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JEAN VICTOR PONCELET (1788-1867)

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Originally appearing in Volume V22, Page 59 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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JEAN VICTOR PONCELET (1788-1867)  , French mathematician and engineer, was born at
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Metz on the 1st of
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July 1788 . From 1808 to 18ro he attended the Ecole polytechnique, and afterwards, till 1812, the Ecole d'application at Metz . He then became
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lieutenant of engineers, and took
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part in the
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Russian
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campaign, during which he was taken prisoner and was confined at
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Saratov on the Volga . It was during his imprisonment here that, " prive de toute espece de livres et de secours, surtout distrait par
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les malheurs de ma patrie et les miens propres," as he himself puts it, he began his researches on projective
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geometry which led to his
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great
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treatise on that subject . This
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work, the Traite
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des propeittes projectives des figures, which was published in 1822 (2d ed., 2 vols . 1865-1866), is occupied with the investigation of the projective properties of figures (see GEOMETRY) . This work entitles Poncelet to rank as one of the greatest of those who took part in the development of the
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modern geometry of which G . Monge was the founder . From 1815 to 1825 he was occupied with military
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engineering at Metz; and from 1825 to 1835 he was professor of
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mechanics at the Ecole d'application there . In 1826, in his Memoire sur les roues hydrauliques d aubes courbes, he brought forward improvements in the construction of
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water-wheels, which more than doubled their efficiency . In 1834 he became a member of the Academie; from 1838 to 1848 he was professor to the faculty of sciences at Paris,. and from 1848 to 185o commandant of the Ecole polytechnique . At the
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London International
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Exhibition of 1851 he had charge of the department of machinery, and wrote a report on the machinery and tools on view at that exhibition .

He died at Paris on the 23rd of

December 1867 . See J . Bertrand, Eloge historique de Poncelet (Paris, 1875) .

End of Article: JEAN VICTOR PONCELET (1788-1867)
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