Poisson, Siméon-Denis


Poisson, Siméon-Denis

▪ French mathematician
born June 21, 1781, Pithiviers, France
died April 25, 1840, Sceaux
 French mathematician known for his work on definite integrals, electromagnetic theory, and probability (probability theory).

      Poisson's family had intended him for a medical career, but he showed little interest or aptitude and in 1798 began studying mathematics at the École Polytechnique in Paris under the mathematicians Pierre-Simon Laplace (Laplace, Pierre-Simon, marquis de) and Joseph-Louis Lagrange (Lagrange, Joseph-Louis, comte de l'Empire), who became his lifelong friends. He became a professor at the École Polytechnique in 1802. In 1808 he was made an astronomer at the Bureau of Longitudes, and, when the Faculty of Sciences was instituted in 1809, he was appointed a professor of pure mathematics.

      Poisson's most important work concerned the application of mathematics to electricity and magnetism, mechanics, and other areas of physics. His Traité de mécanique (1811 and 1833; “Treatise on Mechanics”) was the standard work in mechanics for many years. In 1812 he provided an extensive treatment of electrostatics (electrostatic induction), based on Laplace's methods from planetary theory, by postulating that electricity is made up of two fluids in which like particles are repelled and unlike particles are attracted with a force that is inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.

      Poisson contributed to celestial mechanics by extending the work of Lagrange and Laplace on the stability of planetary orbits and by calculating the gravitational attraction exerted by spheroidal and ellipsoidal bodies. His expression for the force of gravity in terms of the distribution of mass within a planet was used in the late 20th century for deducing details of the shape of the Earth from accurate measurements of the paths of orbiting satellites.

      Poisson's other publications include Théorie nouvelle de l'action capillaire (1831; “A New Theory of Capillary Action”) and Théorie mathématique de la chaleur (1835; “Mathematical Theory of Heat”). In Recherches sur la probabilité des jugements en matière criminelle et en matière civile (1837; “Research on the Probability of Criminal and Civil Verdicts”), an important investigation of probability, the Poisson distribution appears for the first and only time in his work. Poisson's contributions to the law of large numbers (probability theory) (for independent random variables with a common distribution, the average value for a sample tends to the mean as sample size increases) also appeared therein. Although originally derived as merely an approximation to the binomial distribution (obtained by repeated, independent trials that have only one of two possible outcomes), the Poisson distribution is now fundamental in the analysis of problems concerning radioactivity, traffic, and the random occurrence of events in time or space. See statistics: Special probability distributions (statistics).

      In pure mathematics his most important works were a series of papers on definite integrals and his advances in Fourier analysis (analysis), which paved the way for the research of the German mathematicians Peter Dirichlet (Dirichlet, Peter Gustav Lejeune) and Bernhard Riemann (Riemann, Bernhard).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Poisson , Siméon-Denis — (1781–1840) French mathematician and mathematical physicist Poisson, born the son of a local government administrator at Pithiviers in France, studied at the Ecole Polytechnique, where his teachers included Pierre Simon Laplace and Joseph… …   Scientists

  • Poisson, Simeon Denis — ► (1781 1840) Físico y matemático francés. Fue el creador de la física matemática. Desarrolló la teoría del potencial gravitatorio, aplicable también al electrostático …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • POISSON, SIMEON-DENIS —    a celebrated French mathematician, born at Pithiviers; was for his eminence in mathematical ability and physical research raised to the peerage; wrote no fewer than 300 memoirs (1781 1840) …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Simeon Denis Poisson — Siméon Denis Poisson Pour les articles homonymes, voir Poisson (homonymie). Siméon Denis Poisson …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Siméon-Denis Poisson — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Poisson (homonymie). Siméon Denis Poisson …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Siméon Denis Poisson — Siméon Poisson Siméon Denis Poisson (1781 1840) Nacimiento 21 de junio de 1781 Pithiviers, Loiret …   Wikipedia Español

  • Simeon Denis Poisson — Siméon Denis Poisson Siméon Denis Poisson (* 21. Juni 1781 in Pithiviers (Département Loiret); † 25. April 1840 in Paris) war ein französischer Physiker und Mathematiker. Poisson begann 1798 Mathematik an der École polytechnique zu studieren, wo… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Siméon Denis Poisson — (* 21. Juni 1781 in Pithiviers (Département Loiret); † 25. April 1840 in Paris) war ein französischer Physiker und Mathematiker. Leben und Werk …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Siméon Denis Poisson — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Poisson (homonymie). Siméon Denis Poisson Siméon Denis Poisson Naissance …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Siméon Denis Poisson — Infobox Scientist box width = 300px name = Siméon Poisson image size = 200px caption = Siméon Denis Poisson (1781 1840) birth date = 21 June 1781 birth place = Pithiviers, France death date = 25 April 1840 death place = Sceaux, France residence …   Wikipedia


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