Home > Mathematician of the Week Archive Detail

<< Prev 10/12/2008 Next >>

I began my career as a lawyer, but gave that up to teach mathematics...and gave that up to accept a commission in the French cavalry.

During the American Revolution, I commanded a frigate that was captured by the British.

After the war, I led France (and eventually the world) in establishing a weights and measure system based on decimal units.

I coined the term "metre" and helped determine its standard length relative to an arc of the meridian.

My other claim to fame is as a nautical astronomer, making improvements in instruments such as the quadrant and reflecting/repeating circles.

In hydraulics, I perpetuated the fallacy that a sphere and a hemisphere (with convex side upstream) will create the same resistent drag in a fluid.

Answer: Jean Charles de Borda (1733 - 1799)