Monday, June 2, 2008


Benjamin Banneker 1731-1806
Perhaps Colonial America's Greatest and Most Famous Mathematician

-Appointed by President George Washington, he was one of three men who designed Washington D.C. and the White House.
-He has gained a somewhat legendary status for remembering the blueprints of Washington D.C. and the White House from memory after the team leader left in anger and took all the designs back with him to France; the distressed workers thought it would take two years to redo the designs, but it took Banneker only two days to recall the designs from memory.
-He gained world recognition among scientists and mathematicians when he correctly predicted the time of a solar eclipse, which contradicted two of the most prominent mathematicians of the time, Leadbetter and Ferguson.
-He wrote a famous almanac from 1792-1802 that became an important household staple in early America.
-His almanac included weather forecasts for the year, time of eclipses, hours of sunrise and sunset, phases of the moon, lists of medications and remedies to prevent and cure diseases, a tide table for Chesapeake Bay, holidays, an overview of the American government, and so on. His almanac was especially helpful for farmers.
-He gained some national fame when, as only a teenager, he built one of America's first wooden clocks. He built the clock, which kept perfect time for 40 years, after only being given a pocket watch and some remedial textbooks on science. Incredibly his clock consisted entirely of wood.

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