When Andy mentioned Gauss the other day, I decided that I would look up more about him, since he's one of the most famous mathematicians of all time and also for the fact that he was instrumental in making number theory an actual discipline. We also share a first name, so we're bros.

Born on April 30, 1777 in Germany, Gauss started his life of mathematics at an early age, as he was a child prodigy. Andy mentioned this in class, in that he was creating ground breaking theorems at an age where we were all still in middle school or high school. One of the earliest stories of Gauss being smart is one in which he corrected his father's financial calculations while Gauss was still three years old. The most famous story of Gauss as a child is one in which his primary school teacher had all the children add up the numbers 1 to 100. Gauss figured it out in seconds, as he used the idea of pairwise addition to add the numbers together and multiply them to get the answer, 5050. In this case, his method looks like this:

1 + 100 = 101

2 + 99 = 101

…

50 + 51 = 101

Since there are 50 pairs of numbers adding up to 101, he figured out that the addition of the numbers 1,2,…,101 = 50 * 101 = 5050.

Some people question whether or not this story is actually true.

He studied mathematics with the support of his mother, although his father wanted Gauss to follow in his footsteps and become and mason. While in university, Gauss came across his first major breakthrough in the field of mathematics. He discovered that any regular polygon with a number of sides which is a Fermat Prime can be constructed using only a compass and a straight-edge.

In 1796, Gauss had a grand year in discovering new ideas in mathematics. He invented modular arithmetic, which we are about to study, and he also conjectured the prime number theorem, which we discussed in class the other day. Finally, he discovered that every positive integer can be represented as the sum of at most 3 triangular numbers.

I will continue on part two soon enough. Give me a day. I'll link it here.