Person: Mouton, Gabriel
Gabriel Mouton was a French clergyman who worked on interpolation and on astronomy.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Jean Picard, who also was an abbé, held Mouton in high esteem and always visited him when in Lyon to work on the determination of the city's geographic position.
- In this work Mouton became the first to propose the decimal system of measurement based on the size of the earth.
- Mouton wanted a practical means to determine the length of a virgula.
- Mouton stated that there was a marvellous regularity in nature which made a metric system of measurement based on nature fit in with human activity.
- Mouton's proposed standard of measurement was taken seriously, at least at the theoretical level, and Jean Picard strongly supported him, as did Huygens in 1673.
- It would be over 100 years, however, before the French returned to Mouton's proposal and the definition of the metre was made in a different way to Mouton's suggestion.
- Leibniz made discoveries similar to Mouton.
- He summarised its contents to John Pell and in particular, explained what he called "différences génératrices." Ⓣ(Generating differences.) Pell remarked that he had read something very similar in Mouton's book, which had appeared three years earlier.
- While visiting Oldenburg, Leibniz found Mouton's book and observed that Pell had been right; but he was able to prove that his own, more theoretical and general ideas and results had been reached independently of Mouton's.
- Mouton also produced 10 place tables of logarithmic sines and cosines and an astronomical pendulum of remarkable precision.
Born 1618, Lyon, France. Died 28 September 1694, Lyon, France.
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Tags relevant for this person:
Astronomy, Geography, Physics
Thank you to the contributors under CC BY-SA 4.0!
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive