Gauss wowed his teachers with skills like amazingly quick calculations and critiques of Euclid’s geometry (by the ripe old age of 12, mind you). As a teenager attending the prestigious University of Göttingen, *The Story of Mathematics* explains that “Gauss discovered (or independently rediscovered) several important theorems.” For instance, at 15, he was “the first to find any kind of a pattern in the occurrence of prime numbers”—a feat that had puzzled mathematicians for centuries. He did this by graphing the incidence of primes as the numbers increased and noticing that as the numbers increased by 10, “the probability of prime numbers occurring reduced by a factor of about 2.”

If that wasn’t a big enough accomplishment for one person, the prodigy made several other remarkable contributions to mathematics—specifically in his favorite area, number theory. Gauss has been quoted to say: “Mathematics is the queen of the sciences, and the theory of numbers is the queen of mathematics.” He was the first to popularize the practice of interpreting complex numbers graphically, and he proved the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra at age 22. According to *The Story of Mathematics*, “the theorem states that every non-constant single-variable polynomial over the complex numbers has at least one root.”