France

Legendre’s Elements of Geometry

Legendre’s Elements of Geometry

On September 18, 1752, French mathematician Adrien-Marie Legendre was born. He is best known for his contributions in number theory, celestial mechanics and elliptic functions. It was in a paper on celestial mechanics concerning the motion of planets (1784) that he first introduced the Legendre Polynomials. Moreover, he served as director of the of the Bureau des Longitudes, standardizing French weights and measures. Adrien-Marie Legendre Background Adrien-Marie Legendre was born in Paris…
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The Great Illusion by Jean Renoir

The Great Illusion by Jean Renoir

On September 15, 1894, French film director, screenwriter, actor, producer and author Jean Renoir was born. As a film director and actor, he made more than forty films from the silent era to the end of the 1960s. Jean Renoir, as a representative of the Poetic Realism of the 1930s, created important film classics such as La Grande Illusion (1937) and The Rules of the Game (1939). “To the question, ‘Is the cinema…
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Jacques de Perthes and European Archaeology

Jacques de Perthes and European Archaeology

On September 10, 1788, French archeologist Jacques Boucher de Crèvecœur de Perthes was born. He was the first to establish that Europe had been populated by early man. Further, his discovery of whole handaxes, tools and fragments embedded in and scattered about the fossilized bones of prehistoric mammals in the high banks of the Somme River showed that man existed at least as early as the ancient creature. Jacques de Perthes Background…
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Antoine Cournot and the Mathematical Theory of Economics

Antoine Cournot and the Mathematical Theory of Economics

On August 28, 1801, French philosopher and mathematician Antoine-Augustin Cournot was born. He is considered being the first economist who applied mathematics to the treatment of economic questions. In 1838, he published Recherches sur les principes mathématiques de la théorie des richesses (Researches into the Mathematical Principles of the Theory of Wealth) which was a treatment of mathematical economics. “So far we have studies how, for each commodity by itself, the law…
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Augustin-Louis Cauchy and the Rigor of Analysis

Augustin-Louis Cauchy and the Rigor of Analysis

On August 21, 1789, French mathematician Augustin-Louis Cauchy was born. He is considered one of the greatest mathematicians during the nineteenth century. There are 16 concepts and theorems named for Cauchy, more than for any other mathematician. Cauchy was one of the most prolific mathematicians of all times. Cauchy wrote 789 papers, a quantity exceeded only by Euler and Cayley, which brought precision and rigor to mathematics. Cauchy throughout my Maths Lectures…
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Pierre Mechain and the Meridian Survey Expedition

Pierre Mechain and the Meridian Survey Expedition

On August 16, 1744, French astronomer and surveyor Pierre François André Méchain was born. Together with Charles Messier, was a major contributor to the early study of deep sky objects and comets. He participated in the Meridian survey expedition in 1792 that produced measurements, which have served as the fundament of the metric system. Pierre Méchain – Civil Engineering and Astronomy Pierre Méchain was born in Laon, a medieval town in the Picardy…
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Nicolas-Jacques Conté and the Creation of the Pencil

Nicolas-Jacques Conté and the Creation of the Pencil

On August 4, 1755, French painter, inventor, army officer and balloonist, Nicolas-Jacques Conté was born. Among others, he is credited with the invention of the modern pencil. Moreover, some consider him one of the greatest inventive minds of the eighteenth century. He distinguished himself for his mechanical genius which was of great avail to the French army in Egypt. Napoleon Bonaparte called him “a universal man with taste, understanding and genius capable of…
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Jeanne Baret – An Intrepid Woman of Discovery

Jeanne Baret – An Intrepid Woman of Discovery

On July 27, 1740, French natural scientist Jeanne Baret was born. She was probably the first woman to circumnavigate the globe, but with certainty she was the first woman who achieved this disguised as a man. Background Jeanne Baret Jeanne Baret grew up in a very poor region of France with rather uneducated people. It is assumed that her father has been illiterate in contrast to Jeanne. However, it is not clear,…
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Joseph Nicollet and the Upper Mississippi River

Joseph Nicollet and the Upper Mississippi River

On July 24, 1786, French geographer, astronomer, and mathematician Joseph Nicolas Nicollet was born. He is best known for mapping the Upper Mississippi River basin during the 1830s. Nicollet’s maps were among the most accurate of the time and they provided the basis for all subsequent maps of the American interior. Jean-Nicholas Nicollet – Building up a Reputation Jean-Nicolas Nicollet was born in Cluses, Savoy, France. He was very bright, showing aptitude in mathematics and…
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Jean Picard and his Love for Accuracy

Jean Picard and his Love for Accuracy

On July 21, 1620, French astronomer, cartographer and hydraulic engineer Jean-Félix Picard was born. He is regarded as the founder of modern astronomy in France. He introduced new methods, improved the old instruments, and added new devices, such as Huygens‘ pendulum clock to record times and time intervals. Background Jean Picard Jean-Félix Picard was born as a son of a bookseller and was allowed to study at the Jesuit Collège Royal Henry-Le-Grand, which…
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