Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

Roche, Édouard Albert

  • Martin SolcEmail author
Reference work entry

BornMontpellier, Hérault, France, 17 October 1820

DiedMontpellier, Hérault, France, 18 April 1883

Édouard Roche is remembered for the study of equipotential surfaces, called Roche lobes, and calculation of the distance from a planet at which satellites will be torn into rings, called the Roche limit.

Roche continued a tradition in his family, whereupon several members became professors at the University of Montpellier. There, he earned his docteur èn sciences degree in 1844 but spent the next 3 years at the Observatoire de Paris, working under  Dominique Arago. While at Paris, Roche was introduced to  Urbain Le Verrier and  Augustin Cauchy.

In 1849, Roche accepted the position of chargé de coursat Montpellier and in 1852 was appointed professor of pure mathematics. The relative isolation of Montpellier likely helped foster the emergence of Roche’s original ideas. He was elected a corresponding member of the Académie des sciences in 1873, but was later denied full membership in the...

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Selected References

  1. Kopal, Zdeněk (1989). The Roche Problem and Its Significance for Double-Star Astronomy. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. esp. “Introduction,” pp. 1–5.Google Scholar
  2. Lévy, Jacques R. (1975). “Roche, Édouard Albert.” In Dictionary of Scientific Biography, edited by Charles Coulston Gillispie. Vol. 11, p. 498. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.Google Scholar
  3. Roche, E. (1850). “Mémoires divers sur l’equilibre d’une mass fluide.” Mémoires de l'Académie des sciences et lettres de Montpellier 2: 21–32.Google Scholar
  4. —(1873). “Essai sur la constitution et l’origine du systeme solaire.” Mémoires de lAcadémie des sciences et lettres de Montpellier 8: 235–327.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Charles University of Prague Astronomical InstitutePragueCzech Republic