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Monge, Gaspard

equations becoming geometry napoleon

[mõzh] (1746–1818) French mathematician: founder of descriptive geometry.

Monge was educated the Collège de la Trinité in Lyon, and later at the military academy at Mézières, subsequently becoming professor of mathematics there. He was an active supporter of Napoleon, becoming minister of the navy in 1792, official recorder of Louis XVI’s trial and execution in 1792–3 and accompanying Napoleon to Egypt in 1798. An inspired teacher, he helped found the École Polytechnique in 1795, becoming its director.

Monge is remembered as the founder of descriptive geometry, the basis of modern engineering drawing, and for his work on the curvature of surfaces. The theory of the class of Monge equations (equations of the type A r + B s + C t + D = 0), was developed by him. He was wide-ranging in his interests, tackling problems as diverse as partial differential equations, the composition of nitrous acid and capillary phenomena. His interest in chemistry led him to synthesize water from hydrogen and oxygen in 1783 independently of , although the two later collaborated on the same problem.

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