Ferdinand Eisenstein

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Ferdinand Gotthold Max Eisenstein (16 April 1823 - 11 October 1852) was a German mathematician.


  • As a boy of six I could understand the proof of a mathematical theorem more readily than that meat had to be cut with one's knife, not one's fork.
    • Curriculum Vitae - an autobiographical statement written when Eisenstein was 20, often referred to as his "Autobiography" (1843)
  • What attracted me so strongly and exclusively to mathematics, apart from the actual content, was particularly the specific nature of the mental processes by which mathematical concepts are handled. This way of deducing and discovering new truths from old ones, and the extraordinary clarity and self-evidence of the theorems, the ingeniousness of the ideas... had an irresistible fascination for me. Beginning from the individual theorems, I grew accustomed to delve more deeply into their relationships and to grasp whole theories as a single entity. That is how I conceived the idea of mathematical beauty...
    • Curriculum Vitae (1843)

Quotes of others about Eisenstein

  • As any reader of Eisenstein must realise, he felt hard pressed for time during the whole of his short mathematical career... His papers, although brilliantly conceived, must have been written by fits and starts, with the details worked out only as the occasion arose; sometimes a development is cut short, only to be taken up again at a later stage.
    • André Weil in Elliptic functions according to Eisenstein and Kronecker (1999)
  • As Eisenstein shows, his method for constructing elliptic functions applies beautifully to the simpler case of trigonometric functions. Moreover, this case provides not merely an illuminating introduction to his theory, but also the simplest proofs for a series of results, originally discussed by Euler.
    • André Weil in Elliptic functions according to Eisenstein and Kronecker (1999)
  • Looking back from today's vantage, Eisenstein's mathematics appear to us more up to date than ever. It is not so much the harvest of theorems, nor the creation of full-fledged theories, but the way of looking at things which amazes us...
    • Norbert Schappacher in Mathematics in Berlin (1998)

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