Person: Parseval, Marc-Antoine
Antoine Parseval was a French mathematician best known for his theorem in Fourier analysis.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- The starting point of the historical events which were to play a major role in Parseval' life was the storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789.
- Parseval, perhaps not surprisingly since he was of noble birth, was a royalist so for him the increasing problems for the monarchy meant that his life was more and more in danger.
- It was a time of great danger for royalist supporters and indeed it proved so for Parseval who was imprisoned in 1792.
- This may have been good news for France in general but royalists like Parseval, despite being freed from prison, remained in fear of their lives.
- Parseval published poetry against Napoleon's regime and, not surprisingly, had to flee from France when Napoleon ordered his arrest.
- Parseval had only five publications, all presented to the Académie des Sciences.
- It was the second of these, dated 5 April 1799, which contains the result known today as Parseval's theorem.
- Today this theorem is seen in the context of Fourier series, and often also in more abstract settings which are quite far removed from Parseval's original ideas.
- Parseval's result was not widely known until his five papers were all published by the Académie des Sciences in 1806.
- Before that it was known by members of the Académie and it appeared in works by Lacroix and Poisson before Parseval's papers were printed.
- Parseval was never honoured with election to the Académie des Sciences.
- It would not be unfair to say that Parseval has fared well in having a well known result, which is quite far removed from his contribution, named after him.
Born 27 April 1755, Rosières-aux-Salines, France. Died 16 August 1836, 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