Here is the biography of some characters who were important in the construction of the Eiffel Tower.
Gustave Eiffel is a French engineer and entrepreneur of the late nineteenth century, mainly known for the realization of the tower that bears his name in Paris. He made his career building iron works of art, an innovative material for the time that allowed the construction of structures that could not be made of stone...Read more.
Mr. Maurice Kœchlin was born in Buhl (Alsace), in 1856. After his classical studies at the College of Mulhouse, he moved to the Strasbourg Gymnasium, then he entered the Ecole Polytechnique of Zurich, a famous scientific institution that rivals Switzerland with our great school and from which he left the first. For two years he was attached to Paris to...Read more.
Emile-Toussaint-Michel Nouguier was born in Paris on February 17, 1840. At the end of his studies he prepared for the Ecole Polytechnique and was eligible in 1801. He soon entered the Ecole Nationale Superieure des mines; he graduated in 1866 as a graduate engineer. He became from 1867 to 1876 one of the active employees of the house... Read more.
Mr. Stephen Sauvestre was born in Paris in December 1847. Pupil of Mr. Simonet at the School of Architecture founded in Paris by Mr. Emile Trélat, he went out with the first class, after having obtained medals of honor. In 1869, he sent to the Salon des Beaux-Arts a statement which was awarded. He immediately became inspector of the reconstruction of the theater of...Read more.
Jean Compagnon was head of department in the Eiffel establishments. A trusted man of Gustave Eiffel himself, he was in charge of assembling numerous constructions from the company's workshops. He was head of the assembly department of the Eiffel Tower... Read more.
Mr. Adolphe Salles was born in Marseilles in 1858. He entered the Ecole Polytechnique in 1877 and in 1879 at the Ecole Nationale des Mines, from which he graduated as a mining engineer. Sent on a mission to Spain in 1882 to study the iron deposits of the province of Bilbao and the copper mines of the province of Huelva...Read more.
Mr. Jean Gobert, a power of attorney and an intimate advisor to Mr. Eiffel, was born in Vic-sur-Aisne (Aisne) on July 26, 1841. He entered the first of his class in 1859 at the Ecole Centrale des Arts. and Manufactures. He was eighteen. When he came out with the title of qualified engineer, he devoted himself to important, varied and numerous works...Read more.
Edouard Lockroy was born in Paris in 1840. At adulthood he hesitated: will he be an actor, following the example of his father (actor, then playwright)? Will he be a painter? In any case, he interrupted his studies at the Beaux-Arts to accompany Alexandre Dumas in Italy and follow the campaign of Giuseppe Garibaldi in Sicily (1860). Just returned... Read more.
The list below is that of the 72 scientists whose names are inscribed in gold letter around the first floor of the Eiffel Tower. So it is not strictly speaking biographies directly related to the construction of the tower, but there is still a report to the extent that by entering them, Eiffel has placed his tower in the continuity of the work scientist of his elders.
This list is arranged in alphabetical order. There is a special page on this site that gives explanations on this list of illustrious scientists.
Discoveries, in collaboration with François Arago, of electromagnetism, from 1820 to 1824.
André-Marie Ampère, mathematician and physicist, was born in Lyon, on the parish of Saint-Nizier, January 22, 1775, Jean-Jacques Ampère, merchant, and Jeanne-Antoinette Sarcev de Sutières. He died in Marseille on July 10, 1836. After teaching physics in Bourg-en-Bresse (Ain), where he wrote his Considerations on the mathematical theory of the game, he was appointed professor at the college of his hometown, then... (Read more)
Discoveries, in collaboration with Marie-André Ampère, of electromagnetism, from 1820 to 1824
Dominique-François Arago, the great Arago, astronomer and physicist, was born in Estagel, in the Pyrénées-Orientales, on February 26, 1786; he died in Paris on October 2, 1853. His beginnings in science were quick and remarkable. At the age of seventeen he was admitted to the Ecole Polytechnique. At twenty-three, he became a member of the Institute, where he had been elected to replace Lalande, by 47 votes in favor ... (Read more)
Jean-Augustin Barral, agronomist, chemist, physicist, was born in Metz, capital of the Moselle, on January 31, 1819; he died at Fontenay-sous-Bois, near Paris, on the 10th of September, 1884. He was the only son of a former soldier, born in Savoy, who made the campaigns of Napoleon, was an orderly officer of General Junot, during the wars of Spain and Portugal, who had resigned after Waterloo, to retire to the capital of Lorraine, in order to live in retirement with his modest pension of lieutenant and... (Read more)
Antoine-César Becquerel, physicist, was born in Châtillon-sur-Loing (Loiret), March 7, 1788; He died in Paris on January 18, 1878. On leaving the Ecole polytechnique as a pupil of the class of 1805, he entered the army and made the last campaigns of the first empire, with the rank of captain of the genius. He resigned as chief of battalion in 1815, and from that time he devoted himself to his tastes for the sciences; but it is only from the year 1824 that he took special care... (Read more)
Jean-Baptiste-Charles-Joseph Bélanger, mathematician, was born in Valenciennes in 1790. He died in Neuilly-sur-Seine in 1874, having just been retired as professor of mechanics at the Ecole Polytechnique, despite his advanced age. He was then more than 80 years old, but he had kept all his physical vigor and all his intellectual power. When he came out as a pupil of the great establishment where he was to teach almost until the end of his days, he had joined the corps of engineers... (Read more)
Eugène Belgrand, an engineer, was born in Champigny-sur-Ource (Côte-d'Or), on April 23, 1810. He died in Paris on March 7, 1878. He entered the Ecole polytechnique at the age of sixteen years to come out as a student of bridges and roads in 1828. He was attached early to the service of the department of the Seine and responsible for the direction of water and sewers of the city of Paris. It is to him that the capital owes its admirable system of cloaca maocima pouring into the main sewer collector of Asnières, and presenting a set of works... (Read more)
Pierre Berthier, mineralogist, born in Nemours (Seine-et-Marne), July 3, 1782, died in Paris in 1801, is a scientist of the experimental school of Haiiy and Dolomieu. He entered the Ecole polytechnique in 1799, and he left in 1801. He was appointed by Napoleon, a mining engineer at Nevers. In 1816 he was called to Paris and became a teacher of docimasia at the Royal School of Mines. In this chair, he increased the theoretical and utilitarian importance of this science which aims to determine the proportions of usable metals contained in ores or in artificial mixtures. His main work is a classic treatise on essays... (Read more)
Marie-François-Xavier Bichat, anatomist and physiologist, was born in Thoirette (Jura), on November 11, 1771; He died in Paris on July 22, 1902, having not reached his thirtieth year, having furnished an extraordinarily full career. Powerful and fertile genius, he transformed all the medical sciences. A first-rate operator, he renewed the general anatomy and founded biology. Appointed Chief Medical Officer of the Hotel Dieu in Paris, he devoted himself to unprecedented hard work... (Read more)
Jean-Charles de Borda
Jean-Charles de Borda, mathematician and navigator, was born in Dax on May 4, 1733; He died in Paris on February 20, 1799. A learned physicist and profound mathematician, an excellent sailor, after having provided a brilliant career in maritime expeditions, which were particularly remarkable in the eighteenth century, he was employed in the great ports of France. This stable situation enabled him to give a fruitful rise to his taste for the mathematical and mechanical sciences.
When the Constituent Assembly of 1789, to create a new system of weights and measures, established on the metric measurement... (Read more)
Louis-François-Clément Breguet, physicist and builder of precision instruments, was born in Paris on December 22, 1804; he died on October 27, 1883 in the same city. He carried with dignity a famous name. He was the grandson of Abraham Breguet, who, perfecting all the branches of his art, equaled by talent and skill, then surpassed by fame the great master watchmakers, Berthoud and Leroy, who had trained him Louis Breguet's first education was entirely practical. His father had placed him in apprenticeship in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. He returned to Paris at the age of ... (Read more)
Jacques-Antoine-Charles Bresse, mathematician and engineer, was born in Vienne (Isère), on October 9, 1822; he died in Paris on May 22, 1883. Received at the Ecole Polytechnique in 1841, he graduated in 1843 in the Corps des Ponts et Chaussées, which he successively conquered all ranks until that of inspector general second class which was conferred upon him on the 16th of July, 1881. He had been appointed mechanics rehearser, in 1848, at the Ecole des Ponts et Chaussees, which he had just left as a pupil. In 1853 he was in charge of the course on a temporary basis; in 1855 he became a full professor II then... (Read more)
Paul Broca, surgeon and anthropologist, was born in Sainte-Foy-la-Grande (Gironde), in 1821. He died in Paris, July 8, 1880. Appointed professor of pathology; He was a surgeon at the Faculty of Medicine, a surgeon at the Saint-Antoine and Pitié hospitals, a man of great skill and endowed with many resources in his mind. He nevertheless illustrated his name, more as a scholar than as a practitioner. He is the founder of the Modern Anthropological School and the creator of the Anthropology Society who aim to study all the issues... (Read more)
Jean-François Cail, an industrialist, was born at Chef-Boutonne (Deux-Sèvres), on 2 February 1804. He died at Plants, near Ruffëc (Charente), on May 22, 1871. Son of a simple peasant, having received for all instruction some lessons from the schoolmaster of his village, Cail learned the state of boilermaker and came to Paris to improve his craft manual. He entered the construction house of the chemist Derosne, who was in charge of candy and distillation. He was struck by the rare intelligence of the young man, his activity, his taste for... (Read more)
Lazare-Nicolas-Marguerite Carnot, the great Carnot, mathematician, was born in Nolay, not far from Dijon, on May 13, 1753. He died, in exile, in Magdeburg on August 2, 1823. His tomb remained in the cemetery of this city with this simple epitaph: Carnot, until August 1889, when his ashes were brought back to France and solemnly deposited in the Pantheon, Paris. Scientific organizer of the victories of the first Republic, it belongs to this great military school generals of the late eighteenth century, who were good geometers and... (Read more)
Augustin-Louis Cauchy, mathematician, was born in Paris on August 21, 1779. He died in the same city in 1857. Received at the age of fifteen at the Ecole polytechnique, the second, in 1804 (at that time he there were no age limits), he entered the Ecole des Ponts et Chaussées and the Corps of Engineers. But he soon gave up the exercise of his job to engage in teaching and studying mathematics. In 1816 he was elected to the Academy of Sciences, a little over twenty-five years old, and at the same time was appointed professor of... (Read more)
Jean-Antoine Chaptal, Earl of Chanteloup, agronomist and chemist, was born in Nogaret, a small town in the present department of Lozere, in 1750. He died in Paris in 1832. Chaptal was a practical scientist and a popularizing minister. He knew how to bring science down from the heights of theory into the paths of everyday utility. In his eyes, the laboratory of the chemist was to be the vestibule of the workshop and the factory. From this point of view, he can be counted among the founders of the method... (Read more)
Michel Chasles, geometer, was born on November 15, 1793, in Epernon, chief town of canton of the current department of Eure-et-Loir. He died in Paris, on December 18, 1880. He entered the Ecole polytechnique in 1812 and graduated in 1811. Successively engineer, stockbroker, professor, he never stopped cultivating the mathematical sciences and especially geometry, that it has enriched a host of new and important theorems. First we see him dealing with the transformation of the circle and the sphere into an ellipse and... (Read more)
Michel-Eugène Chevreul, a chemist, was born in Angers, on August 31, 1786. He died in Paris, at the Jardin des Plantes, on Tuesday, April 9, 1889, at one o'clock in the morning, "extinguishing himself gently like a lamp where he There is no more oil, "according to the expression of a witness of his last moments, having lived one hundred two years, seven months and eight days. He was the dean of scholars around the world... (Read more)
Benoît-Paul-Emile Clapeyron, engineer, was born in Paris on January 27, 1799. He died on January 28, 18811 in the same city. Raised at the college of Juilly, a village in the department of Seine-et-Marne, near Meaux, he studied brilliant classics in this famous institution, founded by the Oratorians. He was received in 1810 at the Ecole Polytechnique, and, when he left, in 1818, he entered the Ecole des Mines in Paris. After completing his engineering internship, he went to St. Petersburg. We were at... (Read more)
Charles-Pierre-Mathieu Combes, engineer and metallurgist, was born in 1801, in Cahors (Lot). He died in Paris, January 21, 1872. The only son of a brave officer whom the service had not enriched, still a child when he lost his father, he was able to continue, as a fellow at the high school of his native city, studies started in a small pension. As he excelled in mathematics, he was sent to Paris to prepare for the entrance examinations of the Ecole Polytechnique. He was one of the first to become sergeant major of... (Read more)
Gaspard-Gustave de Coriolis, mathematician, was born in Paris in 1792. He died in the same city, on September 15, 1843. He entered the Ecole polytechnique in 1808 and he left in 1810 to go through the Ecole des Bridges and roads. He had a keen interest in mathematics, and he was eager to devote himself exclusively to it. As soon as he could do so, he left the engineering career to become a repeater of analysis and mechanics at the same school where he had been a brilliant student. Several years later... (Read more)
Charles-Augustin de Coulomb, a physicist, was born at Angouleme, on June 14, 1730. He died in Paris on August 23, 1800. After having studied brilliantly in the capital, he entered the military engineering, and was sent to the Martinique. He presided at the construction of Fort Bourbon, and, returning to France, he devoted himself more specifically to physics research. Thus he made himself known by his experiments on the friction and the stiffness of the strings. He won several awards from the Academy of Sciences, which opened its doors... (Read more)
Georges Cuvier, naturalist, died in Paris on May 13, 1832, charged with glory and honors, having provided a career peculiarly full of discoveries, but still being in all the force of genius. He was born in Montbéliard, August 23, 1769, year famous because she saw appearing at the same time: Napoleon, Alexandre de Humboldt, Chateaubriand ... (Read more)
Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre, painter and physicist, was born in Cormeilles, today village of the department of Seine-et-Oise, in 1789. He died in Petit-Bry-sur-Marne, near Paris, on July 12th 1851. Daguerre is the father not of photography (it is to Niepce that this glory returns), but the inventor of the daguerreotype. Early on he was able to indulge in his taste for decorative painting and he soon became a first-rate artist for theatrical ornamentation. His brush was especially... (Read more)
Henry de Dion
Count Henry de Dion, an engineer, was born at Montfort l'Amaury (Seine-et-Oise) on December 23, 1828; he died in Paris on April 13, 1873. He studied in Switzerland and entered the Central School of Arts and Manufactures in 1818. In 1851, we see it in the offices of the studies of the railway of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. The exceptional faculties which nature had endowed him with for science led him to devote himself preferably to all questions of resistance of materials and mechanics, which at that time were not familiar,... (Read more)
Jean-Baptiste Delambre, astronomer, was born in Amiens on December 19, 1749; he died in Paris on August 18, 1822. A brilliant scientist, his high faculties did not awaken until very late. He was not less than thirty-six years old, indeed, when he began to study under Lalande the science which was to immortalize his name. But his beginning in the scientific career was a master stroke. His tables of Uranus earned him in 1790 the prize of the Academy of Sciences of Paris... (Read more)
Charles-Eugène Delaunay, astronomer, was born in Lusigny near Troyes (Aube), April 9, 1816. He died on August 6, 1872, during a trip to Cherbourg, on a barge, which was wrecked on the shores of Calvados. He graduated first from the Ecole polytechnique in 1836 and became a mining engineer. But he soon left this career to engage in teaching and his taste for... (Read more)
Pierre-Louis Dulong, chemist and physicist, was born in Rouen in 1785; He died in Paris on July 18, 1838. At the age of sixteen, he entered the Ecole Polytechnique as a pupil. A serious indisposition forced him to leave, before the end of the second year, this establishment, where he was to reappear with so much brilliancy, as exegetical examiner, as professor and as director of studies. The art of healing first of all absorbed all his moments. He even began to practice medicine in one of the poorest districts of Paris. The clientele was increasing visibly, but the fortune was diminishing... (Read more)
Born in Alès (Gard), in 1800, Jean-Baptiste Dumas, a chemist, died in Cannes (Alpes-Maritimes) on 11 April 1881. With Gay-Lussac, he can be considered the greatest chemist of the nineteenth century. He made his first scientific weapons in Geneva, where he had gone to occupy a place of clerk in a pharmacy. He was scarcely twenty when he published with Constant Prévost researches on various subjects of physiology, and especially experiments on fertilization and blood. But the pharmacy... (Read more)
Jacques-Joseph Ebelmen, a chemist, was born at Baume-les-Dames (Doubs), on July 10, 1814. He died in Paris on March 31, 1852, having barely reached his thirty-eighth year, in the entire producing force of the scientist. He graduated from the Ecole Polytechnique in 1833, and from the Ecole des Mines in 1836. He was successively appointed assistant professor of docimasie in this last establishment, then administrator and finally director of the Manufacture de Sèvres, in 1847. This is where that Ebelmen, in a short space of time, showed his great qualities of chemist and researcher, ... (Read more)
Mr. Armand-Hippolyte-Louis Fizeau, physicist, was born in Paris, on September 23, 1819. He is the only living, in 1891, of the seventy-two scientists whose names are inscribed on the great frieze of the Eiffel Tower. Early on he was able to study the physical and mathematical sciences. By his many works and higher order, all marked by the corner of a true originality, he was at the forefront of physicists of the nineteenth century. He was, before all the world, arrived in 1849 to determine directly... (Read more)
The names of the two brothers Flachat, Eugène and Stéphane, both engineers, are worthy of being attached to the history of the great industrial and financial movement inaugurated in France around 1830 and from which its railroad network has emerged, thanks in the joint competition of Emile and Isaac Pereire, Lamé, Clapeyron, Perdonnet, Baron James de Rothschild, etc. Eugène Flachat was born in Paris in 1802. He died in Arcachon June 10, 1873. From 1823 to 1830, he took part in the studies of a canal ... (Read more)
Jean-Bernard-Léon Foucault, physicist, was born in Paris on September 18, 1819; he died in the same town on February 11, 1668. Penetrating, subtle, sagacious and distinguished, he has made many inventions, all of which bear a very remarkable character of originality. The instruments of which he has created the models have attained hitherto unknown refinements and made it possible to measure up to what might be called infinitesimal elements.... (Read more)
