Mathematician:Mathematicians/Sorted By Nation/Switzerland

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For more comprehensive information on the lives and works of mathematicians through the ages, see the MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, created by John J. O'Connor and Edmund F. Robertson.

The army of those who have made at least one definite contribution to mathematics as we know it soon becomes a mob as we look back over history; 6,000 or 8,000 names press forward for some word from us to preserve them from oblivion, and once the bolder leaders have been recognised it becomes largely a matter of arbitrary, illogical legislation to judge who of the clamouring multitude shall be permitted to survive and who be condemned to be forgotten.
-- Eric Temple Bell: Men of Mathematics, 1937, Victor Gollancz, London


Jost Bürgi (1552 – 1632)

Swiss clockmaker, maker of astronomical instruments and mathematician most famous for publishing a book on logarithms in 1620.

Believed to have invented his own version of logarithms as early as $1588$, but as he failed to publish, John Napier received the credit for the invention.
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Johann Heinrich Rahn (1622 – 1676)

Swiss mathematician credited with the first use of the division symbol, $\div$, also known as the obelus, and the therefore sign, $\therefore$.
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Jacob Bernoulli (1654 – 1705)

Swiss mathematician best known for his work on probability theory, analytic geometry and development of the calculus.

Also developed the field of calculus of variations.

Developed the technique of Separation of Variables, and in $1696$ solved what is now known as Bernoulli's (Differential) Equation.

Invented polar coordinates.

Elder brother of Johann Bernoulli, with whom he famously quarrelled.
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Nicolaus Bernoulli (1662 – 1716)

Brother of Jacob Bernoulli and Johann Bernoulli, and father of Nicolaus I Bernoulli.

It is unclear exactly what, if anything, Nicolaus Bernoulli contributed to mathematics.

The accepted report is that he was a painter, and an alderman of Basel.

However, some sources, notably 1937: Eric Temple Bell: Men of Mathematics, appear to conflate him with Nicolaus II Bernoulli.
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Johann Bernoulli (1667 – 1748)

Swiss mathematician best known for his work on development of the calculus.

Taught Guillaume de l'Hôpital, who then went ahead and published his lecture notes without crediting him.

Pioneered the technique of Integration by Parts.

Younger brother of Jacob Bernoulli, with whom he did not always see eye to eye.
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Nicolaus I Bernoulli (1687 – 1759)

Swiss mathematician who worked on probability theory, geometry and differential equations.

Most of his important work can be found in his correspondence, particularly with Pierre Raymond de Montmort, in which he introduced the St. Petersburg Paradox.

He also corresponded with Leonhard Paul Euler and Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz.

Son of Nicolaus Bernoulli and so nephew of Jacob Bernoulli and Johann Bernoulli.
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Nicolaus II Bernoulli (1695 – 1726)

Swiss mathematician who worked mostly on curves, differential equations and probability theory. He also contributed to fluid dynamics.

Studied as a lawyer, and became involved in the priority dispute between Newton and Leibniz, and also the one between Johann Bernoulli and Brook Taylor.

Posed the problem of reciprocal orthogonal trajectories in $1720$.

Son of Johann Bernoulli and the elder brother of Daniel Bernoulli and Johann II Bernoulli.
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Daniel Bernoulli (1700 – 1782)

Dutch / Swiss mathematician who worked mostly on fluid dynamics, probability theory and statistics.

Considered by many to be the first mathematical physicist.

Son of Johann Bernoulli and the brother of Nicolaus II Bernoulli and Johann II Bernoulli.

Famously suffered from the jealousy and bad temper of his father Johann Bernoulli who, among other unpleasantnesses, tried to steal his Hydrodynamica and pass it off as his own, naming it Hydraulica.
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Gabriel Cramer (1704 – 1752)

Swiss mathematician best known for Cramer's Rule.
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Leonhard Paul Euler (1707 – 1783)

Swiss mathematician and physicist who pioneered much of the foundation of modern mathematics.

Introduced much of the notation which is used today, including $e$ and the modern notation for trigonometric functions.
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Johann II Bernoulli (1710 – 1790)

Swiss mathematician who worked mostly on the theory of heat and light.

Son of Johann Bernoulli and the younger brother of Nicolaus II Bernoulli and Daniel Bernoulli.

Father of Johann III Bernoulli and Jakob II Bernoulli.
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Johann Heinrich Lambert (1728 – 1777)

Swiss mathematician, physicist and astronomer.

The first to introduce hyperbolic functions into trigonometry.

Made conjectures regarding non-Euclidean space.

Credited with the first proof that $\pi$ is irrational.
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Johann III Bernoulli (1744 – 1807)

Swiss mathematician who worked on probability theory, recurring decimals and the theory of equations.

Son of Johann II Bernoulli and the elder brother of Jakob II Bernoulli.
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Jakob II Bernoulli (1759 – 1789)

Swiss mathematician who worked in geometry and mathematical physics.

Son of Johann II Bernoulli and the younger brother of Johann III Bernoulli.
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Jean-Robert Argand (1768 – 1822)

Amateur mathematician of Swiss origin, also an accountant and bookseller, best known for the Argand diagram.

Also published, in $1814$, the first complete and rigorous proof of the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra.
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Jakob Steiner (1796 – 1863)

Swiss mathematician who worked extensively (and mainly) in geometry.

He made an important contribution to combinatorics with his Steiner system, a kind of block design.
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Jacques Charles François Sturm (1803 – 1855)

Swiss-born Franco-German mathematical physicist whose work was mainly in the fields of applied mathematics and physics.
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Ludwig Schläfli (1814 – 1895)

Swiss mathematician, specialising in geometry and complex analysis.

One of the key figures in developing the notion of higher-dimensional spaces.
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Ludwig Stickelberger (1850 – 1936)

Swiss mathematician who made important contributions to linear algebra and algebraic number theory.
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Florian Cajori (1859 – 1930)

Swiss-born American mathematician who specialized in (and in fact pioneered) the field of mathematics history.
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Walther Ritz (1878 – 1909)

Swiss theoretical physicist most famous for his work with Johannes Robert Rydberg on the Rydberg-Ritz Combination Principle.

Also known for the variational method named after him, the Ritz method.
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Michel Plancherel (1885 – 1967)

Swiss mathematician who worked in the areas of mathematical analysis, mathematical physics and algebra.
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Paul Isaac Bernays (1888 – 1977)

Swiss mathematician who worked mainly in mathematical logic and axiomatic set theory.
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Marcel Jules Edouard Golay (1902 – 1989)

Swiss-born mathematician, physicist, and information theorist, who worked on real-world military and industrial problems.
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Peter Karl Henrici (1923 – 1987)

Swiss mathematician best known for his contributions to the field of numerical analysis.
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Gabriel Andrew Dirac (1925 – 1984)

Swiss mathematician who mainly worked in graph theory.

Stepson of Paul Dirac and nephew of Eugene Wigner.
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Erwin Engeler (b. 1930 )

Swiss mathematician whose main work has been in mathematical logic and computer science.
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Niklaus Emil Wirth (b. 1934 )

Swiss computer scientist, best known for designing several programming languages, including Pascal, and for pioneering several classic topics in software engineering.
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Alain M. Robert (b. 1941 )

Swiss mathematician interested in Algebraic Groups, Representations.
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