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The Princeton Companion to Mathematics by Imre Leader, June Barrow-Green, Timothy Gowers

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VI.35 Carl Gustav Jacob Jacobi

b. Potsdam, Germany, 1804; d. Berlin, 1851Theory of functions; number theory; algebra; differential equations;calculus of variations; analytical mechanics; perturbation theory;history of mathematics

Jacobi grew up as Jacques Simon Jacobi in a wealthy and well-educated Jewish family. He was baptized during his first year at the University of Berlin in 1821, probably in order to make it possible for him to follow an academic career at a time when Jews were ineligible for academic positions. Jacobi studied classics under the famous philologist Boeckh and philosophy under Hegel. Owing to the mediocrity of the mathematics staff in Berlin at that time, he was self-taught in the discipline, which soon became his favorite. ...

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