Where would we be today without maths? Not only is math used for telling the time, baking a cake or helping with daily problem solving, it is the main factor to a lot of discoveries we have made over the centuries.
Without mathematics would we have discovered the first dwarf planet Ceres? How long would it have been until coloured photography was developed and would Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon? Not only can we thank mathematics, but the mathematicians who made these discoveries.
Carl Freidrich Gauss, the Prince of Mathematics. Gauss was a German mathematician most well known for his discoveries and contributions towards number theory and astronomy. In 1801 the first dwarf planet Ceres was discovered but then lost in the Sun's light. He used maths to work out and discover the exact position of Ceres. In 1802 French astronomers rediscovered Ceres, in the exact location Gauss predicted. Would Ceres of ever been rediscovered if it wasn’t for Carl Gauss?
Maths plays a massive part in the world of astronomy. Not only is it used for locating planets, but it’s contributed to the success of most of NASA’s missions.
Katherine Johnson, a physicist, mathematician and a well-known pioneer for women in STEM. Not only was she one of the first African-American to enroll on a maths graduate program, she also used maths to make significant contributions to many of NASA’s mission. She calculated the path for Freedom 7 (the spacecraft that put the first US astronaut into space) and was apart of the team that calculated where and when to launch the Apollo 11 rocket (the spacecraft that landed the first three men on the moon), however these are just a few examples of her amazing work.
Earlier this year, some of you may have seen World War One be brought to life by Peter Jackson. A black and white film, now in colour. However, where did colour film and photography start?
James Maxwell, a physicist and mathematician. The man who discovered the structure of Saturn’s rings, started the electromagnetic spectrum and created the first ever coloured photograph using maths. After discovering the human eye had cells that were sensitive to red, green and blue. Maxwell proved that mixing three pure colours (red, green and blue), with the right lighting it can create any visible hue or grey tone. This was the discovery of what is better known today as RGB, the system for representing colour on a computer display.
The Lady with the Lamp, Florence Nightingale. Most well known for changing the face of nursing during the Crimean war. But how did she do this? Well, she used maths. After seeing the state of the hospitals and mortality rate, she began to collect statistical data. Nightingale analysed the data to develop a clear and easy graph to prove hospital conditions were a problem. Her findings and actions fundamentally changed the conditions of hospitals, and introduced new professional nursing standards. So, thanks to Florence Nightingale and her contributions for making modern day nursing what it is today.