Laplace, Pierre-Simon

caption Pierre-Simon Laplace. (Source: Laplace)

Pierre-Simon Laplace (1749-1827), a French physicist and mathematician who placed the capstone on mathematical astronomy by summarizing and extending the work of his predecessors in his five volume Mécanique Céleste (Celestial Mechanics) (1799-1825). This work translated the geometrical study of mechanics used by Newton to one based on calculus, known as physical mechanics. Laplace proved the dynamical stability of the solar system (with tidal friction ignored) on short time scales. On long time scales, however, this assertion was proven false in the early 1990s. Laplace contributed the Laplace transform and Laplace's equation to the field of mathematics. He also made seminal contributions to our understanding of the energetics of the oceans with his tidal equations. He used the principles of momentum and conservation of energy to describe the energy associated with the motion and dissipation of tides.


Further Reading




Cleveland, C. (2008). Laplace, Pierre-Simon. Retrieved from


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