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.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Pierre-Simon Laplace

Pierre-Simon Laplace.
12
Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: March 23, 1749
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Beaumont-en-Auge
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.

 2 Évariste Galois

Évariste Galois.
12
Famous As: Mathematician
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.

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 3 Henri Poincare

Henri Poincare.
4
Famous As: Mathematician and Philosopher
Birthdate: April 29, 1854
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Nancy, Meurthe-et-Moselle, 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.

 4 Joseph Fourier

Joseph Fourier.
6
Famous As: Mathematician & Physicist
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.

 5 Adrien-Marie Legendre

Adrien-Marie Legendre.
6
Famous As: Mathematician
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.

 6 Augustin-Louis Cauchy

Augustin-Louis Cauchy.
3
Famous As: Mathematician
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.

 7 Andre Marie Ampere

Andre Marie Ampere.
4
Famous As: Physicist
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. 

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 8 Sophie Germain

Sophie Germain.
5
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: April 1, 1776
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paris
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.

 9 Charles Hermite

Charles Hermite.
2
Famous As: Mathematician
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

Siméon Denis Poisson
4
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: June 21, 1781
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Loiret, France
Died: April 25, 1840

 11 François Arago

François Arago
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Famous As: 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

Jacques Hadamard
2
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: December 8, 1865
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Versailles, France
Died: October 17, 1963

 13 Léon Walras

Léon Walras
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Famous As: 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. 

 14 Lazare Carnot

Lazare Carnot
3
Famous As: 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.

 15 Urbain Le Verrier

Urbain Le Verrier
3
Famous As: Astronomer
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

Henri Lebesgue
3
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: June 28, 1875
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Beauvais, France
Died: July 26, 1941

 17 Gaspard Monge

Gaspard Monge
2
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: May 9, 1746
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Beaune, France
Died: July 28, 1818

 18 Louis Bachelier

Louis Bachelier
2
Famous As: 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

Élie Cartan
2
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: April 9, 1869
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Dolomieu, France
Died: May 6, 1951

 20 Camille Jordan

Camille Jordan
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Famous As: 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.

 21 Émile Borel

Émile Borel
2
Famous As: Mathematician, Politician, University teacher
Birthdate: January 7, 1871
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Saint-Affrique
Died: February 3, 1956

 22 Joseph Liouville

Joseph Liouville
2
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Saint-Omer

 23 Antoine-Augustin Cournot

Antoine-Augustin Cournot
2
Famous As: Philosopher
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.

 24 Jean-Baptiste Biot

Jean-Baptiste Biot
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Famous As: 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. 

 25 Édouard Lucas

Édouard Lucas
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Birthdate: 0000 AD

 26 Paul Painlevé

Paul Painlevé
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Famous As: 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 Paul Lévy

Paul Lévy
2
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: September 15, 1886
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: France
Died: December 15, 1971

 28 Gaspard-Gustave de Coriolis

Gaspard-Gustave de Coriolis
1
Famous As: Mathematician
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.

 29 Michel Chasles

Michel Chasles
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Birthdate: 0000 AD

 30 Olinde Rodrigues

Olinde Rodrigues
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Birthdate: 0000 AD

 31 Jean-Victor Poncelet

Jean-Victor Poncelet
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Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Metz

 32 Jacques Philippe Marie Binet

Jacques Philippe Marie Binet
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Birthdate: 0000 AD

 33 Jean-Robert Argand

Jean-Robert Argand
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Birthdate: 0000 AD

 34 Émile Picard

Émile Picard
1
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: July 24, 1856
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: December 11, 1941

 35 Thomas Jan Stieltjes

Thomas Jan Stieltjes
1
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: December 29, 1856
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Zwolle, Netherlands
Died: December 31, 1894

 36 Gabriel Lamé

Gabriel Lamé
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Birthdate: 0000 AD

 37 Maurice René Fréchet

Maurice René Fréchet
1
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: September 2, 1878
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Maligny, France
Died: June 4, 1973

 38 Joseph Nicollet

Joseph Nicollet
1
Famous As: Geographer
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 Étienne-Louis Malus

Étienne-Louis Malus
1
Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: July 23, 1775
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: February 24, 1812

 40 Jacques Charles François Sturm

Jacques Charles François Sturm
1
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: September 29, 1803
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Geneva, Switzerland
Died: December 15, 1855

 41 Joseph Bertrand

Joseph Bertrand
1
Famous As: Mathematician
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.  

 42 René-Louis Baire

René-Louis Baire
1
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: January 21, 1874
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: July 5, 1932

 43 Édouard Goursat

Édouard Goursat
1
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: May 21, 1858
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lanzac, France
Died: November 25, 1936

 44 Jean-Baptiste-Joseph Delambre

Jean-Baptiste-Joseph Delambre
1
Famous As: Mathematician
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 Gaspard de Prony

Gaspard de Prony
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Birthdate: 0000 AD

 46 Louis Couturat

Louis Couturat
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Famous As: Logician
Birthdate: January 17, 1868
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ris-Orangis, France
Died: August 3, 1914

 47 Charles-Eugène Delaunay

Charles-Eugène Delaunay
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Famous As: Astronomer
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.

 48 Jean-Marie Duhamel

Jean-Marie Duhamel
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Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: February 5, 1797
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Saint-Malo, France
Died: April 29, 1872

 49 Charles Julien Brianchon

Charles Julien Brianchon
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Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: December 19, 1783
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Sèvres, France
Died: April 29, 1864

Known for his invaluable contribution to geometry, Charles Julien Brianchon laid down the Brianchon’s theorem. The French mathematician was a student of Gaspard Monge and had also been part of Napoleon’s artillery. He later moved away from math and began teaching at the Artillery School in Vincennes.

 50 Leon Charles Thevenin

Leon Charles Thevenin
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Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: March 30, 1857
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Meaux, France
Died: September 21, 1926