Farkas Wolfgang Bolyai

Born: 9 Feb 1775 in Bolya (near Nagyszeben), Transylvania, Hungary (now Sibiu, Romania)
Died: 20 Nov 1856 in Marosvásárhely, Transylvania, Hungary (now Tirgu Mures, Romania)

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Farkas Bolyai was the father of János Bolyai and studied at Jena, then at Göttingen where he was taught by Kaestner. He became a life long friend of Gauss, a fellow student at Göttingen. He taught mathematics , physics and chemistry at Marosvásárhely all his life.

Farkas Bolyai was interested in the foundations of geometry and the parallel axiom. He corresponded with Gauss on the topic most of his life. His main work, the Tentamen , was an attempt at a rigorous and systematic foundation of geometry, arithmetic, algebra and analysis.

His attempts to stop his son studying the parallel axiom fortunately failed! Farkas Bolyai wrote to his son Detest it as lewd intercourse, it can deprive you of all your leisure, your health, your rest, and the whole happiness of your life. When Farkas Bolyai despaired of the parallel postulate, he wrote poetry, music and drama.

References (11 books/articles)

References elsewhere in this archive:

Tell me about Farkas Bolyai's work on non-Euclidean geometry

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JOC/EFR December 1996