Joseph-Louis Lagrange

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Joseph-Louis Lagrange

Joseph-Louis, Comte de Lagrange
Born 25 January 1736(1736-01-25)
Turin, Piedmont-Sardinia
Died 10 April 1813(1813-04-10) (aged 77)
Paris, France
Residence Piedmont
France
Prussia
Nationality Italian
French
Fields Mathematics
Mathematical physics
Institutions École Polytechnique
Doctoral advisor Leonhard Euler
Doctoral students Joseph Fourier
Giovanni Plana
Siméon Poisson
Known for Analytical mechanics
Celestial mechanics
Mathematical analysis
Number theory
Notes
Note he did not have a doctoral advisor but academic genealogy authorities link his intellectual heritage to Leonhard Euler, who played the equivalent role.

Joseph-Louis Lagrange (born Giuseppe Lodovico [Luigi] Lagrangia, Turin, Piedmont, 25 January 1736 – Paris, 10 April 1813) was a mathematician and astronomer. According to one authority, he was "the greatest mathematician of the eighteenth century".[1]

He lived part of his life in Prussia and part in France. He made significant contributions to mathematical analysis, from number theory, to classical and celestial mechanics.

On the recommendation of Euler and d'Alembert, in 1766 Lagrange succeeded Euler as the director of mathematics at the Prussian Academy of Sciences in Berlin. He stayed there for over twenty years, producing a large body of work and winning several prizes of the French Academy of Sciences.

Lagrange's treatise on analytical mechanics, first published in 1788, was the best treatment of classical mechanics since Newton, and helped the development of mathematical physics in the nineteenth century.[2]

Life[change | change source]

Lagrange's parents were Italian, although he also had French ancestors on his father's side. In 1787, at age 51, he moved from Berlin to France and became a member of the French Academy, and he remained in France until the end of his life. Therefore, Lagrange is alternatively considered a French and an Italian scientist.

Lagrange survived the French Revolution and became the first professor of analysis at the École Polytechnique upon its opening in 1794. Napoleon appointed Lagrange to the Legion of Honour and made him a Count of the Empire in 1808. Lagrange is buried in the Panthéon and his name appears as one of the 72 names inscribed on the Eiffel Tower.[1]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 W.W. Rouse Ball, 1908 Joseph Louis Lagrange (1736 - 1813), A short account of the history of mathematics, 4th ed.
  2. Lagrange, Joseph-Louis 1888–89. Mécanique Analytique, 4th ed., 2 vols. Paris: Gauthier-Villars et fils.