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The Princeton Companion to Mathematics by Imre Leader, June Barrow-Green, Timothy Gowers

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VI.23 Pierre-Simon Laplace

b. Beaumont-en-Auge, France, 1749; d. Paris, 1827Celestial mechanics; probability; mathematical physics

Laplace is known to later mathematicians for many concepts of fundamental importance to mathematics, including the LAPLACE TRANSFORM [III.91], the Laplace expansion, Laplace’s angles, Laplace’s theorem, Laplace functions, inverse probability, GENERATING FUNCTIONS [IV.18 §§2.4,3], a derivation of the Gauss/Legendre least-squares rule of error by means of a linear regression, and the LAPLACIAN [I.3 §5.4] or potential function. Laplace developed the fields of celestial mechanics (the phrase was his coinage) and probability, and along the way the mathematics to service and advance them. For Laplace, celestial mechanics ...

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