Karl Theodor Wilhelm Weierstras, German mathematician, c 1890s.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Photogravure after a painting by R von Voigtlander, c 1890s. Weierstras (1815-1897) was a founder of the modern theory of functions, and contributed to the fields of mathematical physics, geometry and mechanics. Weierstras studied law and finance at the University of Bonn, with a view to a career in the Prusian Administration. However in 1839 , wishing to pursue his interest in mathematics, he gave up his studies and became a teacher. In 1854 he published 'Zur Theorie der Abelschen Functionen' to much acclaim, and shortly after in 1856, accepted a Profesorship at the University of Berlin. His succesful mathematics lectures attracted students from all over the world. From a collection of portraits of scientists published by Photographische Gesellschaft, Berlin, c 1910.