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Christian Goldbach

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Christian Goldbach was a Prussian mathematician connected with some important research mainly in number theory; he also studied law and took an interest in and a role in the Russian court. After traveling around Europe in his early life, he landed in Russia in 1725 as a professor at the newly founded Saint Petersburg Academy of Sciences. Goldbach jointly led the Academy in 1737. However, he relinquished duties in the Academy in 1742 and worked in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs until his death in 1764. He is remembered today for Goldbach's conjecture and the Goldbach–Euler Theorem. He had a close friendship with famous mathematician Leonard Euler, serving as inspiration for Euler's mathematical pursuits.

Saint Petersburg Academy of Sciences building called Kunstkammer dating back to 1728

Letter from Goldbach to Euler, 1742

Portrait of Leonard Euler, one of the premier mathematicians ever

Number theory

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Number theory is a branch of pure mathematics devoted primarily to the study of the integers and arithmetic functions. German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777–1855) said, "Mathematics is the queen of the sciences—and number theory is the queen of mathematics." Number theorists study prime numbers as well as the properties of mathematical objects constructed from integers, or defined as generalizations of the integers.

The distribution of prime numbers is a central point of study in number theory. This Ulam spiral serves to illustrate it, hinting, in particular, at the conditional independence between being prime and being a value of certain quadratic polynomials.

The Plimpton 322 tablet

Leonhard Euler

"Here was a problem, that I, a ten-year-old, could understand, and I knew from that moment that I would never let it go. I had to solve it." —Sir Andrew Wiles about his proof of Fermat's Last Theorem.