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Karl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855), the German mathematician. He contributed to all areas of mathematics and to number theory (higher arithmetic) in particular. A child prodigy from a poor family, his education from age fourteen was financed by the Duke of Brunswick. Sadly he left much of his mathematical research unpublished; the degree to which he anticipated a century of mathematics has only become clear since his death, although he did win fame for his work in mathematical astronomy in his lifetime. Had he published all his work it has been estimated that he would have set mathematics half a century further along its line of progress.
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