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Henri Poincare

Henri Poincare was born on April 29, 1854 in Nancy, France and died on July 17, 1912. He remained in the history as a great mathematician, theoretical physicist and a philosopher of science.


Biography and Career :


Leon Poincare was his father, a professor of medicine at the University of Nancy and his mother was Eugenie Launois. One of his cousins, Raymond, became President of France. His childhood was marked by an illness, diphtheria.


He attended the Lycee in Nancy and his favorite homework was the compositions. At the end he got a Bachelor's degree in letters and sciences.


He continued his studies with the Ecole Polytechnique and since 1873 he had Charles Hermite as teacher of mathematics. Afterwards, he went to the Ecole des Mines and in March 1879 he received a degree of ordinary engineer.


Soon after he became an inspector in the Corps des Mines for the Vesoul region in the north-east of France.


His theme for the doctorate in sciences in mathematics was differential equations.
1879 was the year when he finished his studies at the University of Paris.
He received a job at Caen University as junior lecturer in mathematics and he had also worked at the Ministry of Public Services as an engineer in charge of northern railway development between 1881 and 1885.


In 1893 he was named chief engineer of the Corps de Mines and 17 years later inspector general.
He was Professor at the Sorbonne since 1881. At first he was associate professor of analysis and then he held the chairs of Physical and Experimental Mechanics, Mathematical Physics and Theory of Probability and Celestial Mechanics and Astronomy.


The woman he chose to marry was Miss Poulain d'Andecy and the couple had four children: Jeanne, Yvonne, Henriette and Leon.


He was member of the French Academy of Sciences and in 1906 became its president. He was also member of the Academie Francaise.


Oscar II, King of Sweden's mathematical competition for a resolution of the three-body problem concerning the free motion of multiple orbiting bodies is the award won by him in 1887.


After six years he was member of the French Bureau des Longitudes and six years later he intervened in the trials of Alfred Dreyfus. He discovered a chaotic deterministic system which laid the foundations of modern chaos theory. In 1912 he died of embolism after surgery for a prostate problem.