Johann(III) Bernoulli


Quick Info

Born
4 November 1744
Basel, Switzerland
Died
13 July 1807
Berlin, Germany

Summary
Johann(III) Bernoulli wrote a number of works on astronomy and probability theory.

Biography

Johann(III) Bernoulli was a son of Johann(II) Bernoulli. He was certainly considered a prodigy when a child with an encyclopedic knowledge and, like many other members of his extraordinarily talented family, he studied law and took an interest in mathematics.

At the early age of fourteen he graduated with the degree of master of law. He was appointed to a chair at Berlin Academy at the age of only 19. Frederick II asked him to revive the astronomical observatory of the Academy but this was not a task for which Johann(III) was particularly well suited. His health had never been particularly good and his qualities as an astronomical observer were relatively poor.

Johann(III) Bernoulli wrote a number of works on astronomy, reporting on astronomical observations and calculations, but these are of little importance. Strangely his most important contributions were the accounts of his travels in Germany which were to have a historical impact.

In the field of mathematics he worked on probability, recurring decimals and the theory of equations. As in his astronomical work there was little of lasting importance. He did, however, publish the Leipzig Journal for Pure and Applied Mathematics between 1776 and 1789.

He was well aware of the famous mathematical line from which he was descended and he looked after the wealth of mathematical writings that had passed between members of the family. He sold the letters to the Stockholm Academy where they remained forgotten about until 1877. At that time when these treasures were examined, 2800 letters written by Johann(III) Bernoulli himself were found in the collection.


References (show)

  1. J O Fleckenstein, Biography in Dictionary of Scientific Biography (New York 1970-1990). See THIS LINK.
  2. H Bernhard, The Bernoulli family, in H Wussing and W Arnold, Biographien bedeutender Mathematiker (Berlin, 1983).
  3. M Hürlimann (ed.), Die Mathematikerfamilie Bernoulli, Grosse Schweizer (Zürich, 1942), 112-119.

Additional Resources (show)

Other pages about Johann(III) Bernoulli:

  1. An entry in The Mathematical Gazetteer of the British Isles

Other websites about Johann(III) Bernoulli:

  1. Dictionary of Scientific Biography

Written by J J O'Connor and E F Robertson
Last Update September 1998