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Joseph-Louis Lagrange
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Mathematician
    (January 25, 1736-April 10, 1813)
    Born in Turin, Italy
    Birth name was Giuseppe Luigi Lagrangia
    Mathematician and astronomer
    Director of Mathematics at the Prussian Academy of Science (1765-86)
    Wrote ‘Analytic Mechanics’ (1788-89) and ‘Lessons on the Calculus of Functions’ (1808)
    Founding member of the Bureau of Longitude (1795)
    Appointed French Senator (1799)
    Considered one of the founders of calculus of variations
    Proved the theorem that every positive integer can be expressed as the sum of four squares
    He was timid and nervous.
    He originally had little interest in mathematics, finding geometry in particular quite boring.
    His second wife was his junior by more than 30 years.
    His interest in mathematics was kindled at age 17 when he read a paper by Edmond Halley; after two years of studying on his own, he was accomplished enough to be appointed an assistant professor of mathematics at the Royal Military Academy of Piedmont-Sardinia.
    His papers won five prizes from the French Academy of Sciences (1764-78).
    He was named a Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor (1808).

Credit: C. Fishel


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