Jean-Baptiste-Joseph, baron Fourier, mathematician, was born in Auxerre, March 21, 1768. He died in Paris, May 16, 1830. His father was a tailor of clothes. He was to become one of the greatest geometers of the nineteenth century, a member of the Institute, permanent secretary of the Academy of Sciences, one of the Forty of the French Academy, and .... baron, and prefect of first Empire. He was extremely precocious; became an orphan at the age of eight, he was collected by a lady, who had been seduced by the kindness and ... (Read more)
Jean-Augustin Fresnel, physicist, was born in Broglie, near Bernay, in this part of the former province of Normandy which today forms the department of Eure, May 10, 1788. He died in Ville-d Avray, near Paris, June 27, 1827. He entered the Ecole polytechnique at the age of sixteen, and his older brother had preceded him by one year. His health was extremely feeble, and made him fear that he could not endure the fatigues of so rough a novitiate. But this stupid body contained a vigorous soul. When he came out of this... (Read more)
Auguste Louis Gay-Lussac, the greatest chemist of the nineteenth century with J.-B. Dumas, was born in Saint-Léonard-le-Noblat (Haute-Vienne) on December 6, 1778; he died in Paris on May 9, 1850. His father was the king's attorney and added to his name of Gay that of Lussac, from a land he owned, in order to identify more easily among the many members of his family. The young Gay-Lussac was intended to illustrate this double name, which the Germans had to disguise in such a strange way, when, around 1873, the Prussian government... (Read more)
Henri Giffard, engineer and inventor, was born in Paris on January 8, 1825. He died in the same city on April 15, 1882. He studied at Bourbon College, today a high school Condorcet, and immediately entered the workshops of the railway of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. He had been driven to seek this modest situation by an irresistible passion for mechanics. By the age of fourteen, he found a way to go truant to see the wagons maneuver in the train stations. He was already burning with the desire to drive a locomotive. He succeeded soon and he would have... (Read more)
Ernest Gouin, engineer and industrialist, was born in Tours (Indre-et-Loire), on July 24, 1815. He died in Paris, March 23, 1885. Upon leaving the Ecole Polytechnique in 1836, he was ranked the first in the staff. He resigned to enter the School of Bridges and Roads. The great industrial movement, characteristic of the end of the nineteenth century, was beginning to take shape. The railroads and steam navigation occupied all intelligences. Ernest Gouin went to England to complete his technical studies. After a stay of a few months in the... (Read more)
René-Juste Haüy, a mineralogist, was born in Saint-Just, a small village in the present department of the Oise, on February 28, 1743. He died in Paris on June 23, 1822. He is considered the founder of experimental mineralogy, that he has established on the following basis: "The elementary crystalline form of a body depends on the chemical composition of that body, and the forms, so different in appearance, from the crystals which it can furnish, result simply from the mode of stacking primitive crystals. " At the same time he created the... (Read more)
Jules Jamin, physicist, was born on May 31, 1818, in the village of Termes (Ardennes); he died on February 13, 1886 in Paris. A brilliant pupil of the college of Reims, he won in August 1838 nine prizes and the honorary prize of sciences, in the general competition which took place that year between the lycées of Paris and those of the departments. In the following October, he was first received at the Ecole Normale Supérieure, and three years later, in 1841, he was the first associate of the Physical Sciences and was sent as a teacher to Caen. After two years... (Read more)
Louis-Didier Jousselin, engineer, was born in Blois on April 1, 1776. He died in Vienne-en-Val (Loiret) on December 3, 1858, at the age of 82 years. Brought up in a family that was actively involved in major political events at the end of the eighteenth century, he was able to cross, not without danger, the revolutionary turmoil and continue, in the middle of the agitation of the country, strong studies which were to ensure the success of his brilliant and useful career. The law of 7th vendémiaire year III (September 28th, 1791) decreed the creation ... (Read more)
Joseph-Louis Lagrange, a surveyor, was born in Turin on January 25, 1736, of a French family from Touraine, allied with Descartes, and settled in that city in 1672. He died in Paris on April 10, 1813. His father, treasurer of the war had enjoyed a considerable fortune, which he lost in hazardous enterprises. Lagrange considered this misfortune as the origin and the cause of the happiness of his life. "If I had had a fortune," he said, "I probably would not have done my mathematical state, and in what ... (Read more)
Joseph-Jérôme The Frenchman of Lalande, astronomer, was born in Bourg-en-Bresse on July 11, 1732. He expired in Paris on April 4, 1807, in the morning, telling his children around him, according to Delambre: "Now I do not need anything anymore. "
It was by observing the great solar eclipse of 1748 that he determined for astronomy. His parents had sent him to study law in Paris; he obtained permission to follow the observations and the... (Read more)
