Cover image for Carl Friedrich Gauss : titan of science
Title:
Carl Friedrich Gauss : titan of science
Author:
Dunnington, G. Waldo (Guy Waldo), 1906-
Publication Information:
[Washington, DC] : The Mathematical Association of America, 2004.

©1955
Physical Description:
xiii, 537 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780883855478
Format :
Book

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QA29.G3 D8 1955 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

This biography of Gauss, by far the most comprehensive in English, is the work of a professor of German, G. Waldo Dunnington, who devoted most of his scholarly career to studying the life of Germany's greatest mathematician. The author was inspired to pursue this project at the age of twelve when he learned from his teacher in Missouri that no full biography of Gauss existed at the time. His teacher was Gauss's great granddaughter, Minna Waldeck Gauss. Long out of print and almost impossible to find on the used book market, this valuable piece of scholarship is being reissued in an augmented form with introductory remarks, an expanded and updated bibliography, and a commentary on Gauss's mathematical diary, by the eminent British mathematical historian, Jeremy Gray.


Reviews 1

Choice Review

Gauss was the most respected mathematician of the 19th century and, in fact, one of the greatest in history. His standard biography in English was written in 1955 by Dunnington, professor of German at Northwestern State College in Louisiana, and is here republished with corrections and additions by British mathematical historian Jeremy Gray and personal reminiscences about Dunnington by Fritz-Egbert Dohse. This reissue of the book is still not entirely satisfactory, since readers with no mathematical backgrounds will be put off by mathematical jargon while those who know mathematics will find this subject only in the new edition's appendixes, written by Gray. Nevertheless, it is the best biography there is and, apart from its main subject, offers a good picture of the German academic, social, and political worlds in the first half of the 19th century. Another biography by W.K. Buhler, Gauss: A Biographical Study (CH, Dec'81), integrates Gauss's mathematics into the narrative, but it is a much slighter work. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. General readers; lower-division undergraduates through graduate students. D. Park emeritus, Williams College


Excerpts

Excerpts

"This biography of Gauss, by far the most comprehensive in English, is the work of a professor of German, G. Waldo Dunnington, who devoted most of his scholarly career to studying the life of Germany's greatest mathematician. The author was inspired to pursue this project at the age of twelve when he learned from his teacher in Missouri that no full biography of Gauss existed at the time. His teacher was Gauss's great granddaughter, Minna Waldeck Gauss." "Long out-of-print and almost impossible to find on the used book market, this valuable piece of scholarship is being reissued in an augmented form with introductory remarks, an expanded and updated bibliography, and a commentary on Gauss's mathematical diary, by the eminent British mathematical historian, Jeremy Gray. Also included are personal reminiscences about Dunnington himself, by Fritz-Egbert Dohse, who not only knew Dunnington but also had an interesting connection to Gauss: his great-grandfather, Christian Heinrich Hesemann, was the sculptor whose bust of Gauss is widely known and is pictured in the book."--BOOK JACKET.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction: family background
2 The enchanted boyhood
3 Student days
4 The young man
5 Astronomy and matrimony
6 Further activity
7 Back to G÷ttingen
8 Labour and sorrow
9 The young professor: a decade of discovery, 1812-1822
10 Geodesy and bereavement: the transitional decade, 1822-1832
11 Alliance with Weber: strenuous years
12 The electromagnetic telegraph
13 Magnetism: physics dominant
14 Surface theory, crystallography, and optics
15 Germination: non-Euclidean geometry
16 Trials and triumphs: experiencing conflict
17 Milestones on the highways and byways
18 Senex mirabilis
19 Monarch of mathematics in Europe
20 The doyen of German science, 1832-1855
21 Gathering up the threads: a broad horizon
22 Religio Scientiae: a profession of belief from the philosopher and lover of truth
23 Sunset and eventide: renunciation
24 Epilogue:
1 Apotheosis: orations of Ewald and Sartorious
2 Valhalla: posthumous recognition and honours
Appendices
Index