Person: Frenet, Jean Frédéric
Jean Frenet was a French mathematician best remembered for the Serret-Frenet formulas for a space-curve.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Frenet entered the École Normale Supérieure in 1840, then studied at the University of Toulouse.
- However the University was suppressed during the French Revolution and by the time Frenet went there to study it had been broken up into separate faculties of law, theology, science, letters, and medicine.
- At Toulouse Frenet undertook research in geometry and he wrote a doctoral thesis there which he submitted in 1847.
- In his thesis Frenet presented the idea of attaching to each point of an arbitrary curve in space a frame.
- The part of Frenet's thesis which contains the theory of space curves gives the formulas now known as the Serret-Frenet formulas.
- Frenet gave only six formulas while Serret gave all nine.
- Frenet published this part of his thesis as the paper Sur quelque propriétés des courbes à double courbure Ⓣ(On some properties of curves of double curvature) in the Journal de mathematique pures et appliques in 1852.
- In a further paper Théorèmes sur les courbes gauches Ⓣ(Theorems on space curves), published in the Nouvelles annales de mathématiqe in 1853, Frenet explained how the formulas could be applied.
- It is likely that this was produced at about the same time as Frenet's work and that the two were independent.
- Frenet was appointed as a professor at the University of Toulouse, then in 1848 he was appointed professor of mathematics at the University of Lyon, the most important educational centre outside Paris.
Born 7 February 1816, Périgueux, France. Died 12 June 1900, Périgueux, France.
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Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive