Pierre Simon de Laplace was a French astronomer and mathematician who, amongst many other things, discovered the existence of black holes. Born in Normandy on March 23rd, 1749, he was educated at the École Militaire before studying physics and mathematics at the École du Génie (the School of Engineering).

Pierre Simon Laplace

He initially worked as an engineer but then went on to become part of Napoleon’s first Observatory. It was during his time with this first Observatory that he first presented his ideas about black holes. His father was a lawyer and wanted him to study humanities at the Collège du Cardinal Lemoine. Still, he showed interest in mathematics brought upon by the local tutor Jacques-Francois Le Franc.

Where was pierre simon laplace born?

Pierre Simon de Laplace was born at Beaumont-en-Auge, a village near Lisieux in Normandy in northwestern France. He was the son of a small landowner, and his earliest years were spent there.

How to pronounce the name pierre-simon de Laplace?

The ‘de’ is silent, so his name should be pronounced ‘pie-er see-mon la-play.’ However, it has to be said that natives of France tend not to pronounce the ‘de’ either.

What is Laplace known for?

He was famously a mathematician and astronomer who first proposed the idea of a black hole, which he said could be found at the center of our Solar System. In addition to mathematics and astronomy, Laplace was also interested in statistics and wrote several books on probability. His contributions were significant enough that he became one of only two people ever to be awarded astronomy. Furthermore, Napoleon Bonaparte made a marquis after being appointed to this role as one of his prefects.

What book did Pierre Simon Laplace write?

The five-volume book Mécanique Céleste ( Celestial Mechanics ), published in his lifetime, is perhaps Laplace’s most well-known work. In this text, he discussed the three-body problem, perturbation theory, and mathematical analysis. It also contained a general review of classical mechanics and developments made in astronomy at the time.

What awards did Pierre Simon Laplace receive?

Laplace won many awards during his lifetime, including:

  • The Grand Prize from the Paris Academy in 1783 for his five-volume book Celestial Mechanics
  • Membership within the French Academy of Sciences in 1795
  • A seat as an Associate of the Bureau des Longitudes in 1814
  • Honorary degrees from Oxford University and Cambridge University in 1819
  • A post as Peer Reviewer to France’s Conseil d’État or Council of State between 1816 and 1826

Awarded several medals also recognized him for his contributions to the fields of mathematics and sciences, including:

  • The Royal Society’s Copley Medal (1827)
  • Gold Medals from both the Institut de France (1816) and Royal Society of London (1825)

Where did Pierre Simon Laplace study?

Pierre was admitted to the École Militaire in Paris at age 16 as a military student. In 1768, he transferred to studying mathematics and physics at the École du Génie, where he first learned about astronomy. He graduated from this school as a second lieutenant of the artillery in 1773. Pierre Simon Laplace began his scientific career when studying physics and mathematics at the École du Génie (the School of Engineering) in Paris. Later, he moved to the University of Caen, where he initially worked as an engineer but then became part of Napoleon’s first Observatory.

Was Pierre Simon Laplace married?

Laplace was married to Marie-Charlotte de Courty de Romances. He and his wife had two daughters, Sophie and Emma. He first met his wife, Marie-Charlotte de Courty de Romances, when she was just 12 years old. He married her when she was 16, and he was 27, in 1771.

Where is Laplace buried?

Grave Number 3333 (Section 99) belongs to Pierre Simon Laplace. After he died in 1827, Laplace was buried in Arcueil, a small town north of Paris. His memorial is very plain, only saying “Pierre Simon Laplace né le 23 mars 1749 âgé de 80 ans décédé le 5 mars 1827” (“Pierre Simon Laplace born March 23rd, 1749 aged 80 years died March 5th, 1827”).

After this short bio about Pierre Simon de Laplace, let’s start with his famous transformation (Laplace transform)