Karl Friedrich Gauss, considered one of the greatest mathematicians of all time, first showed his precocious ability at age nine when he was admitted to an arithmetic class. The teacher gave what appeared to be a complicated problem, which in reality could be solved by the use of a simple formula. Although he had never been taught the formula, young Gauss handed in his slate within seconds. For an hour he sat idly by while his classmates labored. When all of the slates were in, Gausss was the only one with the right answer. The stunned teacher was so impressed that he bought Gauss the best available math textbook and did what he could to advance the boys progress.