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Pierre-Simon Laplace, 1749-1827 : a life in exact science

Author: Charles Coulston Gillispie; Robert Fox; I Grattan-Guinness
Publisher: Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, ©1997.
Edition/Format:   Book : Biography : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Pierre-Simon Laplace was among the most influential scientists in history. Often referred to as the lawgiver of French science, he is known for his technical contributions to exact science, for the philosophical point of view he developed in the presentation of his work, and for the leading part he took in forming the modern discipline of mathematical physics. His two most famous treatises were the five-volume  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Biography
Named Person: Pierre Simon Laplace, marquis de; Pierre Simon de Laplace; Pierre-Simon de Laplace
Material Type: Biography, Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Charles Coulston Gillispie; Robert Fox; I Grattan-Guinness
ISBN: 0691011850 9780691011851 0691050279 9780691050270
OCLC Number: 36656386
Description: xii, 322 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
Contents: Early career, 1768-1778. Youth, education, and election to the academy. Finite differences, recurrent series, and theory of chance. Probability of events and of their causes: the origin of statistical inference. Universal gravitation. Distribution of comets. Partial differential equations, determinants, and variation of constants. The Figure of the earth and the motion of the seas --
Laplace in his prime, 1778-1789. Influence and reputation. Variation of constants, differential operators. Probability matured. Generating functions and definite integrals. Population. Determination of the orbits of comets. Lavoisier and Laplace: chemical physics of heat. Attraction of spheroids.
Responsibility: Charles Coulston Gillispie ; with the collaboration of Robert Fox and Ivor Grattan-Guinness.
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Abstract:

Pierre-Simon Laplace was among the most influential scientists in history. Often referred to as the lawgiver of French science, he is known for his technical contributions to exact science, for the philosophical point of view he developed in the presentation of his work, and for the leading part he took in forming the modern discipline of mathematical physics. His two most famous treatises were the five-volume Traite de mecanique celeste (1799-1825) and Theorie analytique des probabilites (1812). In the former, he demonstrated mathematically the stability of the solar system in accordance with the universal Newtonian law of gravity. In the latter, he developed probability from a set of miscellaneous problems concerning games, averages, mortality, and insurance risks. These estimates of error and statistical inferences could be applied to social, medical, and legal matters, as well as to the physical sciences. This book traces the development of Laplace's research program and of his participation in the Academy of Science during the last decades of the Old Regime into the early years of the French Revolution.

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