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Georg Friedrich Bernard Riemann

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Georg Friedrich Bernard Riemann

“Arguably the most influential mathematician of the

middle of the nineteenth century.”

Born-Nov. 17, 1826

Died-July 20, 1866

The Life of

Georg Friedrich Bernard Riemann

Early Life

Riemann was born in Breselenz, a village near Dannenberg in the Kingdom of Hanover in what is today Germany, on November 17, 1826. His father Friedrich Bernhard Riemann was a poor Lutheran pastor in Breselenz. Friedrich Riemann fought in the Napoleonic Wars. Georg's mother also died before her children were grown. Bernhard was the second of six children. He was a shy boy and suffered from numerous nervous breakdowns. From a very young age, Riemann exhibited his exceptional skills, such as fantastic calculation abilities, but suffered from timidity and had a fear of speaking in public.

Middle Life

In high school, Riemann studied the Bible intensively. His mind often drifted back to mathematics and he even tried to prove mathematically the correctness of the book of Genesis. His teachers were amazed by his genius and by his ability to solve extremely complicated mathematical operations. He often outstripped his instructor's knowledge. In 1840 Bernhard went to Hanover to live with his grandmother and visit the Lyceum. After the death of his grandmother in 1842 he went to the Johanneum in Luneburg. In 1846, at the age of 19, he started studying philology and theology, in order to become a priest and help with his family's finances.

Middle Life Cont.

In 1847 his father, after scraping together enough money to send Riemann to university, allowed him to stop studying theology and start studying mathematics. He was sent to the renowned University of Göttingen, where he first met Carl Friedrich Gauss, and attended his lectures on the method of least squares.

In 1847 he moved to Berlin, where Jacobi, Dirichlet and Steiner were teaching. He stayed in Berlin for two years and returned to Göttingen in 1849.

Later Life

Riemann held his first lectures in 1854, which not only founded the field of Riemannian geometry but set the stage for Einstein's general relativity. There was an unsuccessful attempt to promote Riemann to extraordinary professor status at the University of Göttingen in 1857, but from that attempt Riemann was finally granted a regular salary. In 1859, following Dirichlet's death he was promoted to head the Mathematics department at Göttingen. He was also the first to propose the theory of higher dimensions, which highly simplified the laws of physics. In 1862 he married Elise Koch and had a daughter. He died of tuberculosis on his third journey to Italy in Selasca.

Riemann's Works

The Riemann Sphere

In mathematics, the Riemann sphere, named after Bernard Riemann, is the unique way of viewing the extended complex plane (the complex plane plus a point at infinity) so that it looks exactly the same at the point infinity as at any complex number. The main application is to deal with extended complex functions (which may be defined at the point infinity and/or take the value infinity, in addition to complex numbers) in the same way at the point infinity as at any complex number, specifically with respect to continually and differentiability.

The Riemann Sum

ARiemann sum is a method for approximating the values of integrals. It may also be used to define the integration operation. The sums are named after Bernard Rieman.

The Riemann Sum Cont.

Consider a function f: D → R, where D is a subset of the real numbers R, and let I = [a, b] be a closed intervals contained in D. A infinite set of points {x0, x1, x2, ... xn}

such that a = x0 < x1 < x2 ... < xn = b creates a partition of I.

P = {[x0, x1), [x1, x2), ... [xn-1, xn]}

The Riemann Sum Cont.

If P is a partition with n elements of I, then the Riemann sum of f over I with the partition P is defined as

THE END

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