Chasles, Michel

▪ French mathematician
born November 15, 1793, Épernon, France
died December 18, 1880, Paris

      French mathematician who, independently of the Swiss German mathematician Jakob Steiner (Steiner, Jakob), elaborated on the theory of modern projective geometry, the study of the properties of a geometric line or other plane figure that remain unchanged when the figure is projected onto a plane from a point not on either the plane or the figure.

      Chasles was born near Chartres and entered the École Polytechnique in 1812. He was eventually made professor of geodesy and mechanics there in 1841. His Aperçu historique sur l'origine et le développement des méthodes en géométrie (1837; “Historical Survey of the Origin and Development of Geometric Methods”) is still a standard historical reference. Its account of projective geometry, including the new theory of duality, which allows geometers to produce new figures from old ones, won the prize of the Academy of Sciences in Brussels in 1829. For its eventual publication Chasles added many valuable historical appendices on Greek and modern geometry.

      In 1846 he became professor of higher geometry at the Sorbonne (now one of the Universities of Paris (Paris I–XIII, Universities of)). In that year he solved the problem of determining the gravitational attraction of an ellipsoidal mass to an external point. In 1864 he began publishing in Comptes rendus, the journal of the French Academy of Sciences (Sciences, Academy of), the solutions to an enormous number of problems based on his “method of characteristics” and his “principle of correspondence.” The basis of enumerative geometry is contained in the method of characteristics.

      Chasles was a prolific writer and published many of his original memoirs in the Journal de l'École Polytechnique. He wrote two textbooks, Traité de géométrie supérieure (1852; “Treatise on Higher Geometry”) and Traité des sections coniques (1865; “Treatise on Conic Sections”). His Rapport sur le progrès de la géométrie (1870; “Report on the Progress of Geometry”) continues the study in his Aperçu historique.

      Chasles is also remembered as the victim of a celebrated fraud perpetrated by Denis Vrain-Lucas. He is known to have paid nearly 200,000 francs (approximately $36,000) between 1861 and 1869 for more than 27,000 forged documents—many purported to be from famous men of science, one allegedly a letter from Mary Magdalene to Lazarus, and another a letter from Cleopatra to Julius Caesar—all written in French.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • CHASLES, MICHEL —    an eminent French mathematician, and held one of the first in the century; on the faith of certain autographs, which were afterwards proved to be forgeries, he in 1867 astonished the world by ascribing to Pascal the great discoveries of Newton …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Michel chasles — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Chasles. Michel Chasles Michel Chasles (1793 1880) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Michel Chasles — Born 15 November 1793 Épernon …   Wikipedia

  • CHASLES (M.) — CHASLES MICHEL (1793 1880) Mathématicien français qui a développé la géométrie projective. Né à Épernon, Chasles fut nommé professeur de géodésie et de mécanique à l’École polytechnique en 1841. En 1846, il devint professeur de géométrie… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Chasles — (Michel) (1793 1880) mathématicien français: travaux sur les espaces vectoriels …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Michel Chasles — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Chasles. Michel Chasles Michel Chasles (1793 1880) Naissance 15  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Michel Chasles — Michel Floréal Chasles (Épernon, 15 de noviembre de 1793 París, 18 de diciembre de 1880) fue un matemático francés. Estudió en la École Polytechnique de París con Siméon Denis Poisson. En la Guerra de la Sexta Coalición, Chasles luchó en la… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Michel Chasles — Chasles Namenszug auf dem Eiffelturm (Mitte) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Chasles — may mean: Michel Chasles (1793–1880), mathematician Philarète Chasles (1798–1873), writer and critic Pierre Jacques Michel Chasles (1754–1826), revolutionist, father of Philarète Emile Chasles (1827–?), philologist, son of Philarète This… …   Wikipedia

  • Chasles — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Michel Chasles (1793–1880), französischer Mathematiker Philarète Chasles (1798–1873), französischer Journalist und Literaturkritiker Pierre Jacques Michel Chasles (1753–1826), französischer Politiker D …   Deutsch Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.