Person: Francoeur, Louis Benjamin
Louis Benjamin Francoeur was a French mathematician and astronomer who published some important textbooks.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Louis-Joseph, Louis and François all also played in the Opéra orchestra.
- Louis Benjamin was brought up in Saint Cloud, a wealthy commune to the west of Paris, and educated at the College d'Harcourt.
- This ancient educational establishment was founded in 1280 but was renamed the Lycée Saint-Louis in 1820; it is today known for its exceptional teaching.
- Louis Francoeur resigned as director of the Opera and tried to set up a new company with the King's support.
- Now, as well as internal strife, France was faced with attacks from the Austrians and Prussians and, from 1793, Louis Benjamin was required to serve in the French Revolutionary army.
- Francoeur, however, became involved in a musical role at Maubeuge.
- He also studied botany under the direction of René Louiche Desfontaines and Jean-Louis Thuillier while he waited to continue an army career as a geographer.
- However, Gaspard de Prony had realised that Francoeur was a talented mathematician and lecturer so, in 1798, he appointed him as répétiteur d'analyse to teach an analysis course for Sylvestre Lacroix.
- De Prony was the first teacher of mechanics at the École Polytechnique and Francoeur, as his teaching assistant, quickly produced the substantial Traité de méchanique élémentaire Ⓣ(Treatise on elementary mechanics) (1801) to serve as an introduction to the subject for students at the École.
- His academic position saved Francoeur from the dangers and discomforts of army life but he carried on with both a military and an academic career.
- Francoeur had many duties in his capacity as an examiner for the École Polytechnique and he often travelled in France and Italy carrying out these duties.
- Francoeur was sent on this Peninsular Campaign but he broke a leg in an accident with a carriage.
- Francoeur became interested in astronomy as a result of this comet and was appointed professor of astronomy at the Athénée in Paris.
- Francoeur lost his chair at the Lycée Charlemagne and also his position at the École Polytechnique.
- Francoeur encouraged learning in schools and he did his part writing books, particularly Le dessin linéaire d'après la méthode de l'enseignement mutuel (1819) which popularised line drawing in French schools.
- Francoeur is famed as a writer of excellent texts mostly based on lecture courses he gave.
- It was for his work in line drawing that Francoeur became most famous, the method he proposed being known as "Francoeur's method".
- His method was published in 1819 in Le dessin linéaire d'après la méthode de l'enseignement mutuel but, before publication of this book, Francoeur had submitted a report on his method to the Société pour l'enseignement élémentaire on 22 July 1818.
- Francoeur's method was used in countries other than France.
- For example William B Fowle translated Francoeur's book into English and published it as An Introduction to Linear Drawing: Translated from the French of M.
- Among the honours Francoeur received was election to the Académie des Sciences in 1842.
- Isidore Francoeur's widow made a gift to set up the mathematics prize the Prix Francoeur.
Born 16 August 1773, Paris, France. Died 15 December 1849, Fontainbleau, Paris, France.
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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