Gabriel Lamé, geometer, was born in Tours on July 22, 1795. He died in Paris in 1870. Admitted to the Ecole Polytechnique one of the first, he was part of the promotion of 1815, which was dismissed in 1816, because of his liberal ideas. He went out as a mining engineer student and soon followed his friend Clapeyron to Russia, to take the lead of the major works of viability that the Emperor Alexander had decided to execute in the imitation of France.... (Read more)
Pierre-Simon Laplace, astronomer and mathematician, who was to become minister, senator, marquis, peer of France, member of the French Academy, the Academy of Sciences and the Bureau of Longitudes, associate of all the learned bodies of the Europe, great cross of the Legion of Honor, decorated with all foreign orders, was born in Beaumont-en-Auge, Normandy, a simple farmer, March 28, 1749. He died in Paris on March 5 1827. By the depth of his genius, he showed once again that astronomy is ... (Read more)
Antoine de Lavoisier
Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier, chemist, physicist, physiologist, agronomist, was born in Paris on August 20, 1743. He died beheaded on the scaffold erected on the Place de la Revolution, today Place de la Concorde, May 8, 1794 at 5 o'clock in the evening, the fifth of the farmers sentenced, immediately after his father-in-law, Jacques Paulze. He is the creator of modern chemistry, in the sense that it is he who, through his work on oxygen and the composition of the air, has paved the way for all contemporary discoveries. For many centuries... (Read more)
Louis Le Chatelier
Louis Le Chatelier, an engineer, was born in Paris on February 20, 1815. He died in the same city on November 10, 1873, kidnapped prematurely at the age of 59, in intellectual strength and the brilliance of fame. A multi-faceted, broad-minded and encyclopaedic artist, the art of mining and metallurgy, the exploitation of the railways and agronomy owe him first-rate work. It was a creative intelligence, with the very practical sense of immediate popularization. It can also be considered as one of the... (Read more)
Adrien-Marie Legendre, a surveyor, was born in Paris, on September 18, 1752. He died at Auteuil on January 9, 1834. He is one of the most famous representatives of the mathematical sciences and his name can be inscribed alongside those of Euler, Laplace, Monge, & c. He made some first-rate discoveries and his life was long, peaceful, useful, glorious, all devoted to the cults of pure geometry. Coming from a poor family, he had the good fortune to be in love with Father Marie... (Read more)
Urbain Le Verrier
Urban-Jean-Joseph Le Verrier, astronomer, was born in Saint-Lô (Manche), on March 11, 1811. He died in Paris on September 23, 1877, the anniversary of the greatest event of his life. It is indeed on September 23, 1846 that the planet Neptune, whose existence and place in the sky had been revealed by him, was for the first time seen at the Berlin Observatory. He entered the Ecole polytechnique in 1831. He graduated in the first ranks with the title of engineer of state tobacco manufactures. He devoted himself to some lab research that was published... (Read more)
Etienne-Louis Malus, physicist, was born in Paris, on July 23, 1775. He died in 1811, in the same city, suffering from a phthisis galloping, which took him to science, just thirty-seven years . His first studies were literary, mainly, and he acquired a very thorough knowledge of the authors who make the glory of the Greek and Latin letters. Arago tells that he found in his papers two songs from an epic poem entitled The Foundation of the... (Read more)
Gaspard Monge, a surveyor, was born at Beaune, in Burgundy, in 1746. He died in Paris on July 18, 1818. His father was a little itinerant cutler merchant, who made all the sacrifices to put his three sons in college. little town he lived in. The eldest, the one who was to become the great Monge, was, from the beginning, an elite subject. He won first prizes in all faculties; its masters found a particular pleasure in inscribing, beside its name, the somewhat manicured formula of the schools of this... (Read more)
Arthur-Jules Morin, mathematician and physicist, known in the scientific world under the name of General Morin, was born in Paris on October 17, 1795. He died in the same city on February 20, 1880. In 1813 he entered the School Polytechnic. He went out to attend the Metz School of Application two years later. Appointed lieutenant in the battalion of the pontonniers, he became captain in 1829. Having done at that time, in the chief town of our former department of the Moselle, a course... (Read more)
Claude-Louis-Marie-Henri Navier, mathematician, was born in Dijon, February 15, 1785. He died in Paris, August 23, 1836. He entered the Ecole Polytechnique in 1802; he went out in 1804 to go through the School of Bridges and Roads. He had the idea at that time to annotate the works of Gauthey, the famous engineer, his great-uncle, and the volume on Hydraulic Architecture, Belidor, and publish new editions. This work led him, in 1824, to the Academy of Sciences, as well as to the Ecole Polytechnique, where he professed the analysis and the... (Read more)
