Person: Serret, Joseph Alfred
Joseph Serret was a French mathematician best remembered for the Serret-Frenet formulas for a space-curve.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Joseph was born at 397 Rue St Honoré, Paris.
- Serret graduated entered the École Polytechnique in Paris in 1838 and, after two years of study, graduated in 1840.
- From 1836 the École des tabacs took students exclusively from the École Polytechnique and Serret was in one of the six classes of classes of students which they recruited, namely the mathematics and mechanics class.
- However, after working in the tobacco factory for a while Serret resigned his position and returned to Paris.
- For his two theses, following an oral examination, Serret was awarded his doctorate in 1847 and, in the following year, he was appointed as an entrance examiner for the École Polytechnique; he held this position until 1862.
- Serret took over some of his duties although Francoeur's chair was given to Jean-Marie Duhamel.
- In 1856 Serret took over some of Urbain Le Verrier's lecturing duties, and he did so again from 1861 to 1863.
- In 1860 Serret was elected to the Académie des Sciences, the position having become vacant following the death of Louis Poinsot in December of the previous year.
- Jean-Claude Bouquet took over Serret's lecture courses at the Faculty of Science in 1871 and was appointed professor of differential and integral calculus in 1874.
- However, Serret became a member of the Bureau des Longitudes in 1873.
- Serret did important work in differential geometry.
- Together with Pierre Bonnet and Joseph Bertrand he made major advances in this topic.
- The fundamental formulae in the theory of space curves are the Frenet-Serret formulae.
- Serret also published papers on number theory, calculus, the theory of functions, group theory, mechanics, differential equations and astronomy.
- A second edition of the text only differed slightly from the first edition but, in 1866, a third edition was published which contained much new material, a lot of which was a consequence of Serret's only researches.
- Several of Serret's books were translated into German and proved popular textbooks.
- During his lifetime Serret was honoured with election to the Paris Academy of Sciences and, after his death, he has been honoured with a Paris street named for him.
Born 30 August 1819, Paris, France. Died 2 March 1885, Versailles, France.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Algebra, Astronomy, Group Theory
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive