Gotthold Eisenstein

In 1848 Eisenstein was imprisoned briefly by the Prussian army for his revolutionary activities in Berlin. Eisenstein always had republican sympathies, and while he did not actively participate in the revolution of 1848, he was arrested on 19 March of that year. Although he was released just one day later, the harsh treatment he suffered damaged his already delicate health. But his association with the Republican cause led to his official stipends being revoked, despite Humboldt tenaciously coming to his defense.

Seit 1847 war er Privatdocent an der Universität zu Breslau, seit dem 24. April 1852 ordentliches Mitglied der dortigen Akademie der Wissenschaften, als welcher er am 1. Juli seine Antrittsrede hielt, ein Vierteljahr später starb der geniale Mathematiker, den ein Gauß so sehr seiner Freundschaft gewürdigt hatte, daß er eine Sammlung Eisenstein’scher Aufsätze, welche 1848, also noch während des Lebens des Verfassers, in Berlin erschien, mit einer Vorrede einleitete, und sich gesprächsweise einmal äußerte,

es habe nur drei epochebildende Mathematiker gegeben: Archimed, Newton, Eisenstein.

Gauss ... in conversation once remarked that,

there had been only three epoch-making mathematicians: Archimedes, Newton, and Eisenstein.Moritz Cantor (1877) This is the origin of the quote sometimes attributed to Gauss about Eisenstein. (Bold added.)

Although it is doubtful that Gauss really put Eisenstein in the same league as Newton, his writings show that Gauss thought very highly of Eisenstein. For example, a letter from Gauss to Humboldt, dated the 14th of April in 1846, says that Eisenstein's talent is one that nature bestows only a few times a century ("welche die Natur in jedem Jahrhundert nur wenigen erteilt").