By Fresenbet G.: His full name is “Georg Friedrich Bernhard Riemann”, and he was born on September 17, 1826 in Germany. He was a second son of six children, and unlike the others, showed a sign of mathematical genius at a very early age. In high school, he usually astounded his instructors with his calculation abilities. Even though Riemann was distracted by mathematics often, he dedicated himself to studying philology and theology in order to support his family. But that was until he went to university to study theology, and found himself studying mathematics, under no other than, Carl Friedrich Gauss, hailed as being the prince of mathematics, whom he shared not only his middle name with, but his child prodigy status as well. Gauss, recognizing his genius, told Riemann to be an official student of mathematics, which he did. Now there is a decision that helped humanity! If Riemann hadn’t studied mathematics, then he wouldn’t have found ‘Riemann Geometry’ which set the stage for Einstein’s theory of relativity. Riemann, being the genius that he was, produced many works in different fields of mathematics, particularly Geometry and Analysis. Even though it might be debatable, perhaps his greatest accomplishment was in number theory. Riemann only wrote one paper on number theory, in which he studied the ‘zeta function’; something he believed was of extreme importance in understanding the distribution of prime numbers on the number system. The Riemann hypothesis, in which he conjectured several properties of the zeta function, remains unproven, and is one of the millennium problems. Whoever succeeds in proving his conjectures, will be awarded one million dollars by the Clay institute of mathematics.Bertrand Riemann |