Gaspard Monge

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Gaspard Monge

Gaspard Monge , Comte de Péluse , (born May 9, 1746 in Beaune , † July 28, 1818 in Paris ) was a French mathematician , physicist and chemist and minister.


He was born in Beaune in Burgundy , the son of Jacques Monge (* 1718), a merchant and street trader from Haute-Savoie, and Jeanne Rousseau (* approx. 1725).

Monge attended with his two brothers Louis Monge (1748-1827) and Jean Monge (1751-1813) a college of the oratorians , the Collège des Oratoriens in Beaune. This school offered a more liberal education than other religious schools, and so not only did the humanities come to the fore, but history, mathematics, and science as well. In 1762, at the age of 16, Monge went to Lyon , where he continued his education at the Collège de la Trinité . He continued his education there until 1764, when he returned to Beaune. Although Monge could not attend the military school École royale du génie de Mézières ( Charleville-Mézières ) as a student, he was employed there in 1765 as a draftsman and surveyor. Here he met Charles Bossut (1730-1814), a professor of mathematics at this school. With his support, he took over mathematics lessons as a tutor in 1766 and was thus responsible for supervising his courses. Monge used descriptive geometry for his teaching. In 1768 Charles Bossut was elected to the Académie des Sciences . Through him, Monge was encouraged to publish a work in geometry in 1770. In the following year he came into contact with Jean-Baptiste le Rond d'Alembert and especially with Nicolas de Condorcet ; The latter urges Monge to present four publications in mathematics, such as the calculus of variations , infinitesimal geometry , the theory of partial differential equations (see also Monge-Ampèresche equation ) and combinatorics .

Gaspard Monge (1746–1818), comte de Péluse , mathematician, in full clothing as President of the Senate Curator, président du Sénat Conservateur , Jean Guillaume Elzidor Naigeon (1797–1867), 1842, Musée de l'Histoire de France (Versailles) .

Gaspard Monge was married to Marie-Catherine Huart (1747-1846) since 1777. Both had two children, Emilie Monge (1776–1867) and Louise Monge (1779–1874). As early as 1762 he received a teaching post in Lyon and then came to the artillery school at Mézières , became a professor of mathematics in 1765 and physics in 1771.

After Monge was admitted to the Académie des Sciences in 1780 , he took over the professorship for hydrodynamics in Paris . When the French Revolution began in 1789 , he supported it. He became a member of the Jacobin Club and took part in the great horror . He himself was denounced and, in this unstable political system, only escaped the guillotine by fleeing quickly.

When the republic was proclaimed in 1792, he became Minister of the Navy, ministre de la Marine . In this capacity he had to pass the death sentence to King Louis XVI. enforce. A few months later he resigned from office because he could not do justice to the many competing parties and took over the leadership of the gun factories, gun foundries and powder mills of the republic. He is, with Fabre d'Eglantine , one of the initiators of the revolutionary calendar .

In 1794 he founded the École polytechnique in Paris and held the professorship for mathematics there.

Coming from Paris, Monge arrived in Rome on Tuesday, February 6, 1798 (see also the Italian campaign ). He was involved in the commission, Pope Pius VI. Forcing on behalf of the French First Republic to relinquish its secular authority. On the night of February 19-20, 1798, the Pope left the Vatican.

Napoleon Bonaparte called Monge as a member of the expedition to Egypt , where he took over the directorate of the Egyptian Institute, Institut d'Egypte from 1798 to 1799 .

After the second restoration in 1816, as a retaliatory measure, he was relieved of all offices and removed from the institute's list.

In addition to several physical discoveries, he has made a name for himself through the creation of descriptive geometry.

Gaspard Monge's grave in Père-Lachaise Cemetery, Division 18.

Monge was buried in the Paris Cemetery, Père Lachaise , 18th Division, before his remains were exhumed in 1989 and transferred to the Panthéon . Since the early 1950s, he has given its name to Île Monge , an island off the coast of Adélieland in Antarctica .


Gaspard Monge Monument in Beaune

Monge published a descriptive geometry and introduced a theory of mirage . In 1783 he produced water from hydrogen and oxygen . This happened independently of Antoine Lavoisier , who also made the same discovery that year.
Monge was influenced in his scientific thinking by Antoine Laurent de Lavoisier and worked closely with Claude-Louis Berthollet . The writing Méthode de Nomenclature Chimique from 1787 by the quartet of authors, consisting of Antoine Laurent de Lavoisier , Guyton de Morveau , Antoine François de Fourcroy and Claude Louis Berthollet , also justifies the departure from the phlogiston theory. Pierre-Auguste Adet , Jean-Henri Hassenfratz , but also Pierre-Simon Laplace and G. Monge also belonged to this environment . He first examined the mirage in Lower Egypt in 1798 .

Herbert Bastian considers Monge to be the author of the manuscript Essais-analytiques sur les échecs from around 1780, based on font comparisons and other indications , the author of which merely describes himself as “Mr. Chapais , négociant à Paris ”.


  • A statue was erected in his hometown Beaune in 1849.
  • His name is immortalized on the Eiffel Tower, see: The 72 names on the Eiffel Tower .
  • In France, a 100 Francs commemorative coin was minted in 1998: silver, 900 fine, 22.2 g, 37 mm. Edition: 3000 pieces

The following were named after him:

Works (selection)

  • Traité élémentaire de statique. Paris (8th A., 1848)
  • Géométrie descriptive. Paris (7th A., 1847)
  • Application de l'analyse à la géométrie. Paris (5th A., 1850)
  • Application de l'algèbre à la géométrie. (1805)


Web links

Commons : Gaspard Monge  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Gaspard Monge  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. Archives Départementales de la Côte d'or registre paroissial de Beaune 1745-1746, FRAD021_057_MI05R027, vue n ° 174
  2. ^ A b W. W. Rouse Ball: Gaspard Monge (1746-1818) - From "A Short Account of the History of Mathematics" (4th edition, 1908) ; Biography in English
  3. Gaspard Monge . ( Memento of the original from September 29, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of St Andrews, Scotland; Biography @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. ^ Genealogy of the Monge: Gaspard Monge
  5. ^ Morand, Louis: Généalogie de la famille de Gaspard Monge (1904)
  6. Hans Wußing , Wolfgang Arnold: Biographies of important mathematicians . P. 265 ff.
  7. Gaspard Monge comte de Peluse (1746–1818) (PDF)
  8. ^ U. Klein, W. Lefèvre: Materials in eighteenth-century science. MIT-Press, Cambridge 2007, p. 87
  9. ^ Herbert Bastian (with input from Dr. Michael Negele): The secret passion of Gaspard Monge . In: Schach , 10/2017, pp. 32–43.