Karl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855) was a German mathematician and astronomer known for his contributions to algebra, differential geometry, probability theory, and number theory. The scientific term that bears his name is the centimeter-gram-second unit of magnetic induction.
At one point in his life Gauss was keeping vigil while his wife lay ill upstairs. Hours passed and Gauss found himself considering a mathematical problem. He moved to the chalk board in his study and began to draw diagrams.
A servant approached some time later and said differentially,
"Herr Gauss, your wife is dying."
"Yes, yes," said he, never looking up, "But tell her to wait until I have finished this theorem."