Grateful American® Foundation

What did math genius Carl Friedrich Gauss discover?

July 10th

carl-friedrich-gauss-200July 10, 1796 — Carl Friedrich Gauss discovered today that every positive integer is representable as a sum of at most three triangular numbers.

According to Gauss: The triangular number Tn solves the “handshake problem” of counting the number of handshakes if each person in a room with n + 1 people shakes hands once with each person. In other words, the solution to the handshake problem of n people is Tn−1. The function T is the additive analog of the factorial function, which is the products of integers from 1 to n.

As one of the world’s most famous mathematicians, Gauss’s achievements include his contributions to number theory, proving the fundamental theorem of algebra, independently arriving at the least squares method (line of best fit), and introducing the bell curve (Gaussian distribution) in statistics.

Words of Wisdom

It is not knowledge, but the act of learning, not possession but the act of getting there, which grants the greatest enjoyment.

— Carl Friedrich Gauss, German mathematician who said: "Mathematics is the queen of the sciences."

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