JOSEPH-

(G2, G3a, G3b, G3c)

xxxxxThe Italian-

xxxxxJoseph-

xxxxxSuch was the reputation he gained in these early years that in 1766 he succeeded Euler as director of mathematics at the Berlin Academy of Sciences. He was invited to take up this post by none other than Frederick the Great himself, anxious that “Europe’s greatest king should have at his court its greatest mathematician”. Then in 1787 he was appointed a member of the French Royal Academy and moved to Paris. Here, in 1793, he worked on the committees that introduced the metric system and the French Republican calendar. Four years later he was appointed professor at the École Polytechnique, a school he had helped to found in 1794. The lectures he gave there were later published in his Théorie des fonctions analytiques (Theory of Analytic Functions) of 1797, and his Leçons sur le calcul des fonctions (Lessons on the Calculus of Functions) in 1804.

xxxxxHis major work, Mécanique analytique (Analytic Mechanics), produced in 1788, was a brilliant summing up of the advances made in mechanics during the hundred years since Newton. Applying his own calculus of variations, he virtually turned the whole subject into a branch of mathematical analysis. In the field of celestial mechanics he again used findings made earlier by Newton, this time to predict the movement of a planet when affected by the gravitational force exerted by others. Prize-

xxxxxA quiet, learned man with no strong political views, he survived unchallenged throughout the French Revolution, working in apartments provided for him in the Louvre. In 1808 Napoleon made him a member of the Legion of Honour and a Count of the Empire. He suffered from ill-

xxxxxIncidentally, it was Lagrange who, upon the execution of the brilliant French chemist Antoine Lavoisier -

Acknowledgements

Lagrange: 18th century, artist unknown. Laplace: by the French artist Sophie Feytaud (1829-

Including:

Pierre-

Adrien Marie Legendre,

and Count Rumford

(Benjamin Thompson)

xxxxxThe French scientist Pierre-

xxxxxAnother outstanding mathematician and astronomer at this time was the Frenchman Pierre-

xxxxxIt was in 1796, in his Expositon du système du monde (Explanation of the World System), that he put forward the nebular hypothesis of stellar evolution, based on his theory that the Solar System originated from a vast rotating cloud of incandescent gas which, contracting and rotating at an ever increasing speed, eventually broke up, giving birth to the planets and the sun. A similar explanation -

xxxxxIn mathematics, he was the first to perfect the theory of probability, published in his Théorie analytique des probabilités (Analytical Theory of Probabilities) in 1812, and explained in simpler terms two years later in his Essai philosophique sur les probabilités (Philosophical Essay on Probabilities). He applied this theory to the problems of everyday chance, but also employed it in subjects such as statistics, and in various situations in the study of physics and astronomy. In addition, his introduction of the partial differential equation named after him – the “Laplace equation” -

xxxxxHe also had a number of other interests. He carried out research into optics for example -

xxxxxLaplace was born in Normandy, and, after studying at the military school in Beaumont-

xxxxxA one-

xxxxxAnother outstanding mathematician and astronomer at this time, and one-

xxxxxAs an astronomer he made some notable advances. In 1783, as part of a larger work, he published a treatise setting out new methods for determining the orbit of a comet, and these methods came to be known as Legendre’s Nouvelles. Later in his career he produced tables on elliptical functions (1826) and then, building upon the work achieved by Leonard Euler and Joseph-

xxxxxLegendre was professor of mathematics at the École Militaire, Paris, for five years from 1775 to 1780, and, during the French Revolution was one of the three-

xxxxxIt was around this time, in the 1790s, that the American-

xxxxxIt was in the closing years of the 18th century that the American-

xxxxxRumford was born in Massachusetts and, during the American War of Independence, served on the side of the British Crown. When the royalist forces abandoned Boston in 1776, however, he made his escape to London. There, three years later, he was elected a member of the Royal Society in recognition of his useful research into the explosive power of gunpowder, and the velocity of bullets and cannon shot. He was knighted in 1784, and the following year was invited to Bavaria. There he was made a Major General and, during a stay of eleven years, was tasked with reorganizing the country’s armed forces. This achieved, in 1791 he was made a Count of the Holy Roman Empire, taking the name Rumford after the New Hampshire town where he once lived and was married.

xxxxxHexreturned to England in 1795 and, following his experiments into the nature of heat, he played a major part -

xxxxxIncidentally, inx1792 he received the Copley Medal, the highest scientific award of the Royal Society, and four years later he founded (and was the first recipient of) the Rumford Medal of that society (illustrated), awarded for outstanding research into the phenomena of heat and light. ……

xxxxx…… Whilst in England, Rumford spent some time in making a more efficient fireplace in order to solve the “smoking chimneys of London”. He produced two essays on the subject in 1796 and 1798, detailing the necessary improvements, and as a result the “Rumford fireplace” became extremely popular and has remained so. ……

xxxxx…… During his stay in Bavaria, Rumford also made a name for himself by providing shelter and work for many of the poor living on the streets. And in Munich in 1789 he established the “English Garden” one of the largest city parks in the world. ……

xxxxx…… It was during the closing years of the 18th century that one of the first colleges of technology was opened. Established in Paris in 1794, it was known as the School of Public Works (and later as the École Polytechnique), and it placed emphasis upon the teaching of mathematics and applied science.

G3b-