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Our class has to present a little talk on some mathematician's life and his work (about 15-20 minutes). It was first come first choose and thus most of the big guns are already taken like Gauss, Newton, Euler, Fermat, Abel, Galois, Ramanujan, Riemann, Bernoulli family etc.

Then I thought that almost every one with Masters in Math knows about these mathematicians and their famous work. So why not pick a mathematician who has done some really interesting and important work but has somehow remained obscure.

I have read a little about Niccolò Fontana Tartaglia in Cox's book on Galois Theory but not sure if he will have enough history available and how important his work was. Also among lady mathematicians, I thought of Noether and Germain, but they are also well known.

Can someone suggest some historical figure who somehow escaped major fame despite good work and should be applauded time to time.

Thanks!

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    $\begingroup$ Well...he didn't exactly escape major fame (I believe something like 10,000 people attended his funeral!), but he doesn't seem to be taken on your list: Shiing-Shen Chern. $\endgroup$ – John Hughes Oct 17 '17 at 13:48
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    $\begingroup$ Definitely not small but unmentioned: was Erdős taken? $\endgroup$ – Andrew Tawfeek Oct 17 '17 at 13:48
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    $\begingroup$ Women: Sofia Kovalevskaya; see Michèle Audin, Remembering Sofya Kovalevskaya, Springer (2011) and Maria Gaetana Agnesi; see C.Truesdell, Maria Gaetana Agnesi (1989). $\endgroup$ – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Oct 17 '17 at 13:53
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    $\begingroup$ Bertrand Russell is interesting too for being a philosoph a mathematician and a great writer Maryam Mirzakhani a lady in mathematics $\endgroup$ – Aryadeva Oct 17 '17 at 14:09
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    $\begingroup$ Are Turing, Laplace, Fourier, Hilbert, Riemann taken? $\endgroup$ – john doe Oct 17 '17 at 14:09
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Paul Erdős is a wonderful choice. Anyone can edit this to add more sources if they so chose, but here's a small list:

  • My Brain is Open (Book)

  • The Main Who Only Loved Numbers (Book)

  • N is a Number (Documentary)

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    $\begingroup$ Yes that documentary is "N is a number". It is wonderful. I have seen it in past. $\endgroup$ – Bhaskar Vashishth Oct 17 '17 at 14:40
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"escaped major fame" is relative, varies from man to man. So for me, my choices are Georg Cantor, Oscar Zariski, Minkowski, Atiyah or Shankar Abhayankar.

A very good reference for studying different 'classical' mathematicians' life is "Men of Mathematics" by E.T.Bell.

Good luck!

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Grigori Perelman is one of those mathimaticians. He was chosen to be awarded for his proving of Poincare Conjecture, but declined the prizes of European Mathematical Society, Fields Medal and 1 mln dollars, believing his efforts to prove the Conjecture was not significant than Richard Hamilton's. Eventually he withdrew from the mathematics, because he was dissatisfied with the ethical standards of the field of mathematics and some mathematicians (who were against his achieving of those prizes and competed with him to gain those rewards after the Conjecture was proved (he was trying to prove that hypothesis for more than 5 years)). Nowadays, not much (or, maybe nothing) is known about him, and there are many lies regarding this person.

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