For most people, math is a subject they either love or hate.

But whether or not you’re a fan of the subject, one thing is for certain: it plays an important role in our lives. From helping us calculate our finances to cooking, we need math to survive.

Math is also behind humanity’s greatest successes—we’ve been able to reach the moon because of math. We’ve been able to utilize solar energy because of math. We’ve been able to evolve as a society because of math.

And there’s no doubt that all of this was only possible because of the work of mathematicians. Mathematicians have played a vital role in shaping the history of the world. And while there are math geniuses everywhere, there are some individuals that stand out.

With that in mind, here’s a list of our favorite mathematicians:

Carl Gauss (1777–1855)

Most people don’t know who Carl Gauss is, which is unfortunate, because he elaborated on a number of theories. He published the book, “Arithmetical Investigations,” which focuses on whole numbers.

It’s safe to say that without Carl Gauss, computers would not have existed. But that’s not the only area of math he worked on. He also dedicated his life to algebra, statistics, geometry, astronomy, etc.

Alan Turing (1912–1954)

, Brilliant Minds: A Brief History of The World’s Greatest Mathematicians

You’ve probably heard the name Alan Turing before. He was one of the greatest British mathematicians of all time. But he’s especially known for helping break Nazi codes during World War II.

Turing was able to decipher the crypto-codes that were protected by the infamous Enigma machine. Not only were these codes difficult to crack, but they also gave the Nazis an advantage over their victims.

By helping decipher the codes, Turing helped the Allies defeat the Nazis. He is known as the father of modern-day computer science and his theories have been used to develop artificial intelligence.

There’s even a movie (The Imitation Game) made about his life and his role in World War II, starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

Benoit Mandelbrot (1924–2010)

Benoit Mandelbrot is known for his work on fractal geometry. These are complex shapes that are built using simple and self-replicable formulas.

Without fractal geometry, graphic design and computer-generated images would not have been possible. In fact, Mandelbrot’s discovery of fractal geometry has been described as “one of the most beautiful discoveries in history.”

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