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Pierre-Simon Laplace, 1749-1827 : a Life in Exact Science

Author: Charles Coulston Gillispie
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University Press, [2018] ©1997
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : Government publication : EnglishView all editions and formats
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: Electronic books
Biographies
History
Biography
Material Type: Document, Government publication, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Charles Coulston Gillispie
ISBN: 9780691187983 0691187983
OCLC Number: 1076449671
Language Note: In English.
Description: 1 online resource
Contents: Frontmatter --
Content --
Preface --
Acknowledgment --
PART I: EARLY CAREER, 1768-1778 --
Chapter 1. Youth, Education, and Election to the Academy --
Chapter 2. Finite Differences, Recurrent Series, and Theory of Chance --
Chapter 3. Probability of Events and of Their Causes: The Origin of Statistical Inference --
Chapter 4. Universal Gravitation --
Chapter 5. Distribution of Comets --
Chapter 6. Partial Differential Equations, Determinants, and Variation of Constants --
Chapter 7. The Figure of the Earth and the Motion of the Seas --
PART II: LAPLACE IN HIS PRIME, 1778-1789 --
Chapter 8. Influence and Reputation --
Chapter 9. Variation of Constants, Differential Operators --
Chapter 10. Probability Matured --
Chapter 11. Generating Functions and Definite Integrals --
Chapter 12. Population --
Chapter 13. Determination of the Orbits of Comets --
Chapter 14. Lavoisier and Laplace: Chemical Physics of Heat --
Chapter 15. Attraction of Spheroids --
Chapter 16. Planetary Astronomy --
PART III: SYNTHESIS AND SCIENTIFIC STATESMANSHIP --
Chapter 17. The Revolution and the Metric System --
Chapter 18. Scientific Work in the Early Revolution --
Chapter 19. Exposition du système du monde --
Chapter 20. A Scientific Eminence --
Chapter 21. Traité de mécanique céleste --
PART IV: LAPLACIAN PHYSICS AND PROBABILITY --
Chapter 22. The Velocity of Sound / Fox, Robert --
Chapter 23. Short-Range Forces / Fox, Robert --
Chapter 24. The Laplacian School / Fox, Robert --
Chapter 25. Theory of Error --
Chapter 26. Probability: Théorie analytique and Essai philosophique --
Chapter 27. Loss of Influence / Fox, Robert --
Chapter 28. The Last Analysis --
PART V: THE LAPLACE TRANSFORM --
Chapter 29. Laplace's Integral Solutions to Partial Differential Equations / Grattan-Guinness, Ivor --
Conclusion --
Abbreviations --
Bibliography --
Index
Responsibility: Charles Coulston Gillispie.
More information:

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 Traité de mécanique céleste (1799-1825) and Théorie analytique des probabilités (1812). In the former he demonstrated mathematically the stability of the solar system in service to 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 into the branch of mathematics that permitted the quantification of estimates of error and the drawing of statistical inferences, wherever data warranted, in social, medical, and juridical matters, as well as in 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. A scientific biography by Charles Gillispie comprises the major portion of the book. Robert Fox contributes an account of Laplace's attempt to form a school of young physicists who would extend the Newtonian model from astronomy to physics, and Ivor Grattan-Guinness summarizes the history of the scientist's most important single mathematical contribution, the Laplace Transform.

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