Joseph Fourier facts
Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier
|Born||21 March 1768
Auxerre, Yonne, France
|Died||16 May 1830, aged 62
|Fields||Mathematician, physicist, and historian|
|Alma mater||École Normale|
|Known for||Fourier transform
Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier (21 March 1768 – 30 May 1830) was a French mathematician and physicist. He is best known for starting the investigation of Fourier series. He used them for work on problems of heat flow. Fourier also helped the discovery of the greenhouse effect, by suggesting the atmosphere might act as an insulator.
He joined the military academy in Auxerre. Aged sixteen, he became a teacher. At age 26, he entered the École normale supérieure in Paris. People like Joseph-Louis Lagrange, Gaspard Monge, and Pierre-Simon de Laplace were among his teachers.
He took part in the French Revolution of 1789. During the Reign of Terror he was almost executed at the guillotine, but the death of Robespierre saved him this fate. He later took part in the French campaign in Egypt and Syria.
In 1810, Fourier created the university in Grenoble, and becomes its first head. In 1817, Fourier became a Member of the Académie des Sciences. On the death of Jean-Baptiste Joseph Delambre in 1822 he became head of the mathematics section. In 1826, Fourier was elected to the Académie française.
1820 watercolor caricatures of French mathematicians Adrien-Marie Legendre (left) and Joseph Fourier
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