A mathematician is a person who studies math. Here are a few, for your perusal.

570-480 BC - Pythagoras
408-355 BC - Eudoxus
384-322 BC - Aristotle
287-212 BC - Archimedes
276-194 BC - Eratosthenes
87(?)-150 -- Claudius Ptolemaeus, Ptolemy
+/- 250 ---- Diophantus
ca.262-190 - Apollonius of Perga
+/- 300 ---- Euclid
+/- 300 ---- Pappus of Alexandria
370(?)-414 - Hypatia
430-501 ---- Zu Chongzhi
588-670 ---- Brahmagupta
780-850 ---- Al-Khwarizmi
1048-1122 -- Omar Khayyam
1170-1250 -- Leonardo Pisano Fibonacci
1452-1519 -- Leonardo da Vinci
1501-1576 -- Girolamo Cardano
1564-1642 -- Galileo Galilei
1571-1630 -- Johannes Kepler
1588-1648 -- Marin Mersenne
1596-1650 -- Rene Descartes
1601-1665 -- Pierre de Fermat
1616-1703 -- John Wallis
1623-1662 -- Blaise Pascal
1629-1695 -- Christiaan Huygens
1643-1727 -- Isaac Newton
1646-1716 -- Gottfried Leibniz
1654-1705 -- Jakob Bernoulli
1667-1754 -- Abraham de Moivre
1685-1731 -- Brook Taylor
1698-1746 -- Colin Maclaurin
1707-1783 -- Leonhard Euler
1736-1813 -- Joseph Lagrange
1749-1827 -- Pierre LaPlace
1765-1825 -- Johann Pfaff
1777-1855 -- Karl Friedrich Gauss
1791-1871 -- Charles Babbage
1793-1841 -- George Green
1793-1856 -- Lobachevsky
1802-1829 -- Niels Henrik Abel
1803-1855 -- Jacques Charles François Sturm
1814-1897 -- James Joseph Sylvester
1815-1852 -- Ada Lovelace
1815-1864 -- George Boole
1826-1866 -- Bernhard Riemann
1832-1898 -- Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson)
1845-1918 -- Georg Cantor
1848-1925 -- Gottlob Frege
1857-1936 -- Karl Pearson
1858-1932 -- Giuseppe Peano
1861-1947 -- Alfred North Whitehead
1862-1943 -- David Hilbert
1872-1970 -- Bertrand Russell
1873-1916 -- Karl Schwarzschild
1877-1947 -- G.H. Hardy
1879-1955 -- Albert Einstein
1882-1935 -- Emmy Noether
1882-1969 -- Waclaw Sierpinski
1887-1920 -- Srinivasa Ramanujan
1887-1985 -- George Polya
1893-1978 -- Gaston Julia
1894-1964 -- Norbert Wiener
1896-1962 -- Wilhelm Ackermann
1896-1980 -- Kazimierz Kuratowski
1902-1984 -- Paul Dirac
1903-1957 -- John von Neumann
1903-1995 -- Alonzo Church
1906-1978 -- Kurt Godel
1909-1994 -- Stephen Cole Kleene
1910-1995 -- Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar
1912-1954 -- Alan Turing
1913-1996 -- Pal Erdos
1914-2010 -- Martin Gardner
1916-2001 -- Claude Shannon
1919----- -- Raymond Smullyan
1923–1999 -- Alexander Abian
1924-2010 -- Benoit Mandelbrot
1928----- -- Tom Lehrer
1935----- -- Nicholas Bourbaki (pseudonym for a multitude).
1937----- -- John Conway (John Horton Conway, to be exact).
1941----- -- Alexander Dewdney
1945----- -- Douglas Hofstadte
1947?---- -- Gregory Chaitin
1953----- -- Andrew Wiles
1961----- -- Ken Keeler
????----- -- just a guy

You may also be interested in the Lives of the mathematicians

I'm always looking for more names (nodes) to add -- if you have any, /msg me.

The numerical medium: on formerly undecidable propositions of mathematicians and related ilk.

To begin, the definitions of specialized terms used throughout this essay shall be presented before the main body of discussion. This is done for the sake of clarity in the description of ideas that would otherwise be rather cumbersome.

REALITY: the concept of the physical universe as perceived by general people.

AETHER: the concept of the mathematical universe as perceived by mathematicians.

EPHEMERALIZATION: the act of connecting Reality and Aether.

COSMOS: the resultant continuum where Reality and Aether are connected.

Ephemeralization is a term that was first coined by Robert Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983) to describe the movement towards doing "more with less." For instance, the invention of radio has ephemeralized communication. As Fuller would say himself, it is the transition "from tracked to trackless, from wired to wireless, from visible to invisible." (Kenner, 56). This idea serves well to illustrate the main goal of mathematicians. They are a people driven towards a specialized from of ephemeralization, whereby the two microcosms of Reality and Aether are joined together harmoniously. For one person in particular, Paul Erdõs, ephemeralization is the "uncovering of mathematical truth." (Hoffman, 26).

