Person: Bour, Edmond
Edmond Bour was a French mathematician and engineer who made significant contributions to analysis, algebra, geometry and applied mechanics.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Having been accepted for admission to the École Polytechnique, Bour entered in 1850.
- Bour continued his studies at the École des Mines in Paris and worked on a major paper Sur l'intégration des équations différentielles de la mécanique analytique Ⓣ(On the integration of the differential equations of analytical mechanics) which was read before the Académie des Sciences on 5 March 1855 and published in the Journal de mathématiques pures et appliquées.
- While at the École des Mines Bour wrote two doctoral theses.
- Before his theses were submitted, Bour was already qualified as a mining engineer.
- Bour had made a remarkable start to his career which was to reach even greater heights.
- in line with the analogous studies of Bonnet and Codazzi, contained several theorems on ruled surfaces and minimal surfaces; but in its printed version this work does not include the test for the integration of the problem's equations in the case of surfaces of revolution, which had enabled Bour to surpass the other competitors for the Academy's grand prize.
- The one disappointment in Bour's short life was his failure to win election to the Académie des Sciences in April 1862 when Bonnet was elected in preference to Bour.
- Because of this Bour turned to concentrate entirely on the mechanics course that he was teaching at the École Polytechnique.
- Bour made many significant contributions to analysis, algebra, geometry and applied mechanics despite his early death from an incurable disease.
- His remarkable achievements were cut short at the age of 33 and as a consequence Bour is hardly known in the history of mathematics whereas one feels that if he had been given the chance to continue his outstanding work he would today be remembered as one of the major figures in the subject.
Born 19 May 1832, Gray, Haute-Saône, France. Died 9 March 1866, Paris, France.
View full biography at MacTutor
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive