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16 July 1678 
Basel, Switzerland 
11 July 1733 
Basel, Switzerland 
Jakob Hermann, who was a distant relative of Euler , studied theology and mathematics at Basel. He studied mathematics under Jacob Bernoulli at Basel, receiving his first degree in 1695. In 1701 he became a member of the Berlin Academy , his election being very much due to support from Leibniz . In 1707 Hermann was appointed, on Leibniz 's recommendation, to the chair of mathematics at he University of Padua. He held this post in Italy until 1713 when he went to Germany. He spent 11 years in FrankfurtanderOder, but in 1724 he went to Russia and held a chair of higher mathematics in the St Petersburg Academy . While in St Petersburg Hermann gave tuition in mathematics to Peter the Great's grandson, Peter Aleksevevich. Peter Aleksevevich was crowned Peter II in 1727 at the age of 12 but died in 1730. In 1731 Hermann returned to Basel to the chair of ethics and natural law. Hermann worked in mechanics and studied the 'inverse problem' where one has to determine the orbit from a knowledge of the law of force. He proposed the term 'phoronomia' in 1716 for the topic which was sometimes called 'rational mechanics' and now called 'theoretical mechanics'. In Hermann's contribution to dynamics is described in these terms: He belonged to the Basel school headed by the Bernoullis and, sharing their methodology, made important contributions to the analytical treatment of dynamics. However, he also leaned towards Newton and, on many occasions, preferred to deal with dynamical problems in terms of geometry.
In 1733 Hermann was elected to the Académie Royale des Sciences in Paris.
Source:School of Mathematics and Statistics University of St Andrews, Scotland
