Pierre-Simon Laplace Facts

Pierre-Simon Laplace Facts
Pierre-Simon, marquis de Laplace (March 23, 1749 to March 5, 1827) was a French mathematician, physicist, and astronomer. He is best known for his study of the solar system and orbital deviation of the planets.
Interesting Pierre-Simon Laplace Facts:
Pierre-Simon was born in Beaumont-en-Auge, Normandy where his father owned and farmed some small estates.
Much of the information regarding the early life of Laplace was lost when the home of his great-great-grandson, the Comte de Colbert-Laplace, burned in 1925.
He received his basic education at the Benedictine priory school because his father intended that he become a Roman Catholic priest.
In 1765 entered the University of Caen to study theology.
While there he discovered a passion for mathematics and wrote differences Sur le Calcul integral aux infinitment petites et aux differences finies.
He became friends with the Italian mathematician and astronomer, Joseph Louis Lagrange.
Lagrange founded the Royal Society of Turin and established a journal, Miscellanea Taurinensia.
It was in this journal that Laplace published his first scientific paper in 1776.
From 1771 t0 1787 he was a teacher at the Ecole Militaire which allowed him time for scientific research.
In 1771 he published works on differential equations and finite differences and researched mathematical concepts of probability and statistics.
In 1773 he was elected to the French Academy of Sciences.
In 1774 he published Memoire sur la probabilite des causes par les evenements which established his reputation in the field of mathematics.
In 1776 he began working on celestial mechanics and the stability of the solar system.
Using Newtonian physics and Euler's earlier research, Laplace concluded that any two planets and the sun must be in equilibrium for the solar system to remain stable.
Between 1799 and 1825 he published Mecanique celeste,a five volume work on astronomy in which he intended to "offer a complete solution of the great mechanical problem presented by the solar system."
In it he introduced spherical harmonics and the concept of gravitational potential in celestial mechanics.
Laplace developed the concept of scalar potential which defines how gravitational vectors will behave.
Unfortunately Laplace did not often credit the work of other scientists so it is not always possible to determine which ideas are original with him.
Between 1784 and 1786 he published three papers identifying and explaining the "great Jupiter-Saturn inequality."
He realized that the eccentricities in their orbits was due to the near approach to commensurability of their mean motions.
Laplace elaborated on the nebular hypothesis first proposed by Emanuel Swedenborg and Immanuel Kant.
The nebular hypothesis of the formation of the solar system continues is the currently accepted explanation for planetary origins.


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