Theophile-Jules Pelouze, chemist, was born in Valognes (Manche) on February 26, 1807. He died in Paris in 1867. He is one of the most brilliant students of Gay-Lussac, who early welcomed him in his laboratory and encouraged his tastes for work and research. After employing him as a preparer, he had him appointed professor of chemistry at Lille, then a tutor at the Ecole Polytechnique, and finally a tester at La Monnaie. Gay-Lussac often said to him: "Teach first before looking, Teaching is learning.... (Read more)
Albert-Auguste Perdonnet, engineer, was born in 1801, in Paris. He died at Cannes in 1867. He studied at St. Barbara College, France, and then at the famous Pestalozzi in Yverdun, Switzerland. He entered the Ecole polytechnique in 1821, which he left before the end of regulatory studies in 1822 to become a simple civil engineer. With a fiery imagination and a very liberal spirit, he dreamed of great works and a very active life. He enlisted in the same way as the... (Read more)
General François Perrier, geographer and mathematician, member of the Academy of Sciences from January 5, 1880, replacing M. de Tessan, in the section of geography and navigation, was born on April 18, 1833, in Valleraugue ( Gard), where his compatriots raised a monument to his memory. He died in Montpellier on February 19, 1888. Director of the geographical service at the Ministry of War, he was rightly regarded as the restorer of the French Geodesy and his representative ... (Read more)
Jules-Alexandre Petet, an engineer, was born in Paris on August 5, 1813; he died there at the end of 1885. A little nephew of Claude Petet, a statesman and French administrator (1749-1800), nephew of General Baron Petet (1781-1858), he entered the great industrial movement which began to animate France as early as 1825, having passed through the Central School of Arts and Manufactures, recently founded by Lavallée. In 1829 he graduated with a degree in metallurgical engineering. In 1842, he ful attached by... (Read more)
Louis Poinsot, mathematician, was born in Paris on January 3, 1777. He died in the same city on December 15, 1859. He is one of the famous scholars who were part of the first promotion, called the foundation promotion, of the Ecole polytechnique, and whose principal names we have quoted in the notice on Jousselin. At nineteen he came out with the title of engineer of bridges and roads. But having more taste for teaching and theoretical studies, he left the public services to enter as a teacher at the Lycée ... (Read more)
Siméon-Denis Poisson, mathematician, was born in Pithiviers, today chief town of district of the department of Loiret, on June 4, 1781. He died April 25, 1840, in Paris. Aged seventeen, he was first received at the Ecole Polytechnique at the end of 1798, for which he had prepared himself almost alone, without the help of numerous professors. His father, as district president, regularly received a copy of the periodical of this large nascent school. Amateur passionate about reading... (Read more)
This name represents a dynasty of engineers of the highest merit, which still counts today distinguished members in the administration of our railways and in the body of our civil engineers. Antoine-René Polonceau, the first and the ancestor, was born in Reims, on October 7, 1778, he died in Roche, in the department of Doubs, December 29, 1847. He was part of the third class of the School Polytechnique, in 1797, and two years later he entered the Corps des Ponts et Chaussées. He was commissioned by Bonaparte to open the Simplon road across the Alps, which will remain as ... (Read more)
General Jean-Victor Poncelet, French geometer, was born in Metz on July 1, 1788. He died in Paris on December 22, 1867. He quickly completed his classical studies, making two years of one, to indulge in mathematics, for which he felt an irresistible penchant. Admitted in 1807 to the Ecole polytechnique, in the first ranks, he left among the lower numbers, having too specialized in the branch that was his passion. He passed through the Metz School of Application and took part in the Russian campaign. He was taken prisoner at Saratoff, on the Volga, and searched for... (Read more)
Gaspard de Prony
Gaspard-Clair-François-Marie-Riche, Baron de Prony, engineer, was born in Chamelet (Rhone) July 22, 1755. He died in Paris July 31, 1839. His father was a member of the former Parliament of Dombes. He studied at Toissey, in his native country, and entered the Ecole des Ponts et Chaussées on April 5, 1776. Prony, who worked until the age of eighty-four, had early become, in France, the personification of the art of engineering. The public administration would have thought to incur the blame... (Read more)
Henri-Victor Régnault, a French chemist and physicist, was born on July 21, 1810, in Aachen, which was part of the French Empire. He died in Paris on January 19, 1878. He is one of those scientists who have not had the gift of invention and who have not introduced into science any great discovery, but who knew how to carry the art experiences to an extraordinary degree of perfection, and thereby rendered services signaled to progress... (Read more)
