France

Siméon Denis Poisson’s Contributions to Mathematics

Siméon Denis Poisson’s Contributions to Mathematics

On June 21, 1781, French mathematician, geometer, and physicist Siméon Denis Poisson was born. He is known known for his work on definite integrals, advances in Fourier series, electromagnetic theory, and probability, esp. the eponymous Poisson series, the Poisson integral and the Poisson equation from potential theory. His works also included applications to electricity and magnetism, and astronomy. Simeon Denis Poisson – The Youth of a Mathematician Poisson was born in Pithiviers, Loiret,…
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The Paris Salon des Refusés of 1863

The Paris Salon des Refusés of 1863

On May 15, 1863, the Salon des Refusés in Paris was opened, an exhibition of works rejected by the jury of the official Paris Salon. In 1863 the Salon jury refused two thirds of the paintings presented, including the works of Gustave Courbet, Édouard Manet, Camille Pissaro and Johan Jongkind, marking the birth of the avant-garde. Upon the protest of the artists, emperor Napoleon III decided to let the public judge and…
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Jules Dumont d’Urville and his South-Pacific Voyages

Jules Dumont d’Urville and his South-Pacific Voyages

On May 8, 1842, French explorer, naval officer and rear admiral Jules Sébastien César Dumont d’Urville passed away. D’Urville commanded voyages of exploration to the South Pacific (1826–29) and the Antarctic (1837–40), resulting in extensive revisions of existing charts and discovery or redesignation of island groups. As a botanist and cartographer he left his mark, giving his name to several seaweeds, plants and shrubs, and places such as D’Urville Island. Jules Dumont d’Urville…
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Gustave le Bon and the Behaviour of the Crowd

Gustave le Bon and the Behaviour of the Crowd

On May 7, 1841, French social psychologist, sociologist, anthropologist, inventor, and amateur physicist Gustave le Bon was born. Le Bon is best known for his study of the psychological characteristics of crowds, The Crowd, Study of Popular Mind. His writings incorporate theories of national traits, racial and male superiority, herd behavior and crowd psychology. “Logical minds, accustomed to being convinced by a chain of somewhat close reasoning, cannot avoid having recourse to this mode of…
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Paul-Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran and the Improvement of Spectroscopy

Paul-Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran and the Improvement of Spectroscopy

On April 18, 1838, French chemist Paul-Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran was born. Lecoq de Boisbaudran improved spectroscopic methods which had recently been developed by Paul Kirchhoff. Furthermore he is known for his discoveries of the chemical elements gallium, samarium and dysprosium. Paul-Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran – Early Years Paul-Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran belonged to the ancient Protestant nobility of Poitou and Angoumois, whose considerable fortune, however, disappeared after the revocation of the Edict of…
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Francois Viète and the Foundations of Algebra

Francois Viète and the Foundations of Algebra

On February 23, 1603, French mathematician François Viète passed away. Viète‘s work on a  algebra was an important step towards modern algebra, due to its innovative use of letters as parameters in equations. He was a lawyer by trade, and served as a privy councillor to both Henry III and Henry IV. Francois Viète – Early Years Vieta was born at Fontenay-le-Comte, in western France about 50 km east of the coastal town of…
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Édouard-Gaston Deville and the Perfection of Photogrammetry

Édouard-Gaston Deville and the Perfection of Photogrammetry

On February 21, 1849, French-Canadian surveyor Édouard-Gaston Deville was born. Deville perfected the first practical method of photogrammetry, the making of maps based on photography. Édouard-Gaston Deville – Becoming a Surveyor Édouard-Gaston Deville was born at La Charité sur Noire, Nièvre, France. Educated at the naval school at Brest, Deville served in the French navy and conducted hydrographic surveys in the South Sea islands and Peru. In 1875, he retired and immigrated to Quebec with his widowed mother…
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Paul Langevin and the Langevin Dynamics

Paul Langevin and the Langevin Dynamics

On January 23, 1872, French physicist Paul Langevin was born. He is best known for having developed Langevin dynamics and the Langevin equation. Being a public opponent against fascism in the 1930s resulted in his arrest and consequently he was held under house arrest by the Vichy government for most of the war. Langevin was also the first to explain (1905) the effects of paramagnetism and diamagnetism (the weak attraction or repulsion…
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Abbot Suger and the Birth of the Gothic Style

Abbot Suger and the Birth of the Gothic Style

On January 13, 1151, French abbot, statesman, historian and one of the earliest patrons of Gothic architecture, Suger passed away. The eastern end of the Basilica Church of St. Denis, built by Abbot Suger and completed in 1144, is often cited as the first truly Gothic building, as it draws together many of architectural forms which had evolved from Romanesque and typify the Gothic style. “The new chevet being joined to the narthex,…
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Camille Jordan and the Cours d’Analyse.

Camille Jordan and the Cours d’Analyse.

On January 5, 1838, French mathematician Marie Ennemond Camille Jordan was born. Jordan is known both for his foundational work in group theory and for his influential Cours d’analyse. “[I was advised] to read Jordan’s ‘Cours d’analyse’; and I shall never forget the astonishment with which I read that remarkable work, the first inspiration for so many mathematicians of my generation, and learnt for the first time as I read it what…
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