Joseph Fourier

Leibniz and the Integral Calculus

Leibniz and the Integral Calculus

On November 11, 1675, German mathematician and polymath Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz demonstrates integral calculus for the first time to find the area under the graph of y = ƒ(x). Integral calculus is part of infinitesimal calculus, which in addition also comprises differential calculus. In general, infinitesimal calculus is the part of mathematics concerned with finding tangent lines to curves, areas under curves, minima and maxima, and other geometric and analytic problems. Today, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz…
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Only the Good Die Young – the Very Short Life of Évariste Galois

Only the Good Die Young – the Very Short Life of Évariste Galois

On June 1st, 1832, French mathematician Évariste Galois was killed in a duel. He was only 20 years of age. He left an elaborate manuscript three years earlier, in which he established that an algebraic equation is solvable by radicals, if and only if the group of permutations of its roots has a certain structure, thereby solving a problem standing for 350 years. But why did he have to die so young? Just because…
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Sophie Germain and the Chladni Experiment

Sophie Germain and the Chladni Experiment

On June 27, 1831, French mathematician, physicist, and philosopher Marie-Sophie Germain passed away. She is best known for her work in number theory and contributions to the applied mathematics of acoustics and elasticity. Her work on Fermat’s Last Theorem provided a foundation for mathematicians exploring the subject for hundreds of years after. Because of prejudice against her gender, she was unable to make a career out of mathematics, but she worked independently throughout her…
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Joseph Fourier and the Greenhouse Effect

Joseph Fourier and the Greenhouse Effect

On March 21, 1768, French mathematician and physicist Jean Baptiste Joseph du Fourier was born. He is probably best known for his work in thermodynamics, where he introduced the concept of the Fourier Analysis, named in honor after him. There, he claimed that every mathematical function of a variable can be expanded to a sum of sines of multiples of that variable. What people most likely don’t know is that Fourier also was the…
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