Georg Riemann (1826-1866)

German mathematician, born on 17 September in Breselenz, Germany. He studied at the universities of Göttingen and Berlin, taking up a post at Göttingen.

Riemann developed a geometric theory that was very different from the geometry of Euclid we normally use to picture our world. In ‘Riemannian space’, as it is known today, a triangle’s angles add up to more than 180 degrees and there are no parallel lines.

Few of Riemann’s peers could fully appreciate his work and it was largely neglected until the early twentieth century, when Albert Einstein used it as the geometrical basis for his general theory of relativity. Riemann suffered from tuberculosis and spent much of his later life abroad in the hope of regaining better health. He died on 20 July 1866 in Selasca, Italy.