Johann Friedrich Pfaff
Johann Friedrich Pfaff  

Johann Friedrich Pfaff


Born 
Stuttgart, Holy Roman Empire 
22 December 1765
Died  21 April 1825 Halle, Germany 
(aged 59)
Residence  Germany 
Nationality  German 
Alma mater  University of Göttingen 
Known for  Pfaffians 
Scientific career  
Fields  Mathematics 
Institutions 
University of Helmstedt Halle University 
Doctoral advisor 
Abraham Kästner Johann Elert Bode 
Doctoral students 
Carl Friedrich Gauss August Möbius Karl Mollweide 
Other notable students  Johann Christian Martin Bartels 
Johann Friedrich Pfaff (sometimes spelled Friederich; 22 December 1765 – 21 April 1825) was a German mathematician. He was described as one of Germany's most eminent mathematicians during the 19th century. He was a precursor of the German school of mathematical thinking, which under Carl Friedrich Gauss and his followers largely determined the lines on which mathematics developed during the nineteenth century.
Biography
He received his early education at the Carlsschule, where he met Friedrich Schiller, his lifelong friend. His mathematical capacity was noticed during his early years. He pursued his studies at Göttingen under Abraham Gotthelf Kästner, and in 1787 he went to Berlin and studied practical astronomy under J. E. Bode. In 1788, Pfaff became professor of mathematics in Helmstedt, and continued his work as a professor until that university was abolished in 1810. After this event, he became professor of mathematics at the University of Halle, where he stayed for the rest of his life.
He studied mathematical series and integral calculus, and is noted for his work on partial differential equations of the first order Pfaffian systems, as they are now called, which became part of the theory of differential forms; and as Carl Friedrich Gauss's formal research supervisor. He knew Gauss well, when they both lived together in Helmstedt in 1798. August Möbius was later his student.
His two principal works are Disquisitiones analyticae maxime ad calculum integralem et doctrinam serierum pertinentes (4to., vol. i., Helmstädt, 1797) and “Methodus generalis, aequationes differentiarum particularum, necnon aequationes differentiales vulgares, utrasque primi ordinis inter quotcumque variabiles, complete integrandi” in Abhandlungen der Königlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin (18141815).
His brother Johann Wilhelm Andreas Pfaff was a professor of pure and applied mathematics. Another brother, Christian Heinrich Pfaff, was a professor of medicine, physics and chemistry.
See also
Notes
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References
 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Pfaff, Johann Friedrich". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
External links
 O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Johann Friedrich Pfaff", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews.
 Johann Friedrich Pfaff at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
 1765 births
 1825 deaths
 18thcentury German mathematicians
 19thcentury German mathematicians
 Members of the Prussian Academy of Sciences
 Members of the French Academy of Sciences
 Mathematical analysts
 People from Stuttgart
 People from the Duchy of Württemberg
 PDE theorists
 University of Göttingen alumni
 University of Helmstedt faculty
 Martin Luther University of HalleWittenberg faculty