# Famous 19th Century French Mathematicians

Find out more about the greatest 19th Century French Mathematicians, including Henri Poincare, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Joseph Fourier, Évariste Galois and Joseph-Louis Lagrange.

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1

Pierre-Simon Laplace(French Mathematician and Astronomer Who was Best Known for His Investigations into the Stability of the Solar System)

**Birthdate: **March 23, 1749

**Sun Sign: **Aries

**Birthplace: **Beaumont-en-Auge, France

**Died: **March 5, 1827

Though French scholar Pierre-Simon Laplace is primarily known for his work on the solar system, his research extended to areas such as mathematics and physics, apart from astronomy. Widely known as the *Newton of France*, he escaped being executed during the French Revolution, owing to his lack of political views.

**Birthdate: **October 25, 1811

**Sun Sign: **Scorpio

**Birthplace: **Bourg-la-Reine, French Empire

**Died: **May 31, 1832

Évariste Galois was a French mathematician best remembered for solving a 350-year-old problem when he was still in his teens. His work formed the basis for group theory and Galois theory, two important branches of abstract algebra. Also a political activist, Évariste Galois died at the age of 20 after suffering wounds in a duel.

3

Henri Poincare(French Polymath and Mathematician Known as One of the Founders of the 'Field of Topology')

**Birthdate: **April 29, 1854

**Sun Sign: **Taurus

**Birthplace: **Nancy, France

**Died: **July 17, 1912

Known as *The Last Universalist *for his expertise in a variety of domains, French mathematician Henri Poincare conducted research that formed the basis of the modern chaos theory. Apart from his work on relativity and the three-body problem, he also laid the foundation of algebraic topology.

**Birthdate: **March 21, 1768

**Sun Sign: **Aries

**Birthplace: **Auxerre, Burgundy, Kingdom of France (now in Yonne, France)

**Died: **May 16, 1830

Joseph Fourier was a French physicist and mathematician best remembered for commencing the investigation of the Fourier series, which is used widely to solve problems of heat transfer and vibrations. Fourier's law of conduction and Fourier transform are named in his honor. Fourier is also said to have discovered the greenhouse effect.

**Birthdate: **September 18, 1752

**Sun Sign: **Virgo

**Birthplace: **Paris, France

**Died: **January 10, 1833

Born into an affluent family, French mathematician Adrien-Marie Legendre probably never had to earn a living till the beginning of the French Revolution. Excelling in math and physics, he later contributed to areas such as *elliptic functions*, developed the *least squares method*, and lent his name to *Legendre polynomials*.

**Birthdate: **August 21, 1789

**Sun Sign: **Leo

**Birthplace: **Paris

**Died: **May 23, 1857

French mathematician Augustin-Louis Cauchy was initially a military engineer. In his early days, he and his family escaped the Reign of Terror and settled in Arcueil. He was one of the pioneers of mathematical analysis and made significant contributions to subjects such as error theory, calculus, and complex functions.

**Birthdate: **January 20, 1775

**Sun Sign: **Aquarius

**Birthplace: **Parish of St. Nizier, Lyon, France

**Died: **June 10, 1836

Andre Marie Ampere was a French physicist and mathematician. He is best known for being one of the founders of the science of classical electromagnetism. He was a professor at the École Polytechnique and the Collège de France and a member of the French Academy of Sciences. The base SI unit of electric current, the ampere, is named after him.

8

Sophie Germain(French Mathematician Known for Her 'Sophie Germain Prime Numbers')

**Birthdate: **April 1, 1776

**Sun Sign: **Aries

**Birthplace: **Rue Saint-Denis, Paris, France

**Died: **June 27, 1831

French mathematician Sophie Germain had used the pseudonym *M. Le Blanc* to get hold of notes from the **École Polytechnique**, as being a woman, she was not allowed to attend the institute. She later contributed to the number theory and also pioneered the elasticity theory. She died of breast cancer.

