Euler, one of the greatest mathematicians to ever live and certainly the most prolific, completed about half of his life’s work completely blind.
John Von Neumann was an American polymath who is known as the last of the great mathematicians. On his deathbed, he entertained his brother by reciting the first lines of each page of Goethe’s Faust word-for-word by heart. He knew state secrets, so federal agents guarded his bed till his death.
Christopher Havens, a convicted murderer solves ancient math problem in prison. Taught himself higher math and solved the age-old math puzzle of number theory involving so-called continued fractions over which Euclid has already racked his brains. He then published the journal in January 2020.
A mathematician named Nicolas Bourbaki who has made many strides in mathematics, never even was a real person, but was a collective pseudonym for a group of mathematicians who wrote their own textbooks.
Ancient Greek mathematician, Eratosthenes, was nicknamed “Beta” because he was skilled in many things, but never the best.
A French Mathematician concealed his proficiency with differential equations to avoid working for the Nazis. While in a POW camp, he developed sheaves, sheaf cohomology, and spectral sequences which are important tools for modern Algebraic Geometry.
Mathematician John Edmund Kerrich passed his time in Nazi captivity by flipping a coin 10,000 times. The total percentage of heads and tails flips varied wildly at first but gradually converged around 50/50, providing a demonstration of the Law of Large Numbers.
Chinese mathematician Yitang Zhang could not get an academic job upon graduating, having to work as an accountant and a delivery worker for a New York City restaurant. He later went on to solve a math problem that had been unsolved for 150 years and won a MacArthur Genius Grant.
Grigori Perelman, a Russian mathematician, successfully proved the Poincaré conjecture (one of the seven Millennium problems) in papers made available in 2002 and 2003. When his work survived review, he was offered a Fields Medal and the $1,000,000 Millennium Prize, both of which he turned down.
When Grigori Perelman, a Russian mathematician, solved the most important problem in topology he was awarded the Fields Medal and Millennium Prize of one million dollars. He declined both saying: “The main reason is my disagreement with the organized mathematical community. I don’t like their decisions, I consider them unjust.”