Search Loci: Convergence:
The desire to understand the world and the desire to reform it are the two great engines of progress.
Marriage and Morals.
Francois-Joseph Servois: Priest, Artillery Officer, and Professor of Mathematics
Who was the mathematician François-Joseph Servois (1767-1847)? To the extent that his name is known at all, it is for introducing the words “distributive” and “commutative” to mathematics (see page 5). Servois was ordained a priest near the beginning of the French Revolution. Had it not been for the revolution, it seems likely he would have remained a priest and become a successful mathematician. With the outbreak of the revolutionary wars, he joined the armed forces and followed a military career while also pursuing mathematics during his leisure time. His mathematical career flourished once he was appointed professor of mathematics at the French artillery schools. This paper is a survey of the life and subtle mathematical contributions of Servois.
Table Of Contents
Petrilli, Jr., Salvatore J., "Francois-Joseph Servois: Priest, Artillery Officer, and Professor of Mathematics," Loci (June 2010), DOI: 10.4169/loci003498