Pierre Simon Laplace Biography – The Newton of France

The Pierre Simon Laplace Biography calls him one of the greatest scientists of all time. He was compared to Sir Isaac Newton which earned him the title of the French Newton.

Life and Times

Pierre Simon, marquis de Laplace was born March 23, 1749 in Beaumont-en-Auge, Normandy, France. His parents, Pierre Laplace a cider merchant and Marie-Anne Sochon, were from upper class families. Pierre Simon’s father wanted him to be ordained as a Roman Catholic priest. He went to school run by Benedictine monks and at the age of sixteen was sent to the University of Caen to study theology.It was here that Pierre Simon developed his interest in mathematics due to the mentoring of two teachers. He never graduated with a degree in theology, but went to Paris. The Pierre Simon Laplace Biography tells of the story that Laplace, at the age of nineteen, was given two different difficult problems which he would solve in one night each. This so impressed Jean le Rond d’Alembert, he recommended Laplace for a teaching position in the Ecole Militaire.On May 15, 1788, Laplace married Marie-Charlotte de Courty de Romanges, who was 20 years younger than Laplace. They would have two children. His daughter, Sophie-Suzanne, died in childbirth in 1813. His son, Charles-Emile, lived to be 85 but never had any children.Simon Pierre Laplace died on March 6, 1827 in Paris, France. In an unprecedented move, the French Academy of Science closed on the day of his death to show respect. It took them another year before a replacement was named.

Contributions to Astronomy

During the seventeen years following his teaching appointment, according to the Pierre Simon Laplace Biography, Laplace threw himself into original research and produced much of his work in astronomy.

Discoveries and Achievements

  • Laplace’s Equation
  • Laplace Transform – used in many branches of mathematical physics
  • Laplacian Differential Operator – widely used in applied mathematics
  • Laplace’s Coefficients
  • Asteroid 4628 Laplace
  • Rue Laplace – street in Paris
  • Promontorium Laplace – mountain range on the Moon
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of London – 1789
  • Legion of Honour – awarded by Napoleon in 1803
  • Count of the Empire in 1806
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburg – 1813
  • Named a marquis in 1817 after the restoration of the Bourbons
  • Commemorated on the Eiffel Tower

Return to Astronomy For Kids Online Home Page from this Pierre Simon Laplace Biography page