Other Free Encyclopedias » Online Encyclopedia » Encyclopedia - Featured Articles » Contributed Topics from F-J

Hermite, Charles

functions equation theory École

[airmeet] (1822–1901) French mathematician: developed theory of hyperelliptic functions and solved the general quintic equation.

Hermite had an inability to pass examinations, and congenital lameness, but he greatly influenced his generation of mathematicians. Having entered and then been dismissed from the École Polytechnique, Hermite finally, but only just, graduated at 25; by then he was clearly an innovative mathematician. He gained a teaching post at the Collège de France, was elected to the Paris Académie des Sciences (1856) and immediately caught smallpox. Recovering, he eventually received a professorship at the École Normale (1869) and the Sorbonne (1870).

Hermite’s creative work included extending theorem on elliptic functions to hyperelliptic functions and using elliptic functions to give a solution of the general equation of the fifth degree, the quintic (1878). He proved that the number e is transcendental (that is, not a solution of any algebraic equation with rational coefficients) and used the techniques of analysis in number theory. He set out the theory of Hermite polynomials (1873), which are polynomial functions now much used in quantum mechanics, and of Hermitian forms, which are a complex generalization of quadratic forms.

Hernandez, Juano (1901–1970) [next] [back] Hermès

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or