The Horrible Ways Mathematicians Have Died

A list of mathematicians who died under unfortunate or unfitting circumstances (note that these entries have been sorted by age at death): Évariste Galois, 20 (1811-1832) Presumably the youngest to qualify for inclusion on this list, Galois died at a meagre 20 years. He was shot in the stomach, and a full day later died, in hospital. The circumstances surrounding his death are not entirely known, only that he was killed in a duel. Speculation tends to indicate that the duel was motivated either by…

Sofia Kovalevskaya: the woman who covered the walls of her room in theorems

When she was eleven years old, Sofia (sometimes called Sonja) Kovalevskaya covered the walls of her room in note sheets about differential and integral calculus by the Russian mathematician Mikhail Ostrogradski. These notes were from her father’s university years. This was how Sofia became familiar with calculus. Her first introduction to calculus was by the hand of her uncle Pyotr Krukovsky. He taught her the basics until she developed such a fascination with mathematics that she described it as “a mysterious science which opens up to its initiates a new world of…

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