Person: Wantzel, Pierre Laurent
Pierre Wantzel was a French mathematician who proved that several ancient geometric problems were impossible to solve using only ruler and compass constructions.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- He soon surpassed even his master, who sent for the young Wantzel, at age nine, when he encountered a difficult surveying problem.
- In 1826, while still only 12 years old, Wantzel entered the École des Arts et Métiers de Châlons.
- Wantzel was not one to take life easy and he took on additional duties taking charge of the entrance examinations at the École Polytechnique in 1843 and in addition taught various mathematics and physics courses at various schools around Paris, including at the Collège Charlemagne.
- Wantzel is famed for his work on solving equations by radicals.
- In this 1837 paper Wantzel was the first to prove these results.
- In 1845 Wantzel, continuing his researches into equations, gave a new proof of the impossibility of solving all algebraic equations by radicals.
- Wantzel certainly published some important results, although it must be understood that his proofs of the impossibliity of solving the classical ruler and compass problems were built on the work of others.
- Wantzel improvised more than he elaborated, he probably did not give himself the leisure nor the calm necessary to linger long on the same subject.
Born 5 June 1814, Paris, France. Died 21 May 1848, Paris, France.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Ancient Greek, Geometry, Puzzles And Problems
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive