Person: Boulliau, Ismael
Ismael Boulliau was a French clergyman and amateur mathematician who proposed an inverse square law for gravitation before Newton.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- He is the Ismael Boulliau of this biography.
- There was in Loudun an important circle of intellectuals of which Ismael Boulliau Senior was part.
- It was important for the young Ismael who attended these meetings and became acquainted with many leading men of the day.
- Boulliau was brought up a Calvanist by two Calvanist parents.
- It had been catalogued in 1622, ten years before Boulliau arrived in Paris, and Pierre and Jacques Dupuy travelled throughout France amassing books and manusctripts for the library.
- In his capacity as librarian Boulliau travelled widely in Italy, Holland and Germany buying books.
- Boulliau was a friend of Pascal, Mersenne and Gassendi and supported Galileo and Copernicus.
- In 1645 Boulliau published Astronomia philolaica Ⓣ(The astronomy of Philolaus) which accepts elliptical orbits for planets.
- There is one aspect of Boulliau's philosophy which is well worth commenting on - namely the fact that he believed in simple explanations and moreover he wanted many different observed properties to result from a single cause.
- Boulliau was a close associate of Huygens who turned to him first with his discovery of the rings of Saturn and sent him pendulum clocks.
- One of the most interesting aspects for modern research into Boulliau, however, is that he was a prolific correspondent.
Born 28 September 1605, Loudun, France. Died 25 November 1694, Paris, France.
View full biography at MacTutor
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Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive