres at Palermo Astronomical Observatory that he established in Palermo, Sicily. He first demonstrated the large proper motion of the binary star system 61 Cygni in the constellation Cygnus. He also supervised compilation of the Palermo Catalogue of stars and completion of the Capodimonte (Naples) Observatory.

 49 
Seki Takakazu
(Japanese Author and Mathematician Active During the Edo Period)
Seki Takakazu
2
Birthdate: 1642 AD
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. 

 50 
Dugald Stewart
(Philosopher)
Dugald Stewart
2
Birthdate: November 22, 1753
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Edinburgh,Scotland
Died: June 11, 1828

Dugald Stewart was a Scottish mathematician and philosopher best remembered for his efforts to popularize the works of Adam Smith and Francis Hutcheson. Considered one of the most prominent personalities of the Scottish Enlightenment, Stewart played a major role in explaining the Scottish Common Sense Realism. Among his students were Sir Walter Scott, Sir Archibald Alison, and Sir James Mackintosh.