Thanking our sponsors

Gauss's research, even from an early age, was funded by the Duke of Brunswick. Like funding agencies today the Duke wanted to encourage very talented researchers with funds that liberated those talents from more onerous duties. As today, the recipient felt a need to acknowledge those funds in their publications. Gauss evidently that felt he could use the opportunity of his thanks to establish that basic science is worth funding. This is a slightly edited version of the acknowledgement in his book Disquisitiones Arithmeticae , written when he was around 20:

I consider it my greatest good fortune that you allow me to adorn this work of mine with your most honorable name ... Were it nor for your unceasing ... support of my studies, I would not have been able to devote myself to so many years of fruitful contemplation and study ... [Although] I am not worthy ... [yet you give generously] to all who devote themselves to the higher disciplines ... You have never excluded from your patronage those sciences which are commonly regarded as being too recondite and removed from ordinary life. You ... are well aware of the intimate and necessary bond that unites all sciences among themselves and whatever pertains to the prosperity of human society.".