Old Age (1862–1882)
With the death of Dirichlet, Liouville lost his main correspondent, inspiration audience, and judge of his number-theoretical works. He tried to compensate for this loss by discussing his results with Hermite, whose great mathematical talents he still admired despite their different political and religious views. Thus, in 1856, he wrote to Dirichlet how glad he was that Hermite had been elected to the Académie [Neuenschwander 1984a, II, 10] and as late as 1874, he declared to Mittag-Leffler [letter to Hj. Holmgren April 25, J. E. Roos, private communication] that he considered Hermite to be “the only [French mathematician] who can with real success compete with the Germans.”
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