**Birthdate: **December 24, 1822

**Sun Sign: **Capricorn

**Birthplace: **Dieuze

**Died: **January 14, 1901

Charles Hermite was a French mathematician best remembered for his research on number theory, invariant theory, algebra, elliptic functions, orthogonal polynomials, and quadratic forms. Also an inspiring and influential teacher, Hermite taught Jules Henri Poincaré, who went on to become fa amous mathematician in his own right.

10

Siméon Denis Poisson

(Mathematician)

**Birthdate: **June 21, 1781

**Sun Sign: **Gemini

**Birthplace: **Pithiviers, France

**Died: **April 25, 1840

11

François Arago

(Astronomer, Mathematician, Physicist, Politician, Scientist, University teacher)

**Birthdate: **February 26, 1786

**Sun Sign: **Pisces

**Birthplace: **Estagel

**Died: **October 2, 1853

French physicist and mathematician François Arago discovered rotatory magnetism, named *Arago's rotations*. He is also remembered for his research on *the wave theory of light* and for the reforms he introduced as the French minister of war and the navy. **The Eiffel Tower** has his name inscribed on it.

12

Jacques Hadamard

(Mathematician)

**Birthdate: **December 8, 1865

**Sun Sign: **Sagittarius

**Birthplace: **Versailles, France

**Died: **October 17, 1963

13

Lazare Carnot

(Mathematician, Politician, Engineer, Officer, Physicist)

**Birthdate: **May 13, 1753

**Sun Sign: **Taurus

**Birthplace: **Nolay

**Died: **August 2, 1823

Lazare Carnot was a French physicist, mathematician, and politician. His role in the *Napoleonic Wars* and *French Revolutionary Wars* earned him the sobriquet *Organizer of Victory*. Carnot is credited with developing innovative defensive designs for forts, such as the *Carnot wall *which served as a defensive mechanism against infantry and artillery attack.

14

Léon Walras

(Economist, University teacher, Mathematician)

**Birthdate: **December 16, 1834

**Sun Sign: **Sagittarius

**Birthplace: **Évreux

**Died: **January 5, 1910

Léon Walras was a French mathematical economist and Georgist. He is known for formulating the marginal theory of value independently of William Stanley Jevons. Considered a pioneer in the development of general equilibrium theory, he authored the book *Éléments d'économie politique pure*. He is also considered one of the three leaders of the marginalist revolution.

15

Urbain Le Verrier

(French Astronomer and Mathematician Best Known for Predicting the Existence and Position of 'Neptune' Using Only Mathematics)

**Birthdate: **March 11, 1811

**Sun Sign: **Pisces

**Birthplace: **Saint-Lô, France

**Died: **September 23, 1877

French astronomer Urbain Le Verrier revolutionized celestial mechanics by ascertaining the existence of Neptune by mathematical means. Apart from winning the **Royal Society of London**’s **Copley Medal**, he had also led the **Observatory of Paris **as its director. His name remains one of the 72 engraved on the **Eiffel Tower**.

16

Henri Lebesgue

(Mathematician)

**Birthdate: **June 28, 1875

**Sun Sign: **Cancer

**Birthplace: **Beauvais, France

**Died: **July 26, 1941

17

Camille Jordan

(Mathematician, Engineer, Professor)

**Birthdate: **January 5, 1838

**Sun Sign: **Capricorn

**Birthplace: **Lyon

**Died: **January 22, 1922

Camille Jordan was a French mathematician best remembered for his influential *Cours d'analyse *and his foundational work in group theory. He also served as an educator, teaching at prestigious institutions like the* Collège de France* and* École Polytechnique.* The asteroid *25593 Camillejordan* is named in his honor.

18

Louis Bachelier

(Mathematician, Economist, Non-fiction writer)

**Birthdate: **March 11, 1870

**Sun Sign: **Pisces

**Birthplace: **Le Havre

**Died: **April 26, 1946

French mathematician Louis Bachelier was said to be the first to chart a mathematical model for what is now called the *Brownian motion*. After losing his wine merchant father early in life, he took over the reins of his family business, but he gradually became a pioneer in mathematical finance.

