By Pierre Simon Laplace
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year:2009
Online Publication Date:March 2011
Original Publication Year:1825
Subjects: History of mathematical texts
The work of the Marquis de Laplace (1749–1827) was enormously influential in the development of mathematical physics, astronomy and statistics. Educated in Normandy, he moved to Paris on obtaining a letter of introduction to d'Alembert, who acted as his mentor while he undertook teaching and independent research in probability, statistics and astronomy. Laplace survived the turmoil of the French Revolution, the rise of Napoleon and the restoration of the Bourbons by a series of manoeuvres which gave him a reputation for insincerity and hypocrisy even among his peers who could correctly assess his contributions to science. His Essai philosophique sur les probabilités, first published in 1814, and of which the fifth edition, revised by the author, is presented here, is a fundamental work which establishes six principles of probability in mathematical terms.