Pythagoras - a man of numbers


Welcome to the first in a series about mathematicians. Some of these human beings have been fascinating. Do people know that Pythagoras was so upset when he realised the the square root of two could not be written as a fraction that one writer says that Pythagoras sentenced Hippasus, the discover of this fact to death by drowning? That’s probably not true but he was a fascinating dude, Evariste Galois discovered something called group theory and was killed in a duel over a woman at the age of 21. We all know about quadratic equations and we all learned how to solve them at school. In the early nineteenth century they knew how to solve a cubic and quartic equation but the question of whether there was a formula to solve a quite (power of five) equation was not known. Galois solved it. Then there was Sophie Germain, one of the greatest female mathematicians ever. She was only able to do mathematics by marrying someone who would let her. Enjoy Pythagoras.




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