Lifeand Contributions of Jacob BernoulliZacharyMunfordUniversityof North Carolina at Pembroke Swiss mathematician Jacob Bernoulliwas born January 6, 1655 in Basel Switzerland (Britannica, 2017). As he grew up in a very notable family hisfather already had a plan for him, he wanted him to be involved in a world of theology,although he apparently found something he was rather interested in despite whathis father wanted and this was mathematics (Britannica,2017). Even though he was greatly intrigued by math he still went to theUniversity of Basel for philosophy and theology and graduated with a mastersand a licentiate (J J O’Connor & E F Robertson, 1998). While he was attending the universitystudying the things his parents wanted him to study he was also studying mathand astronomy without their knowledge or consent (J J O’Connor & E FRobertson, 1998). Between the years of 1676 and 1683 Bernoulli done a considerableamount of traveling, and along the way studied and met with many mathematiciansfurthering his knowledge over the years even more (J J O’Connor & E FRobertson, 1998).
Then in 1683 he returned to the university from which hegraduated and taught mechanics and math which were his real interests as heeven turned down an appointment in the church and instead took a chair in the universityto continue his mathematical journey (J J O’Connor & E F Robertson, 1998). Bernoulli also had a younger brother namedJohann Bernoulli who was born in 1667 which was also put into the samesituation as Bernoulli, but instead of theology his father wanted him to pursuea career in medicine, but he as well did not obey his father, instead he toowent into a career of mathematics like his brother (Britannica, 2017). While Johann Bernoulli studied medicine he hadhis brother teach him math, after this they even began to study topics togetherand had a well-rounded relationship (J J O’Connor & E F Robertson, 1998). Littledid Bernoulli know, they would go from being brothers studying and learningtogether having a good relationship to being each other’s rivals (J J O’Connor& E F Robertson, 1998). Bernoulli had many well-known and prestigiouscontributions to the world of mathematics, mostly focused on calculus. Hisfirst major contributions that were noticed included a pamphlet, which hepublished in 1685, on the parallels of logic and algebra (J J O’Connor & EF Robertson, 1998).
Others include his work on probability also in 1685, thengeometry in 1687 which includes how to divide a triangle into four equal partswith just two perpendicular lines (J J O’Connor & E F Robertson, 1998). In 1689he even published his own law called the law of large numbers in probabilitytheory, which is the idea that the more times a random situation is done, thedifference between what is expected and what actually happens goes to zero (Renze,John and Weisstein, Eric W, 2018). Bernoulli was also the first person to usethe term integral (Britannica, 2017) inthe studying of the curve of constant descent, which is the curve along which aparticle will descend under gravity from any point to the bottom in exactly thesame time, no matter what the starting point. This was shown in May 1690, by apaper published Acta Eruditorum,where he presented this problem then solved it by what is called “the Bernoulliequation” (J J O’Connor & E F Robertson, 1998). As far as originality goes Bernoulli’s mostoriginal contribution was an unfinished work on the theory of probabilitycalled Ars Conjectandi, in which he reviewedother people’s ideas and works on probability, and this is also where the Bernoullinumbers are discovered, in a discussion of the exponential series (J J O’Connor& E F Robertson, 1998).
The ArsConjectandi was not actually noticed by the public until eight years afterBernoulli died, even though it was somewhat ridiculed even after 300 yearspeople are still learning from this article which comes to show how important acontribution it really was (Shafer,G. 1996). JacobBernoulli was undoubtedly a very important mathematician who made a very braveand smart decision of disobeying his father’s wishes and pursuing his interestsof being a mathematician for if he had not done that, there would be none ofthe many important contributions he gave the world that people still use andlearn from today. Bernoulli even chose this as his motto invite patre sidera verso meaning “I study the stars against my father’swill” (Burton, D. 2011). Things such as the Bernoulli differential equation, Bernoullidistribution, Bernoulli inequality, Bernoulli numbers, catenary, logarithmicspiral, and even many more (Wolfram Alpha, 2018). .
References Burton, D.(2011). The history of mathematics: Anintroduction. McGraw-HillCompanies.
Shafer, G.(1996). The significance of Jacob Bernoulli’s Ars Conjectandi for thephilosophy of probabilitytoday. Journal of Econometrics, 75(1), 15-32.The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica.(2017, January 12). Jakob Bernoulli. Retrieved January 28, 2018, fromhttps://www.
britannica.com/biography/Jakob-Bernoulli Robertson, E. F., & O’Connor, J.(1998, September). Jacob (Jacques) Bernoulli.
Retrieved January 28, 2018, fromhttp://www-groups.dcs.st- and.ac.uk/history/Biographies/Bernoulli_Jacob.
html Wolfram Alpha. (n.d.). Alpha: Making theworld’s knowledge computable. Retrieved January 28, 2018, from http://www.
wolframalpha.com/input/?i=jacob%2BbernoulliWolfram Mathworld. (2018, January 26). Lawof Large Numbers.
Retrieved January 28, 2018, from http://mathworld.wolfram.com/LawofLargeNumbers.html