Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/113

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107
GAUSS AND HIS AMERICAN DESCENDANTS

notice a regular polygon. This geometric figure recalls Gauss's first mathematical research, the discovery of a method of inscribing a regular 17-sided polygon into a circle by means of a ruler and a pair of compasses. On the Gauss bridge in Braunschweig a bronze celestial globe exhibiting the planet Ceres reminds passers-by of another great achievement of Gauss. Among astronomers his name first became known through his determination of the elements of the orbit of this planet Ceres from the observations on it made in 1801 by Piazzi in Italy. These observations were such that its orbit could not well be calculated by the old methods, and it remained for the genius of Gauss to devise a method of computing elliptic orbits which was free from the assumption of a small eccentricity and inclination. With the aid of Gauss's data the new planet was rediscovered by Olbers in Germany. Later Gauss gave much attention to modes of computing planetary and cometary orbits.

At the observatory in Göttingen, where Gauss carried on his great researches, there has been arranged in the rooms formerly occupied by

PSM V81 D113 The gauss tower on the hohenhagen.png

The Gauss Tower on the Hohehagen, near Göttingen, dedicated July 29, 1911.