Ana Sayfa
=> Maria Agnesi
=> Peter Barlow
=> Charles Babbage
=> Abraham de Moivre
=> Euclid of Alexandria
=> Pierre de Fermat
=> Leonardo Pisano Fibonacci
=> Fourier, (Jean Baptiste) Joseph, Baron
=> Karl Friedrich Gauss
=> Hippasus of Metapontum
=> John Napier
=> Kaprekar's Constant
=> Joseph Louis Lagrange
=> Louis Victor Pierre Raymond duc de Broglie
=> Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac
=> François Viète
=> Johann Bernoulli
=> Sir William Rowan Hamilton
=> Marin Mersenne
=> Charles Augustin de Coulomb
=> Florence Nightingale
=> John Wallis
=> Richard Phillips Feynman
=> Claude Elwood Shannon
=> Jacob (Jacques) Bernoulli
=> Howard Hathaway Aiken
=> August Ferdinand Möbius
=> Ahmes
=> Hipparchus of Rhodes
=> William Thomson (Lord Kelvin)
=> Zeno of Elea
=> Jules Henri Poincaré
=> Edmond Halley
=> Sir Christopher Wren
=> Sofia Vasilyevna Kovalevskaya
=> Grace Brewster Murray Hopper
=> Diophantus of Alexandria
=> Girolamo Cardano
=> Stephen William Hawkingı
=> Edwin Powell Hubble
=> Siméon Denis Poisson
=> Paul Erdös
=> Alan Mathison Turing
=> Augustin Louis Cauchy
=> Benjamin Banneker
=> Niels Henrik Abel
=> Werner Karl Heisenberg
=> Albrecht Dürer
=> Aristarchus of Samos
=> Christiaan Huygens
=> Augusta Ada King, countess of Lovelace
=> Omar Khayyam
=> Herman Hollerith
=> Evariste Galois
=> Bertrand Arthur William Russell
=> Erwin Rudolf Josef Alexander Schrödinger
=> Apollonius of Perga
=> Maurits Cornelius Escher
=> Andrew John Wiles
=> Georg Friedrich Bernhard Riemann
=> Tycho Brahe
=> Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck
=> Joseph-Louis Lagrange
=> George Boole
=> Pierre-Simon Laplace
=> Georg Ferdinand Ludwig Philipp Cantor
=> Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier
=> Marie-Sophie Germain
=> Srinivasa Aiyangar Ramanujan
=> Benoit Mandelbrot
=> Emmy Amalie Noether
=> David Hilbert
=> Robert Hooke
=> Maria Gaëtana Agnesi
=> John Forbes Nash
=> Albert Einstein
=> Sir Isaac Newton
=> Pythagoras of Samos
=> Galileo Galilei
=> Archimedes of Syracuse
=> Blaise Pascal
=> Nicolaus Copernicus
=> Aristotle
=> René Descartes
=> Leonhard Euler
=> Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss
=> Johannes Kepler
=> Plato
=> Niels Henrik David Bohr
=> Claudius Ptolemy
=> Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz
=> Leonardo da Vinci
=> Eratosthenes of Cyrene
=> Kurt Gödel
=> Thales of Miletus
=> John Maynard Keynes
=> James Clerk Maxwell
=> Robert Boyle
=> John von Neumann
=> Georg Simon Ohm
=> Norbert Wiener
=> Democritus of Abdera
=> Daniel Bernoulli
Matematik Seçkileri
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Ziyaretçi defteri

Benjamin Banneker

Born: 9 Oct 1731 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Died: 9 Oct 1806 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Benjamin Banneker's father, Robert, had been a slave who had been given his freedom and was a farmer, while his mother was Mary Banneky. Mary Banneky's mother had been an English girl, Molly Welsh who had been accused of stealing milk and condemned to death for this crime. Her sentence was then reduced to being sent to the British Colony in North America where she eventually became the owner of a farm and married one of her slaves. Their daughter Mary Banneky also married a former slave and he took her surname.

Benjamin received some education at the Quaker School although once he was old enough to help on his parent's farm then he had to end his formal education. He was taught to read and write by his grandmother Molly Welsh who also gave him instruction in the Bible. There was, however, little respite for Banneker from the hard physical labour on the farm.

When he was 22 years of age Banneker showed his abilities when he made a clock from wood using a pocket watch he had borrowed as a model. The clock struck the hours and continued in good working order for the rest of Banneker's life. Building this clock seems to have brought Banneker some fame in the local community in which he lived and he quickly acquired a reputation for skill in making and solving mathematical puzzles.

In 1772 a new family moved into the area in which Banneker's farm was situated. This was the Ellicot family, and George Ellicot became friendly with Banneker over the years as they shared interests in science. In 1788 Ellicot lent Banneker some astronomy books and instruments. At the age of 57 when many people look forward to retiring and without any help [3]:-

... and only a few semesters of elementary schooling in his childhood, Banneker taught himself the algebra, geometry, logarithms, trigonometry, and astronomy needed to become an astronomer. He also learned on his own how to use a compass, sector, and other instruments to make astronomical predictions, including that of eclipses.

In 1791 a survey was carried out for the new capital at Washington DC. One of those involved was a surveyor Andrew Ellicot who, through family connections, knew of Banneker. He employed Banneker as his assistant on this project. Banneker was also working on another project in 1791, namely constructing an astronomical almanac. He wrote to Thomas Jefferson, then Secretary of State, on 19 August 1791 sending him a manuscript of his Almanac. He also explained to Jefferson in the covering letter that he (see for example [3]):-

... had long unbounded desires to become acquainted with the secrets of nature. I have had to gratify my curiosity herein through my own assiduous application to astronomical study, in which I need not recount to you the many difficulties and disadvantages which I have had to encounter.

His letter makes a strong plea against slavery and Jefferson replied that he wished to see the position of black people improved. Although strongly opposed to slavery, Jefferson also believed that, because of racial and intellectual differences, black and white people could not live together peacefully. This attitude may well explain why Jefferson wrote after Banneker's death:-

I have a long letter from Banneker, which shows him to have had a mind of very common stature indeed.

The letter from Banneker most certainly does not suggest that at all, rather it suggests quite the reverse, namely that to have achieved what he did with all the difficulties which were in his way, he must have had a mind of quite remarkable stature.

Jefferson promised Banneker in his reply to the 19 August 1791 letter that he would send his Almanac to Condorcet at the Académie des Sciences in Paris. A copy of Jefferson's letter to Condorcet is in the Library of Congress.

Banneker published Almanacs until 1797. He dedicated them to the cause of equality and peace and the 1793 Almanac contains the correspondence between Banneker and Jefferson. In [1] Bedini claims that this 1793 Almanac was:-

... one of the most important publications of its time [presenting] tangible proof of the mental equality of the races.

When he became too old to work on the farm, Banneker sold it to the Ellicot family on condition that he was allowed to live in the farm house for the rest of his days. He spent his last days alone in the farmhouse studying and continuing to carry out scientific experiments. On the day of Banneker's funeral the farm house burnt to the ground and his laboratory and the clock he made in his younger days was all destroyed. Only one manuscript journal which Banneker had written was not in the house and so survived. Every other record of his achievements, except the published Almanacs, were lost in this (probably deliberate) fire.

The surviving manuscript journal contains mathematical puzzles and their solutions. To give just one example:-

Divide 60 into four such parts that the first being increased by 4, the second decreased by 4, the third multiplied by 4, the fourth part divided by 4, that the sum, the difference, the product and the quotient shall be one and the same number.


Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson

May 2000

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