The son of a mathematics teacher in Paris, I was considered a prodigy — by age 12 I had written a memoir on four geometrical curves and read it before the Académie.
At age 16, I published a treatise on tortuous curves, which led to my admission into the French Academy of Sciences at age 18.
As part of an expedition to Lapland to estimate a degree of the meridian arc, I proved a theorem that calculated the Earth's ellipticity from its surface measurements of gravity.
In my astronomical investigations, I cleverly created an approximate solution of the problem of the three bodies, won a prize for my essay "Théorie de la lune" and correctly calculated the perihelion of Halley's comet.
Gradually, my social life dominated my scientific work....or as the mathematician Bossut wrote about me: "He was focused with dining and with evenings, coupled with a lively taste for women, and seeking to make his pleasures into his day to day work, he lost rest, health, and finally life at the age of fifty-two."
Alexis Claude de Clairaut (1713 - 1765)