19

Élie Cartan

(Mathematician)

**Birthdate: **April 9, 1869

**Sun Sign: **Aries

**Birthplace: **Dolomieu, France

**Died: **May 6, 1951

20

Gaspard Monge

(Mathematician)

**Birthdate: **May 9, 1746

**Sun Sign: **Taurus

**Birthplace: **Beaune, France

**Died: **July 28, 1818

21

Émile Borel

(Former mathematician, he was known for his founding work in the areas of measure theory and probability)

**Birthdate: **January 7, 1871

**Sun Sign: **Capricorn

**Birthplace: **Saint-Affrique, France

**Died: **February 3, 1956

22

Pierre Duhem

(French Physicist, Mathematician, and Philosopher Best Known for His Work on 'Chemical Thermodynamics')

**Birthdate: **June 9, 1861

**Sun Sign: **Gemini

**Birthplace: **Paris, France

**Died: **September 14, 1916

Noted for his view that every physical theory should be derivable from thermodynamic first principles, French theoretical physicist Pierre Duhem was also an eminent historian and philosopher of science, producing groundbreaking work in medieval science. Equally known for his work on relation between theory and experiments, he also established that it is impossible to test a scientific hypothesis in isolation.

24

Antoine-Augustin Cournot

(Philosopher and Mathematician Known for His Contribution to the Development of Economics)

**Birthdate: **August 28, 1801

**Sun Sign: **Virgo

**Birthplace: **Gray, France

**Died: **March 31, 1877

Regarded as the first economist who had applied math to solve economic problems, Antoine-Augustin Cournot had penned the iconic work *Researches into the* *Mathematical Principles of the Theory of Wealth*. He was also the first to chart a supply and demand curve on a graph and introduced *Cournot competition*.

**Birthdate: **September 15, 1886

**Sun Sign: **Virgo

**Birthplace: **France

**Died: **December 15, 1971

26

Paul Painlevé

(Former Prime Minister of France (September 1917 – November 1917, April 1925 – November 1925) and Mathematician)

**Birthdate: **December 5, 1863

**Sun Sign: **Sagittarius

**Birthplace: **Paris, France

**Died: **October 29, 1933

Paul Painlevé was a French mathematician and statesman who served as the prime minister of the Third Republic twice. Even though his first tenure as the prime minister lasted only a few weeks, he had to deal with serious issues within this short time. He also represented France in the International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation of the League of Nations.

27

Jean-Baptiste Biot

(Mathematician, Physicist, Astronomer, Civil engineer, Engineer, Professor)

**Birthdate: **April 21, 1774

**Sun Sign: **Taurus

**Birthplace: **Paris

**Died: **February 3, 1862

Jean-Baptiste Biot was a French physicist, mathematician, and astronomer. He was a co-discoverer of what became known as the **Biot-Savart law of magnetostatics**. He is also credited with establishing the reality of meteorites. He made major contributions to the fields of optics and magnetism as well. Cape Biot in eastern Greenland is named in his honor.

28

Gaspard-Gustave de Coriolis

(French Mathematician, Mechanical Engineer and Scientist Who First Described the 'Coriolis Force')

**Birthdate: **May 21, 1792

**Sun Sign: **Gemini

**Birthplace: **Paris, France

**Died: **September 19, 1843

French mathematician and physicist Gaspard-Gustave de Coriolis proposed what is now known as *Coriolis force*. While teaching at the **École Polytechnique, Paris**, he extended the scope of *kinetic energy*. His *On the Calculation of Mechanical Action* remains his most significant book. His name remains inscribed on the **Eiffel Tower**.

33

Émile Picard

(Mathematician)

**Birthdate: **July 24, 1856

**Sun Sign: **Leo

**Birthplace: **Paris, France

**Died: **December 11, 1941

35

Jacques Philippe Marie Binet

36

Jean-Gaston Darboux

(Mathematician)

**Birthdate: **August 14, 1842

**Sun Sign: **Leo

**Birthplace: **Nîmes, France

**Died: **February 23, 1917

38

Joseph Nicollet

(French Geographer, Astronomer and Mathematician Known for Mapping the 'Upper Mississippi River' Basin During the 1830s)

**Birthdate: **July 24, 1786

**Sun Sign: **Leo

**Birthplace: **Cluse, France

**Died: **September 11, 1843

French explorer and mathematician Joseph Nicollet had begun his career as a math teacher at age 19. Faced with financial issues, he later moved to the U.S., where he was financially helped by a wealthy family. His exploration of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers helped him chart maps of the region.

