**Gabriel Lamé** worked on a wide variety of different topics. His work on differential geometry and contributions to Fermat's Last Theorem are important. He proved the theorem for *n* = 7.

- Already during these undergraduate years Lamé was writing research papers, and he published his first paper "Mémoire sur les intersections des lignes et des surfaces" Ⓣ(Memoir on the intersections of lines and surfaces) in Gergonne's Journal in 1816-17.
- After graduating from the École Polytechnique, Lamé studied engineering at the École des Mines in Paris, graduating from there in 1820.
- While at the École des Mines Lamé published his second work, this time on a method he had invented to calculate the angles between faces of crystals.
- In 1820 Lamé, together with his colleague Émile Clapeyron, went to Russia.
- In line with this policy, the Russian government made a request to France who responded by sending Lamé and Clapeyron to St Petersburg.
- Lamé was appointed professor and engineer at the Institut et Corps du Genie des Voies de Communication in St Petersburg.
- At first things were rather difficult for Lamé but later his visit proved highly productive.
- It concerns Lamé's attempt to spread Cauchy's new ideas of rigorous analysis.
- A professor at the Institute where Lamé taught had written a book which contained a proof of Taylor's theorem.
- Lamé produced a manuscript criticising the proof using Cauchy's arguments.
- Another side to Lamé's work in St Petersburg was his involvement in helping with plans that were being drawn up for building bridges and roads around the city.
- In 1832 Lamé returned to Paris and at first he formed part of an engineering firm set up jointly with Clapeyron and two others.
- After only a few months, and still in 1832, Lamé accepted the chair of physics at the École Polytechnique.
- Lamé was elected to the Académie des Sciences in 1843 when Louis Puissant died leaving a vacancy in the geometry section.
- This was not a passing interest, for Lamé made substantial contributions to this topic.
- Curvilinear coordinates proved a very powerful tool in Lamé's hands.
- The trademark of Lamé's career was moving from one topic to another in a quite logical way but he often ended up studying problems very far removed from the original.
- Lamé was considered the leading French mathematician of his time by many, in particular Gauss who was never one to give praise easily held this opinion.
- His own opinion was that curvilinear coordinates were his most important contribution, but there are strange twists and turns in the history of mathematics and very soon after Lamé introduced them curvilinear coordinates became obsolete through the generalisations introduced by Hermite, Klein, and Bôcher.

Born 22 July 1795, Tours, France. Died 1 May 1870, Paris, France.

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Algebra, Number Theory

**O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F**: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive