Charles Hermite

From Academic Kids

Charles Hermite (pronounced "air meet") (December 24, 1822 - January 14, 1901) was a French mathematician who did research on number theory, quadratic forms, invariant theory, orthogonal polynomials, elliptic functions, and algebra. Hermite polynomials, Hermite normal form, Hermitian operators, and cubic Hermite splines are named in his honor.

He was the first to prove that e, the base of natural logarithms, is a transcendental number. His methods were later used by Ferdinand von Lindemann for the proof of his celebrated theorem that π is transcendental.

Upon Weierstrass' discovery in 1861 of continuous curves that are nowhere differentiable - they possess no tangent at any point - Hermite famously remarked: I turn aside with a shudder of horror from this lamentable plague of functions which have no derivatives.

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