Henri Poincare


Henri Poincare : biography

29 April 1885 – 17 July 1912

Since 1881 till 1882 Poincare worked at a new sphere in mathematics – theory of differential equations. He showed the way to get important information about the behavior of family solutions in practice without working it (as it was impossible sometimes). That new method was successfully used by Poincare for celestial mechanics and mathematic physics problems.

The leader of French mathematicians (1882 – 1899)

The following ten years after his research of auto-morphic functions (1885 – 1895) Poincare devoted to the solution of the few extremely important problems in astronomy and mathematics physics fields. He studied the steadiness if planets shapes, which had been formed in liquid (melted) phase, and came to the conclusion that there were a few more possible equilibrium shapes except ellipsoid.

In 1885 the king of Sweden, Oscar II organized a mathematics contest and offered the contestants four spheres to choose. The most important was the first one. The aim was to calculate the movements of gravitating bodies of the Solar system. Poincare showed that the problem (the problem of three bodies) had no finishing mathematic solution. However, soon the scientist offered effective methods of solving, finding approximate results. In 1889 Poincare, together with the scientists who was worked at the fourth question, won the prize of the Sweden contest. One of the two experts wrote about Poincare’s work that the work was one of the most important discovers in mathematics. And the second expert foretold that after that work by Poincare there was going to start a new epoch in the history of celestial mechanics. The government of France awarded Poincare with Legion of Honour for the success.

In autumn of 1886, Poincare, being 32-years old, became the head of the department of mathematic physics and the relative theory in Paris University. It was a sigh of acknowledgement that Poincare, who was the leading mathematician of France by that time, was elected to be the president of French Mathematics Society in 1886 and a member of Paris Academy of science in 1887.

In 1889 there was published a fundamental course of physics by Poincare was published in ten volumes. Since 1892 till 1893 two volumes of mono graph “New methods of celestial mechanics” (the third volume was published in 1899).

Since 1893 Poincare became a member of the prestigious Bureau des Longitudes and in 1899 he was elected to be the president of the bureau. Since 1896 Poincare switched to the university department of astronomy, but at the same time he worked at the well thought-out plan he had had before, thinking about creating new field of geometry, topology. Since 1894 he began publishing articles, devoted to creating a new scientific field, an exceptionally perspective one.

Last years of life.

In August of 1900 Poincare worked, leading the department of logics of the first International Philosophic congress. The event took place in Paris. At the meeting Poincare presented his report about principals of mechanics. While presenting he explained his conventional philosophy, saying that the principals of science were just conditional agreement, adapted to experience, but having no exact analogues in reality. That fundamental idea was explained by Poincare in his books “Science and hypothesis” of 1902, “Value of science” of 1905 and “Science and method” of 1908. In those books he also explained his own point of view of the essence of mathematical creativity, the most important role of which was played by intuition. As for logics, Poincare mentioned that its function was just in giving explanation to the intuitive insights. The clear style and the deepness of thoughts of the books caused their incredible popularity. Very soon the books were translated into many foreign languages. At the same time that the philosophic congress took place, there also was the second international congress of mathematics in Paris. Poincare was elected to be the chairman of the congress. All the congresses took place during the international exhibition of 1900.