Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty—a beauty cold and austere, like that of a sculpture.
These words said by a famous mathematician Bertrand Russell beautifully define mathematics as not just an inflexible application of rubrics to pointless symbols but something much more creative and an art in itself. Just like the work of a painter, who makes out patterns with his paints, a mathematician works with nothing but his ideas and his ideas similar to a painter’s strokes must be beautiful. Only then can he produce a work that can be called profoundly significant and creative. Mathematics is often defined as a study of pattern and so it is.
So what did all these great mathematicians have in common? Are they born geniuses or did they realize the existence of theorems and other mathematical discoveries in their journey of life? There are two schools of thoughts that answer this question. Plato believed that these theorems and concepts are out there in the universe just waiting to be revealed whereas the ‘realists’ have a different philosophy; according to them mathematical concepts and ideas arise from our physical presence and we solely are responsible for their being. Whichever theory is true the fact remains that mathematics is creative boldness and all these famous mathematicians found that creativity and boldness within them that encouraged them to discover the mathematical principles we now know and study in our books.
All these famous mathematicians played the most significant role in our lives much more than we realize. Mathematics is used in almost every field such as Physics and even in arts and music. What Von Neumann said about mathematics could not have been a better way to describe this subject. He called it the ‘relation of relationships’. The early mathematician had no tools to work with. Many of the crucial discoveries such as usage of ‘zero’ and the symbols were invented much later but this did not hinder the early mathematicians from producing the brilliant works that they did. Archimedes, Heron of Alexandria, Euclid, Pythagoras and many other great mathematicians were the early actuaries who laid the foundation to many mathematical works that were worked upon by the later mathematicians.
All these mathematicians contributed in some way or the other whether it was a minor influence or a major impact on society. They gained fame along the way in their struggle to develop new mathematical ideas and create something useful for the world to use. It can be rightly said that the world is what it is due to the efforts and struggles of the mathematicians who worked strenuously day and night to give the world new notions that were used not only in the development of mathematics but several other fields which, without these concepts, cannot work at all. Subject like Architecture, Physics, Chemistry and even Biology use mathematical theories and formulas for their working. After all, some of the greatest scientific achievements of this world have used the work of these mathematicians as a base. We have no one but these ‘famous mathematicians’ to thank and pay tribute to for their immense contribution to our life.