Low Probability Greatness

Carl Friedrich GaussGertrude Stein lover (There’s lots of there there!) Alice B. Toklas was born on this day in 1877. Actor Eve Arden was born in 1908. Grandpa Munster actor, Al Lewis was born in 1923. Johnny Horton was born in 1925. And actor Jill Clayburgh was born in 1944.

Cloris Leachman is 87 today. Willie Nelson is 80. Ringworld author Larry Niven is 75. Rocky’s brother-in-law, Burt Young is 73. And Kirsten Dunst is 31.

By many lengths, the day belongs to arguably the greatest mathematician of all time, Carl Friedrich Gauss, or as we know him, Gauss. He was born in 1777. According to historian Eric Temple Bell (who is not above criticism, but still), if Gauss had published all of his discoveries when he made them, it would have advanced mathematics 50 years ahead of where it is. It is hard to overstate his importance. There is basically no field of math in which you won’t come upon his work.

Happy birthday Gauss!

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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