What is mathematical truth? The doctrine of Platonic Realism states that mathematical truth is an entity that exists independent of anything perceptible by the senses. Mathematical notions "are disembodied eternal Forms or Archetypes, which dwell in a distinctive realm accessible only to the intellect." (Nagel, 99). Accessible perhaps, only to mathematicians. Paul Erdõs refers to the Aether as the Book; the keeper of the Book is the Supreme Fascist, SF. "I’m always saying that the SF has this transfinite Book—transfinite being a concept in mathematics that is larger than infinite—that contains the best proofs of all mathematical theorems, proofs that are elegant and perfect." (Hoffman, 26). Apparently it is the SF who, in the beginning, divided Reality and Aether by the creation of a great chasm that would only be traversable by His following creation, the mathematician. Thus, Paul Erdõs is a mathematician.

It takes a special kind of person to be a mathematician. They must have the ability to move between the imperfect mechanical world of Reality and the ephemeral universe of the Aether. This is the discerning quality that separates Mathematician from Man. It takes tenacity to exist within the utterly malleable fabric of Platonic Realism, and to return unscathed. It is not easy to explore the Aether: "A land of rigorous abstraction, empty of all familiar landmarks, is certainly not easy to get around in.” (Nagel, 13). More than once, it has thrown many mathematicians into revolutionary convulsions when its utterly malleable fabric has seen fit (perhaps by command of the SF) to reveal yet another Platonic Oddity.

Observe Euclid and his fifth postulate, interchangeable with the fifth postulates of Lobachevsky, Bolyai, and the many axioms of Riemann. Indeed, space seemed to be able to take on as many shapes as the non-Euclidean geometers could think up. This sounded quite dangerous indeed, and Bolyai’s father warned him of this in a letter from 1820:

You should detest it just as much as lewd intercourse, it can deprive you of all your leisure, your health, your reset, and the whole happiness of your life. This abysmal darkness might perhaps devour a thousand towering Newtons, it will never be light on earth. (Struik, 166)

And only in this way can the majesty of the Aether manifest itself in the physical. Mathematicians are quite courageous indeed. Even then, their discoveries are sullied by the imperfections of the corporeal. For, "the triangular or circular shapes of physical bodies that can be perceived by the senses are not the proper objects of mathematics." (Nagel, 99). In this sense, mathematicians could be risking the crossing of the chasm, the "abysmal darkness", only for their own personal enjoyment. To Realists, this seems incredibly inane, if not blatantly masochistic. It may come as no wonder that mathematicians are often assumed to be vagrant minds with an ultra-tenuous grasp on Reality. But this is not entirely true; they simply see more of the Cosmos and budget their time in either microcosm accordingly. That is not to say, however, that many do not spend most of their time suspended somewhere between the two.

Whereas Paul Erdõs was a "mathematical monk" (Hoffman, 25), certainly one who rationed his time in the microcosms rather poorly, Buckminster Fuller was one who could comfortably perch himself at the intersections of the Appolonius lines of the Cosmos. When it was said that only Eulclid could have perceived the splendor the geometric universe, Buckminster Fuller was the exception. Never has anyone before him seen the vector lines within the polyhedra that govern the laws of force in the universe, and then continued to apply the insight toward the betterment of humanity. "Shelter for everyone," he says. We now have "a corrugated aluminum geodesic Zulu hut." (Kenner, 44). The discovery of what he calls the "Tensegrity Sphere" is like a tangible portal between the Aether and Reality. A collection of sticks and wire arranged in such a way that the tension and compression forces of either are in complete harmony. It appears as ephemeral as is possible to imagine, but it is as solid as physical Reality demands. When one man called it an insult to God, Fuller replied, "I cannot do anything nature does not permit." (Kenner, 93). Apparently, he has done absolutely everything that nature could ever hope to permit. Thus, Buckminster Fuller is as well a mathematician (not to mention an architect, engineer, and poet).

Mathematicians are indeed a special type of people. They were born to discover, apply, adapt, and understand within a Cosmos split in two. They were born to build the bridge that connects the two microcosms of Mathematics and Physicality. They seek to break the laws of Platonic Realism; they are dealers on the Universal Black Market of Knowledge, for quite often do their insights seem shady to the unwitting customer. They are adventurers of the high abstract planes, trailblazers of number lines and the unending perimeters of objects that defy dimension. Whether their goal is to have no goal at all, to remain afloat in the Aether; or to anticipate and improve upon humanity; or to calculate one more digit of pi; theirs are no different than the artist or the writer, the humanist, or one who simply wants to memorize one more digit of pi. For they are simply the mediums of another world, communicating and interpreting that, though invisible, has and always will exist.


