Pierre-Louis Maupertuis

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Pierre Louis Maupertuis
Maupertuis, wearing "lapmudes" from his Lapland expedition
Born(1698-07-17)17 July 1698
Died27 July 1759(1759-07-27) (aged 60)
Known forPrinciple of least action, precursor of transmutation
Scientific career
FieldsMathematics, physics, biology, metaphysic, moral philosophy, astronomy, geography
InstitutionsFrench Academy, Berlin Academy
InfluencesLeibniz, Newton, Descartes, Malebranche, Harvey, Berkeley
InfluencedEuler, Buffon, Diderot, Kant

Pierre Louis Moreau de Maupertuis (/ˌmpərˈtw/; French: [mopɛʁtɥi]; 1698 – 27 July 1759)[1] was a French mathematician, philosopher and man of letters. He became the Director of the Académie des Sciences, and the first President of the Prussian Academy of Science, at the invitation of Frederick the Great.

Maupertuis made an expedition to Lapland to determine the shape of the Earth. He is often credited with having invented the principle of least action; a version is known as Maupertuis's principle – an integral equation that determines the path followed by a physical system. His work in natural history is interesting in relation to modern science, since he touched on aspects of heredity and the struggle for life.

References[change | change source]

  1. In the city archives of Saint-Malo his baptism date is given as 28 September 1698. The actual birth date is unknown.