Notable Mathematicians


There are many sources on the lives and works of mathematicians. A good place to start is the classic Men of Mathematics by Eric Temple Bell. The book is written at a level accessible to undergraduate math majors, and the writing is lively. (Though Bell sometimes overdoes it; anyone who reads his chapter on Galois should also read the article "Genius and biographers: the fictionalization of Évariste Galois" by Tony Rothman in the American Mathematical Monthly, vol. 89 (1982), pp. 84-106.) The coverage of Bell's book ends at the dawn of the twentieth century. A comprehensive online source is the MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive, which has thousands of (mostly short) biographies of mathematicians from ancient times to the present day.

Selection of the handful of mathematicians profiled in these pages was entirely idiosyncratic; they caught my interest for one reason or another. Several of them are my mathematical ancestors.

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