Beckmann, Petr. A History of Pi. 1971, The Golem Press. United States of America.

Hoffman, Paul. The Man Who Loved Only Numbers. 1998, Paul Hoffman. United States of America.

Kenner, Hugh. Bucky. 1973, Hugh Kenner. United States of America.

Nagel, Ernest and Newman, James R. Gödel’s Proof. 1958, 1986, Ernest Nagel and James K. Newman. New York and London.

Struik, Dirk J. A Concise History of Mathematics. 1967, Dover Publishing. New York. Third Edition.

Scientists > Mathematicians

Mathematicians On E2

This is the Mathematicians Metanode, an index of writeups about mathematicians (including: mathematicians, logicians, numbers theorists, etc.) on E2. This is a subnode of the top-level Scientists node, and is a collaborative effort by the usergroup E2science. To suggest additions or alterations, please /msg liveforever or E2_Science.

There are several notable individuals who have studied mathematics at university, but later became accomplished in other fields. Mathematics may steel one's mind to approach challenges with a iron logic and a determined attitude. People who are curious about life may find enjoyment in being able to explain the world through a simple formula. The subject certainly is no place for sloppy, undisciplined thinkers.


Omar Sharif (of Lawrence of Arabia fame; maths and physics major, Victory College, Cairo)
Teri Hatcher (Bond Girl and Desperate Housewife; maths and engineering major, de Anza College, California)
Danica McKellar (from The Wonder Years; maths major, University of California at Los Angeles - graduated summa cum laude)


Florence Nightingale (founder of modern nursing; privately taught and considered first person in the English-speaking world to introduce statistics to public health. Also invented the pie chart)
Ted Kaczynski (the Unabomber; maths major from Harvard University, Masters and PhD in maths from the University of Michigan)
Ralph Abernathy (US civil rights leader; maths major, Alabama State University)


Michael Jordan (basketballer; studied maths in his junior year at the University of North Carolina)
Frank Ryan (US footballer; holds a PhD in mathematics from Rice University, having written a thesis entitled Characterization of the Set of Asymptotic Values of a Function Holomorphic in the Unit Disc)
Virginia Wade (1977 tennis champion at Wimbledon; majored in maths and physics at the University of Sussix)
David Robinson (San Antonio Spurs basketballer; majored in maths at the United States Naval Academy)


Carol King (Sixties pre-Martika singer of I Feel the Earth Move; studied maths but later dropped out from Queens College, New York)
Art Garfunkel (one half of Simon and Garfunkel; maths and music major, Columbia University)
Paul Vanhoeven (director of Total Recall, Robocop and Starship Troopers; holds a PhD in mathematics from the University of Leiden)
Adam Spencer (Australian radio presenter and comedian; maths major and a partially completed PhD, University of Sydney)
Tom Lehrer (musical satirist; maths major - Magna Cum Laude - earnt at aged 18 from Harvard University, followed by a Masters and Doctorate also from Harvard)


Bertrand Russell (maths major, Trinity College, Cambridge University)
Ludwig Wittgenstein (maths major, Trinity College, Cambridge University)
Simone de Beauvoir (feminist; studied maths at Institut Catholique, Paris)


Alberto Fujimori (President of Peru; Masters degree, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee)
Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister of Canada; maths major, University of Toronto)
Corozon Aquino (President of the Philippines; maths minor, College of Mount Saint Vincent, New York)
David Dinkins (Mayor of New York; maths major, Howard University, New York)
Leon Trotsky (Soviet Commissar of Foreign Affairs; incomplete studies maths in Odessa)
William J. Perry (US Secretary of Defence; maths major and Masters, Stanford University, and Doctorate in pure mathematics, Penn State University)
Paul Wolfowitz (President of the World Bank; maths and chemistry major, Cornell University)
Lee Hsien Loong (Prime Minister of Singapore; maths major, Cambridge University)
Ahmad Chalabi (Iraqi politician; maths major, University of Chicago)
Eamon de Valera (Prime Minister of Ireland; maths major, Royal University of Ireland, Dublin)


Bram Stoker (author of Dracula; maths major, Trinity College, Dublin)
Alexander Solzhenitsyn (Soviet-era dissident; maths and physics major, University of Rostov-on-Don)
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (aka Louis Carroll, author of Alice in Wonderland; maths major, Christ Church College, Oxford University)
Omar Khayyam (author of The Rubaiyat; developed several principles of mathematics, including geometry, algebra and trigonometry. He worked out that an Earth year is 365.24219858156 days)
Miranda Devine (Australian journalist; maths major, Macquarie University, Sydney)

Math`e*ma*ti"cian (?), n. [Cf. F. math'ematicien.]

One versed in mathematics.


© Webster 1913.

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