Pierre-Louis-Frédéric Sauvage, mechanic, was born in Boulogne-sur-Mer on September 19, 1785; he died in the Picpus health center, Paris, on January 16, 1857. He is the inventor of the propeller who reigns today as mistress on all vessels of maritime and fluvial navigation. This admirable creation earned him countless persecutions, the ruin, the pain of being imprisoned for debt by idiotic and cruel creditors (as there are too many) and to end insane in a lunatic asylum. His hometown erected him a statue after ... (Read more)
Joseph-Eugène Schneider, industrialist, was born in. Bideshoff (Meuse) March 20, 1805. He died in Paris on November 27, 1875. He can be considered as the true founder of the magnificent establishments of Creuzot, because it is him who gave them the enormous development that they took since 1815, when he received the direction in place of his brother who had just died. In 1800, he completely transformed the tools and ensured their fame, by bidding the supply of locomotives of the railways of London, the most beautiful machines of the whole world. Recall that the metallurgical and mining establishments of Creuzot date... (Read more)
Marc Seguin, engineer and physicist, was born in Annonay on April 20, 1786. He died in the same town on February 25, 1875. He was descended from a family from Egypt, and his father, François Seguin, was married to a Miss Montgolfier. He was the eldest of four sons, and from an early age he showed an already remarkable spirit of observation and invention. In 1799 he was sent to Paris to perfect his education. He worked under the eyes and under the direction of his uncle, Joseph Montgolfier, then a member of the Institute and curator of Arts et Métiers, and was passionate about... (Read more)
Charles Sturm, mathematician, was born in Geneva, then chief town of the department of Léman, September 29, 1803. He died in Paris December 18, 1855. He left the college in 1818 to attend public courses; but in 1819, his father being dead, he remained the only support of his mother, his sister and his brothers, and he had to give lessons. It was then that he entered as a tutor in the illustrious family of Broglie. He found the daily bread for him and his family and all the facilities to devote himself to his taste for science. In 1827, with Mr. Colladon, his friend ... (Read more)
Louis-Jacques Thenard, chemist, was born in the village of La Louptière, near Nogent-sur-Seine, today in the department of Aube, May 4, 1777. He died in Paris on June 21, 1857. Simple son of peasant without any good he came early to the capital for the sole purpose of learning and trying to obtain the title of doctor of medicine. He was accompanied by two of his friends who wanted to become pharmacists. They gathered their modest savings and all three housed in a garret of the Latin Quarter, asking the wife of a water carrier who lived... (Read more)
Henri-Edouard Tresca, engineer and mechanic, was born in Dunkerke (North) on October 12, 1814. He died in Paris on June 21, 1885. Admitted in 1832 to the School of Saint-Cyr, he did not enter, and prepared for the Ecole Polytechnique, where he was received in 1833. He came out of it as a student-engineer of bridges and roads. But he did not stay long in this career. Appointed in 1835, he resigned in 1841 to freely pursue the profession of civil engineer. He began by building two plants for the manufacture of stearic acid and the distillation of mineral oils, finding, on the way, one.... (Read more)
Charles-Jean Triger, engineer, was born in Paris on January 11, 1800; he died there on June 30, 1872. He is the creator of the tubular foundation system by compressed air, first applied in the aquifers of the Loire in 1845. He was then in charge of the direction of the Establishment and exploitation of Chalonnes coalfields (Maine-et-Loire), located in an island of our great central river of France. Triger imagined and used a brand new process to protect himself from flooding of wells. He sent down a cast iron tube made of cylindrical rings, from one to one and a half meters ... (Read more)
Louis-Joseph Vicat was born in Nevers on March 31, 1786. He died in 1861 in Grenoble. He is an engineer of the rarest merit, who has had the pleasure of attaching his name to a practical and fruitful discovery of the highest interest for buildings. The first one has scientifically demonstrated that the properties of natural lime depend on the clay disseminated in their composition; the first he also prepared hydraulic lime of all parts on the sites of the Souillac bridge, in the department and on the Dordogne river, which he was commissioned to build in 1811. Stacks of this magnificent bridge... (Read more)
Adolphe Wurtz, a chemist, was born in Strasbourg in 1818; he died in Paris on May 12, 1884, professor and dean of the Faculty of Medicine, professor at the Sorbonne, member of the Institute and the Academy of Medicine, senator, mayor of the seventh arrondissement of the capital. Early on, he accepted the new chemical doctrines that were beginning to prevail with Dumas, Laurent, Charles Gerhardt, and after being made a doctor of medicine, he turned especially to the study of chemistry and became an associate of the Paris School of Medicine, after a... (Read more)