Person: Boutroux, Pierre Léon
Pierre Boutroux was a French mathematician and historian of science.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Boutroux was educated in Paris at the École Normale Supérieure and he received his licentiate with a thesis, which was published by the University of Paris, L'imagination et les mathématiques selon Descartes Ⓣ(Imagination and mathematics according to Descartes).
- Although Boutroux held this chair in Poitiers for twelve years he spent much of the time at other institutions.
- During the war Boutroux served bravely in the French army.
- All historians of science feel great sadness at knowing that had Boutroux occupied the chair for many years then his brilliance would have established a chair which almost certainly would have continued.
- Boutroux's mathematical work mainly consists of extending and clarifying work of others, in particular that of Painlevé, Poincaré and Émile Picard.
- Although his work in these areas is a useful contribution, this was not the area in which Boutroux excelled.
- In the history and philosophy of mathematics Boutroux published an extremely important work Les principes de l'analyse mathématique Ⓣ(Principles of mathematical analysis) in two volumes; Volume 1 in 1914 and Volume 2 in 1919.
- Boutroux's topics range from rational numbers to an analysis of the notion of a function.
- Another, perhaps even more important work, is Boutroux's L'idéal scientifique des mathématiciens dans l'antiquité et dans le temps modernes Ⓣ(The scientific ideal of mathematicians in antiquity and in modern times).
- Boutroux also argues that there is no single way to approach a problem, but the nature of the problem itself dictates the best way to attack it.
- Boutroux produced an edition of Pascal's works which was published from 1908 onwards with a second edition appearing after Boutroux's death in 1929.
- Other work included a study of dynamics before Newton where he improved on Duhem's work, and an analysis of the work of Paul Tannery which was not published until 1938, sixteen years after Boutroux's death.
Born 6 December 1880, Paris, France. Died 15 August 1922, 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