The Famous Mathematician Johann Müller and Mathematics in Everyday Life

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Nearly more than half of my life was spent learning math. However, I never considered who created what I was spending so much time learning about. This extra credit opportunity allowed me to write about any mathematician, so I decided to write about someone crucial in the current lessons we are learning in class today: Johann Müller.

I begin by talking about Johann Müller’s early life to understand how he became the famous mathematician he is known as today.

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Johann Müller was born on June 6, 1436, in the town of Königsberg, Germany. ‘Königsberg’ translates to ‘King’s Mountain,’ which is where his Latin name, Regiomontanus, originates. Regiomontanus’s legacy as a mathematician and astronomer began from a young age, as he was a prodigy. At eleven, Regiomontanus’s father, who was a miller, was able to support him and send him to the University of Leipzig, where he began studying dialectics. In 1450, aged fifteen, Regiomontanus enrolled at one of the oldest German universities focused on mathematics, the University of Vienna.

Regiomontanus spent a significant amount of his life at this university under the watch of his mentor George Peuerbach and achieved many awards here. At sixteen, Regiomontanus was appointed his baccalaureate, but he was unable to receive it until he was twenty-one years old. In addition, in 1457 he was awarded his master’s degree and joined the faculty of the University of Vienna. Under Peuerbach’s teachings, Regiomontanus’s knowledge about astronomy and mathematics grew tremendously. Following Peuerbach’s death, Regiomontanus moved to the city of Venice, Italy to study and deepen his understanding of math and astronomy.

In Venice, Regiomontanus discovered many ancient Greek books containing unknown information about ancient mathematics and astrology. In 1467, he was appointed as a librarian in the new Royal Library by the King of Hungary, where he developed two sine tables. After all he learned about math and astrology, Regiomontanus decided to establish a printing press in the city of Nürnberg, where he published 41 books containing geographical and mathematical texts. Sadly, this remarkable prodigy passed away in 1475 after travelling to Rome. His death remains a mystery—some people believe he died from the flu, while others believe he was poisoned.

Throughout Regiomontanus’s life, he encountered the works of many ancient mathematicians and scientists, which helped him contribute to the world of math and science. In his early days, along with his mentor Peuerbach, he discovered inconsistencies and errors in geometric models and Alphonsine Tables. Through his discoveries, he noted how the moon’s motions helped determine the longitude at sea. Regiomontanus contributed to the idea that the moon’s position could be used to determine a sea’s longitude, which was later developed by other scientists. In addition to his contribution to astrology, he was also very influential within the field of mathematics.

After encountering many ancient ideas, teachings, and novels about mathematics, Regiomontanus developed his own book, “On Triangles,” which was one of the first books ever created that primarily focused on elements of trigonometry in math. He developed a crucial theory in math which states, “if two sides of a triangle are congruent, the angles opposite the sides are congruent.” In addition, he also introduced the law of sines which states, “In every rectilinear triangle, the ratio of one side to another side is as that of the right sine of the angle opposite one of the sides to the right sine of the angle opposite the other side.” Regiomontanus was able to translate many previously created theories and laws, which contribute tremendously to math in our society today.

Regiomontanus’s works and contributions are very important in math and astronomy today because he helped advance the world of trigonometry and connect it to astronomy. He states, “You who wish to study great and wonderful things, who wonder about the movement of the stars, must read these theorems about triangles. Knowing these ideas opens the door to all of astronomy and trigonometry.” His book expanded the concept of trigonometry and also increased knowledge among people who never knew about these things. Without his contributions, our math today would be very difficult because the simple theorems and laws he created help us solve our math problems in a quick and efficient way.

For example, the law of sines is a lesson we learn in our class and spend a lot of time studying. Discovering the genius behind expanding the idea of the law of sines was so interesting to me because doing something like this is phenomenal. Through one of his many contributions to the mathematics industry, the speed and process of figuring out one problem changed tremendously. The dynamics of solving a missing angle or side of a triangle was advanced considerably.

After doing this research project, I was able to expand my knowledge tremendously in the field of mathematics and science. Seeing how people from hundreds of years ago were so inspired to learn and teach math inspired me to want to learn more, too. Learning about the creators of what I spend ninety percent of my time studying was very interesting and cool.

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The Famous Mathematician Johann Müller and Mathematics in Everyday Life. (2022, Dec 17). Retrieved from