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Poisson, Siméon‐Denis

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BornPithiviers, (Loiret), France, 21 June 1781

DiedParis, France, 25 April 1840

Siméon‐Denis Poisson's greatest contribution to astronomical and physical theory, the Poisson bracket, was generated by the mathematical development of perturbation calculation for the Solar System. He is also remembered for poisson statistics, appropriate for samples with small numbers of members, as often happens in astronomy.

Poisson came from a modest family background. His father, a former soldier, had purchased a low‐ranking administrative post in Pithiviers. In 1817, he married Nancy de Bardi, an orphan born in England to émigré parents.

The French Revolution, which Poisson supported enthusiastically, made it possible for him to advance to the presidency of the district. Poisson was guided by his father toward those professions to which access had been made easier by First Republican social legislation. Thus, enrolled in the École Centrale of Fontainebleau, he took advantage of his instruction to...

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Selected References

  • Costable, Pierre (1978). “Poisson, Siméon‐Denis. ” In Dictionary of Scientific Biography, edited by Charles Coulston Gillispie. Vol. 15 (Suppl. 1), p. 480–490. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.

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  • Grattan‐Guinness, Ivor (1970). The Development of Mathematical Analysis from Euler to Riemann. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.

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  • Heilbron, J. L. (1993). Weighing Imponderables and Other Quantitative Science around 1800. Berkeley: University of California Press.

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Meo, M. (2007). Poisson, Siméon‐Denis. In: , et al. The Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers. Springer, New York, NY.

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