Niels Abel

1802 (Nedstrand, Norway) – 1829 (Froland)

Abel, who died at 26, was one of the most significant mathematicians of the 19th C. In Berlin, he helped inspire the founding of Crelle’s journal, and contributed several papers. Gauss dismissed the proof he sent, and they never met. In Paris, Abel met Hachette and Dirichlet, and in particular Legendre and Cauchy; Legendre (who liked him) described a paper of his as monumental, but passed it to Cauchy, who lost it (Abel considered him mad and bigoted). Jacobi was a mathematical rival. Abel’s friend Crelle tried hard to find a university post for him, succeeding only when he was terminally ill.