Pierre-Simon Laplace

William Hamilton and the Invention of Quaterions

William Hamilton and the Invention of Quaterions

On August 4, 1805, Irish physicist, astronomer, and mathematician William Rowan Hamilton was born. He made important contributions to classical mechanics, optics, and algebra, but is perhaps best known as the inventor of quaternions, a number system that extends the complex numbers. ‘This young man, I do not say will be, but is, the first mathematician of his age.’ (Astronomer Bishop Dr. John Brinkley about 18-year-old Hamilton) At Age 13 Hamilton spoke…
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Urbain Le Verrier and the hypothetical Planet Vulcan

Urbain Le Verrier and the hypothetical Planet Vulcan

On 2 January 1860, French astronomer Urbain Le Verrier announced the discovery of Vulcan, a hypothetical planet inside the Mercury orbit, to a meeting of the Académie des Sciences in Paris. Despite the lack of any reliable observation, Le Verrier really was convinced until his death that he had discovered a new planet. It was Einstein’s special theory of relativity and a completely new understanding of the laws of gravity that modified the predicted…
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Modern Chemistry started with Antoine Lavoisier

Modern Chemistry started with Antoine Lavoisier

On August 26, 1743, French nobleman and chemist Antoine Laurent de Lavoisier was born. De Lavoisier is considered as one of the fathers of modern chemistry. “We must trust to nothing but facts: These are presented to us by Nature, and cannot deceive. We ought, in every instance, to submit our reasoning to the test of experiment, and never to search for truth but by the natural road of experiment and observation.”…
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The Important Theorem of Thomas Bayes

The Important Theorem of Thomas Bayes

On April 17, 1761, English mathematician and Presbyterian minister Thomas Bayes passed away. He is best known as name giver of the Bayes’ theorem, of which he had developed a special case. It expresses (in the Bayesian interpretation) how a subjective degree of belief should rationally change to account for evidence, and finds application in in fields including science, engineering, economics (particularly microeconomics), game theory, medicine and law. “[My favourite fellow of the…
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Pierre Simon de Laplace and his true love for Astronomy and Mathematics

Pierre Simon de Laplace and his true love for Astronomy and Mathematics

On March 28, 1749, French mathematician and astronomer Pierre Simon marquis de Laplace was born, whose work was pivotal to the development of mathematical astronomy and statistics. One of his major achievements was the conclusion of the five-volume Mécanique Céleste (Celestial Mechanics) which translated the geometric study of classical mechanics to one based on calculus, opening up a broader range of problems. “One sees, from this Essay, that the theory of probabilities…
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Karl Weierstrass – the Father of Modern Analysis

Karl Weierstrass – the Father of Modern Analysis

On February 19, 1897, German mathematician Karl Theodor Wilhelm Weierstrass passed away. Weierstrass often is cited as the “father of modern analysis“. He formalized the definition of the continuity of a function, proved the intermediate value theorem and the Bolzano–Weierstrass theorem, and used the latter to study the properties of continuous functions on closed bounded intervals. “… it is true that a mathematician who is not somewhat of a poet, will never be a…
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Arthur Cayley and his Love for Pure Mathematics

Arthur Cayley and his Love for Pure Mathematics

On January 26, 1895, British mathematician Arthur Cayley passed away. He was the first to define the concept of a group in the modern way and helped to found the modern British school of pure mathematics. “As for everything else, so for a mathematical theory: beauty can be perceived but not explained. “ — Arthur Cayley, President’s address (1883) to the British Association for the Advancement of Science, in [13] Arthur Cayley –…
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Jean Bailly and the Orbit of Halley’s Comet

Jean Bailly and the Orbit of Halley’s Comet

On September 15, 1736, French astronomer, mathematician, freemason, and political leader of the early part of the French Revolution Jean Sylvain Bailly was born. Bailly computed an orbit for Halley’s Comet (1759) and studied the four satellites of Jupiter then known. He was the first Mayor of Paris and presided over the Tennis Court Oath. Jean Sylvain Bailly came from a family of artists. His father was an artist and supervisor of the…
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James Jeans and the Theory of Continuous Creation

James Jeans and the Theory of Continuous Creation

On September 11, 1877, English physicist, astronomer and mathematician James Hopwood Jeans was born. Jeans was the first to propose that matter is continuously created throughout the universe. He made other innovations in astronomical theory but is perhaps best known as a writer of popular books about astronomy. “The stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the Universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine.…
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Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac and his Work on Gases

Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac and his Work on Gases

On December 6, 1778, French chemist and physicist Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac was born. He is known mostly for two laws related to gases, and for his work on alcohol-water mixtures, which led to the degrees Gay-Lussac used to measure alcoholic beverages in many countries. “I have not chosen a career that will lead me to a great fortune, but not my principal ambition. In fact, later in life he enjoyed comfortable income…
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