This month's cover: Carl Friedrich Gauss—200th anniversary
Article first published online: 3 JUN 2011
©1977. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union
Volume 58, Issue 4, page 186, April 1977
How to Cite
1977), This month's cover: Carl Friedrich Gauss—200th anniversary, Eos Trans. AGU, 58(4), 186–186, doi:10.1029/EO058i004p00186.(
- Issue published online: 3 JUN 2011
- Article first published online: 3 JUN 2011
- Cited By
Two hundred years ago this month, on April 30, 1777, a boy was born to a poor laborer in Brunswick, Germany, who was destined to leave a lasting imprint on mathematics, physics, astronomy, geodesy, and geomagnetism.
Young Carl showed extraordinary promise even at an early age. When Gauss was 10 years old-it is a famous story now—his class was assigned a long exercise in arithmetic, adding up all integers from 1 to 100. As soon as the teacher had finished giving the problem, Gauss wrote an answer on his slate and banged it down: ‘Ligget se,’ he exclaimed. ‘It lies down’ (the slate with the answer), or in other words, finished. Of course Gauss never bothered to carry out the addition; he just noticed that the numbers could be paired, 100 with 1, 99 with 2, etc., 50 pairs in all, each equal to 101, and one simple multiplication did the rest.