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Henri Poincaré

Mathematician and Physicist.

Jules Henri Poincaré (29 April 1854 – 17 July 1912) was a French mathematician, theoretical physicist, engineer, and a philosopher of science. He is often described as a polymath, and in mathematics as The Last Universalist, since he excelled in all fields of the discipline as it existed during his lifetime.

As a mathematician and physicist, he made many original fundamental contributions to pure and applied mathematics, mathematical physics, and celestial mechanics. He was responsible for formulating the Poincaré conjecture, which was one of the most famous unsolved problems in mathematics until it was solved in 2002–2003. In his research on the three-body problem, Poincaré became the first person to discover a chaotic deterministic system which laid the foundations of modern chaos theory. He is also considered to be one of the founders of the field of topology.

Poincaré made clear importance of paying attention to the invariance of laws of physics under different transformations, and was the first to present the Lorentz transformations in their modern symmetrical form. Poincaré discovered the remaining relativistic velocity transformations and recorded them in a letter to Dutch physicist Hendrik Lorentz (1853–1928) in 1905. Thus he obtained perfect invariance of all of Maxwell's equations, an important step in the formulation of the theory of special relativity.


1.) Joseph McCabe (1945). A Biographical Dictionary of Ancient, Medieval, and Modern Freethinkers. Haldeman-Julius Publications. Retrieved 10 April 2012. "In his last words (published as Last Thoughts, 1913) he entirely rejects Christianity and believes in God only in the sense that he is the moral ideal. In effect he was an atheist."

2.) Poincaré, Henri (January 1, 1913). Dernières Pensées. p. 138. Retrieved 10 April 2012. "Les dogmes des religions révélées ne sont pas les seuls à craindre. L'empreinte que le catholicisme a imprimée sur l'âme occidentale a été si profonde que bien des esprits à peine affranchis ont eu la nostalgie de la servitude et se sont efforcés de reconstituer des Eglises ; c'est ainsi que certaines écoles positivistes ne sont qu'un catholicisme sans Dieu. Auguste Comte lui- même rêvait de discipliner les âmes et certains de ses disciples, exagérant la pensée du maître, deviendraient bien vite des ennemis de la science s'ils étaient les plus forts."

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