François Arago. (French) Zbl 0681.01018

Bull. Soc. Amis Bibl. Éc. Polytech. 4, 82 p. (1989).
The Society of Friends of the École polytechnique remember here the activities at the school of one of its most charismatic members, D. F. J. Arago (1786-1853). E. Grison describes his work there, from his time as a student receiving the school flag from the newly self-appointed Emperor Napoléon in 1804 to his time as a Minister after the 1848 Revolution. In between he taught various courses for twenty years, served briefly as the Commandant after the 1839 Revolution, and participated in school policy. This is well described, with effective use made of texts published during the 1830s in the official newspaper the Moniteur universel. One of Arago’s courses dealt with probability theory, an innovation following changes made in 1816 after the fall of the Emperor. P. Crépel not only describes the content and context of Arago’s teaching, but also surveys other activity of the time in Paris concerning the teaching of this subject. He records both the well-known work of Laplace and the little-known interests of Fourier. His discussion is enriched by a substantial bibliography of primary and secondary literature. He puts us further in his debt by transcribing the notes of Arago’s course of 1825 taken by the student H. Renaud a substantial set of this student’s notes of courses is held in the school archives.
Reviewer: I.Grattan-Guinness


01A74 History of mathematics at institutions and academies (non-university)

Biographic References:

Arago, D. F. J.