Lagrange: 1736 – 1813

Laplace: 1749 – 1827

Legendre: 1752 – 1833

— a convenient mnemonic I discovered is that both birth and death order follow the alphabetical order.

I don’t know about comparing Legendre to Lagrange or Laplace, but he did a lot of good work besides elliptic integrals: the first published account of the least squares method, quadratic residues and (conjectured) the quadratic reciprocity law (thus the Legendre symbol (r|p) for whether r is a quadratic residue mod p), the conjectured prime number theorem, Legendre polynomials, and a book Éléments de géométrie that replaced Euclid as the leading geometry textbook for nearly a century.

]]>A classical example would be that Team A beat Team B with a 3-1 head-to-head record, but Team B won a couple of meaningless garbage games by big score near the end of the season, then suddenly Team B is ranked ahead of Team A.

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