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Person: Quetelet, Lambert Adolphe Jacques
Adolphe Quetelet was a Flemish scientist who was influenced by Pierre Laplace and Joseph Fourier. He was the first to use the normal curve other than as an error law.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
 Germinal Dandelin was two years older than Quetelet but the two became friends while they studied at the Lyceum.
 He then renewed his friendship with Quetelet who was teaching at the College of Ghent.
 Quetelet's time at the College of Ghent was not all spent on literary pursuits, however, for he came under the influence of Garnier, the professor of astronomy and higher mathematics.
 It was Garnier who halted Quetelet's growing involvement in the arts, and made him become enthusiastic to undertake deeper studies in mathematics.
 Quetelet received his first doctorate in 1819 from Ghent for a dissertation on the theory of conic sections.
 Quetelet had been sent to Paris at the expense of the state in order that he could gain experience in practical astronomy.
 In 1827, on the direction of the King, Quetelet was given the task of choosing instruments for the observatory.
 From this time on, Quetelet lived at the Observatory where he worked on statistical, geophysical, and meteorological data, studied meteor showers and established methods for the comparison and evaluation of the data.
 For every number, Quetelet tried to find the determining influences, its natural causes, and the perturbations caused by man.
 Influenced by Laplace and Fourier, Quetelet was the first to use the normal curve other than as an error law.
 Quetelet was elected to the Belgium Academy in 1820 and played a large role in making it an active vigorous organisation.
 Quetelet was chosen president, and in his opening address he dwelt upon the advantages of international uniformity in plans, purposes and terminology of the official statistical publications.
 In the summer of 1855 Quetelet was struck by an illness, a stroke of moderate severity.
 As a footnote let us mention that the internationally used measure of obesity is the Body Mass Index or Quetelet Index.
Born 22 February 1796, Ghent, French Empire, (now Belgium). Died 17 February 1874, Brussels, Belgium.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Astronomy, Origin Belgium, Statistics
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References
Adapted from other CC BYSA 4.0 Sources:
 Oâ€™Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive