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not knowing me; I will be afflicted that I do not know

time:2023-12-02 17:02:03Classification:controledit:xsn

When Gauss was a boy, his parents lived in a small house in the Wendengrahen, on a canal which joined the Ocker, a stream flowing through Braunschweig. The canal is now covered, and is the site of the Wilhelmstrasse, but a tablet marks the house. When a child, Gauss used to play on the bank of the canal, and falling in one day he was nearly drowned. He learned to read by asking the letters from his friends, and also by studying an old calendar which hung on a wall of his father's house, and when four years old he knew all the numbers on it, in spite of a shortness of sight which afflicted him to the end. On Saturday nights his father paid his workmen their wages, and once the boy, who had been listening to his calculations, jumped up and told him that he was wrong. Revision showed that his son was right.

not knowing me; I will be afflicted that I do not know

At the age of seven, Gauss went to the Catherine Parish School at Braunschweig, and remained at it for several years. The master's name was Buttner, and from a raised seat in the middle of the room, he kept order by means of a whip suspended at his side. A bigger boy, Bartels by name, used to cut quill pens, and assist the smaller boys in their lessons. He became a friend of Gauss, and would procure mathematical books, which they read together. Bartels subsequently rose to be a professor in the University of Dorpat, where he died. At the parish school the boys of fourteen to fifteen years were being examined in arithmetic one day, when Gauss stepped forward and, to the astonishment of Buttner, requested to be examined at the same time. Buttner, thinking to punish him for his audacity, put a 'poser' to him, and awaited the result. Gauss solved the problem on his slate, and laid it face downward on the table, crying 'Here it is,' according to the custom. At the end of an hour, during which the master paced up and down with an air of dignity, the slates were turned over, and the answer of Gauss was found to be correct while many of the rest were erroneous. Buttner praised him, and ordered a special book on arithmetic for him all the way from Hamburg.

not knowing me; I will be afflicted that I do not know

>From the parish school Gauss went to the Catherine Gymnasium, although his father doubted whether he could afford the money. Bartels had gone there before him, and they read the higher mathematics. Gauss also devoted much of his time to acquiring the ancient and modern languages. >From there he passed to the Carolinean College in the spring of 1792. Shortly before this the Duke Charles William Ferdinand of Braunschweig among others had noticed his talents, and promised to further his career.

not knowing me; I will be afflicted that I do not know

In 1793 he published his first papers; and in the autumn of 1795 he entered the University of Gottingen. At this time he was hesitating between the pursuit of philology or mathematics; but his studies became more and more of the latter order. He discovered the division of the circle, a problem published in his DISQUISITIONES ARITHMETICAE, and henceforth elected for mathematics. The method of least squares, was also discovered during his first term. On arriving home the duke received him in the friendliest manner, and he was promoted to Helmstedt, where with the assistance of his patron he published his DISQUISITIONES.

On January 1, 1801, Piazzi, the astronomer of Palermo, discovered a small planet, which he named CERES FERDINANDIA, and communicated the news by post to Bode of Berlin, and Oriani of Milan. The letter was seventy-two days in going, and the planet by that time was lost in the glory of the sun, By a method of his own, published in his THEORIA MOTUS CORPORUM COELESTIUM, Gauss calculated the orbit of this planet, and showed that it moved between Mars and Jupiter. The planet, after eluding the search of several astronomers, was ultimately found again by Zach on December 7, 1801, and on January 1, 1802. The ellipse of Gauss was found to coincide with its orbit.

This feat drew the attention of the Hanoverian Government, and of Dr. Olbers, the astronomer, to the young mathematician. But some time elapsed before he was fitted with a suitable appointment. The battle of Austerlitz had brought the country into danger, and the Duke of Braunschweig was entrusted with a mission from Berlin to the Court of St. Petersburg. The fame of Gauss had travelled there, but the duke resisted all attempts to bring or entice him to the university of that place. On his return home, however, he raised the salary of Gauss.

At the beginning of October 1806, the armies of Napoleon were moving towards the Saale, and ere the middle of the month the battles of Auerstadt and Jena were fought and lost. Duke Charles Ferdinand was mortally wounded, and taken back to Braunschweig. A deputation waited on the offended Emperor at Halle, and begged him to allow the aged duke to die in his own house. They were brutally denied by the Emperor, and returned to Braunschweig to try and save the unhappy duke from imprisonment. One evening in the late autumn, Gauss, who lived in the Steinweg (or Causeway), saw an invalid carriage drive slowly out of the castle garden towards the Wendenthor. It contained the wounded duke on his way to Altona, where he died on November 10, 1806, in a small house at Ottensen, 'You will take care,' wrote Zach to Gauss, in 1803, 'that his great name shall also be written on the firmament.'

For a year and a half after the death of the duke Gauss continued in Braunschweig, but his small allowance, and the absence of scientific company made a change desirable. Through Olbers and Heeren he received a call to the directorate of Gottingen University in 1807, and at once accepted it. He took a house near the chemical laboratory, to which he brought his wife and family. The building of the observatory, delayed for want of funds, was finished in 1816, and a year or two later it was fully equipped with instruments.

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