Gauss Library Records

If we were to choose only 3 greatest scientists in the entire human history, who excelled in every field of science and mathematics, they are:
1) Archimedes
2) Issac Newton
3) Carl Friedrich Gauss

Let’s see how Gauss became a great scientist in his formative years in the university, it would give us a clue by knowing what kind of books did he read ?

Carl Friedrich Gauss was awarded a 3-year ‘overseas’ scholarship to study in Göttingen University (located in the neighboring state Hanover) by his own state sponsor the Duke of Brunswick.

Gauss chose Göttingen University because of its rich collection of books.
During the 3 years, he read very widely on average 8 books in a month.

Below was his student days’ library records:

1795-1796 (1st semister): total 35 books
Math (M) :1 ,
Astrology (A):2,
History/Philosophy (H): 1,
Literature/ Language (L): 15,
Science Journal (S): 16

1796-1797 (1st semister): total 47
General Science: 3,
Math (M) :6,
Astrology (A):9,
Mechanics / Physics (P) : 1,
Literature/ Language (L): 4,
Science Journal (S): 23,
Others: 1

1796-1797 (2nd semister): total 35
General Science: 3,
Math (M) :6,
Astrology (A):1,
Mechanics / Physics (P): 3,
History/Philosophy: 1
Literature/ Language (L): 5,
Music: 1
Science Journal (S): 13
Others: 2

1797-1798 (1st semister): total 52
Math (M) :3,
Astrology (A):1,
Mechanics / Physics (P): 1,
History/Philosophy: 1
Literature/ Language (L): 1,
Music: 3
Science Journal (S): 41
Others: 1

1797-1798 (2nd semister): total 24
Math (M) :1,
Astrology (A):2,
Mechanics / Physics (P): 1,
History/Philosophy: 3,
Literature/ Language (L): 4,
Science Journal (S): 13,
Others: 2

Grand total (3 years): 193 books

Gauss read directly the great masters’ classics from Euler (6 books), Newton, Fermat etc, and Mechanics from Lagrange…

During these fruitful years, Gauss made major mathematics discoveries:
– the ancient Greek “impossible” problem of the construction of heptadecagon (17-sided polygon) with only compass and (unmarked) ruler;
– Modular arithmetic;
– Quadratic Reciprocity Law;
– at 21 wrote the Number Theory masterpiece “Disquisitiones Arithmeticae” (Latin, Arithmetical Investigations).

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