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Paul Mansion

Data de nastere:

Locul nasterii:

Data mortii:

Locul mortii:

3 June 1844

Marchin (near Huy), Belgium

16 April 1919

Ghent, Belgium

Paul Mansion studied at the École Normale des Sciences at Ghent. He began his studies in 1862 when he was eighteen years old. By 1867 he was teaching advanced mathematics courses there. He was later appointed as Professor of Mathematics at the University of Ghent.

Of course living in Ghent made Mansion particularly aware of the famous mathematician Quetelet who was born in Ghent some 50 years before Mansion was born and who had studied at the university there. Quetelet and Garnier had edited the Belgium publication Correspondance mathématique et physique. and in 1874 Mansion, together with Catalan and Neuberg , founded a journal Nouvelle correspondance mathématique named to honour the earlier Correspondance mathématique et physique.

This journal which Mansion, Catalan and Neuberg had founded was published between 1874 and 1880. After this Catalan encouraged Mansion and Neuberg to collaborate in publishing a new journal and, indeed, they did precisely this, publishing Mathesis from 1881 onwards. Mansion became director of Mathesis and continued with this project until he retired in 1910.

According to Pelseneer , Mansion:

... held an eminent position in the scientific world of Belgium despite his extreme narrow-mindedness.

Mansion translated into French many mathematical works by Riemann , Plücker and Clebsch . He did not restrict himself to translating mathematical texts into French, however, for he translated works by other famous authors such as Dante.

He wrote on the history of Greek mathematics and on Copernicus , Galileo and Kepler . He also wrote on the history of physics and on Greek astronomy. Being a narrow-minded man with highly orthodox Roman Catholic views, his evaluation of the work of authors such as Copernicus and Galileo was somewhat biased and indeed many would consider his writings on these authors as intended to justify the views of the Roman Catholic Church.

Despite the rather critical tone of these comments we should point out that Mansion was highly productive. When Demoulin wrote an obituary of Mansion (published in 1929) he included a list of 349 of his works. Nor were these works merely of local interest, for many were considered important enough to be translated into German or to be republished in foreign publications.

Among the honours which Mansion received was election to the Royal Academy of Belgium.

Source:School of Mathematics and Statistics University of St Andrews, Scotland