39

Maurice René Fréchet

(Mathematician)

**Birthdate: **September 2, 1878

**Sun Sign: **Virgo

**Birthplace: **Maligny, France

**Died: **June 4, 1973

40

Jacques Charles François Sturm

(French Mathematician)

**Birthdate: **September 29, 1803

**Sun Sign: **Libra

**Birthplace: **Geneva, Switzerland

**Died: **December 15, 1855

**Copley Medal**-winning French mathematician Jacques Charles François Sturm contributed immensely to the theory of equations with his *Sturm’s theorem*. His research covered compressible fluids and the speed of sound in water. His is one of the 72 names engrave on the **Eiffel Tower**. An asteroid was named after him too.

41

Étienne-Louis Malus

(Physicist)

**Birthdate: **July 23, 1775

**Sun Sign: **Leo

**Birthplace: **Paris, France

**Died: **February 24, 1812

42

Leon Charles Thevenin

(Engineer)

**Birthdate: **March 30, 1857

**Sun Sign: **Aries

**Birthplace: **Meaux, France

**Died: **September 21, 1926

43

Joseph Bertrand

(French Mathematician Known for His Elegant Applications of 'Differential Equations' to 'Analytical Mechanics')

**Birthdate: **March 11, 1822

**Sun Sign: **Pisces

**Birthplace: **Paris, France

**Died: **April 5, 1900

Joseph Bertrand was a 19th-century French mathematician. He is remembered for his work in the fields of number theory, economics, differential geometry, probability theory, and thermodynamics. A brilliant individual, he completed his Ph.D. with a thesis on the mathematical theory of electricity as a teenager. He was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

44

Jean Baptiste Joseph Delambre

(French Mathematician and Astronomer Who Prepared Tables That Plot the Location of 'Uranus')

**Birthdate: **September 19, 1749

**Sun Sign: **Virgo

**Birthplace: **Amiens, France

**Died: **August 19, 1822

It is believed Jean-Baptiste-Joseph Delambre had acquired his habit of reading from his fear of losing his eyesight. He later became a professor of astronomy and served **Paris Observatory **as its director. He also penned significant works such as *Histoire de l'astronomie*. His name remains engraved on the **Eiffel Tower**.

45

Édouard Goursat

(Mathematician)

**Birthdate: **May 21, 1858

**Sun Sign: **Gemini

**Birthplace: **Lanzac, France

**Died: **November 25, 1936

46

René-Louis Baire

(Mathematician)

**Birthdate: **January 21, 1874

**Sun Sign: **Aquarius

**Birthplace: **Paris, France

**Died: **July 5, 1932

47

Théodore Reinach

(Archaeologist, Politician)

**Birthdate: **July 3, 1860

**Sun Sign: **Cancer

**Birthplace: **Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France

**Died: **October 28, 1928

48

Louis Couturat

(French Mathematician, Logician, Linguist, and Philosopher)

**Birthdate: **January 17, 1868

**Sun Sign: **Capricorn

**Birthplace: **Ris-Orangis, France

**Died: **August 3, 1914

50

Charles-Eugène Delaunay

(French Astronomer and Mathematician Whose Theory of Lunar Motion Advanced the Development of Planetary-Motion Theories)

**Birthdate: **April 9, 1816

**Sun Sign: **Aries

**Birthplace: **Lusigny-sur-Barse, France

**Died: **August 5, 1872

Charles-Eugène Delaunay was a French mathematician and astronomer, known for his theory of lunar motion, explained in two volumes of La *Théorie du mouvement de la lune*. A prolific writer, he wrote several other books, which contributed to the development of planetary-motion theories, functional analysis and computer algebra. In his last years, he served as the director of Paris Observatory.