Pierre-Simon Laplace manuscript

Handwritten note and mathematical calculus


Pierre-Simon Laplace


Handwritten, France, n.d.
Pierre-Simon Laplace manuscriptPierre-Simon Laplace manuscriptPierre-Simon Laplace manuscript

Printing Details

This is a handwritten note and handwritten calculus by French astronomer and mathematician Pierre-Simon Laplace. It is attached to a larger piece of paper and probably taken from an album. The larger piece has been inscribed by a member of Laplace's signature and reads that this is an adage by the author of "Mecanique Celeste", signed and dated 20th July 1845. Laplace's handwriting is on a smaller piece of paper, folded once, with a few lines of calculus on the inside fold. This smaller sheet has also been inscribed in a later hand that is it given to a Miss Flower.

The larger sheet measures 28.5 × 23cm, the smaller, folded sheet measures 20.5 × 12.5cm.

Pierre-Simon Laplace (1749–1827) was a French mathematician and astronomer, born in Beaumont-en-Auge, Normandy, the son of a farmer. He studied at Caen, went to Paris and became professor at the Ecole Militaire where he gained fame by his researches on the inequalities in the motion of Jupiter and Saturn, and the theories of the satellites of Jupiter. In 1799, he entered the Senate, becoming its vice-president in 1803, andminister for the interior for six weeks, after which he was replaced because of an incapacty for administration. He was created marquis by Louis XVIII in 1817. His astronomical work culminated in the publication of the five monumental volumes of Mecanique celeste (1799–1825), the greatest work on celestial mechanics since Newton's Principia. His Systeme du Monde (1796) is a non-mathematical exposition, of masterly clarity, of all his astronomical theories. In his study of the gravitational attraction of spheroids he formulated the fundamental differential equation in physics which bears his name. He also made important contributions to the theory of probability.


As mentioned this is a sheet that has been removed from a book and as such, one side is slightly roughed, but the paper itself is in good order. The smaller, older paper with Laplace's handwriting on is in good condition, but tanned and with a few small creases. There is one small segment missing to the lower corner. The handwriting, in brown ink, is clear and crisp. A wonderful and scarce item.

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