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Mathematical Treasure: Works of Siméon-Denis Poisson

Author(s): 
Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

Siméon-Denis Poisson (1781-1840) was a French engineer, physicist and mathematician. A distinguished scientist and civil servant, he is remembered for his many contributions to applied mathematics, especially involving definite integrals and Fourier series. Several mathematical concepts bear his name, most notably the Poisson distribution in probability theory. Poisson was a prolific author. A wide selection of his works can be found in the HathiTrust Digital Library; a few images from individual works in that collection are posted below.

 

In 1831, Poisson published his theories of capillary action.  The images below are available courtesy of the New York Public Library.

Title page of Nouvelle théorie de l'action capillaire by Siméon-Denis Poisson, 1831

Table of contents from Nouvelle théorie de l'action capillaire by Siméon-Denis Poisson, 1831

 

In 1811, Poisson published a treatise on mechanics in two volumes. The images below come from the first volume of the second edition, published in 1833, and are available courtesy of the University of Michigan.

Title page of Traité de mécanique by Siméon-Denis Poisson, second edition, 1833

First page of table of contents from Traité de mécanique by Siméon-Denis Poisson, second edition, 1833

Second page of table of contents from Traité de mécanique by Siméon-Denis Poisson, second edition, 1833

 

His theories on heat transfer were published in 1835.  The images below are available courtesy of Harvard University.

Title page from Théorie mathématique de la chaleur by Siméon-Denis Poisson, 1835

Table of contents from Théorie mathématique de la chaleur by Siméon-Denis Poisson, 1835

 

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Works of Siméon-Denis Poisson," Convergence (March 2019)

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