Who is the Einstein of Maths?

In the the start of the 20th century, Einstein changed most of the physics by introducing special relativity and general relativity. He changed the laws and beliefs of Newtonian mechanics. So has there been a similar person in maths who changed the old beliefs in maths, and started a revolution.

Note by Siddharth Kumar
5 years ago

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The flaw in your question is that you make an unstated assumption that there has been at some point in the history of mathematics a set of "old beliefs" in an analogous fashion as in physics. This, I argue, does not reflect the nature of mathematics knowledge.

Mathematics is not a science in the sense that it is a model that seeks to characterize natural phenomena, or that it is empirically testable. The expansion of mathematics knowledge needs neither of these; as such, it is exceedingly rare that certain "beliefs" about what is mathematically true (or false) are later revealed to be incorrect, and it makes little sense to say that a subsequent "model of mathematics" is later superseded by a more encompassing model. Thus, the comparison to Einstein versus Newton is not apt.

That said, were I forced to draw the most reasonable parallels in history of mathematics, I can think of three major developments in mathematics that significantly altered perceptions of the nature of mathematics among mathematicians of the time:

  1. The development of non-Euclidean geometries. Prior to this, numerous attempts were made by mathematicians to prove Euclid's parallel postulate, which of course, was in vain.
  2. The axiomatic construction of the real numbers, and formalization of the foundations of real analysis.
  3. Gödel's incompleteness theorems.

However, I must stress that there are numerous significant contributors to the body of mathematical knowledge. There is no single historical or present-day figure who could claim some imagined title of "most influential" mathematician. A few famous names might come to mind: Euler, Gauss, Newton, Galois, Ramanujan, Riemann, Cantor, Poincare, Fermat, Bernoulli, Pascal, Cauchy, Laplace, Fourier, Abel, Archimedes, Euclid; but one cannot really single any one out.

Hero P. - 5 years ago

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Exactly...in mathematics a new idea never superposes but rather complements an old one...

Eddie The Head - 4 years, 5 months ago

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I think its Wayne Rooney.....

Siddhant Chaudhari - 2 years, 6 months ago

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I think Newton was just great, who had extraordinary mathematical reasoning skills and mathematical ability . One of his story includes as it is said that once when Newton was hiding in somewhere , thinking and formulating and when he was not so famous , then his brilliant teacher who was in Trinity , Cambridge along with twenty almost of his professors designed a question that was very hard for anyone at that time and even now only a few can do ( actually it was unsolved when it was designed ), and posted for common public in a hope that there could exist a maths prodigy that could help Cambridge of this stunning problem . The question in one year sweft across the whole world. Newon when got the problem he did that in just a few hours that took years for various mathematicians to even understand after it was solved . Due to lack of effective communication the solution took months to reach his teacher. When the teacher saw the solution he just said - " I can identify the lion from his claws ". Not to forget he was the discovery of calculus.

Utkarsh Dwivedi - 3 years, 11 months ago

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Cantor probably, people didnt believe that there were different sizes of infinity which is an idea that he praposed and we now today see as true, people didnt beleive is set theory which most of modern mathmatics is built off of. Hilbert said "no one shall expell us from the paradise that cantor has created."

Alex Sampson - 4 years, 1 month ago

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Fibbonacci is my best guess for normal everyday math. He readily expanded the systems of algebra throughout Europe over Roman numerals and created a much more efficient way of counting. Similarly, people like Cauchy, Riemann, and Weierstrass, to name a few, greatly increased the rigor of older mathematics in the 19th century.

Bob Krueger - 5 years ago

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I agree with all of you. But according to me it's Euclid who changed mathematics. There is no need of explanation for that.

Chirag Jindal - 4 years, 1 month ago

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